MYRTIS HER LIVES
There’s no end of ways that tales can begin. Ours begins with an explosion of human achievement: the explosion of the Golden Age – an age so golden that it needed less than a century to shine, and thereafter glow through the millennia. In fact, the thirty years of Pericles’ career were enough: he himself embodied the immensity of the achievements of this age, as he gathered together philosophers and sculptors, poets and generals, merchants and musicians, and gave them to his remarkable city. This cultural explosion contained within itself countless smaller explosions. For instance, the wonder of the marble monuments whose remains we still see today. The wonder of the literary monuments – the poems, histories and dazzling philosophical thinking – we still read today. The wonder of numbers and concepts that later served as the foundations for renowned universities. The wonder of noble spectacles, such as theatre and the ancient chorus. The wonder of the youths doing their military training, the wonder of classical painting, the wonder of the games and festivals. This was the golden age of Athens, with its Parthenon and Agora, its streets and streams and shady plane trees. Most importantly, though, this was the golden age of the people of Athens, who had ceased to look towards the small corner of land that they had ruled till then and turned their gaze towards the boundless sea that seemed to wait for their command, to bow to their will for exploration and intellectual adventure.