Christopher Wordsworth


Ælian recounts that one day Socrates took Alcibiades to a building in the city of Athens, in which maps of different countries were collected. Among them was a chart of the habitable world, as it was then known to the geographers of Greece. The philosopher directed the attention of his young friend to this chart with the intention of reducing the pride in which the latter appeared to indulge due to his vast territorial possessions on the Athenian territory. He asked him to indicate the position of Attica on the map and Alcibiades did so. Now show me where your own estate is located on the map, said Socrates. “It is not possible” answered the other; “you cannot expect my domains to appear there, where even Attica itself occupies so small an area.”

Christopher Wordsworth: GREECE (part 1)

The Emperor Hadrian owned a splendid villa at Tivoli, of which the remains are still extant. In it he attempted to perpetuate the Reminiscences he had of Greece. He there constructed edifices to which he gave the names of Poecile and Lyceum; in their vicinity he planted the Grove of an Academy, and he dug the bed of an ideal Peneus through the pleasing Dale of an imitative Tempe. The Traveller in Greece recreates in his own mind such a villa as this. He provides it with the beautiful scenes that he once saw in that country; he revitalizes it with the transparent waters and fresh shades of a Tempe; he adorns it with the graceful porticos of a Poecile, a Lyceum and an Academy.

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