n Akroterion - The school of Athens : moments in the history of an idea

Volume 59, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0303-1896
  • E-ISSN: 2079-2883
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This article reflects on how ancient Athens - in its historical as well as metonymic sense - has been employed as an education for the world and for all time to come. In a broad sweep through history, it has little pretention to be either a disinterested or an in-depth historical enquiry. Rather, it presents yet another attempt to come to terms with the current position of the Classics in academia, taking its cue from the saying of Confucius that 'one who understands the present by reviewing antiquity is worthy to be a teacher'. Simultaneously, it aims to remind us, albeit obliquely, of aspects of a humanities education which are currently neglected or perhaps even forgotten. It will be shown that Thucydides already connected the idea of Athens as a school to democratic ideology, a link still present in later associations between the liberal arts and a classical education.

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