"Among a large pack of guides-cum-histories released for the Olympics, this should take the gold." —The Independent


A Cultural and Literary History

Michael Llewellyn Smith

Preface by Roderick Beaton

Modern Athens is a bustling, overgrown city, continually coming to terms with its illustrious past. Dominated by the Parthenon, the world-famous symbol of classical antiquity, it has been touched by every aspect of Greece’s turbulent history, suffering invasions and occupations, sieges, division and dictatorship, and has grown dramatically into a metropolis of four million people. Mixing old and new, the Greek capital is a treasure house of eastern Orthodox and western culture, rich in the visual arts, architecture and poetry. Michael Llewellyn Smith describes the history and culture of Athens, site of the 2004 Olympic Games and city of monuments enduring, purged and restored. Exploring its streets and squares, he reveals layers of Ancient Greek, Roman and Byzantine history, elegant Bavarian neoclassical buildings, and a modern city of concrete and glass, metro and tram. THE CITY OF VISITORS: treasure hunters and Philhellenes; Byron and Chateaubriand; Thackeray and Twain; Freud, Virginia Woolf and Winston Churchill. THE CITY OF OLYMPIANS: host of the first modern Games of 1896 and the Olympiad of 2004; the revival of the Olympic idea. THE CITY OF ATHENIANS: classical soldiers and thinkers; poets, politicians and princess; migrants and refugees from greece and beyonds.

MICHAEL LLEWELLYN SMITH is a historian who has lived and worked in Athens for more than ten years as a student, teacher and diplomat. He was British Ambassador to Athens between 1996 and 1999.

Cities of the Imagination Series

£12.00 paperback

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March 2004, 256 pages, 203x133mm, illustrations, index
ISBN: 1902669819