Lectures: Living Hellenism

Living Hellenism

Triptych of lectures organised by the British School at Athens, with support from the British Academy, to celebrate the School’s 125th Anniversary 

Tuesday 18, Wednesday 19 and Thursday 20 October 2011
6.00pm – 7.15pm, followed by a reception
British Academy, 10-11 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1

Tuesday, 18 October 2011
The Weight of Antiquity and the ‘Purity’ of Greece
Compare Cavafy’s joyful declaration -‘We broke down their statues, / we drove them out of their temples, / but the gods didn’t die. O land of Ionia, they’re still in love with you’ – with Seferis’ mute encounter with a marble head: ‘I look at the eyes: neither open nor closed / I speak to the mouth which keeps trying to speak / I hold the cheeks which have broken through the skin. / That’s all I am able to do.’ These fundamentally different attitudes toward the Greek past permeate the work of the two poets and in this lecture we will look at the factors that account for the differences and their implications for the relationship between Modern and Ancient Greece.

About the Speaker
Professor Alexander Nehamas was born in Athens, and educated at Athens College, Swarthmore College, and Princeton University, where he is now the Carpenter Professor in the Humanities and Professor of Philosophy and Comparative Literature. He is the author of Nietzsche: Life as Literature, The Art of Living: Socratic Reflections from Plato to Foucault and Only a Promise of Happiness: The Place of Beauty in a World of Art. With Paul Woodruff, he has translated Plato’s Symposium and Phaedrus into English. He is the recipient of a Mellon Award for Distinguished Achievement in the Humanities and holds honorary degrees from three Greek Universities.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011
Byzantium Today
The history of Byzantium has been difficult to accommodate in the narratives and historiography of Europe, yet in some ways Byzantium has never been more popular in the general imagination and the last few years have seen the publication of a large number of excellent handbooks, surveys and companions to Byzantium. For Greece and for the other countries with an Orthodox tradition, Byzantium has had a particular and at times controversial, place in national consciousness. This lecture will explore how some of these tensions have been and might be resolved.

About the Speaker
Professor Dame Averil Cameron FBA was Warden of Keble College, Oxford, from 1994 to 2010, and was previously at King’s College London where she was also the first Director of the Centre for Hellenic Studies. She is a specialist in late antiquity and Byzantium and chairs the Oxford Centre for Byzantine Research. Her most recent books are The Byzantines (2006) and a revised and expanded edition of The Mediterranean in Late Antiquity (2011).

Thursday, 20 October 2011
The Heritages of the Modern Greeks
The fact that modern Greece – at once a Mediterranean and a Balkan country – possesses a distinctive complex of heritages made up of ancient, medieval and early modern (particularly Ottoman) features makes it strikingly different from its neighbours. Following in the wake of two lectures about Greek antiquity and Byzantium, this third talk will deal with the ways in which the modern Greeks have coped with these mighty heritages, which have been empowering and daunting in more or less equal measure. It will also attempt to assess the heritage that the modern Greeks have bestowed on the world, especially the English-speaking world. Modern Greece has inspired the work of a host of leading writers and artists from Britain and other countries, while it has provided foreign scholars in various fields (including linguistics, history, anthropology, and literary and cultural studies, as well as certain of the physical sciences) with uniquely valuable and fascinating material for study.

About the Speaker
Professor Peter Mackridge is Professor Emeritus of Modern Greek at the University of Oxford and a visiting professor at King’s College London. His books include The Modern Greek Language (1985), Dionysios Solomos (1989) and Language and National Identity in Greece, 1766 -1976 (2009). In the 1980s he became the first person for more than a century to conduct linguistic fieldwork among the Greek-speaking Muslims of Pontus (north-east Turkey) and in 2008 was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Athens.

Attendance is free, but registration is essential. To register, please contact Philippa Waller, London Secretary, British School at Athens (BSA) Email: Telephone: 020 7969 5315.



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(Sculpture by Sara Cunningham-Bell)

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