Athens and Attica: Journal of a Residence There

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Christopher Wordsworth (1807-85), the Great Christopher of Winchester and Trinity College, Cambridge, was a nephew of William the poet, and brother to the student who launched the University Boat Race. In 1832 he took a gap-year, after his brilliant studies in ancient Greek and Latin classics, to travel back in time over two thousand years to Pericles' Athens. The account of his tour, Athens and Attica (1836), is still the perfect scholarly companion to the history, topography, and myths of an area compact in dimension yet vast in terms of its contribution to Western civilization. The Bazaar or Market at Athens is a long street. Looking up you command a view of the commodities. Barrels of black caviar, small pocket-looking-glasses in red pasteboard cases, onions, tobacco piled up in brown heaps, black olives, figs strung together upon a rush, pipes with amber mouthpieces and brown clay bowls, silver-chased pistols, dirks, belts, and embroidered waistcoats. Such is the present state of Athens...a few Turks still doze in the archways of the Acropolis, or recline while smoking their pipes, and leaning with their backs against the rusty cannon. A few days ago the cannon of the Acropolis fired the signal of the conclusion of the Turkish Ramazam - the last which will ever be celebrated in Athens. - Christopher Wordsworth, 1832