University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Ivory Tower Society, Pembroke College > Is it really a model for Western Europe? Understanding the political and religious realities of ancient Greece

Is it really a model for Western Europe? Understanding the political and religious realities of ancient Greece

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  • UserDr. Michael Scott, Mary and Moses Finley Research Fellow in Ancient History, Darwin College
  • ClockMonday 28 April 2008, 19:45-21:00
  • HouseNihon Room, Pembroke College.

If you have a question about this talk, please contact Miss Clare Buckley.

In a year where the Olympics heads to Beijing, the question of the legacy of the ancient world rests heavily on our minds. Ancient Greece is often considered as symbolising everything that the Western world holds dear. Yet the ancient Greek example has also often been used and abused to support ideas and actions which the western world finds emminently distasteful. The question becomes, just what was ancient Greece really like and what kind of model does it provide in the modern world and more particularly for whom?

In this paper, I undertake a brief overview of how the Greek world worked, focusing on the links between politics and religion, warfare, trade and sport. I will then look at one example in detail, the international sanctuary of Delphi, which provided the ancient world with its first talking shop, a kind of protoype UN. I will look at the ways in which Delphi has been understood in the past and present original research to argue for a very different picture of how the sanctuary worked. In conclusion, I shall argue that ancient Greece could actually play a key role in understanding not so much ourselves, but rather the parts of this world currently thought of as the antithesis of Western Europe.

This talk is part of the Ivory Tower Society, Pembroke College series.

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