Spend Spring Semester 2015 in Athens
The Athenian Acropolis and the Parthenon
Greece. The name conjures up images and ideas that have become part of the fabric of Western civilization. The myths and legends of the Greeks inhabit the imagination: Theseus slaying the Minotaur, the abduction of Helen and the Trojan War, the wanderings of Odysseus. Places and monuments call to mind ancient gods: Athena and the Parthenon, Zeus and Olympia, Apollo and Delphi. Events that shaped the world took place here: Marathon, Thermopylae, and Salamis--great battles of the Persian War, the birth of Athenian democracy, and the birth of Alexander the Great. Tragedy and philosophy, history and rhetoric, all had their beginnings in Greece.
Faculty-Led. Since 1989 hundreds of Penn State students have studied Greek history and culture in the shadow of the Parthenon. In courses covering such areas as Greek archaeology and art, the origins of philosophy and rhetoric, Greek drama and poetry, Greek religion, Greek diplomacy and warfare, the history of sport and athletics in Greece, the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires, and modern Greek language and customs, these students have explored ancient fortresses, walked in ancient temples, studied ancient texts. Their course work has taken them to many of the major historical sites in Greece: Sparta, the home of Helen and training ground of the most formidable warriors of ancient Greece; Mycenae, the fortified citadel of Agamemnon where fabulous riches were discovered just over a century ago; Knossos, the labyrinthine palace and legendary home of King Minos on the island of Crete; Olympia, site of the first organized sporting contests in the Western world; Delphi, where kings and conquerors gave gifts of thanks to Apollo, and where the Pythian priestess delivered her oracles, perhaps after breathing magical vapors from deep within the earth; and of course, Athens, where Pericles brought democracy into its Golden Age, where Socrates spoke with those who gathered in the Agora, and Plato taught in the gardens of the Academy. While walking in ancient footsteps, students have also been part of the living present of a thriving, exciting European society. Virtually all previous participants agree that there is no better way to learn about the history and culture of this extraordinary country than to spend a semester in this program. It is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.