A Return to Athens Dialogues

The mission of the CHS is to bring together a variety of research and teaching interests centering on Hellenic civilization in the widest sense of the term “Hellenic.” This concept encompasses the evolution of the Greek language and its culture as a central point of contact for all the different civilizations of the ancient Mediterranean world. Interaction with foreign cultures, including the diffusion of Roman influence, is an integral part of this concept.

Since 2010, a collaboration between the Onassis Foundation and the Center for Hellenic Studies has yielded a unique, dynamic vehicle for disseminating the work of contributors to The Athens Dialogues. This interdisciplinary initiative was launched by the Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation to explore the relationship between Greek culture and the modern world by engaging the great minds of our time in open-ended dialogue and diachronic analysis. Emphasis is given to the problems that concern modern man and the world that will have been formed within the next few decades. During the academic years 2012, 2013 and 2014, three events took place yearly.

As part of this collaboration, the Center has helped to produce the Athens Dialogues E-journal, a peer-reviewed, online journal with a variety of features intended to make research attractive and accessible to a broad spectrum of readers, from scholars to curious young people. As we revisit the resources there, the Editors are heartened to see many opportunities for continued dialogue. We are especially pleased to highlight the following resources as an opportunity to engage more people in this critical discussions and to rethink the arguments already developed. Over the coming months, the Center will be featuring these resources on our website, in our community discussions, during live events, and via our social media networks.

At this time, we are also sharing some additional resources available on the new CHS website that can help us connect with the latest Athens Dialogues event. In December 2014, the Organizing Committee of the Athens Dialogues launched a second phase of their project with a colloquium in Rome organized around the idea of “rethinking the past.” The motto for that event is a quote by Yiorgos Gotis:

“For centuries now a thread has linked us: gold in some parts and in others red or black. It is this that links the whole of the Mediterranean Sea and in particular Greece with Italy through common traditions, myths, legends and quests…” More Veneto Stigmi editions, 2013


George Babiniotis, Hellenic Foundation for Culture
Gregory Nagy, Harvard University

Executive Editor

Niki Tsironi, Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation

Editorial Board

Richard P. Martin, Stanford University
Kenneth Morrell, Rhodes College
Leonard Muellner, Brandeis University

Revisiting Athens 2010

George Babiniotis
Keynote Address

Anton Bierl
“Sappho in Athens: Reperformance and Performative Contextualizations of the New Cologne Papyrus, or Old Age and Rejuvenation through Chorality”
An examination of the Cologne papyrus provides insight into the contexts for performances of Sappho’s poetry, and provides an understanding of the poems’ reception.

Averil Cameron
“Introduction to Identity and Difference”

Simon Critchley
Keynote Address

David Elmer
“Response to Athens Dialogues: Logos and Art; Nagy, Martin, Bierl”

Athanassios S. Fokas
“Introduction to Science and Ethics”

Susan Greenfield
“The Future of the Brain, the Brain of the Future”
Ancient Greek concepts of the human mind, as presented by great tragedians, show some correspondence to modern neuroscientific concepts.

Vassilis Lambrinoudakis
“Rediscovering, Reconstructing, Using the Past: Archaeology of the Classical World”
Interpretations of archaeological remains affect society’s reconstructions and understandings of the past.

Anna Marmodoro
“Science, Ethics, and the Future of Human Intelligence (Response to Athens Dialogues: Science and Ethics)”

Richard Martin
“Apollo’s Kithara and Poseidon’s Crash Test: Ritual and Contest in the Evolution of Greek Aesthetics”
Definitions and depictions of Greek aesthetics derive from competitions, rituals, and other social and religious contexts.

Sara Monoson
“The Making of a Democratic Symbol: The Case of Socrates in North American Popular Media, 1941–1956”
Novelists and writers for theater, radio, and television employed the iconic figure of Socrates to comment on political issues of the 1940s and 1950s, and subsequently popularized Socrates as a hero of democracy.

Gregory Nagy 
“The Performing and the Reperforming of Masterpieces of Verbal Art at a Festival in Ancient Athens”
For the ancient Greeks, performing and reperforming the Iliad and Odyssey at the Panathenaia compared to the distinction between the weaving and reweaving of fabric.

Dimitris Nanopoulos
“The Quantum Myth of Sisyphus: Chance and Sustainability”
Nature adapts to meet new challenges in sustainability by making use of chance on every scale, from the broadest appearance of the entire universe down to the tiniest sub-atomic interaction.

Rethinking the Past—Connections to Rome 2014

Leonard Muellner
“The Poetic Etymology of Pietas in the Aeneid

Gregory Nagy
“Virgil’s verse invitus, regina … and its poetic antecedents”