Professor Richard Seaford speaking to an audience of University of Exeter alumni, A.G. Leventis Foundation trustees and guests of the Hellenic Centre.

Learning from the Ancient Greeks

University of Exeter academics captivated a crowd of over 100 with their examination of what modern society can learn from the finances and healthcare of classical civilisations.

In two short lectures, Professor Christopher Gill and Professor Richard Seaford, both from the Department of Classics and Ancient History, illuminated the background of the current financial crisis and the contemporary usefulness of ancient Greek healthcare methods.

Speaking to an audience made up of University of Exeter Alumni, trustees of the A.G. Leventis Foundation and guests of the Hellenic Centre, Professor Seaford began with a lecture entitled ‘Money: from its invention by the Greeks to the crisis of today’. Professor Seaford, who in 2009 was President of the National Classical Association, said: “I am strongly committed to the view that the study of ancient culture is a vital form of liberation from the triviality and increasing narrowness of our own media culture.”

Professor Gill followed with a discussion of modern medical conditions and how they compare to ancient health practices, with ‘Healthcare and wellbeing: can the ancient Greeks help us?’ Professor Gill explained that Classics scholars at the University of Exeter have been exploring the usefulness of the Greek methods under modern conditions, and are working with medical experts and community health groups to see if the ancient method can have “significance for addressing major problems in the modern world”.

The event, part of the Initiative on the Impact of Greek Culture in the ancient & modern world funded by the A. G. Leventis Foundation, was held at the Hellenic Centre, London. Professor Gill said that responses had been positive, and that “there were a lot of questions on both topics and the lectures obviously aroused considerable interest”.
Classics and Ancient History alumnus and Classics Society President 2011-2012, Marcus Brooke-Smith felt that “as a recent graduate it was a real treat to come back to the aspect of academia which I fear will fade all too quickly.”

You can find out more about upcoming lectures on the University of Exeter’s events page.

Date: 6 March 2013

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