Airliners Between the Wars, 1919-39 (Colour) by Kenneth Munson

By Kenneth Munson

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Mark Beck is affiliate Professor of Classics on the collage of South Carolina, the place he teaches classes on Greek and Roman authors and classical civilization classes. He has released quite a few articles and chapters on Plutarch and is the writer of the approaching e-book, realizing Classics: Plutarch (2012).

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It is a measure of the desperation of the writer in search of his ancient quarry that such a trivial find should elicit such unbridled joy. I was beginning to think that searching for a Greek hero in Turkey was doomed. The superficially secularised land of Atatürk, founder and first president of the Turkish Republic, might not be able to accommodate such a powerful symbol of Greek civilisation. But here he is, finally, centre-stage no less, guarding the entrance to the museum, a seer-like figure with wide blank eyes, a prominent nose, high forehead and a gently flowing beard.

Down rushed the Greeks to do battle with the mighty Persians, screaming their war-cry of eleleu! The Persians, wrote Herodotus, could scarcely believe their eyes, ‘thinking it suicidal madness for the Athenians to risk an assault with so small a force – rushing in with no support from either cavalry or archers’. Lunacy or no, the smaller army had stolen the initiative. The Athenians, Herodotus continued, ‘fought in a way not to be forgotten; they were the first Greeks, so far as we know, to charge at a run, and the first who dared to look without flinching at Persian dress and the men who wore it .

On and off step fishermen, island-hoppers, sailors, shoppers, day-trippers, traders, touts and toddlers, restaurateurs, commuters, businessmen, students, hoteliers, hustlers and sunbathers. Across the water, on a rocky outcrop beyond the leafless forest of jostling masts, the town’s most celebrated historical landmark, the fifteenth-century Castle of St Peter, its splendid warbattered bulk jutting out into the sea beneath a boastfully blue sky, marks the central prong in the ‘3’-shaped harbour. Further off, beginning to be lost in the rebounding haze, is the Greek island of Kos, raising her smooth rump from the sea to bask scandalously in the sun.

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