Latin Students Visit Greece

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The 2017 biennial Latin Trip presented twenty-five students with the opportunity to learn about Ancient Greece and immerse ourselves in the culture of modern Greece. Although the culture of Ancient Greece is not directly related to the Latin language, our trip provided us with a deeper understanding of the Roman culture that we often study in Latin class.

We spent nearly 48 hours total traveling, stopping in Frankfurt both ways. Although the time spent in airports and on planes was grueling, we bonded as a group and I began to get to know people who I had never talked to before. Our travel helped prepare us for the time that we would spend together and forced us to expand our social interactions beyond our friends and roommates.

Our eight days included three nights in Athens and one night each in Olympia, Delphi, and Kalabaka. Our tour, led by our guide Elena, enabled us to see four archaeological sites: Athens, Mycenae, Olympia, and Delphi. At every site, Elena recounted the mythology surrounding the ruins and described the history behind them. Although the architecture of all the sites was similar, each one had a unique story. My personal favorite was the the ancient city of Delphi, home of the Oracle of Delphi, a priestess that predicted the future. Elena described scientists’ discovery of ethylene gas that rose from a fault in the ground that could explain the hallucinations of the oracle. The ruins and their story, however, were not the most impressive parts of Delphi; a picturesque view of the valley and the mountains was visible from almost every part of the town.

As we neared the end of our trip, our tour took us to the cliffs of Meteora. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Meteora is home to several monasteries perched on top of cliffs. Elena led us through two of them, giving us an opportunity to learn more about the culture of modern Greece. She informed us of the Greek’s dedication to religion, telling us that 98% of Greek people are Greek Orthodox. She then recounted the story of the Great Schism and of the founding of Greek Orthodoxy and what religion meant to the Greek people.

Our experiences in Greece allowed us to experience much more than a guided tour of historical sites; we learned about a unique culture, bonded as a group, and broadened our horizons.

 

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