BBC Classics Prof. Bettany Hughes on Athenian Democracy, Socrates,& the Goddess Aphrodite

Apr 8, 2021 by

BBC Classics Prof. Bettany Hughes on Athenian Democracy, Socrates,& the Goddess Aphrodite With Cara Candal & Gerard Robinson  This week on “The Learning Curve,” Gerard and Cara talk with Professor Bettany Hughes, award-winning historian, BBC broadcaster, and author of the best-selling books Helen of Troy: Goddess, Princess, Whore; The Hemlock Cup: Socrates, Athens, and the Search for the Good Life; and Venus and Aphrodite: History of a Goddess. Prof. Hughes shares insights from her most recent book about the ancient deity known as Venus to Romans and Aphrodite to the Greeks, and her impact on our understanding of the mythology and history of beauty, romance, and passion. She discusses Aphrodite’s mythical role in sparking the Trojan War, portrayals of her across Western culture, and enduring lessons. They then turn to the ancient Greeks’ contributions to the foundations of Western philosophy, poetry, and government, and why studying classics, including figures like Socrates, is vital for education in the 21st century. And they explore the timeless wisdom and cautionary lessons all of us can draw from studying ancient Athenian democracy, Sparta, and the civic life of Greek city-states, the West’s earliest models of self-government. She concludes with a reading from her book, Venus and Aphrodite.  Stories of the Week: West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice signed the Hope Scholarship bill, providing publicly funded education savings accounts for public school students who enroll in private or home school. Heritage Foundation’s Lindsey Burke writes about a controversial new ethnic studies curriculum for K-12 students, adopted by the California State Board of Education.   Listen Now! The next episode will air on Wednesday, April 14th, 2021 at 12 pm ET with guest Jay Mathews, education columnist for The Washington Post and author of the recent book, An Optimist’s Guide to American Public Education.  Interview Guest:Professor Bettany Hughes is an award-winning historian, author, and broadcaster, who has devoted the last 25 years to the vibrant communication of the past. Her speciality is ancient and mediaeval history and culture. Her first book, Helen of Troy: Goddess, Princess, Whore has been translated into ten languages. Her second, The Hemlock Cup: Socrates, Athens, and the Search for the Good Life was a New York Times bestseller and was shortlisted for the Writer’s Guild Award. Her third, Istanbul – A Tale of Three Cities was shortlisted for the Runciman Award, was a Sunday Times bestseller, and been translated into twelve languages. Her most recent book is Venus and Aphrodite: History of a Goddess – currently shortlisted for The Runciman Prize. Hughes has written and presented over 50 TV and radio documentaries for the BBC, Channel 4, Netflix, Discovery, PBS, The History Channel, National Geographic, BBC World, ITV, and her programmes have now been seen by over 500 million worldwide. She was named as one of the BBC’s 100 Global Women, and as a commentator she is asked to contribute to The New York TimesThe GuardianThe TimesThe Sunday TimesProspect Magazine, and The New Statesman. In 2017, she was chosen as one of London’s 20 most influential cultural people by the Evening Standard in their 1000 awards. In 2019, Bettany became Chair of the Man Booker International Prize for Fiction, and was awarded an Order of the British Empire for services to history. In 2020, she was given Europe’s prestigious Cultural Heritage Award – the first ever woman to receive this honour.    “The Learning Curve” airs on Wednesdays at 12 pm ET each week. Listeners can findThe Learning CurveoniTunes (Apple Podcasts), Stitcher, Spotify, and the Choice Media mobile app. They can also find it online atRicochetandPioneer Institute.   “The Learning Curve” Co-Hosts: Gerard Robinson is the Vice President for Education at the Advanced Studies in Culture Foundation (ASCF) in Charlottesville, Virginia. ASCF uses basic and applied research to educate the public and key societal leadership groups about the nature and challenges of late-modern society and conducts inquiry into humane and democratic responses to these challenges. Previously, he was Executive Director of the Center for Advancing Opportunity, in Washington, D.C. Robinson is a fellow with AEI, and was Commissioner of Education in Florida and Secretary of Education in Virginia. Gerard tweets at @gerard_924.
 Cara Stillings Candal, Ed.D., serves as Director of Educational Opportunity, focusing on private school choice, for ExcelinEd. Cara has spent the last 10 years working in education policy as a Senior Fellow with both Pioneer Institute and the Center for Education Reform. She was also a founding team member of the National Academy of Advanced Teacher Education (NAATE) and a research assistant professor at Boston University in the Department of Educational Leadership and Development. Cara has authored/edited more than 25 papers and three books on education policy. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from Indiana University, a Masters of Arts in Social Science from the University of Chicago and a Doctorate of Education from Boston University. Cara is the author most recently of Pioneer Institute’s book, The Fight for the Best Charter Public Schools in the Nation.
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