Enlightened Athens in the Age of Jefferson

Submitted by Evelyn Kiefer on Fri, 03/03/2006 - 12:52.
03/09/2006 - 16:00
03/09/2006 - 18:00

A lecture by Rachel Sternberg, Ph.D., Assitant Professor of Classics.

Educated 18th-century Europeans thought of ancient Athens as an enlightened age much like their own, where one could observe the intellectual and moral progress of the human mind. Did Thomas Jefferson and other Founders view Athens in the same way? If so, how did they construe the contradition between slavery and humane ideal in Athens - a contradition that they themselves faced in America? In 1788, the French numismatist Jean-Jaques Barthelemy published an eight volume work, The Travels of Anacharsis the Younger in Greece, told from the point of view of an imaginary Scythian visiting Greece in the fourth century B.C. It was a huge success, comprising 40 editions, and Thomas Jefferson purchased a set for his library at Monticello. Anacharsis, then, allows us to explore the historical imagination of the Enlightenment through a work that crossed the Atlantic and shaped thinking in the New World as well as in the Old. This talk focuses on how Barthelemy dealt with Athenian slavery and judicial slave torture: his selection and handling of the ancient evidence for those institutions, and his attempt to reconcile them with the brilliance of Athens.

Refreshments at 4:00 p.m., Presentation at 4:30 p.m., for information ph. 216-368-8961 

part of the Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities Work in Progress Series


Baker-Nord Center, Clark Hall 206
11130 Bellflower Road
Cleveland, OH
United States
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