The Sunday Times: Bettany Hughes on exploring Greece like the ancients

Do it the classical way, says the TV historian — by boat


By Bettany Hughes, Jan. 28, 2018

We finished our last maritime odyssey in Ios — once a rowdy party island, but now owned in large part by the former Wall Street trader Angelos Michalopoulos, who keeps donkeys, imports threatened olive trees and has devoted his resources to preserving Ios’s raw beauty. There are pathways winding through juniper bushes and a prehistoric settlement, Skarkos, whose inhabitants once managed that constant flow of civilisation-catalysing, intercontinental sailors. It was said that it was here, on an aromatic hillside, that Homer came to die.
We watched the sun set behind nodding orchids as the hebe, the island’s youth, swayed to Nessun Dorma at the classy Pathos Bar (appropriate enough — even Bronze Age heroes drank killer cocktails of retsina, mead and wine). And we could see what this water-garlanded isle, and others like it, from the Cyclades to the Dodecanese, offers the living, as it did the long dead: time-thwartingly epic panoramas from which to consider history and what it is to be human.

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