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A Celebration of Greek Language Day: Professor Kathryn Morgan, “Know Thyself: Ancient Proverbs and the Road to Wisdom.”
Professor Kathryn Morgan, UCLA Department of Classics
“Know Thyself: Ancient Proverbs and the Road to Wisdom”
The Sages of Ancient Greece were renowned for their pithy formulations of proverbial wisdom. Perhaps the most famous of these was the saying inscribed on the temple of Apollo at Delphi: “Know thyself!” (γνῶθι σεαυτόν), a command that had a long influence on Greek wisdom traditions, including the thought of Socrates. This talk will examine how popular wisdom traditions were exploited and explored by thinkers who capitalized upon the density of expression characteristic both of proverbs and of ancient Greek. Brief and “laconic” formulations are like modern “soundbites,” memorable but problematic: What are their advantages? What are their limits?
Kathryn Morgan is Professor of Classics in the Department of Classics at UCLA. Her interests range broadly over Greek literature of the fifth and fourth centuries BC. She regularly teaches graduate seminars in Attic tragedy, Pindar and Greek lyric, and Plato, and her research oscillates between projects connected with Plato and with Pindar. The former is represented by her book Myth and Philosophy from the Presocratics to Plato, and by her ongoing involvement in the series Studies in Ancient Greek Narrative (published by Brill), where she is responsible for the chapters covering Plato. Pindar is the subject of her most recent book, Pindar and the Construction of Syracusan Monarchy in the Fifth Century B.C. (2015), where she examines Pindar’s victory odes for Hieron of Syracuse and the program of tyrannical self-representation to which they contributed. Ongoing research includes book projects on Plato’s conception of history and on historical narrative in the Persians of Aeschylus. She has served on the Program Committee and the Board of Directors of the Society for Classical Studies, and is currently a member of the Nominating Committee.
This event is co-sponsored by the General Secretariat for Public Diplomacy & Greeks Abroad (Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Hellenic Republic) and by the Consulate General of Greece in Los Angeles.