Hellenic Studies Minor | University of Portland

Hellenic Studies Minor

This interdisciplinary minor enables the student to explore various dimensions of ancient Greek thought and culture in order to foster a greater understanding of the student's relationship to the cultural heritage of the Western world. Greek history and culture is important because it is the cornerstone of Western liberal arts education. Perhaps the most fundamental reason for this can be found in the inscription "Γνωθι σαυτœåν," "Know thyself." This was written in the forecourt of the temple dedicated to Apollo, in perhaps one of the holiest sites in the Greek world - Delphi. This idea, so central to the Ancient Greek conception of wisdom, was also crucial in their conception of the good life. Knowing who you are, and especially your cultural and historical roots, provides you with a foundation for meaning and stability in everyday life, and this has become increasingly difficult to attain in a world that has become increasingly unsettled and disconnected. In such a world, understanding one's roots provides a tether that keeps one grounded and nourished in one's cultural heritage. And there is no doubt that one important tether of Western Civilization reaches back to the Greeks.