Hyannis's books


Saturday, March 28, 2009

Why the Greeks Matter

Don’t ever be afraid of accepting a gift from a Greek (“Beware of Greeks bearing gifts .…”). You have already accepted their civilization because they are responsible for your vocabulary.

Are you breathing air (it is a Greek word), talking on the telephone (Greek), do you have any new idea (Greek again). The Greeks really did have a word for it.

In Italy I was once asked why I studied Italian. Was it because Italian was such a rich language? “There are 800,000 words in Italian,” I replied. “And 1,200,000 words in English, “ I added, “and over 2,000,000 words in Greek.” The Greeks really did have a word for it.

In the fields of medicine (Hippocrates), mathematics (Euclid, Archimedes), the study of history (Herodotus, Thucydides), physics, architecture as well as drama, art and above all, philosophy (Socrates, Plato, Aristotle) --- were some of humanity’s greatest achievements.

A noted American writer of classical Greece, Edith Hamilton, once wrote:

“ To rejoice in life, to find the world beautiful and delightful to live in
was a mark of the Greek spirit which distinguished it from all that
had gone before.
It is a vital distinction. “

Athena Gargilis is one of the smartest and kindest people we know.

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