“So… what do you write about?”
“Ancient Greece and Rome”
“Uh huh.. and um… why again?”
“Ahh… well, do you have a moment?”
Replace ‘write’ with ‘read/study/discuss/like’, and it’s a conversation I imagine many of us have had. With the Odyssey firmly tucked under our arms, it’s as if we are classical missionaries trying to spread the ‘good word‘.
I often start with the fact that to be considered an educated person straight up until the 19th century, you had to be versed in the ancient world… and that influence is clearly seen in history, philosophy, art and literature.
So if you want to understand any of that stuff, you better read up on what came before.
Indeed, for generations, the study of Greek and Latin was used to train the elites of the western world. Knowledge of classical culture, it was believed, produced more cultivated, creative individuals; Greece and Rome were seen as pinnacles of civilization, and the origins of western superiority over the rest of the world.
But that’s not how it’s seen today, is it?
The tides have turned and few today are willing to defend this “elitist, sometimes racist, vision of the importance of classics.” It is no longer considered essential education for politicians and professionals (as is sadly evident!)
Shouldn’t classics then be obsolete? It’s up us, the classics lovers, to come to its defense.
So, I’d like to ask you, dear reader – why do the Classics Matter?
It’s an important discussion that we should all have. You can comment below with your thoughts or email me directly at [email protected].
I’ll publish your responses next week… and in the meantime, if you should also read Classics: Why it Matters, authored by Dr. Neville Morley, Professor in Classics and Ancient History at the University of Exeter and one our excellent Symposium speakers.
Neville Morley shows that the ancients are as influential today as they ever have been and we ignore them at our peril. Not only do they have much to teach us about the past, but they can offer important lessons for the complex cultural, social and political worlds of the present.
It’s an excellent read for those who love the Classics, and an essential gift for those who don’t yet know the value of ancient wisdom.
Check out Dr. Neville’s book, “Classics: Why It Matters” Here:
Ask the Expert Yourself!
Dr. Neville Morley will be speaking LIVE at our Classical Wisdom Symposium on his most recent research: ‘Thucydides, Power and Negotiation’. He will also be participating in the panel discussion.
Make sure to check out all the details of our Symposium below!