So much to say thank you for

10 05 2016

510lotnzw1l-_sx332_bo1204203200__zpsx86wuy1h

Edith Hall’s book “Introducing the Ancient Greeks” claims that although never united in ancient times in a single homogenous group, the Greek city-states had ten traits in common which defined and shaped their brilliant civilization. These included, she says, an orientation towards the sea, distrust of authority, skill in oratory, highly competitive nature and belief in excellence, open mind towards new and foreign ideas and a thrilling, restless curiosity towards the world around them.

It is this last point, I thought, which was the most exceptional. Here in Hong Kong, for example, education is highly prized – but can we honestly say that our children, for all their hard-won knowledge, are truly curious?

The book also opened my eyes to the sheer vast scope and wealth of Greece’s legacy: it is everywhere, an undercurrent that flows beneath all of Western (and by extension, also other) culture(s). It is there in free speech, democracy, philosophy, in hedonism and epicureanism, in the names of plants and animals and planets and the myths of my childhood. But it also lies in sculptures glimpsed at night in gardens in Jakarta, Japanese cartoons whether Saint Seiya or Cretian Cow, Corinthian columns in the satai roman housing estates of Bangkok, in the schlockily homoreotic swords ‘n’ sandals epics with musclebound men in short tunics doing battle with Medusas and claymation scorpions, in (Hall argues) the curves of Southeast Asian Buddhist art, via the Greek Buddhist civilizations of Afghanistan.

Greece lives on in allusions echoing through the works of Shakespeare, the great romantic poets, Donna Tartt, in the names of Indonesia and the river Amazon, lawyers in Sao Paulo and dentists in Rio (think: Glauco or Heracles), in the bluff and blunder of political rhetoric in America ( the shining city on a hill) and the neoclassical grandeur of nineteenth century monuments, and not least of all in the remains of moonlit ruins on Sicilian crags and beaches…

img_2398_zpsub0tuyu0 cmeuif7usaaddoo_zpsfbx4kgb7

Ancient Greece gave us a world of beauty.

screen20shot202016-05-0920at2011-09-0720pm_zpsq4kgi1tg

Advertisements

Actions

Information

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s




%d bloggers like this: