"Democracy, Liberty and Expertise in ancient Greece" —June event

Key information

  • Date and time: June 30, 2022, 7pm-8:00pm
  • Location: Online
  • Organized by: CHS Greece
  • Open to: All
  • Language: English
  • Speaker: Mark Schiefsky (C. Lois P. Grove Professor of the Classics at Harvard University and Director of the Center for Hellenic Studies, Harvard University)

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Information on the topic of the event and the speaker

Synopsis of the talk "Democracy, Liberty, and Expertise in ancient Greece"

For almost two centuries —roughly, the whole of the 5th and 4th centuries BC— ancient Athens was a democracy, in which all adult male citizens shared in duties such as jury service, the holding of offices, and political decision-making. The chief benefit that this system promised its adherents was liberty (eleutheria). But what did it mean to be free in ancient Athens? In the first part of my talk, I will offer an answer to this question and consider some key differences between ancient and modern conceptions of liberty. Next, I will consider a particular challenge that the Athenian democracy faced: the need to integrate expert knowledge into egalitarian decision-making processes. Finally, I will suggest some ways in which reflecting on the Athenian experience may help to address the challenges facing democracies today.

Democracy, Liberty, and Expertise in ancient Greece / Poster with the event's info featuring a few grey and blue tiles against a white background.

Mark Schiefsky's short bio

Mark J. Schiefsky is the C. Lois P. Grove Professor of the Classics at Harvard University and the Director of Harvard's Center for Hellenic Studies. His research centers on the history of philosophy and science in the ancient Greco-Roman world and its transmission and reception in later periods. He is the author of a study of the Hippocratic treatise On Ancient Medicine and a number of articles on ancient philosophy and science. He has also worked extensively in the field of digital humanities, serving as principal investigator on research projects supported by the National Science Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

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