The International Festival of Latin and Greek (IFLG)
The next INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF LATIN AND (ANCIENT) GREEK
“The Exploration of the Universe : Tourism, War, Science”
FRANCE : 4-6 April 2008, NANTES
Tourism: Ulysses, Herodotus and Xenophon were probably the first “tourists” (and reporters), exploring the world to learn more about what is to be human. And in Roman times, there was a defense of Leisure (Otium), a very modern concept of our today life ! Nowadays, you can earn a degree in “Tourism and Heritage” at university.
War: What is the definition of an enemy, the conception of the barbarian ? How would you define the (Last) Frontier ?
The Greeks (Achilleus with Priam in Homer’s Iliad, for example) invented the concepts of human rights and compassion, even pacifism. Greek and Roman law protected the weak and the poor.
Science and Technology : Where were all of these concepts invented: Technology, Philosophy, Science, Perspective, Science Fiction (Lucien and the Exploration of the Moon), Conquest and Utopia?…inherited from Greece and Rome!
And beyond ...
FUTURE THEMES :
- OUR MODERN MYTHS : Oedipus, Prometheus, Narcissus, Pandora …
- JOY AND LAUGHTER
- THE WESTERN WORLD AND THE GREEK AND LATIN CHURCHES
- ALEXANDRIA : AT THE CROSSROAD OF THREE INFLUENCES
- BYZANTIUM AND THE LIMITS OF THE BRAVE ANCIENT WORLD
Can you guess who wrote this:
“I am appalled, even horrified, that you have adopted Classics as a Major. As a matter of fact, I almost puked on the way home today…I think you are rapidly becoming a jackass, and the sooner you get out of that filthy atmosphere, the better it will suit me.”
This is in a letter written to Ted Turner in 1958 when he was a classics major at Brown University. The author is Turner’s father! Turner continued with his studies, regardless, and now appears on the website of the National Committee for Latin and Greek (http://www.promotelatin.org/) along with many other now-famous classics majors, including J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter novels.
So let’s not make Ted’s father’s mistake! The Classics still apply richly today. That is what our Festival is all about.
The first International Festival of Latin and Greek (IFLG) was held in March 2005 in a little village in France called “the city of books”. With 14 bookstores for just 700 inhabitants, Becherel suddenly filled with classical enthusiasts: music, poetry, drama and recitals added to the lively verbal discussions. The next year, the event doubled in size and expanded outside France.
In 2007, the French version of the Festival moved to Nantes to accommodate the crowds. It continues to celebrate the myriad ways that Greek and Latin concepts help us understand who we are and how the world works.
This is not a stuffy gathering exclusive to Greek and Latin scholars. Most of the activities are in the language of the host country. And the disciplines range widely, as do the ages of the participants.
Among the recent events:
- Theatre from Sophocles’ Antigone to The Assembly of Women by Aristophanes and The Persians by Aeschylus. Then also modern plays by the likes of Goethe, Giraudoux and Steven Berkoff on classical subjects such as Oedipus, Iphigenia and Electra.
- Amusing spin-offs: Sing-alongs of John Lennon and Elvis Presley in Latin; the poetry of Sappho set to guitar; and mimes of Ovid’s Metamorphosis. Last year there was a contest for the best cartoon voices (balloons) added to the Greek Vase paintings.
- Films with classical themes: Hercules, the Trojan War, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings.
- Videos & Live lectures by historians, novelists, lawyers, doctors and politicians, all inspired by the arts of the Rhetoricists and Sophists.
- Round Table discussions on love, war, women and science, and how the classical concepts apply today.
- Readings from some of the more “shocking” old texts: Juvenal on women, Apuleius as an inspiration for Harry Potter, Lucien, as the foundation of Isaac Asimov’s work, where Steven Saylor found ideas for his mystery thrillers, and Margaret Doody’s Detective Aristotle.
- Dance of the Antiquities, inspiration for Isadora Duncan. Banquets in the Greek and Roman styles (with recipes). Archeological Fashion Shows. Art of the Perfumes. Tasting of Ancient Wines.
Our International Partnerships
Each year, other countries participate with representative troops, authors, films or professors. The following year, we bring events to their country. In some cases, we can give distance to the passions of a modern event. For example, it is easier to speak of Persia (Iran) from the perspective of Thucydides and Aeschylus. Egypt could be better understood by reading Herodotus. Cicero helps with concepts of the law. All the modern issues: human rights, women’s liberation, technology, advertising, ecology and even citizenship have their roots in classical times as well.
Here are some of our International Exchanges:
2005: “Thrillers, Songs and Comics of Antic Inspiration.” From Germany, Graf von Rothenburg came to explain his Latin translation of 23 Asterix’s comic books, worldwide best sellers in nearly every language.
2006: “Love, Music and Dance”. In partnership with the Karolyi Foundation (Hungary), the pupils of an Hungarian high school performed Plautus’ Mostellaria; Finland sent Dr. Ammondt who sang Elvis Presley in Latin; Greek actress, Anastassia Politi interpreted Sappho’s poetry. In return, Rimini (Italy) invited us to present some of our Festival at their Festivale del Mondo Antico
2007: “Women, Children, Games”. France sent Parisian High School students to the archeological site of Gorsium (Hungary), to present Le Procès d’Hélène, which they have conceived with an anthology of antic texts (Homer, Ovide, etc.)
Our Festival in Nantes featured a troop from Coimbra University of Portugal playing The Parliament of Women by Aristophanes.Belgium sent an archeologist with an Exhibition on Ancient Games reconstitutions (that we could play) from Egypt, Greece and Rome.
2008 : “The Exploration of the Universe: Tourism, War & Science” (4-6 April 2008) We will be part featured at the Theater Festival of Coimbra (Portugal) in July. For our Festival, we have invited a German group singing Hip Hop in Latin, as well as maybe the translator of Harry Potter in Latin or in Ancient Greek.
Who Will Enjoy Our Festival?
- Young people, 13 and above, interested in learning serious subjects in an entertaining way
- Teachers and professionals of all disciplines Humanities, Literature, History, Languages, Geography, History of Art, Information Technology, Biology, Physics, Medicine, Botanics (Latin is their Universal language), Law, Astronomy, Psychology, Advertising (with the Myths), Music, Film producers, the Tourist Industry…
- Others interested in the classical subjects.
You need not be familiar with Greek and Latin, just happy to meet interesting people for the fun of exploring our common classical psyche!