Our esteemed colleague is not only a brilliant historian, professor, columnist, author, classicist, and farmer: Victor Davis Hanson also has a little bit of travel agent in his DNA (more than Elizabeth Warren has Cherokee). For the last dozen years he has been leading late-Spring military tours and cruises in Europe, and next May (the actual dates are May 29 to June 8) he will be leading (along with fellow historians Tom Conner and Bruce Thornton) a Journey to the Other Greece expedition that will take a small and exclusive group of serious history buffs on an exciting itinerary he’s calling from “Classical Sparta to Alexander the Great.” How about I let Victor explain in his own words:
For our twelfth annual military history tour of Europe, we plan in 2019 to return to Greece, the site of our first tour. Yet this time, we will visit an “Other Greece,” one not usually visited by tourists.
The vale of Sparta and the environs of Mt. Taygetus were the crossroads of war and conquest from classical times to the end of Byzantine Greece, with the catastrophic fall of Mistras and the Morea in the late 15th-century, now one of the best preserved Byzantine Greek sites in the world.
On the way through the Peloponnese, we will visit the valley of Mantinea, and the sites of the great battles fought there, especially the terrible ordeal of 362 B.C. where Epaminondas the Theban liberator fell. We will also visit many of the places in a novel The End of Sparta that I wrote about the liberation of the Messenian helots from their Spartan overlords.
The other less traveled Greece is also to the north. Our drive there will take us through the historic ‘dancing floor of war’ where ancient Greek armies met from the flatlands of Thebes to the vast expanses of Thessaly.
Upon arrival in ancient Macedon, we will make our base of operations in the historic city of Thessaloniki, the nexus of conflict from Macedonian times until World War II and the subsequent Greek Civil War. From Thessaloniki, the most scenic and important sites of the classical era of Athenian imperial power and of the Hellenistic world of Philip and Alexander the Great are just short drives away, such as Amphipolis, Meteora, Pella, Philippi, and Vergina.
In addition to visiting the usual landmark sites of Greece—Athens, Corinth, Nauplion, and Epidaurus—our 2019 visit will include a Greece rarely seen by tourists, but one replete with literary, historical, and military sites that figure prominently in the Western tradition, from the gallant last stand of the 300 at Thermopylae to the great Theban battle sites where Socrates fought at the battle of Delium.
The itinerary and scheduled events and talks look amazing. And it’s well known that VDH’s sojourns are first-rate, professional and top-notch service in every way, from meals to accommodations and everything else you can imagine.
Speaking of imagining, I imagine, post-trip, Spouse 1 will say to Spouse 2: “That is one of the best things we ever did.” And Spouse 2 will reply to Spouse 1: “For once, I’m glad I listened to you. Yeah, it was beyond anything I imagined it would be.”
There is still space available for the May, 2019 “Journey to the Other Greece” – but likely won’t be in a matter of weeks. Consider going – you will not regret it. Not one iota . . . in Ionia. Or anywhere else.
Complete information about the trip can be found at Victor’s site, VDH Historical Tours.