Despite being thousands of years old, Ancient Greece is anything but dead, according to the Honorary Fellow in Melbourne University’s Centre for Classics and Archeology, Dr Christopher Gribbin.
I think the Greek ways of looking at the world, the Greek stories, the Greek myths, the Greek philosophers, I think these do have a strong resonance in our culture.
“There’s something I find really invigorating about the Ancient Greek culture,” Dr Gribbin told Neos Kosmos.
“It’s very alive, the emotions are out there.”
Next month, Dr Gribbin is running one week of summer courses in Ancient Greek philosophy, politics, culture and religion, and he says Greek Australians are encouraged to attend.
“One of the things I quite often enjoy about those people is that when I’m talking about things from Ancient Greece, they’ll say, ‘oh, we still do that!'” he said.
Dr Gribbin said he’s run the course for several years now, and is expecting up to 25 people to turn up. For a course in the middle of January, that’s a pretty good turnout, and Dr Gribbin said the courses he runs on Ancient Greece generally attract strong numbers.
“I think the Greek ways of looking at the world, the Greek stories, the Greek myths, the Greek philosophers, I think these do have a strong resonance in our culture,” he said.
“They’re part of our cultural heritage, for people of an Anglo-Saxon background as well as people from a Greek background.”
Dr Gribbin has been interested in Classics since he visited an exhibition of Pompeii artefacts as a child, and he completed his PhD at the University of Melbourne in 2002.
The four courses, all at the University of Melbourne between 10 and 14 January, look at classical mythology, Greek religion, Aristotle, and, intriguingly, how to argue like Socrates. But Dr Gribbin’s favourite Greek philosopher is Aristotle.
“I think there’s a depth of perception that you don’t find in too many other thinkers of any time or any culture,” he said.
“I think he also has some interesting ideas that haven’t necessarily been followed up as much in a lot of later philosophers in terms of trying to work with emotions rather than fight against them.”
While he said he’ll be looking at Oedipus in detail this year, Dr Gribbin said he favourite ancient Greek hero was Orpheus.
“He’s a bit different from the potter characters, in that he approaches the world through music rather than through fighting,” he said.
“That makes him very different to pretty much all the Greek heroes.”
The University of Melbourne’s Classics Summer School runs from January 10-14, and each course runs for around two hours. For more information, and to register, email email@example.com, or go to
firstname.lastname@example.org, or go to www.cca.unimelb.edu.au/community/summerschool” target=”_blank”>www.cca.unimelb.edu.au/community/summerschool/