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Heritages of the Modern Greeks

Lecture delivered by Professor Peter Mackridge, on 20 October 2011 (venue: The British Academy). One of a triptych of lectures organised by the British School at Athens, with support from the British Academy, to celebrate the School’s 125th Anniversary.

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.

The other lectures in the series:
18 October 2011: Philosophy with a Public Voice: A Forgotten Legacy of Ancient Greece
19 October 2011: Byzantium Today

The British School at Athens has been enabled to present this series of lectures through the greatly appreciated generosity of a number of sister organizations and individual friends: the Classical Association, the London Hellenic Society, the Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies, Matti and Nicholas Egon, Sir Jeremy Morse, and Lord Waldegrave of North Hill.