March 27, 2012
The 2012 Phi Beta Kappa lecture will be delivered at Hampden-Sydney College by Dr. James A. Arieti, Thompson Professor of Classics, on Tuesday, April 3. The lecture, entitled "Victory's Tears: Why the Ancients Thought Winning Harms the Winners," is free and open to the public.
The ancients were the first to notice that things might be the opposite of what they seem and that apparent good might actually have bad effects and vice versa. Thus from good fortune might come folly; from suffering might come wisdom. Belonging to this class of things, apparently good but actually evil, according to the classical poets, philosophers, and historians, is victory in war. Victory is harmful, they said, and the harm for the victors comes whether the victors appear kindhearted or cruel, whether they sack, kill, and enslave the defeated enemies, or whether they rebuild their infrastructure and economies. Arieti will discuss the motives for war in antiquity, the goals, the unhappy consequences of victory, and the abiding lessons the ancients discovered.
Arieti (B.A., Grinnell College; PhD, Stanford University) has taught at Hampden-Sydney College since 1978. His writings include eleven books and numerous articles on many subjects that cover ideas and literature central to the West: the Bible and its translations to Greek athletics, Greek Tragedy, Cicero, ancient medicine, Plato, Herodotus, Homer, Dante, Horace, Livy, Machiavelli, Shakespeare, the reconciliation of science and religion, and Shakespeare.
Sponsored by Phi Beta Kappa Arieti's talk will begin at 7:30 PM in Crawley Forum.