Siracusa Seminar on Ancient Greek Philosophy,
July 24 – August 4, 2023
The ability to navigate Greek texts enhances our understanding of ancient philosophy and reveals its hidden treasures. Exedra’s “Greek for Philosophers” courses, organised with the Fonte Aretusa association, provide opportunities for scholars of philosophy to cultivate their language skills and engage with the ancient texts, whether they have studied Greek before or not. Courses are held online during the academic year and culminate in a summer school in Siracusa.
The 2023 Siracusa Seminar on Ancient Greek Philosophy with Dr. George Gazis, Dr. Chiara Blanco and Prof. Heather Reid, will be held from 24th July to 4th August and Plato’s Symposium will be the focus. The Symposium is a poetic and dramatic masterpiece that explores the topic of love (Eros) from a variety of perspectives, through speeches presented at a drinking party. Sexual love, educational love, homoeroticism, and the love for wisdom, ideas, and beauty are all discussed in creative and insightful ways, punctuated by Alcibiades’ poignant encomium of Socrates. Guest lecturers will be invited and participants will be encouraged to give short papers on the Symposium.
The Intermediate/Advanced course takes the form of a reading group where excerpts of the Symposium will be read, translated and commented on. Participants will prepare a translation of a short passage in advance and then present their translation in class, after which the discussion of the content will be open to all. The aim is to provide students and scholars interested in Plato with an informal platform in which they can come into contact with the text in the original Greek and discuss the content in a relaxed and friendly environment.
An Elementary Greek course will also be held, aimed at Greek learners who have already done a Beginners Greek course (either with Exedra or elsewhere) and who have basic notions of the Greek language (article, declensions, pronouns, verbs etc.). Learners will read simple original Greek texts, and work on the grammar and syntax as explained in “Reading Greek Beginners Course”, supplemented by handouts where necessary.
A Beginners Greek course may also be arranged.
The groups will come together each day for presentations, lectures, workshops and discussion of Plato’s philosophy as found in the text.
Participants can attend for one or two weeks. Bursaries covering all or part of the seminar fee and assistance finding low-cost housing are available.
March 15 is the early application deadline (necessary if applying for a bursary).
Applications will be accepted as long as space permits.
Siracusa, with its great Greek heritage, is the perfect place to study the works of Plato and Ancient Greek – and to enjoy the Mediterranean setting between classes. The Siracusa Seminar will combine Greek language study with academic lectures and presentations, as well as cultural activities, guided tours and cooking sessions. Participants study in the historic Palazzo Francica Nava on the picturesque island of Ortigia, just steps from the 5th century BCE Temple of Athena, and a short walk from the 6th century Temple of Apollo — or the Cala Rossa beach, in case you are in the mood for a swim. Come prepared for a full immersion into the Mediterranean lifestyle!
The Summer School is divided into two weeks of language and reading-based instruction. There will be two courses each week, with three hours of teaching for each course each day and students are expected to do extra hours of private study every day. Classes will be small so everyone can benefit from the full attention of the tutors.
Level 1: Elementary (some previous experience of Classical Greek or our video introductory course to basic Greek concepts (included).
Level 2: Intermediate/Advanced (c. two years of Classical Greek)
Students will be separated by language level for the 3-5 PM session, then come together for the presentations and workshop from 6-7 PM.
Morning: optional cultural activities (archaeological visits, cooking classes, etc.)
3-5 PM: Elementary Greek lessons or Reading and translation of Plato’s Symposium
5-6 PM: Break/Private Study
6-7 PM: Student presentations and workshops for all to discuss the philosophical commentary together
On-line participation may be available, and will be confirmed in June 2023. While we strongly recommend coming in-person to get the best all-round experience, if on-line is your only option, please contact email@example.com.
*Sponsorship: Individuals and organizations are invited to sponsor a qualified participant with financial need by paying all or part of their fees. The sponsorship may be anonymous or named, and the sponsor may choose the recipient if they wish.
All courses will be taught in English by Dr. George Gazis and Dr. Chiara Blanco, with Prof. Heather Reid.
Guest lecturers to be announced.
Dr. Gazis is Assistant Professor in Greek Literature at the Department of Classics and Ancient History, at Durham University. His research interests lie in Archaic Greek Poetry (mainly Homer), as well as Greek Lyric and Tragedy. He is the author of Homer and the poetics of Hades (OUP, 2018) and the editor of Aspects of Death in Greek Literature (LUP, forthcoming).
Dr. Blanco is a Research Lecturer in Classics at Trinity College, University of Oxford. Before joining Trinity, she was a Lecturer in Classics at Exeter College, Oxford, and she also taught Classics at Durham University and the University of Cambridge, where she also completed her PhD. Her main research interests lie in the intersections between ancient literature (Greek tragedy in particular) and medicine, and she is also interested in the role of the senses and emotions in Greek and Roman culture.
Prof. Reid is emeritus Professor of Philosophy at Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa USA and Scholar in Residence at Exedra Mediterranean Center in Siracusa, Sicily. She is a 2015 Fellow of the American Academy in Rome, 2018 Fellow of Harvard’s Center for Hellenic Studies, and 2019 Fulbright Scholar at the Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II. As founder of Fonte Aretusa, she promotes conferences and research on Western Greece. She has also published books and articles in ancient philosophy, philosophy of sport, and Olympic Studies, including Introduction to the Philosophy of Sport (2012), Athletics and Philosophy in the Ancient World (2011), and The Philosophical Athlete (2002, 2nd ed. 2019).