“It was one of the best trips we have ever taken. Professor Lear is knowledgable, personable, and funny, and his explanations cover a wide range of topics, including things that get left out in most tours.” — Bennet Marks
from Achilles to Alexander and Beyond
Next tour: September 26-October 4, 2018
The ancient Greeks are important to all of us because they are the inventors of so much in our culture—democracy, philosophy, theater and art. Yet they are even more important to gay people—because they practiced same-sex love and associated it with positive values such as education, loyalty and courage. Discover your roots on this eye-opening tour of Greek culture and its gay side, from Achilles to Athens to Alexander.
Our tour starts in Athens, the cultural center of the Greek world both then and now. Expert archaeologist guides will show us the famous temples of the Acropolis and the lovely new Acropolis museum, but also lesser-known sights, such as the Agora, the center of ancient Athenian daily life, and the Kerameikos, ancient Athens’ burial ground. And of course we’ll visit the world-famous National Archaeological Museum, with its amazing collection of ancient art.
Our focus in all these places will always be the rich evidence for same-sex love in ancient Athens—such as the story of Harmodius and Aristogeiton, the male couple who assassinated a tyrant’s brother in 513 BC and whom the Athenians worshiped as the founders of their democracy. And we’ll delve into more modern territory as well, learning about such figures as Lord Byron, the bisexual English poet and rake whose death galvanized the movement for Greek independence in the early 19th century, and Constantine Cavafy, Greece’s very gay national poet.
We will also make two day-long excursions out of the city. On the first, we will visit the Pelopponese, the large peninsula that makes up the southern “half” of Greece. We will take in Nemea, site of one of the ancient Greeks’ four prize athletic contests—where at the stadium we can actually see archaeological evidence for the athletes’ affairs with each other!—then Mycenae, city of the Homeric epics, whose story of Achilles and Patroclus, the greatest heroes in Greek culture, is a touchstone of gay history. We end our day with a visit to Epidauros, the medical center of Ancient Greece, with the best-preserved ancient theater.
Our next excursion is to Delphi, to visit the shrine of the ancient world’s most important oracle. This leg will include a stop at the monument to the Sacred Band, the most feared regiment in Classical Greece and a source of gay pride. In Delphi we will enjoy a guided tour of the ruins of the temple complex as well as the museum, where among other things we learn about the cult of Antinous, the male favorite of the Roman Emperor Hadrian, who was deified after his early death.
Our tour then proceeds to the pearl of the Aegean, the island of Mykonos, with its fabled gay night and beach life. We spend three days on the island, with a visit to the nearby uninhabited island of Delos, the Greek Pompeii, where we see the ruins of one of the ancient world’s great commercial centers, including of course the famous phallus statues dedicated to Bacchus, the god of wine! We end our tour of gay Greece with one last splendid Greek dinner, in the lovely whitewashed town of Mykonos—though some may wish to continue their exploration of the ancient Mediterranean and its gay side on our Gay Italy tour, which starts just a short flight away in Rome on October 5.
To learn more, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or (646)560-3205.
Group Size: Maximum 16
Single Supplement may apply
Please note that this tour involves walking tours of cities and museums.
Learn Greece’s Gay Stories:
* Zeus and his boyfriend Ganymede
* Achilles and Patroclus
* The gay founders of the Athenian democracy
* The great all-gay regiment of Classical Greece
* Alexander the Great
* Hadrian and his beloved Antinous
plus the islands of Mykonos and Delos.
Frequently Asked Questions
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Who Is Professor Andrew Lear?
Professor Andrew Lear combines a love of travel with a passion for gay history, and he brings both of those attributes to Oscar Wilde Tours.
Professor Lear holds a B.A. from Harvard and a Ph.D. from UCLA. He has published a widely praised book on male-male love in ancient Greek art, as well as a number of important scholarly articles in this area… READ MORE
Our tour starts and ends at our Greece hotel. It includes hotel accommodation; all breakfasts, 10 lunches, and 7 dinners; services of escort and local guides; admission to all sights on the tour, and transportation to them (by taxi, minibus, and train).
What meals are included?
Breakfast is included every day in our tours, and on most days we include either lunch or dinner, according to the itinerary. On this tour we include all breakfasts, 3 lunches, welcome and farewell dinners, and an optional lesson in traditional Greek cooking.
What is the level of the hotels?
Our hotels are chosen for excellent 4* quality, historic charm, and central location.
Is this a good tour for single travelers?
Singles are very welcome! Our groups generally consist of a mix of couples and singles, and there is generally a nice group ethos, so no-one will ever feel left out. Single rooms are available, with a supplement; we are also happy to try to find you a room-mate if you would prefer.
Is this tour designed for first-time visitors?
We try to design our tours both for repeat and first-time visitors. We include a number of lesser-known sights, but also major sights—which we see from the perspective of their often ignored gay history.
Who is this tour a good fit for?
Our tours focus on LGBT history and art and are designed for groups of LGBT people. They are however open to the LGBT-friendly as well.
Is this a good tour for people with difficulty walking?
All of the main sights in the tour are visited on foot, on walking or museum tours. There may be uneven ground, for instance in archaeological sites, and steps in some museums or historic houses. The amount of walking is not, however, excessive: we rarely exceed 2 miles a day. We travel from site to site by train or air conditioned bus (or at times, in major cities, in fleets of taxis or limousines).
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