A second renaissance?

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Like explorers mapping the globe in sailing ships, scholars are expanding the known world across the terra incognita of classical literature. As we report today, infra-red technology has enabled hundreds of ancient Greek comedies, tragedies and epic poems, composed by classical greats such as Sophocles, Euripides and Hesiod, to be deciphered for the first time in 2,000 years. The dramatic increase in great literary works surviving from the ancient Greek world is prompting experts to predict a "second renaissance". The documents, known as the Oxyrhynchus Papyri, discovered in an ancient rubbish dump in central Egypt, are also thought to include lost Christian gospels. Of course, this is exciting in its own right, but it could be the shot in the arm that teaching of the classics have needed for so long. Like genealogy, they could come to be more widely perceived as not only interesting but, good heavens, fashionable.

Like explorers mapping the globe in sailing ships, scholars are expanding the known world across the terra incognita of classical literature. As we report today, infra-red technology has enabled hundreds of ancient Greek comedies, tragedies and epic poems, composed by classical greats such as Sophocles, Euripides and Hesiod, to be deciphered for the first time in 2,000 years. The dramatic increase in great literary works surviving from the ancient Greek world is prompting experts to predict a "second renaissance". The documents, known as the Oxyrhynchus Papyri, discovered in an ancient rubbish dump in central Egypt, are also thought to include lost Christian gospels. Of course, this is exciting in its own right, but it could be the shot in the arm that teaching of the classics have needed for so long. Like genealogy, they could come to be more widely perceived as not only interesting but, good heavens, fashionable.

Comments