Athens Greece about 1892

MODERN ATHENS, GREECE — The rank which nations have acquired in history is not dependent on their size. Greece was the smallest of all European countries. Yet in the light of the stupendous influence exerted by a few Athenians in the days of Phidias, China’s four hundred millions seem like shadows cast by moving clouds. The debt which the world owes to Greece in general and to Athens in particular is beyond computation. Her language, her literature, her temples, her statues, together with her philosophers, orators, historians, statesmen and heroes, kindle the soul today with the inspiration of true genius, immortally associated with such names as Socrates, Plato, Pericles, Aristotle, Herodotus, Demosthenes, Phidias and Xenophon. If most of her art-treasures had not been carried away from Greece, first to embellish Rome, and finally to till the various museums of the world, Athens would be now annually visited by thousands instead of hundreds. Nevertheless, its Acropolis is still here, together with many of its ruined shrines and numerous sites of classic and historic interest. The modern and the ancient parts of the city are in close proximity, and therefore one enjoys modern luxuries and comforts in full view of some grand memorials of the past. The palace of the present able sovereign, George I, (son of the King of Denmark) stands only a few hundred yards from the Acropolis, and from the windows of our hotel we may look off on the classic mountains of Hymettus, Pentelicus (where were the quarries of Pentelic marble), and Lycabettus, the one displayed in the illustration. A charming blending this of old and new! For though the streets are modern, their names upon the corners are traced in the same characters which Socrates pronounced and Plato wrote. (from John L. Stoddard, Glimpses of the world; a portfolio of photographs of the marvelous works of God and man – 1892)

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