'The Greek language and Greek identities: c. 1500 BCE to 2021 CE' A.G. Leventis Inaugural Lecture 2021
From Rose Day
A. G. Leventis Inaugural Lecture, 22 September 2021
The inaugural lecture of Professor Roderick Beaton's Leventis Visiting Professor at the University of Edinburgh will be,
'The Greek language and Greek identities: c. 1500 BCE to 2021 CE'.
Greek is one of only three languages, among those now spoken and written anywhere in the world, that can boast a continuous written tradition stretching back for more than three thousand years. The others are Chinese and Hebrew. This lecture asks: what can we learn from the accumulated experience of those who have spoken and written this language, over an exceptionally long recorded span, about how identities are created, perpetuated, and modified or re-invented over time? How did Greek-speakers define themselves at different historical periods and in very different circumstances? How do the very different civilisations which they either created or in which they played a significant part relate to one another: the Mycenaean, the Classical, the Hellenistic, the Roman, the Byzantine, the Ottoman, and indeed the world of self-governing nation-states that we know today? The lecture argues for a holistic understanding of the diversity of achievement and seemingly infinite powers of invention and re-invention by Greek-speakers, whose impact today can be felt across the world’s five inhabited continents.