One of the goals of the Plato’s Academy Centre is to bring ancient Greek philosophy and literature to a wider audience by making it more relevant to modern life. This Prada advert directed by Ridley Scott shows one creative way that an ancient text can be brought to life:
The words are from Thunder, the Perfect Mind, a 3rd century Gnostic mystical text, discovered in Egypt and written in the Coptic language, but believed to have originally been composed in Greek.
In the video below, Akira the Don, has put the words of the Stoic philosopher Marcus Aurelius, from the Meditations, to music.
I think that there’s plenty of opportunity for other ancient Greek texts to be utilized creatively in ways that potentially introduce them to a new audience.
The lord whose is the oracle at Delphi neither reveals nor conceals his meaning, but shows it by a sign.Heraclitus
Translators can play a crucial role in this, though, by working with artists to create new translations, or even paraphrases, of ancient texts, which are both faithful to the original but also complemented by the music. There are many ways we can, and should, continue to work with ancient texts to keep them alive by making them more accessible and relevant to a wider modern audience.
Aphorisms like the sayings of Heraclitus or poems like Empedocles’ On Nature or the work of the same name by Parmenides, perhaps lend themselves to creative modern presentations like those above.
It is all one to me where I begin; for I shall come back again there.Parmenides
Another interesting opportunity for keeping Greek philosophy alive and reaching a new audience is through street art, such as the large portrait of Solon, one of the Seven Sages, found in Metaxourgeio in Athens.
Images of Greek thinkers are great but it would be nice to combine these with some of their words. There’s a backstreet in Kypseli, Athens, where artists have covered the walls with quotes from ancient Greek literature.
The Plato’s Academy Centre could, for instance, organize events to raise funds for street art projects to celebrate Greek philosophy.
Feel free to comment below if you have any suggestions for ways in which music or artwork could be used to bring Greek philosophy to a wider audience. You may also want to check out our forthcoming virtual event: Ancient Philosophy Comes Alive!