Study-Abroad Course—Post-Spring Term, 2014

In the Footsteps of the Gods:
A Mythological Tour of Greece and Turkey

A 2½ Week Course in Bringing the
Ancient Mycenaean and Hellenic Civilizations to Mythic Life
(Travel Dates: 5/26/14–6/12/14)



Istanbul—formerly Constantinople, formerly Byzantium. We’ll stay in the “Old City” (Sultanahmet), in walking distance of Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, the Basilica Cistern (A.K.A. “Sunken Palace,” where Medusa can still be found), and the Grand Bazaar. Probably we’ll see whirling dervishes.

Hagia Sofia


Troy—where once stood the “topless towers of Ilium” on the Hill of Ate. Walls built by Apollo and Poseidon; first sacked by Heracles; later by Agamemnon and Achilles, et al. Home of Priam and Hecabe, Paris, Hector, Cassandra, and, infamously, Helen, until the city was burned through the genius of Odysseus and the trick of the horse.

Artemis’ Temple at Ephesus—one of the Seven Wonders of the World. ’Nuff said.


Mycenae: Lion's Gate

Mycenaehome of King Agamemnon, leader of the Greek armada against Troy. The Lion’s Gate to the great palace stands in true megalithic style (see the tiny adult human in the gateway?), and the massive tholoi (beehive tombs) are awesome and eerie. Agamemnon (who sacrificed his own daughter for a good sailing wind) was murdered inside the palace by Queen Clytemnestra. Agamemnon’s ancestor, Pelops, gave his name to the Peloponnese—but not till after he had been carved up as a child by his father, Tantalus, and served to the gods for lunch.

Olympia—original home of the Olympic Games, founded by another Heracles (not the one who did ten or twelve labors). Here can be seen ruins of great temples of Zeus and Hera, at the latter of which the Olympic torch is still first lit every four years by women dressed as priestesses of Hera.



Delphi—the navel (center, omphalos) of the world. The famous oracle of Delphi was originally founded by Gaia (the Earth—Gaia from Ge as in Geography), and later taken over by Apollo when he slew the giant serpent Python. Into Roman times the Delphian Sybil prophesied in increasing frenzy and incoherence, until the oracle at last went silent forever. (She was pretty clear, though, when she told Oedipus his fate.)

Athens—Athena’s city, which she won in a contest of gifts by donating the olive tree (Poseidon gave a salt-water well, and didn’t understand what the problem was). Her Acropolis, the pinnacle of Greek architecture, stands at the center, visible for miles in all directions.



The Idyllic Greek Island of Naxoswhere students will relax, collate their notes and begin writing their mythological musings by the sun-drenched Aegean.

For more info contact:
Wendy Shifrin (WShifrin [at] or Mark Vecchio (OCaptain [at]