This trip traces the different dimensions of ancient Greek culture from myth and epic to philosophy. Travelers learn about this new outlook through site visits, readings, and lectures. We start our trip in Athens. We read Aeschylus' Persians and observe the Greeks' growing self confidence, after they defeat the Persians. Inspired by this success, Athens then seizes her own empire. Her riches draw thinkers and artists from all over the Mediterranean. In the last segment, we journey to this bold city, protected by Athena. It is now a vibrant, powerful, and welcoming democracy. The visiting Sophists question traditional moral precepts, asking which are natural and which exist only by convention. The dramatists use these inquiries to criticize the epic legacy and make it speak to contemporary concerns brought on by the endless war with Sparta. Provoked by their relativism and nihilism, Socrates attempts to determine the true nature of these principles. Attended by the city's young elite, he questions and embarrasses those who claim to know these things. He makes powerful enemies and his odd way of life invites satire. Despite his contention that he is acting on behalf of Apollo, the philosopher is put to death for corrupting the young and not believing in the city's ancestral gods. He dies, but his ideas live on. Inspired by his example, his students build on this legacy and Alexander spreads these new doctrines throughout the world. We leave Athens for Peleponesia and visit Corinth. At Mycenae, we see the remains of the palace based civilization which launched the Trojan War and lived by the heroic code. At the theater at Epidaurus, we discuss how the tragedians picked up these Epic themes and developed them. Next we examine Homer's influence on traditional moral and martial values. We visit Olympia and discuss the agonistic character of early Greek culture. From Olympia we move onto Delphi, where we encounter the power of the numinous and study the traditional gods. Excerpts from Homer and Hesiod are our guide. Early natural scientists then challenged this conception of the divine, yet retained many of its characteristics in their new explanatory schemes. Throughout the trip we taste from Greek cuisine and blend with local people and events, as we immerse ourselves in history. There will be visits to museums and historic sites with tour guides, lectures by Dana Trusso and guest lecturers, and Yoga sessions with Kim Larkin. The last leg of the trip will be on the island of Poros, as participants do Yoga, go to the beach and find time for reflection and other activities.
Over the past 15 years, Bent On Learning has taught yoga to approximately 18,000 kids. Many of our students have been practicing with our yoga program throughout their time in school and enjoying the benefits yoga brings to their classroom experience and their daily lives. We hope to contribute to their wonderful cause with partial proceeds from this trip.