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Its publication belonged to a revival of Platonism in Britain, where in Oxford, Aristotle had traditionally been much more influential. The best-known product of this revival was Benjamin Jowett's four-volume translation of the dialogues, which appeared in In his work, and in that of another Oxford scholar, Walter Pater, Platonism became fused with the German idealism of Hegel and his followers.

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In the s, a very different kind of scholarship appeared, inspired both by comparative philology and by the work of German academics. The discovery by William Jones that Greek, Latin and Sanskrit were all members of an Indo-European family of languages led to a renewed interest in the structure of Greek. Here too Greek and Christianity were linked, but in a way that conservative churchmen in Britain found alarming, because of the German emphasis on the historical method.

If, as Wolf suggested, the Iliad had originally been a collection of lays, little poems brought together by rhapsodes, could not the same be said of the Bible?

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In Cambridge, this new German-inspired scholarship was applied to the Bible by John Donaldson, who suggested that the snake in the account of the Garden of Eden in the Book of Genesis was actually a phallus. Donaldson paid the price for his heterodoxy, and was dismissed from his post as headmaster of a school. A much less well-known connection with German scholarship lay in the publishing of the work of German scholars by Oxford University Press. On one occasion however a text he provided was revealed to be a forgery by Constantinos Simonides; the forgery was unmasked in part by the work of a learned Orthodox clergyman, Alexander Lycourgos, who later became Bishop of Syros and was given an honorary degree in Cambridge in During the ceremony in the Senate House of the University, Lycourgos stood on the platform arrayed in magnificent robes and flanked by two archimandrites.

He was enthusiastically cheered by the undergraduates in the audience, but when he bent to pick up a dropped handkerchief, they broke into a then popular song about 'the Grecian Bend'. This was based on a current fashion in women's clothes which involved a bustle and high heels, and which forced women to lean forwards. Jebb's involvement with Greece was important in two ways. First, he learned to speak Greek through conversations with Michailis Konstantinides, then teaching the language in London. After his appointment as professor of Greek at Glasgow in he introduced the study of Modern Greek to the curriculum.

In he had a text of part of Xenophon's Anabasis printed by the university printer, together with a translation by Constantine Bardalochos, and in an expanded text, this time with a translation by Konstantinides. There he collected information on the two existing archaeological schools, French and German, and began a campaign for the founding of a British school.

He was eventually successful, and the British School in Athens was founded in ; it celebrated its th anniversary in Thus Jebb's involvement with Greece was both with its language, ancient and modern, and with the broadening of the classical curriculum from language and literature, to include history and archaeology.

This was based on a German lexicon by Franz Passow, and its revision was assisted by Wilhelm Dindorf, whom I mentioned earlier. In it reached its seventh edition, then seen by its editors as its final form, and its publisher, Oxford University Press, received several proposals for a translation into Modern Greek. One of them was from Ioannis Gennadios, but he could not find a publisher in Athens and so the project lapsed.

Meanwhile Konstantinides returned to Greece, presumably by train, since his book Neohellenica, an anthology of Greek texts and dialogues to help the learner in Modern Greek, uses a train journey from London to Athens as a framework to which a wide variety of Greek literary extracts are attached. Their lexicon was published in parts between and In the previous year he had been one of the founders of the Scientific Society of Athens, and had published books on language and folk literature.

On Gennadios' recommendation, he was appointed lecturer in Modern Greek at the University of Aberdeen in — the first such post in Britain. Jannaris offered to help with the revision of Liddell and Scott's lexicon, but asked for more money than OUP was willing to pay. Jannaris returned to Crete in , but was imprisoned by Prince George of Greece, then governor of the newly- liberated island.

He took ship to New York in but died on board, a sad end for a learned and interesting scholar.

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As new schools and universities were founded, and new subjects were added to their curricula, it seemed too many that the traditional domination of Classics should end. Debates on 'compulsory Greek' took place in both universities for fifty years, the entrance requirement being finally abandoned just after the First World War.

First, it was a symbol of humanistic study, an exemplar of the values of learning and culture. Second, it symbolised the autonomy of the universities from the state and the power of industry and commerce. In the late 19th century, the growing centralisation of state power, including intervention in elementary education c. Greek, so beautiful, so gloriously useless, was the symbol of their ability to teach knowledge for its own sake.

Certainly Greek was for many people something strange and unknowable. Similarly, the technical talk of doctors was referred to as 'medical Greek'. At times the use of Greek letters was used deliberately as a form of concealment.

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In the fifteen-year old Bertrand Russell, in the care of a devout grandmother after the death of his parents, wrote about his loss of religious faith in his diary; he wrote his English words in Greek letters so that his grandmother could not read it. He also saw them sexually coerce females and chicks and occasionally kill them. On his return to Britain, he wrote a research paper for a scientific journal, whose editor sup- pressed the section on sexual habits. It was addressed by John William Mackail, an Oxford scholar who was a senior official in the ministry of education and also a member of artistic and cultural circles he was the son-in-law of the painter Edward Burne-Jones.

The essential point we can take from his account is that Latin is the language of achievement, while Greek is the language of aspiration. In the later nineteenth century, as scientific knowledge became ever more dominant and religious belief declined, a humanistic Hellenism offered a new via media, a path between an abandoned faith and the bleak value-free world of scientific materialism. It formed the pinnacle of an educational system tied to the hierarchies of a class society, yet it also symbolised the freedom of the individual as opposed to the solidarity of the group.

At the end of the century, as we have seen, it became the symbol of humanistic learning when this was threatened by scientific knowledge and state intervention. It was closely linked to religion, first as a supporting element to Christianity, and later on as a semi-sacred substitute when religious faith declined. The variety of different roles played by Greek testified to its power as a symbolic exemplar. References 1. Smith, The Politics of Language, Oxford Stray n. Burnett and N. In the following year he married.

From the first his professorial lectures were conspicuous for the unconventional enthusiasm with which he endeavoured to revivify the study of the classics; and his growing reputation, added to the attention excited by a translation of Aeschylus which he published in , led to his appointment in to the professorship of Greek at Edinburgh University , in succession to George Dunbar , a post which he continued to hold for thirty years.

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He was somewhat erratic in his methods, but his lectures were a triumph of influential personality. A journey to Greece in prompted his essay On the Living Language of the Greeks , a favorite theme of his, especially in his later years; he adopted for himself a modern Greek pronunciation, and before his death he endowed a travelling scholarship to enable students to learn Greek at Athens. Scottish nationality was another source of enthusiasm with him; and in this connection he displayed real sympathy with highland home life and the grievances of the crofters. The foundation of the Celtic chair at Edinburgh University was mainly due to his efforts.

In spite of the many calls upon his time he produced a considerable amount of literary work, usually on classical or Scottish subjects, including some poems and songs of no mean order. Blackie was a Radical and Scottish nationalist in politics, of a fearlessly independent type; possessed of great conversational powers and general versatility, his picturesque eccentricity made him one of the characters of the Edinburgh of the day, and a well-known figure as be went about in his plaid , worn shepherd -wise, wearing a broad-brimmed hat, and carrying a big stick.

In the s and s, he lectured at Oxford on the pronunciation of Greek, and corresponded on the subject with William Hardie. In May , he gave his last lecture at Oxford, but afterwards admitted defeat, stating: "It is utterly in vain here to talk reasonably in the matter of Latin or Greek pronunciation: they are case-hardened in ignorance, prejudice and pedantry". London and New York: Frederick Warne. This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain :.

Further reading. Duncan, John G. Glasgow: John J.

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