Past Events

Thursday 11 March, 18.00

Annual Hellenic Lecture

Royal Holloway, University of London

Online

Nineteenth Annual Hellenic Lecture

Prof Gonda Van Steen: ‘The Greek Revolution of 1821 and Its Multiple Legacies’

Read the lecture here: [PDF] [Word]

Since the outbreak of the Greek War of Independence in 1821, the Greek people have celebrated three major anniversaries: the 50th, 100th, and 150th anniversary date of the inception of this revolutionary war that led to sovereign statehood after nearly four centuries of Ottoman rule. These three jubilees, each with their own legacies, have come to represent three different ways of celebrating Greek statehood that have, nonetheless, much in common. They posited a linear progression from Greek antiquity through postclassical, Byzantine, and post-Byzantine (Ottoman) times. This lecture will explore in what ways the celebrations and re-enactments, with their commemorative events and symbolic images, acquired a prescriptive character, which advanced their aim to educate youth in state-promoted nationalism, and to what extent the present 200th anniversary celebrations differ from the three aforementioned ones.

The Lecture will take place online via Zoom and will be hosted by Professor Ken Badcock, Senior Vice-Principal (Academic Strategy, Partnerships and Resources) and Chairman of the Hellenic Institute Steering Group at Royal Holloway, University of London

For further information please contact Dr Achilleas Hadjikyriacou at the Hellenic Institute, Royal Holloway, University of London


Monday 22 February, 18.00-20.00

Panel: 1821: The Migration of Revolutionary Ideas (Pt 2)

Online Event

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1821: The Migration of Revolutionary Ideas (Pt 2)

Painting by Ioannis Moralis

The second in a two-part series (see above). Co-hosted with the Hellenic Society.

London Speakers

– Georgios Varouxakis (Queen Mary)

– Athena Leoussi (University of Reading)

– Sanja Perovic (King’s College London)

Prof. Roderick Beaton, A.G. Leventis Visiting Professor in Greek

Roderick Beaton grew up in Edinburgh and studied English Literature at Peterhouse, Cambridge, before turning to Modern Greek as the subject of his doctorate, also at Cambridge – and at the British School at Athens. After a three-year postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Birmingham he embarked on a long career at King’s College London, first as Lecturer in Modern Greek Language and Literature (1981-88), later as Koraes Professor of Modern Greek and Byzantine History, Language and Literature (1988-2018), and since then as Emeritus. From 2012 to 2018 he also served as Director of the Centre for Hellenic Studies at King’s.

    Roderick is the author of many books and articles about aspects of the Greek-speaking world from the twelfth century to the present day, including An Introduction to Modern Greek Literature (1994); George Seferis: Waiting for the Angel. A Biography (2003); Byron’s War: Romantic Rebellion, Greek Revolution (2013), all three of which won the prestigious Runciman Award for best book on the Hellenic world, and Greece: Biography of a Modern Nation (2019, now a Penguin paperback). His latest book, an overview of Greek history from the Bronze Age to the 200th anniversary of the Greek Revolution in 2021, is expected to be published in autumn 2021 with the title The Greeks: A Global History.

    He is a Fellow of the British Academy (FBA, 2013), a Fellow of King’s College (FKC, 2018), Commander of the Order of Honour of the Hellenic Republic (2019) and, from September to December 2021, has been appointed A.G. Leventis Visiting Professor in Greek at the University of Edinburgh.

Contacts: Centre for Hellenic Studies, KCL, the Hellenic Society and the British School at Athens

Event Listings: CHS and BSA. Register through the CHS or Hellenic Society.


Monday 15 February, 17.00-19.00 (UK)/19.00-21.00 (Greece)

Panel: 1821: The Migration of Revolutionary Ideas (Pt 1)

British School at Athens

1821: The Migration of Revolutionary Ideas (Pt 1)

Two Panel Discussions chaired by Roderick Beaton, Emeritus Koraes Professor of Modern Greek and Byzantine History, Language and Literature, King’s College London, co-organised with the British School at Athens.

Ideas about making a revolution – ideas that are in themselves revolutionary: these two back-to-back panel discussions, one in Athens, the other in London, will revolve around both concepts, as ways of understanding the outbreak of revolution by Orthodox Christian, Greek-speaking subjects of the Ottoman empire in the spring of 1821, that would lead to the creation of Greece as a modern nation-state in 1830. Speakers will focus on the transmission, or ‘migration’, of such ideas across the European continent in the wake of 1789 Revolution in France and their impact in creating the climate in which a Greek revolution became possible in 1821.

Athens Speakers

– Antonia (Ada) Dialla (Athens School of Fine Arts)

– Efi Gazi (University of the Peloponnese)

– Kostas Tampakis (National Hellenic Research Foundation)

Prof. Roderick Beaton, A.G. Leventis Visiting Professor in Greek

Roderick Beaton grew up in Edinburgh and studied English Literature at Peterhouse, Cambridge, before turning to Modern Greek as the subject of his doctorate, also at Cambridge – and at the British School at Athens. After a three-year postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Birmingham he embarked on a long career at King’s College London, first as Lecturer in Modern Greek Language and Literature (1981-88), later as Koraes Professor of Modern Greek and Byzantine History, Language and Literature (1988-2018), and since then as Emeritus. From 2012 to 2018 he also served as Director of the Centre for Hellenic Studies at King’s.

    Roderick is the author of many books and articles about aspects of the Greek-speaking world from the twelfth century to the present day, including An Introduction to Modern Greek Literature (1994); George Seferis: Waiting for the Angel. A Biography (2003); Byron’s War: Romantic Rebellion, Greek Revolution (2013), all three of which won the prestigious Runciman Award for best book on the Hellenic world, and Greece: Biography of a Modern Nation (2019, now a Penguin paperback). His latest book, an overview of Greek history from the Bronze Age to the 200th anniversary of the Greek Revolution in 2021, is expected to be published in autumn 2021 with the title The Greeks: A Global History.

    He is a Fellow of the British Academy (FBA, 2013), a Fellow of King’s College (FKC, 2018), Commander of the Order of Honour of the Hellenic Republic (2019) and, from September to December 2021, has been appointed A.G. Leventis Visiting Professor in Greek at the University of Edinburgh.

Contacts: Centre for Hellenic Studies, KCL and the British School at Athens

Event Listings: CHS and BSA


Thursday 4 February, 18.00-19.30

Runciman Lecture

Online Event

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Thirtieth Annual Runciman Lecture

Prof David Ricks: ‘The Shot Heard round the World: The Greek Revolution in Poetry’

Introduction: Prof Gonda Van Steen

Vote of Thanks: Dr Dionysis Kapsalis

Like the shot fired at Concord, Massachusetts, in 1775, the Greek Revolution was heard around the world, and many poets, Byron and Hugo among them, fired off their own poetry in response. This lecture will turn to Greek poetic responses to ’21 – and not just at the time, but as the noise of old battles has echoed through subsequent decades of Greek experience up to the present day. The focus will be on tensions between the pen and the sword, or rather the pen and the gun, over the years since 1821: the best Greek poets have faced such tensions memorably, and in doing so have made a distinctive contribution to the world’s poetry.

David Ricks is Professor Emeritus of Modern Greek and Comparative Literature, King’s College London, and a Fellow of the College. He studied classics and philosophy at Oxford before coming to King’s to write a doctoral thesis, on what would today be called classical reception, under the supervision of then Koraes Professor Roderick Beaton. The two worked in harness at King’s from 1989 to 2018, supervising 39 doctoral students between them in the fields of modern Greek literature and culture, no few of them now established in the republic of letters. David Ricks co-founded the CHS journal Dialogos (1994-2001) and served for many years on the board of the journal Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies, first edited from King’s by Donald Nicol; since 2020, he has been its editor, with Ingela Nilsson (Uppsala). He has published on many facets of poetry in Greek, from Digenes Akrites and Erotokritos in earlier periods to a wide range of poets from the last two centuries. These include such major figures as Solomos and Kalvos from the Revolutionary period, Cavafy and Sikelianos in the twentieth century, and Nasos Vayenas and Michalis Ganas today.

The vote of thanks will be given by Dr Dionysis Kapsalis. Born in Athens in 1952, Dr Kapsalis studied Classics and English Literature at Georgetown University, Washington D.C. (1970-1974). He pursued postgraduate work at King’s College London, in the Department of Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies (1981-1984). Since 1999, he has been Director of the Cultural Foundation of the National Bank of Greece. He has published poems, essays, and various translations of poetry. He has translated Shakespeare, Samuel Beckett and others for the Greek stage. He holds an honorary Doctorate from the University of Thessaloniki (2015), and he has been awarded the Greek State Prize for best literary translation for Hamlet (2015) and the Grand Prize for Letters (2017).

The Runciman Lectures are generously sponsored by the late Nicholas and Matti Egon and the Egon family.

Please register in advance via Eventbrite.


Thursday 28 January, 16.00-17.30 (UK)/18.00-19.30 (Greece)

Panel: Power and Impunity

Online Event

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Power and Impunity: What Donald Trump and Boris Didn’t Learn from the Ancient Greeks

A podcast of this event has been made available online here.

Are we living in a world marked by a new impunity of power? Political leaders discard established norms and taboos that have guided the behaviour of their predecessors and, in doing so, they win popular support from new areas of society, including the disengaged and excluded.  Across the world, in domestic politics, rhetoric is seemingly preferred over truth; ‘fake news’ over traditional media; and emotion over expertise. How did we get here? Our notions of the good society, of the responsibility that comes with power, and, of course, democracy and its discourse, stem from ancient and classical Greece. Our deepest sense of Western values, embedded in education curricula across our societies, emanates from classical Athens. Is it no longer of use or value? Are we now judging utility and cost differently? If so, how and why are our leaders safe in doing so?

Speakers:

Paul Cartledge (brief statement), A.G. Leventis Senior Research Fellow, Clare College,  Emeritus A.G. Leventis Professor of Greek Culture, University of Cambridge

Mike Cox, Emeritus Professor of International Relations, LSE; Director of LSE IDEAS

Simon Goldhill, Professor of Greek at the University of Cambridge and Foreign Secretary of the British Academy

Johanna Hanink, Associate Professor of Classics at Brown University

Chair:

Paul Kelly, Professor of Political Philosophy, Department of Government, LSE

Contact the Hellenic Observatory. 

Registration available on the event website.


Still Available

21 in 21 Celebratory Kick-Off Event

Online Event

Concert dedicated to Greece: Sir Simon Rattle (London Symphony Orchestra) conducting Leonidas Kavakos, violin:

Berg Violin Concerto
Schubert Symphony No 9, ‘The Great’

In collaboration with the National Bank of Greece and Initiative 1821-2021. For more information see www.protovoulia21.gr

Still available for free on demand here, but login required. ‘ERT’, the Greek National Radio-Television, will transmit the concert in a global broadcast on Saturday, January 30 at 16.30 (UK)/18.30 (Greece).

Click here to hear Sir Simon Rattle introduce the event and direct the Greek National Anthem.

See Tim Ashley’s review in The Guardian, 22 January 2021: ‘A touch of revolutionary sweetness from Kavakos’.

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