Τετάρτη, 4 Ιουλίου 2012

American Hellenic Council: Happy 4th of July !!

Happy 4th of July !!
On behalf of everyone at the American Hellenic Council, we would like to wish you and your loved ones a happy Independence Day!
On this occasion, we would like to remind you of the close ties between Greece & The United States. Despite the difficult times that Greece is currently undergoing, it's universally recognized that the Founding Fathers were inspired and influenced by the concept of democracy that was developed in Ancient Greece!
It is challenging times like these that we should remember Pericles' words: "We do not say that a man who takes no interest in politics is a man who minds his own business; we say that he has no business here at all." In this spirit, we encourage you to be politically active and participate in the democratic regime. 
Greeks & Romans Bearing Gifts: How the Ancients Inspired the Founding Fathers
Carl J Richard (Hardcover)
Table of Contents
Chapter I: The Storytellers and the Founders
Chapter II: Sparta and Individual Rights
Chapter III: The Persian Wars and the Superiority of Republican Government
Chapter IV: Athens and the Perils of Democracy
Chapter V: The Fall of Greece and the Need for a Strong Central Government
Chapter VI: Early Rome and Republican Virtue
Chapter VII: The Fall of the Roman Republic and the Need for Vigilance
Chapter VIII: The Roman Emperors and the Preciousness of Liberty
Carl Richard has given us another engaging and lucid glimpse into the rich and fascinating classical world of America's founding generation. With his thorough knowledge of both the classical past and how men in the eighteenth century understood it, Richard is able to show a broad audience of modern readers—who themselves may know little about the classical world—why ancient Greece and Rome have so long attracted Americans like a magnet. (Caroline Winterer, Stanford University )

Carl Richard has written a book that is as entertaining as it is informative. He brings the words and world of the Greek and Roman ancients to life with the same passion and understanding that kindled the Founding Fathers. Greeks and Romans Bearing Gifts is essential reading for anyone interested in understanding the moral and intellectual sources that inspired the founders and helped define the ideals of American democracy. (Roger Kimball, editor of The New Criterion )

I have read Carl Richard's Greeks and Romans Bearing Gifts with great pleasure. This is superb work. Historians of the American founding have long known that the founders were powerfully influenced by the ancient writers, but in the absence of long and tedious labors have not known enough about the subject to make their own studies complete. Richard has performed those labors for us and presented his findings in a way that is both crisply written and richly informative. (Forrest McDonald, University of Alabama )

The conciseness and liveliness with which Richard reviews the ancient histories make his book a useful resource for all. Recommended. ( CHOICE, Jan. 2009 )

[An] engaging account of what the founding generation knew about the classical world. . . . This book is well worth owning. Beyond showing what kind of education the Founders had and sketching out how it shaped their own accomplishments, it serves as an introduction to the kind of education that most of us have missed out on—and reminds us that it's never too late to get started. ( Human Events, November 2008 )

Renowned classicist Carl J. Richard . . . delves into the lessons of history that the Founders leaned upon. . . . A necessary reminder of where to look if one seeks the deepest roots of American liberty.
(New American) 

The opera "Prometheus" of Panagiotis Karousos presented in the Old Parliament Building of Greece

A great presentation was held June 7 at the Old Parliament House of Greece by the Hellenic Literary Society and the Historical and Ethnological Society of Greece of the National Historical Museum with the opera Prometheus Bound by Panagiotis Karousos.
The work "Prometheus Bound" by Aeschylus, that translated by John Gryparis set to music by Greek Canadian composer Panagiotis Karousos, was applauded by the packed hall of the Historic Parliament House of Greece.
The music composition full of original lyrical melodies reflecting the high version of Aeschylus and the poetic translation of John Gryparis. It was a gesture of novelty in Greek serious music, by the talented composer with feeling great agglomerate reviving the ancient Greek literature.
The performance was introduced by the General Secretary of the Historical and Ethnological Society of Greece, Mr. Ioannis Ainian Mazarakis, the president of the Hellenic Literary Society Mr. Paul Nathaniel, and composer Panagiotis Karousos.
Artists have interpreted the opera led by baritone Elias Tiliakos in the role of Prometheus, the protagonist of the National Opera of Greece soprano Alexandra Mattheoudaki in the role of Io, and the role of the goddess Athena specially for this performance, and the bass Vassilios Asimakopoulos in the parts of Ocean and Jupiter. Also taking part are excellent musicians, violinist Gennadios Bykov, cellist Eugene Bensis and pianist Marilina Tzelepi that had the musical direction.

4th of July: The Greek Influence on American Independence

Ancient Greece has influenced the western world in a variety of aspects, but the most important element of our modern society, Democracy, was the key element to American Independence. President Obama described that influence in a proclamation that he issued on March 23rd commemorating Greek Independence Day.
“Two hundred and thirty-six years ago, a new American Nation was founded on an old Greek principle — democratic rule by a free people. We trace this enduring idea to ancient Hellas, where Greeks brought forth the world’s first democracy and kindled a philosophical tradition that would stand the test of time.”
“As America’s Founders built a Government of the people, by the people, and for the people, they drew inspiration from the democratic pioneers who shaped a small group of ancient Greek city states. In the years since, Greece and America have strengthened that connection through shared history and deep partnerships between our people.”
All of the founding fathers had studied ancient Greek texts which drew inspiration about morals, ethics and the sense of independence.
Author Tom Jewett points out that “Jefferson admired many aspects of the ancient Greeks; he could read and speak the language. He agreed with many of their precepts, such as the Greek idea that man is measure of all things. This was the groundwork for his belief in humanism, which recognized no barriers to the use of the mind, and which sought to make all knowledge useful to man. Jefferson particularly admired the Greeks’ idea with respect to man’s relationship to himself”.
“Jefferson was also influenced by the Greek philosophies of Epicures and the Stoics. He believed as Epicures that happiness was humanity’s main goal and it could be attained through moral and noble actions. From the Stoics, Jefferson took the idea of reining in emotion. He felt these ideas about self-control, moderation and rational behavior in the face of misfortune were paragons on how one should comport oneself.”
Joe Wolverton, II writes that “George Wythe, the renowned Virginian who would come to be known as the “Teacher of Liberty,” was himself taught to appreciate the writings of the ancients at home by his mother. Tragically, Wythe’s mother died when he was very young, but she lived long enough to anchor her son’s education on very firm moorings.”
According to one early biographer, Wythe “had a perfect knowledge of the Greek language taught to him by his mother in the backwoods.”
John Adams would often use Greek words in his letters to Jefferson. He was also a great admirer of Xenophon.
Greek philosopher Polybius from Megalopolis, Arcadia had a great influence on the founding fathers. His political beliefs have had a continuous appeal to republican thinkers, from Cicero, to Charles de Montesquieu, to the Founding Fathers of the United States. Marshall Davies Lloyd has argued that Polybius influenced the Founding Fathers to implement the separation of powers as a form of government. LIoyd traced the origins of the theory of mixed constitution to antiquity and especially Polybius’ Histories, while underscoring similarities between Polybius’ system and that of the American Constitution.
“These men,” says Simmons, discussing the Philadelphia debates in 1787, “had read and digested Polybius, Aristotle, and Cicero, and they used the ancient luminaries to frame and illustrate their ideas before the assembly…These heated yet erudite debates, along with the Federalist Papers, fairly pullulate both with subtle classical allusions—with which Madison, Hamilton, and Jay assumed readers to be tolerably familiar—and direct references to the leagues—Amphictyonic, Achaean, Aetolian, Lycian—formed by the ancient Greeks in order to achieve political and physical security.”
On the 4th of July Greek-Americans have one more reason to celebrate the American independence, their Greek heritage.