Classicist Mary Beard narrates for the Guardian her experience walking on a trail near philosopher Aristotle’s first home.
Beard is a Professor of Classics at the University of Cambridge and a Classics editor of the Times Literary Supplement. She traveled this year outside Stagira village in the Halkidiki region of Greece to the location of Aristotle’s birth in 384BC.
Stagira is not known for much more than being the birth place of the great philosopher, political theorist, and scientist, although it is an area full of stunning natural scenery.
“Legend has it that Aristotle regularly walked long distances, and the Aristotle Trail is meant to invite visitors to experience the same hike that the philosopher may have experienced.”
Recently, locals have begun enticing tourists by creating an Aristotle theme park, naming a mountain and municipality after the philosopher, and naming an arrestingly beautiful walking route the “Aristotle Trail.”
Beard notes that Aristotle did not mention his home town in his writings, and he spent much more of his life in Macedonia. Therefore, whether Aristotle had a particular fondness or nostalgia for the area is unclear. Nevertheless, locals are capitalizing on his association with the town.
Legend has it that Aristotle regularly walked long distances, and the Aristotle Trail is meant to invite visitors to experience the same hike that the philosopher may have experienced.
Beard walked this 12 mile path that begins from the ruins of ancient Stagira, continues through picturesque natural vegetation, and ends in the village. The classicist notes that while there are land markings and directions, its natural state is mostly preserved and it is not overly touristic.
There are some areas of the walk that prove difficult, such as a hike to a waterfall that required jumps across a lake of water. For such detours, Beard says that a hiking tour guide may be helpful for some.
Beard says the trail showcases a “glorious countryside” and is “lined with plants that a romantic might imagine once stimulated the young Aristotle’s interest in botany.” The path evokes a unique and special beauty.
It is unknown whether Aristotle indeed frequented and was inspired by this particular trail. Nevertheless, using this impression as an attraction to the site may lead many visitors to a gratifying experience in an extraordinary landscape that has gone long unnoticed.