“Universities are very special institutions that need to be devoted to learning, not just turning people out for jobs. As a society, that is something we must afford.”
In 2013, the University of Queensland established, through endowment, the Paul Eliadis Chair of Classics and Ancient History. This professorship, only the third of its kind in Australia, has ensured that the culture and languages of ancient Greece and Rome will be taught in perpetuity at the University of Queensland. As Professor Alastair Blanshard, the inaugural holder of the Eliadis Chair, remarked 'Without gifts such as this, we risk the situation that Queensland students will never hear the words of Aristotle, Plato, Aeschylus or Herodotus. Certainly not in the original, and possibly not even in translation.'
The study of the Classical World offers students an insight into the foundations of Western civilization. Drama, mathematics, philosophy, democracy, and the rule of law all owe their origins to institutions and practices developed by these extraordinary Mediterranean cultures.
The languages of Latin and Ancient Greek are able to express sentiments of profound beauty, depth, and subtlety. For over one thousand years, the language of intellectual Europe was Latin.
The University of Queensland's School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry, in which the Eliadis Chair is situated, is committed to exploring how human beings have ordered and made sense of their world throughout history, and how this informs our future. Central to this task is a proper understanding of our Greco-Roman inheritance. We have learnt much from classical antiquity, but there is still much to learn.
The Eliadis Chair is also engaged with the wider community beyond the walls of the University. Through a regular programme of lectures and community events, the world of the ancient Greeks and Romans is brought to life for new generations as seen in the following links;
Professorial Inaugural Address: Why the Greeks Matter
Interview with Clare Pullar:
Classics Department at UQ