The Gymnasium: Real Paideia or Greek Insanity?
A Free On-line Lesson in Ancient Greek
Saturday, February 11th, 2023 at 17:00 CET on Zoom
The central focus of Lucian’s Anacharsis or Athletics is the palaestra, exercises of the Gymnasium, care for personal appearance, and physical prowess. Two of the ancient sages of the 6th century, Solon and Anacharsis, discuss this topic. The former, like a good Athenian, rattles off a finely polished exposition on Attic παιδεία and how this process moderates the soul along with nerves and muscles. The latter, on the other hand, a Scythian both in origin and mannerisms, counters Solon’s argument with sharp criticism of what he characterizes as distortions and “Hellenic insanity.”
In this session we will explore an assortment of the most salient passages from this dialogue written by Lucian of Samosata in the 2nd century CE. The text is one which touches upon our daily habits with a disconcerting freshness and in the process unsettles our assumptions about the relationship between the cultivation of the body and cultivation of the spirit.
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