One of the world’s most famous types of honey comes from Mount Hymettus, scarcely three miles from the centre of busy Athens. Myths and poets celebrated it for almost 1,000 years, but nowadays outsiders might regard it as a fictional mirage. Modern Athens has been notorious for polluted air and urban overcrowding. In antiquity bees were said to have brought honey from Hymettus to the lips of the young Plato. Nowadays, they would struggle to find their way to the philosopher’s Academy across multitrack highways and the concrete campus of the university at the foot of its hill. Ancient Timon, that hater of mankind, is said to have withdrawn to a cave on Hymettus in disgust at his fellow citizens. He had lavished his personal fortune on them all and had had a donor’s ultimate nightmare, not a word of thanks. The idea that anyone would then spend a modern fortune on Hymettus itself would strike Timon as preposterous.
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