Aristotle’s Lyceum

Friday, January 26, 2018

Greece is very, very cold right now.  In fact it will be warmer in Toronto today than here in Piraeus.  I know it won’t last long, but still . . .

I haven’t been riding the bike, because it will get warmer, and I don’t want to get sick riding when I don’t really need to worry about it.   So I have been hiding in the office on the boat, walking a LOT and visiting a few sites around the city.

Let’s start with the walking.  I like to see things ‘slowly’.  The bike is good for that, and I get 4-5 times more time to look around when I am riding compared with what I would if I were driving the same road, and I take roads on the bike that I don’t take in a car which is an extra bonus.   Originally I thought I would call this blog “What I Saw Today” and just fill it with things that I noticed, that maybe other people don’t.   I have saved you from the tedium of that.   You’re welcome.

I am not sure it sounds good when I say I’m a street walker, but there it is.  I love to walk the streets, especially in big cities so that I can see the sights and watch the people around me.   So I have been walking a lot.   This week I have averaged 7.9km/day so far. In the last month I have averaged 6.9km/day, but given Jinhee and Megan were here for some of that, that’s still pretty good (I’m not sure they appreciate the walking as much as I do).

As the day turns to night, I will likely go back out and walk the streets some more.   Friday night is usually far more entertaining to watch the people interacting and seeing the craziness of a city.

Today, I walked very close to the boat.   There is a hill just on the other side of the bay that is Marina Zea, and I see it on the bike, I have ridden ‘around’ it (which still makes for some difficult climbing), but it is pretty high and steep when you walk to the top.   Today I walked to the top.  You would have to look really, really closely to see “Home Free” in the centre left of the picture (see the boat with the dark hull?  Right above that boat).   Its a long way up but very, very close.IMG_1765Yesterday I visited Aristotle’s Lyceum.   Now I know a bit about Socrates and Plato and Aristotle, but I have probably forgotten far more than I remember.  I do know that Aristotle is responsible for a lot of what we know about science (and I give Bacon a lot of credit too, but Aristotle started it!).   So when I passed by the Lyceum the other day, after it closed I decided I had to go back … and I did.

Now some people might be disappointed by what is, essentially, a hole in the ground, but I am pretty easy to please.   Aristotle’s Lyceum was ‘discovered’ in 1996 and is just a hole in the ground really.   But it is the birthplace of learning.  Originally Akademia, Lykeion and Kynosarges were the three locations for the gymnasia used as centres of learning.   Funny how Academia is the name we keep in the Americas, and Lyceum is far more popular in the French, but I have never heard of a Kynosarges (???).

Anyway, this hole in the ground is where young men went to learn to fight, think and understand the world.   Aristotle became a giant in the world of thought and while there may have been plenty of other significant contributors, recorded history gives him much of the credit personally.   That reminds me, it is in my best interests to keep notes.

Here’s a picture of where all this good stuff started.IMG_1751

Though you can’t see it from the photo, on the right is the Byzantium and Christian Museum.  It is the Featured Image for the day.   I spent quite a bit of time in there after visiting Aristotle’s ‘school’.   The religious folk in my family would love this place.   I didn’t spend much time with the later period pieces, but enjoyed the history of the church from the early years AD through the formation of the Church and some of the commentary around the politics and so forth driving the creation of the church.   This blended nicely with some of the history from the Coptic churches in Egypt which reflected some of the same messaging.   Very cool.

Here are a couple of images from the Byzantium and Christian Museum.  Jinhee has an affinity for mosaics, so I have some of those here for her enjoyment.  I hope the rest of the readers like them too.


Beside that Museum is a museum of military history.   I didn’t go into the museum, but I thought I would put a few photos of the planes outside on the blog for those aviation nuts who might be reading (there is always an aviation nut in any group).


Here is my final picture.  From the Byzantium & Christian Museum, this is some of the currency and seals from all of those emperors who ruled Byzantium for the 1000 years or so that it was the centre of the world.   I wish I could enlighten all of those whose life focus is to hoard money that it is all temporary (and this is just a modest sampling of the proof), alas there is every indication that I am the crazy one.


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