Athens is the capital and largest city in Greece, located on a hilly plain between four mountains and three rivers. Though the name "Athens" brings to mind days of the Classical Era, the city dates back long before this, and is one of the oldest cities in the world. It is often given illustrious nicknames such as "The Cradle of Civilization" or "The Birthplace of Democracy," and is linked with a strong impression of higher learning, intellectuality, and discovery.
Athens has been inhabited continuously for at least the past 7,000 years. It was a prominent Mycenaean settlement in 1400 BC. Its golden age was in the 400's and 500's BC, during which time the city flourished as a powerful city state, and men like Sophocles, Hippocrates, Socrates and many others introduced art, science, and much more to the world. It was the site of Plato's Academy and Aristotle's Lyceum.
Today, Athens is known for its wealth, tourist economy, architecture, ancient history, education, sporting events and Olympic stadium, for its number of UNESCO World Heritage sites, its cuisine, and economy.
People Born in Athens
Athens in People's Lives
Gustave Flaubert: I traveled here in 1850, as a 28 year old writer seeking inspiration for my new book.
Herodotus: I came to live here around 453 BC, due to my admiration and praise of their open minded thinking, intellectuality, and democracy. I most likely applied to become an Athenian citizen, but this was a complicated process that at the time required two seperate votes from two assemblies, and was considered the highest of honors. Whether I applied or not, I was never made an Athenian citizen. I did, however, most likely recieve a financial reward from the Athenian Assembly for my work here. In 443 BC, I moved to Thurii, a new colony sponsored by Athens. I possibly moved back here a few years later, but where I spent my years after this is unknown. I always maintained a deep love for this city, however. I was interred here at the tomb of Thucydides after my death in 425 BC, around the age of 60.
Marc Antony: After having amassed an enormous gambling and spending debt back in Rome, I fled to this city to escape my creditors in 58 BC, at the age of 25. Perhaps deciding to become a more respectable man, I studied here, focusing on the study of philosophy and rhetoric. I returned to Rome approximately a few months later. When I returned to this city again, in 42 BC, much had happened in my life. I was now 41 years old, and had spent years as the second most powerful man in the Roman Empire, second only to my close confidante and father figure Julius Caesar, who was now dead. I had attempted to fight a civil war to claim the throne, but was defeated by Augustus, and soon afterward moved here as ruler of the Grecian colonies. I was a proclaimed "philhellene," or, "lover of all things Greek," and I was popular and admired here. I supported Greek culture, attended religious festivals and ceremonies, and forgiving Greek citizens that had sided with the Republic. I left Athens for Ephesus in 41 BC.
Oscar Pistorius: I traveled here in 2004 to compete as a sprinter in the 2004 Summer Paralympics, and won the bronze medal.
Roald Dahl: I participated in the Battle of Athens in this city in 1941, as a Royal Air Force officer. My friends Pat Pattle and David Coke fought with me in the same squadron. Far from an exciting and glorious adventure, my first taste of true battle struck me as utter chaos. I later described it as "an endless blur of enemy fighters whizzing towards me from every side." After the battle, I stayed in this city for approximately a month, but with German forces advancing to take the city, my troops and I were evacuated to Haifa, Israel.
Viggo Mortensen: I traveled here in 1991, to film scenes of a movie. I loved the city and returned many times after that.