Flourishing Culture

Recollections from Greece

January 10, 2019

There was a moment while walking amongst the ruins of the Acropolis that I felt thunderstruck. I was surveying structures that were built 2,500 years ago during a time when citizens in Ancient Greece had more of a say in the running of the state; when philosophers were questioning the relationship between body, mind and soul; and when art was used as a means to glorify their gods. On our tour, we heard about the word anthrop – the Greek word for humans and the root word for anthropology. Herodotus, who is thought to be the first anthropologist, tried to chronicle what was happening in 5th century BC for posterity. For someone who fancies herself a “cultural anthropologist,” it was fascinating to hear that he employed methods similar to mine: he read accounts, interviewed people and took extensive notes to better understand the events, the structures, the laws and the customs. And, he used this data to craft his narrative about the times. We have to be grateful to the Ancient Greeks for democracy, philosophy and the arts and to the note takers who remind us of our past so we can create a better tomorrow. 

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