The heart of a world Aristotle called home
In the timeless setting of Halkidiki, Jonathan Lorie finds an unbroken link to the origins of our culture
Aristotle stares across the pine-clad peaks of his homeland towards the Aegean Sea. Around him on the grass are 10ft-tall scientific experiments into the nature of the physical universe – how tornadoes whirl through air, how sound carries in space, how the rays of the sun can measure time. Behind him soar mountains that hide the gold mines of Alexander the Great, his most famous pupil. I step forward and whisper into one of his parabolic discs – a stone shaped like some ancient satellite dish – and hear its echoes bouncing in the distance, circling like the ripples of history.
Welcome to the Aristotle Park, in Aristotle district, north-east Greece. In this little-visited area of hill villages and chestnut forests, one of the world’s greatest thinkers was born 2,400 years ago. And here, in the ruined coastal village of Stageira, archaeologists claimed last week to have discovered his long-lost tomb among the broken stones of the Greek, Byzantine and Ottoman empires. So I’ve come here to explore the region that he called home.
“Aristotle was not just for Greeks,” says my guide, Dimitris Saris, as we walk around the park with its life-size statue of the great man. “He belonged to the whole world. He wrote and
The mountain village of Arnea, above