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Heritage: We owe Greece a cultural debt, classicists say
Greece may be drowning in €323bn (£172bn) of debt. But just think about what the rest of the world owes Greece.

We owe Greece a cultural debt, classicists say
It is the country that gave us democracy, the Olympics, philosophy, medicine, mathematics and some ruddy good stories. Surely you can't put a price on that.

At least, that's what a group of eminent classicists, historians and authors believe.

In a letter to The Telegraph, the philhellenes urge our readers "to remember the very great cultural debt that we owe to Greece".

The letter has been signed by In Our Time presenter Melvyn Bragg, historian Michael Wood, Lastminute.com founder Martha Lane Fox, poet Professor Simon Armitage, novelist Victoria Hislop and a string of notable academics and writers.

"Whatever the precise nature of Greece’s economic future, it is profoundly to be hoped that the Greek people will receive robust support from its European allies, including those in the British Government."

Just think: where would we be if Achilles hadn't been shot in the heel or Odysseus hadn't made it home? If Archimedes hadn't been obsessed with circles? If Pythagoras hadn't preferred angles? If Theseus hadn't killed the minotaur or Icarus hadn't flown too close to the sun or Persephone hadn't made a deal with Hades or Helen hadn't launched a thousand ships?

What would our world be like if Socrates hadn't talked of knowledge, Plato hadn't written about love, and Aristotle hadn't thought about science and ethics and logic and God? If Phidias hadn't designed the Parthenon and Polykleitos hadn't defined male beauty and Praxiteles hadn't sculpted the female form? If Hippocrates hadn't revolutionised medicine? If Alexander hadn't been so great?

Surely such a rich cultural legacy is worth a measly €323bn.

Then again, perhaps we would have been better off if Pandora hadn't opened that box...

Read the full text of the letter here:

Dear Sir,

It is timely to remember the very great cultural debt that we owe to Greece, how valiantly many Greeks fought in WWII and how hard-working, frugal and family-minded the majority of Greeks have long been and continue to be. Whatever the precise nature of Greece’s economic future, it is profoundly to be hoped that the Greek people will receive robust support from its European allies, including those in the British Government.

Prof Angie Hobbs, Dr Bettany Hughes, Martha Lane Fox, Tom Holland, Victoria Hislop, Prof Simon Armitage, Prof Michael Wood, Prof Paul Cartledge, Melvyn Bragg, Prof Chris Pelling, Dr Armand D’Angour, Natalie Haynes, Charlotte Mendelson, Prof Edith Hall, Prof Armand Leroi, Dr Michael Scott


Author: Lauren Davidson | Source: The Telegraph [June 30, 2015]