Increase Your Brain Power with Classics
An absolutely great way to increase your
capability and expand your cultural literacy is to read and learn about
As a big believer in each of us
developing our intellectual capabilities, I believe there is nothing
like classical studies to broaden your knowledge base and
your understanding of the world we live in.
Classics, or Classical Studies, deals with the literature, art, history, philosophy, and cultures of
ancient Greece and Rome.
Why the Classics? How could reading about classics possibly be
of practical use in increasing brain power?
Of course, I'm not advocating enrolling in an intense
university program in Greek and Latin. I'm suggesting instead, that you
consider incorporating more classical reading in your routine and
- Because it's fun and entertaining and provides a basis for
the enjoyment of many movies, comic book heroes and video games that
contain references to classical history and mythology e.g. Troy,
Gladiator, O Brother Where Art Thou (movies), Hercules, The Fantastic
Four (comic book heroes), and God of War (Playstation2), to name a few.
- It feeds the imagination if you want to be a writer (or
aspiring blogger). J.K. Rowling author of the Harry Potter books
studied Classics and uses much classical terminology and references in
her books. The first Harry Potter book has been translated into both
Latin and ancient Greek.
- It enriches and broadens our understanding of western
culture, history and literature giving us an appreciation for where our
language and customs originated, as well as a sense of connection to
- It helps us understand the human condition and ourselves.
For instance, Greek mythology was then, and serves today as a study in
human nature, the dynamics of the human mind, human behavior, and the
forces that drive us. We learn about jealousy, love, grief, narcissism,
good and evil. It's fast tracking for Life 101.
- The skills and knowledge acquired through the study of
Classics are highly transferable to other areas. For example, the
ability to deal with precise details, to express yourself, problem
solve, think critically and manage your
life are all honed and sharpened by having studied Classics.
- So much of our medical and scientific terminology is rooted
in Classics that learning about the Greeks and Romans can facilitate
the study of anatomy, astronomy and physics. Many of our modern
sciences have Greek names because the ancient Greeks either invented
them or made significant contributions to them.
- Becoming familiar with classical literature gives us perspective and an understanding
of European and English literary genres and their evolution. The
Greco-Roman influence has had such an enduring effect on every aspect
of Western culture including languages, history, philosophy, literature, science, technology
Interesting facts about Classics and Classical Studies:
✔ The first written record of Greece and the oldest form of Greek
literature is Homer's Iliad (circa
1000- 900 B.C.)
✔ A book of maps gets its name from Atlas, the Titan who
supported the heavens on his shoulders.
✔ The point of vulnerability is an Achilles' heel, because the
mythological warrior Achilles had been
magically protected in all but that part of his body.
✔ Our calendar goes back to the ancient Romans and
the 7-day-week was introduced by the ancient
✔ The statue of Abraham Lincoln in the Lincoln Memorial in
Washington D.C. was inspired by the
statue of the Olympian Zeus by the Greek sculptor
Pheidias. The designs on Lincoln's armrests are a Roman symbol
for justice and republican government.
✔ Law schools report that their top students come from math,
the Classics, and literature
rather than from political science, economics and legal studies as
one might expect.
✔ David W. Packard of Hewlett-Packard was a former professor
of Greek and Latin, and Chris
Martin from the band Coldplay studied
E.D. Hirsch Jr. who is well known for coining the phrase 'cultural literacy' and for his
theories on education states that:
"As a consequence of the
fact that we
learn most easily when we attach the new to the old, people who already
know a lot tend to learn new things faster and more easily than people
who do not know very much."
In other words, the more knowledge and background we have of
our world and its evolution in language, history, arts and sciences, as
presented in Classics, the better a foundation we have for learning new
and current information.
What better way to cultivate and preserve our brainpower?
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