Archive for ‘varia’

15.02.17

Greece rejects Gucci request for Parthenon runway show

http://www.ekathimerini.com/216212/article/ekathimerini/news/greece-rejects-gucci-request-for-parthenon-runway-show

Greece’s Central Archaeological Council (KAS), which has oversight over all of the country’s ancient sites, has rejected a request by international fashion house Gucci to hold a runway show on the Acropolis this summer.

“The unique cultural character of the Acropolis monuments is inconsistent with this sort of event,” KAS said in a statement reminding their status as world heritage monuments.

Representatives of the prominent luxury brand were reportedly interested in setting up a catwalk between the Parthenon and the Erechtheion for a 15-minute fashion event in June that would draw about 300 guests. In exchange, they vowed to offer a 2-million-euro subsidy for restoration works over 5 years on the ancient citadel, or to fund any similar project designated by the Greek authorities.

In comments made Tuesday, Culture Minister Lydia Koniordou threw her weight behind the KAS ruling.

“The Parthenon is an important monument and a universal symbol for us Greeks to protect, particularly in light of our ongoing efforts to reunite the Parthenon Marbles,” she said.

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03.11.16

Ancient Roman-style meal to be served at Pompeii

http://www.ansa.it/english/news/2016/11/02/ancient-roman-style-meal-to-be-served-at-pompeii_ad869a1e-f35a-407d-b8b9-ddaf424549b6.html

(ANSA) – Naples, November 2 – Food in the style of the ancient Romans will be served up for the first time to visitors at the Pompeii archaeological site on Saturday, November 5, in an initiative by Coldiretti farmers’ association to link Italy’s history to its culinary heritage.
The inaugural event, to be held at Pompeii’s Quadriportico Theatre, will be attended by Luigi Curatoli, general director of the Great Pompeii Project; Massimo Osanna, special superintendent for archaeological heritage of Pompeii, Ercolano and Stabia; Italian Cultural Minister Dario Franceschini; and Coldiretti President Roberto Moncalvo.
The Pompeiian menu – gustum, primae mensae e secundae mensae – will be prepared according to original recipes and eaten in the traditionally historical ways in the original context.
The event, titled «EATSTORY – Here Food Has a History», will allow visitors to learn about and participate directly in activities surrounding cultivation, transformation and conservation of local products, Coldiretti said.
Food products prepared according to techniques in use at the time of the eruption of Vesuvius will also be available for purchase.

19.09.16

On Not Knowing (Modern) Greek


https://eidolon.pub/on-not-knowing-modern-greek-8611bc8151eb#.xq0id9gek

Johanna Hanink

Virginia Woolf’s essay “On Not Knowing Greek” was published in 1925, the same year as Mrs Dalloway. The title gestures not to Woolf’s (nor to anyone’s) ignorance of Ancient Greek syntax, morphology and vocabulary, but to the impossibility of knowing today “how the words sounded, or where precisely we ought to laugh, or how the actors acted.” The essay is nevertheless an encomium of ancient Greek thought and literature, and, ironically, a testament to Woolf’s own fine command of the ancient language.

I think of it sometimes when I reflect on two frustrations I have about “not knowing” Modern Greek: a version of Greek in which you can, in fact, hear words, laugh on cue, and watch actors act. The first is with myself, because I wish I knew the language better. The second is with the field of Classics, for not institutionally valuing — and for even dismissing — any aspiring classicist’s efforts to learn it. After all, the thinking goes, those hours would be better spent on Homer and Thucydides (or even “German for Reading”: leave it to us to kill off a living language).

Classicists like equally to brag and complain that they have to learn a lot of languages. Most American PhD programs require exams in Ancient Greek, Latin, German, and either French or Italian: if you know either French or Italian, the thinking goes, you can fake your way through the other.

These languages are the tools of the trade, but they are also metonyms for the philological traditions that we are expected to put on a convincing show of knowing — with, say, the occasional name-check of Wilamowitz. Once you decide to get serious about the field, you learn to take these traditions for granted as the most inherently valuable. The history of European classical scholarship is entangled with the esteem that Greek and Latin have enjoyed in countries where German, French, Italian, or English is spoken. Many scholars who identify with the European classical tradition assume that any scholarship worth reading, or at least citing, will be in one of those four languages.

On the one hand, the modern language requirements of Classics PhD programs should really start to reflect that interesting and important things have been said and are being said about Greco-Roman antiquity in countless languages other than English, German, French, and Italian (why not accept Turkish or Arabic or Chinese — isn’t, after all, scholarship really just a form of “reception”?). On the other, the absence of Modern Greek from the list of discipline-approved languages is itself curious, and stranger still if you consider how classicists love to spend time, and to talk about spending time, in Greece.

Like fourteen European countries and two other former British colonies (Canada and Australia), the United States has a home base for its archeologists and classicists in Athens, at the American School of Classical Studies. It should go without saying that plenty of scholarship has been and continues to be written in Greek; Greek universities often have enormous Classics departments. There is simply more information in Greek about Greek archeological sites, both at the sites and in print. And for better or for worse Greek antiquity is more urgently present in national conversations (and at bookstores and on social media) in Greece than anywhere else.

So why does Modern Greek still not have a seat at the classicists’ table?

This is, bluntly put, largely because our discipline continues to take a colonialist view of, among other things, Greece, Greeks, and (Modern) Greek. Historians and anthropologists who work on Greece have been much more willing than classicists to acknowledge the country’s legacy of metaphorical colonization: not by the Ottomans, but by the early European antiquaries and travelers who planted their flags in the ruins of Greek antiquity.

At a time when European powers were scrambling to expand their empires, the travelers’ influential approach to the Ottoman-held “Classical Lands” was, as historian K.E. Fleming points out, “representative of a different form of colonialism, in which the history and ideology, rather than territory, of another country” is “claimed, invaded, and annexed.” Viewed through the lens of the present, the people who undertook this more “symbolic” colonization of Greece look a great deal like early versions of classicists.

Thanks to their proprietary attitude toward antiquity, they largely discounted local knowledge and described local people as apathetic to the ancient past whose ruins they seemed to live so blithely among (see here for evidence to the contrary). This kind of thinking was in turn used to justify, among other things, the removal of antiquities from Greece to countries where, supposedly, they would be better appreciated and cared for. All of this makes for a very long and complex story — one in which Greeks were hardly passive participants.

One of the story’s many legacies is that classicists trained in the “Western” classical tradition tend to disregard Modern Greek as a scholarly language, while Greeks who want to participate in the tradition — to have their voices and ideas heard abroad— earn degrees in other countries and publish their research in English, German, or French. Granting Modern Greek a more valued place in the professional conversation would be a positive step for a field that, on the point of colonialism, has a lot to answer for.

Beyond the political argument — and on the more personal, spiritual level that Woolf evokes in her own essay — the struggle to learn Modern Greek can bring a special kind of joy to those of us who first came to the language in its ancient form. That joy is the main reason I recommend that classicists spend at least a little time on Modern Greek, and ignore the gnawing voice that will say it’s a waste of time.

In a recent blog post (“What does the Latin actually say?”), Mary Beard makes an important point: for a lot of people it is hard for people to learn dead languages because we learn them passively. “It is both the plus and the minus of Latin,” she writes, “that we never have to ask for a pizza, or the way to the swimming pool, in it.”

My own learning style is certainly more “verbal” than “logical.” I like to talk, so I make much slower progress at learning dead languages passively than at learning living languages actively (my German is bad, but I could think of no greater waste of my own time than a “German for Reading” class). Modern Greek, of course, is not Ancient Greek: the linguistic politics here are particularly delicate and complex for historical reasons. The pronunciation can be a psychological barrier, and the language has changed since antiquity: classicists are often especially surprised to learn that infinitives have long since passed out of use. Greek also brims with borrowings from Turkish, Albanian, Italian, French, English…. But so what? Classicists’ own modern language requirements count Italian and French as substitutes for each other.

There’s no denying that having to decline Greek nouns when I order a pizza, or manipulate Greek verbs when I ask the way to the swimming pool, has brought even the ancient language to life for me. After years of studying Modern Greek, I have a far better recall for vocabulary, handle on verb forms, and instinctive sense for accentuation. The time I have dedicated to Modern Greek is some of the best I have spent as a classicist, since it has given me a sounder, more internalized sense of the ancient language (a better Sprachgefühl, as a more responsible classicist might say).

It’s fun, too, to learn how meanings of words have changed over time. For years ὁ φόρος was, in my mind, the tribute paid to Athens by its Delian League allies. Now the word just means “tax” (inasmuch as tax ever “just” means tax). Being αγαθός nowadays is not usually such a good thing. A στήλη can be a “column” in a newspaper (or on Eidolon). In chapter 4 of the Poetics, Aristotle observes just how much pleasure people take in learning and inferring: in looking at an image of someone and recognizing, “Oh, that’s him” (οὗτος ἐκεῖνος, 1448b). Making connections between two things — hearing a new word and realizing you already know it, just differently — sends a spark of joy through the brain. And anyway there is something to be said for a language that allows you to describe a tall, fit guy as a kouros in everyday conversation.

The twists and turns of Greek linguistic history also mean you can play specifically with avoiding Ancient Greek. Oftentimes there is a choice between describing something with a “high-register” word with ancient roots or a “low-register” vernacular or foreign word. Liver, for example, is συκώτι (derived, like Italian fegato and French foie, from a word for “fig”), but when the matter is a disease of the liver the more classicist-friendly ήπαρ is common. Speaking of liver, who would you buy it from: the κρεοπώλης or the χασάπης? The one features in beginning Ancient Greek textbooks; the other comes from Turkish. A Greek professor of Latin once told me that he revels in speaking English precisely because it offers similar opportunities to play with the nuance of register: between Anglo-Saxon, French and Latinate diction (to use a classic example, does Elizabeth II strike you as queenly, royal, or regal?).

The Facebook page Ancient Memes exploits the space between these levels by captioning “high-register” artworks with dialogue in very modern, “low-register” Greek. Reading things like Ancient Memes, or my few copies of “Aristophanes in Comics,” has introduced new playfulness into my approach to Ancient Greek. And play, of course, is one of ways we learn best.

So what is still keeping many classicists (again, leaving the more political argument aside) from seizing the real practical benefits that Modern Greek has to offer: the opportunity to spend time in Greece more comfortably, the chance to collaborate with Greek colleagues more substantively, the opportunity to bolster our grasp of the language and its extremely longue durée, and to procrastinate by laughing at Ancient Memes?

When I posed a version of the question to a professor in Thessaloniki, he had a good answer. Classicists, he suggested, are easily embarrassed and afraid to make mistakes. Making mistakes is crucial for language acquisition, and sometimes the mistakes will be horribly embarrassing ones (I have, in polite conversation, said τσιμπούκι when I meant τσιμπούρι). Once, after I paid for books at a bookstore in Greece, I overheard the woman who had just rung me out ask a colleague with genuine bewilderment: “What does she want with an Ancient Greek book if she can’t even speak Greek?” In a field that already demands so much posturing, so much pretense of knowing Greek and Latin, risking mistakes and “not knowing” means risking a lot of your ego.

But it’s worth it. Learning Modern Greek, at least to the extent that I have managed to learn it, has made both my life and my relationship with my work all the richer. I haven’t even mentioned the unique pleasure that modern Greek literature offers the classicist. That sheer enjoyment aside, few people have been more influential in shaping modern views of Greek antiquity than George Seferis, or have problematized the periodization of Greek poetry more than Constantine Cavafy (translated into English most recently by critic and classicist Daniel Mendelsohn). I first came to Modern Greek after reading Seferis’ essay “Delphi” (Greek here), but since then have actually come to prefer paddling around in Greek literature’s less classical waters.

Nevertheless, since I’m teaching ancient Greek mythology again this semester, the text I’m most excited about right now is Auguste Corteau’s Νεολληνική Μυθολογία. It is a parodic re-imagining of ancient Greek myths: on one page, Erebus makes a move on his sister Nyx: “Hush you idiot,” she replies, “Mom’ll hear and call Social Services.” Later, Kronos appears on the beach and informs his father he’s come to play paddle ball. “But I don’t see any balls,” says Ouranos. “Nor will you ever again,” says Kronos.

Now, with the prospect of a long plane ride ahead of me, I’m looking forward to having a few quiet hours with the book — no matter how much of it I manage to understand, or how often I know when I ought to laugh.

Interested in learning Modern Greek? The homepage of the Modern Greek Studies Association has plenty of information and resources.

This article is part of a bimonthly column, Disciplinary Action, in which Johanna Hanink will address the politics of the Classics field.

Johanna Hanink is Associate Professor of Classics at Brown University. Her new book The Classical Debt: Greek Antiquity in an Era of Austerity is forthcoming from Harvard University Press in spring (it began life as this Eidolon article last summer). You can hear her chat about ancient Athens and the concept of cultural decline on Richard Flower’s Distant Pasts podcast.

Special thanks to Yung In Chae, Konstantinos Poulis, and Donna Zuckerberg.

 

 

13.06.16

Athletes from around the world re-enact ancient games in Nemea

http://www.ekathimerini.com/209524/article/ekathimerini/sports/athletes-from-around-the-world-re-enact-ancient-games-in-nemea

DEREK GATOPOULOS

Fifty-five days before the Games begin in Rio de Janeiro, athletes from around the world are taking part in very different kind of sporting tournament in southern Greece.

Think of it as the no-frills Olympics: No national teams. No medals. No shoes.

Wearing only white tunics and running barefoot, athletes competed Saturday in the Sixth Modern Nemean Games, a partial revival of ancient Greek games which draws enthusiastic participants aged from 5 to 89.

The races, run in age categories, only include a 90-meter sprint on a straight dirt course at a 2,300-year-old stadium and 7.5-kilometer run through fabled olive groves and vineyards in the area, where in ancient Greek mythology Hercules – god of strength, sport and fertility – slayed a fearsome lion.

Runners take an oath before competing, and pass through an ancient tunnel to reach the track. A teenage boy, with a red cloak and laurel branch crown on his head, sounds a long horn before each race.

Overnight rain delayed the games for 90 minutes and caused some runners to slip in the mud during races.

Irish runner Andrew Fortune stayed on his feet to win the print in his age group. A white ribbon was tied behind his head and his feet were cooled in a copper basin.

«It was amazing to come into these games. The tunnel was phenomenal,» the 42-year-old said, still slightly out of breath. «The track was very muddy today.

One guy tripped beside me but the feet are good and the race is won. It was a great experience — the right way to run Instead of a starting gun, track officials used a mechanism copied from antiquity: a wood-and-rope starting gate that drops to the ground when the race begins. Runners pick numbered blocks of marble out of a metal drum at random to be assigned their lane.

The Nemean Games were revived by an American archaeologist who first came to Nemea in southern Greece in 1973.

Stephen G. Miller, professor emeritus of classical archaeology at the University of California, Berkeley, led the excavation when the ancient site still lay buried beneath a highway and vineyards used by raisin farmers.

Near the southern city of Corinth, Nemea is steeped in ancient history. The 2,300-year-old Temple of Zeus stands next to the track and a museum built at the site.

Miller and his team unearthed the temple and stadium, one of the four major sites where Ancient Greek games were held: Olympia, Delphi, Isthmia and Nemea.

The 74-year-old has led the games at Nemea since 1996, a lower-key, more egalitarian affair than the Olympics, in which athletes engage in the no-prize competition with a relatively small but dedicated following.

The games attract a mix of Greek and overseas travelers and tourists, history lovers, fitness enthusiasts and school trips. The tunics, held tight with a piece of rope, could be mistaken for hospital gowns and are color-coded: White for athletes, black for track officials, and yellow, green or light blue for other organizers.

Miller, in yellow, manned the entrance, checking the names of athletes as they entered the games area.

Giving an ancient site a little modern significance, he says, encourages people to learn.

«Im an archaeologist. And what I do is greatly satisfying – to be the first person to see what was made by an ancient Greek 2,300 years ago. But that’s self-satisfaction. What does that mean for our society? Nothing,» he told the AP in an interview during an interval at the games.

«I think here with our games, [people] will learn with physical contact – with the same stones and the same earth that the ancient Greeks touched. I hope they will be inspired to read a little history, to learn something about ancient Greek athletics and through ancient Greek athletics to learn about ancient Greece.»

Ancient games, held over roughly 1,000 years, were of major significance in Greece, pausing wars between rival city states so that hostilities would not interfere with the competition.

Unlike the ancient games and the Aug. 5-21 Rio Olympics, Miller said, Nemea is open to everybody.

«We don’t rival the Olympic games. We supplement the Olympic games. Weextend the experience of the Olympic spirit to everybody,» he said.

«You don’t have to be a great athlete as you do in the Olympics. You can be a common person. You can walk down the track instead of running. But you are part of ancient history.»

08.06.16

Stone age Aegean Sea migrants brought agriculture to Europe

http://www.ekathimerini.com/209429/article/ekathimerini/life/stone-age-aegean-sea-migrants-brought-agriculture-to-europe

FRANK JORDANS

Stone Age people from the Aegean Sea region moved into central and southern Europe some 8,000 years ago and introduced agriculture to a continent still dominated at the time by hunter-gatherers, scientists say.

The findings are based on genetic samples from ancient farming communities in Germany, Hungary and Spain. By comparing these with ancient genomes found at sites in Greece and northwest Turkey, where agriculture was practiced centuries earlier, researchers were able to draw a genetic line linking the European and Aegean populations.

The study challenges the notion that farming simply spread from one population to another through cultural diffusion. The findings were published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

Joachim Burger, one of the study’s authors, said genetic analyses of the samples showed that the ancient farmers in central Europe and Spain were more closely related to the Aegean group than to each other. This suggests that farmers came in two separate waves – northward into the continent and westward along the coastline to Spain.

«One is the Balkan route and one is the Mediterranean route, as we know it also from migration of today,» said Burger, an anthropologist and population geneticist at Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany.

Researchers were also able to deduce some characteristics of the ancient Aegean farmers based on their DNA, he said. They were relatively fair-skinned with dark eyes and didn’t yet have the genes necessary to digest milk after childhood – a trait that only developed in Europe later.

The Aegean farmers also appeared to be closely related to Oetzi the Iceman, whose well-preserved remains were found on a glacier on the border between Austria and Italy.

Finally, by comparing the ancient samples to those of modern-day Europeans, the scientists found that the ancient farmers weren’t their direct ancestors. These ancestors also include the hunter-gatherers, who eventually mixed with the newcomers and a third population thought to have arrived in Europe from the eastern steppes about 5,000 years ago.

An expert not involved with the study said it was «solid and well done,» but cautioned that some of its conclusions were based on limited data.

«Small statistical effects might be [a] fluke,» said Michael Hofreiter, an evolutionary geneticist at the University of Potsdam, Germany.

But the insight into Europe’s Stone Age migration offered by the study was valuable, Hofreiter said.

«It adds to our knowledge about human history. And I think it is always valuable to replace speculation by factual evidence,» he said.

Burger said researchers will now investigate whether the Aegean farmers can be linked directly to populations further southeast in the Fertile Crescent stretching from Syria to southwest Iran, where agriculture is known to have first emerged more than 10,000 years ago.

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12.05.16

Rare copy of Aristotle’s De animalibus to be auctioned for first time in 125 years

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/may/11/aristotle-de-animalibus-rare-book-auction-bonhams-new-york

The 15th-century edition of the Greek philosopher’s examination of zoology has not been up for sale since 1891 and is estimated to fetch up to $500,000

A page from a rare edition of Aristotle’s De animalibus which will be auctioned at Bonhams in New York on 8 June.
A page from a rare edition of Aristotle’s De animalibus which will be auctioned at Bonhams in New York on 8 June. Photograph: Bonhams

The rediscovery of a 15th-century illuminated edition of Aristotle’s De animalibus (On Animals) in Tennessee late last year was “pretty incredible”, said Christina Geiger, director of fine books and manuscripts at Bonhams auction house in New York. Not only is the book an “incunable” – printed before 1501, when the ink was still wet on moveable type – but this deluxe copy was printed on vellum, or animal skin. Only one other copy exists and it belongs to the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris.

Aristotle, who lived from 384 to 322 BC, was a keen observer of natural history, and the three texts that comprise De animalibus reveal his aptitude for zoology, physiology, and embryology; he describes more than 500 species. He explains, for example, the development of a chick embryo and makes astute deductions about the anatomy of marine animals, such as whales, dolphins, octopi, and crustaceans that have been called “remarkably accurate”. Even paper copies of this edition of De animalibus are scarce; only three have come to auction since 1978.
Historic recipes: sack posset – a rich pudding to cure all ills
Read more

An invitation from Pope Nicholas V prompted a new Latin translation of the book by Greek scholar and refugee Theodore Gaza, printed in Venice by John of Cologne and John Manthen in 1476. The auctioneers believe that Gaspare da Padova is the artist responsible for the volume’s decorative initials and borders painted in gold and various colors. A handful of special vellum copies were probably produced for sponsors. Only one was thought to have survived before this recent finding.

Bonhams will offer the Renaissance-era rarity at auction in New York on 8 June. It is estimated to fetch $300,000 to $500,000.

The book last surfaced at auction on 5 March 1891, when American publisher and book collector William Evarts Benjamin purchased it for $850. “We don’t know if he sold it or kept it,” said Geiger. “We checked all of his catalogues over at the Grolier Club and we checked his archives at Columbia and couldn’t find a reference to it. But he’s listed as the buyer in 1891, and then it just fell off the map completely.”

No proof of the volume’s existence appears in the Census of 15th Century Books Owned in America published in 1919. The consignors’ grandmother acquired the book before 1964. The family retains letters between her and a librarian she contacted to make inquiries. “Those intervening years are a big question mark,” said Geiger.

“Part of what’s interesting for me is that if that sale in 1891 had been just a few years later, [De animalibus] probably would have been bought by Huntington or Morgan or one of the great collectors of incunables in America, but it was just a little bit too early.”

Geiger’s research turned up a long line of distinguished ownership before that 1891 sale, beginning with Luigi Serra, fourth Duke of Cassano (1747-1825). It then moved through the hands of bookseller James Edwards to Sir Mark Masterman-Sykes, the famed nineteenth-century book collector, who had it re-bound in red morocco gilt. His coat of arms still embellishes the binding.

It was while De animalibus was in Sir Mark’s collection that the well-known English bibliophile TF Dibdin had the opportunity to see it. He recorded his impression in his Bibliographical Decameron (1817): “Yet how can I omit to mention, with the distinction which it merits, the very beautiful, if not matchless, copy of Theodore Gaza’s Latin version of Aristotle upon Animals, of the date of 1476, in folio, UPON VELLUM, from the press of John of Cologne – of which my friend Sir MM Sykes is the fortunate possessor?! If my memory be not treacherous, this is the most exquisite specimen of an early Venetian vellum book that I have ever seen.”

Geiger said: “This is that very copy, almost exactly 200 years later,. You could probably go back and find out when he was at Sykes’ home. I haven’t gone back that deep, but [Dibdin’s] book was published in 1817, so here we are in 2016 and [De animalibus] is in the same condition. That’s the other thing. For a book that fell through the cracks, it didn’t get run over. It’s just in beautiful condition.”

Other 19th-century owners of the volume include English publisher and bookseller William Pickering, Sir John Hayford Thorold, bookseller and collector Bernard Quaritch, and American railway tycoon and banker Brayton Ives.

The Vatican Library holds a manuscript version of Gaza’s translation. Pope Nicholas V, founder of what would become the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, didn’t live to see the final product of his commission. Instead, this edition was dedicated to Pope Sixtus IV.

Rebecca Rego Barry

09.05.16

Konsert i Palmyra (Valerij Gergijev og Marinskij-teatrets orkester)

28.03.16

Palmyra fra luften

 

 

http://sputniknews.com/middleeast/20160328/1037088669/syria-palmyra-heritage.html

Stikkord:
27.01.16

Australian Schools Brought Back Greek and Latin – and Are Seeing Amazing Results!

http://www.intellectualtakeout.org/blog/australian-schools-brought-back-greek-and-latin-%E2%80%93-and-are-seeing-amazing-results

In 2015, less than 40% of American 4th and 8th-graders achieved proficiency in reading. Public schools have been trying to boost these numbers for years, but have had little success.

But news out of Australia may offer a new way to boost not only America’s reading proficiency, but math and science proficiency, as well. How? They’re teaching students some Latin and Greek.

From The Australian:

“A program that borrows from the classics is giving pupils who have fallen behind their classmates a huge boost in deciphering English and even helping with maths and science.

Some children have advanced by six years in as many weeks, by using the technique to decode words and broaden their vocabulary, research has found.

Pupils learn dozens of prefix, stem and suffix meanings, most originating from Greek or Latin, so they can work out what words mean, or can have an educated guess.

Research at Northumbria University found that children made, on average, 27 months of progress, but one school reported a small group improving their reading age by six years. Exam results have risen, not only in English but also other subjects, because children are more confident with terminology.”

Such reports underscore the benefits which many have attributed to learning inflected languages such as Latin or Greek. According to author and classical education enthusiast Dorothy Sayers, learning Latin helps in the five following ways:

1. It Demystifies English Grammar
Despite never learning proper English grammar, Sayers was able to write and speak far better than others who did. This she attributed to her knowledge of Latin grammar, which is much less confusing and more structured than that of English.

2. It Boosts Vocabulary
According to Sayers, “Latin is the key to fifty percent of our vocabulary-either directly, or through French and other Romance languages. Without some acquaintance with the Latin roots, the meaning of each word has to be learnt and memorized separately….”

3. It Lays the Foundation for Other Languages
Because it is at the root of many popular modern languages, learning Latin first greatly reduces the time investment for other languages. Sayers attests that her knowledge of Latin enabled her to learn Italian in a relatively short amount of time – as an adult!

4. It Sheds Light on Literature
On this point, Sayers notes, “The literature of our own country and of Europe is so studded and punctuated with Latin phrases and classical allusions that without some knowledge of Latin it must be very difficult to make anything of it.”

5. It Boosts Comprehension
Such is particularly true when it comes to word derivation. As Sayers implies, a knowledge of Latin would instantly allow us to recognize how our understanding of such modern catch phrases as “civility” and “justice” are rather flawed.

As history demonstrates, Latin and Greek used to be regular fare in America’s public schools. Is it possible that the modern rejection of the classical languages has contributed to the falling proficiency scores with which America wrestles today? Would we, like the Australians, see a revival in reading, math, and science if we restored Latin and Greek to the public school curriculum?

–Eleni

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07.12.15

Free Wi-Fi at 19 major archeological sites and museums around Greece

http://en.protothema.gr/free-wi-fi-at-19-major-archeological-sites-and-museums-around-greece/

MYKINES

A proposal by Greek telecom company Cosmote to provide free Wi-Fi at 19 major archeological sites and museums around Greece was approved by the Central Archaeological Council (CAC), Greece’s highest advisory body on the country’s cultural heritage. This means that Cosmote will undertake the design and studies for the development of the infrastructure network, the installation and construction costs, as well as the supervision of operation and maintenance. The company will prepare an on-site study which will be submitted for approval to the Ministry of Culture.

Archeological sites included as part of the project:

– Akrotiri, Santorini

– Delos

– Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights, Rhodes

– Byzantine and Christian Museum of Athens

– National Archeological Museum

– Acropolis

– Ancient Olympia

– Archeological Museum of Herakleion

– Acropolis of Lindos

– Knossos

– Delphi

– Epidaurus

– Sounion

– Acropolis of Mycenae

– Spinalonga island, Crete

– Royal Tombs of Aigai, Vergina

– Dodona

– Ancient Corinth

– Archeological Museum of Thessaloniki

The initiative has been welcomed by locals. “It is a humanitarian issue to have this internet connection on Delos,” said Dimitris Athanasoulis, a member of the Council and head of the Ephorate in Cyclades. He described the initaitive as “excellent and valuable”, especially for the site of Delos “were even telephone communication is insufficient”.

The project will be tried first at Akrotiri, Delos, the Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights in Rhodes and the Byzantine and Christian Museum of Athens, while the company didn’t exclude the possibility of expanding the sponsorship to more than these 19 sites.

— Eleni