After a little while, it is time for a new interview! This week it is featuring Jesús de la Villa, Professor at Universidad Autónoma de Madrid and Vice-President of the new FIEC Board:
1. What is your current position at Universidad Autónoma de Madrid?
Professor of Ancient Greek Linguistics and Literature
2. What does your research focus on?
Syntax and semantics of Ancient Greek; secondarily, also, on Latin syntax and semantics.
3. What made you study the ancient world?
My interest in the Ancient world started already at the secondary school. The initial learning of Ancient Greek and Latin directed my attention towards the literature written in these two languages and, later on, to their culture and history. Finally, already at the university, I went back to the languages themselves trying to understand their structures and evolution.
4. What is your job as Vice-President of the FIEC board?
Naturally, I take part in all the deliberations and decisions of the board. More particularly, I am charged with the relationships with other scientific associations through the Conseil International de la Philosophie et des Sciences Humaines, one of the consultive committees of UNESCO. I am also personally involved in the support and development of the studies on the Graeco-Roman world in Southern Europe and Latin America.
5. One of the main objectives of FIEC is to foster cooperation among classical scholars! Where do you see the future for classicists in that regard?
Classical scholars have always been among the most internationally connected academic communities within the field of human sciences. It is so because our main interest is not exclusively focused on national subjects, but on the characteristics and actual pervivence of one of the most important phenomena in Human history: the great achievements of Ancient Greeks and Romans in fields such as literature, philosophy, science, politics, art etc. In this regard, modern national limits or borders have not any sense. Any advance of our knowledge of the Graeco-Roman civilization all over the world is important for all us. That is why the classicists already form a closely connected community and the future evolution of our fields will, with all security, go in the same direction.
6. Another very important objective is to point out the relevance of classical studies to governmental authorities. What do you consider to be the biggest challenges as well as opportunities for classics?
The most important challenge is to preserve and, even, enlarge the presence of the study of the Ancient world in education and in the research programs funded by public and private institutions. The survivance of our studies basically depends on the possibility of presenting and transmiting the languages and cultures of Greece and Rome to young students and, later on, to offer possibilities of formation and research to students and scholars at universities and other educational and scientific centres. For that, it is necessary to bring to the authorities to the convincement that the knowledge of the Ancient world offer wide spaces of personal and collective progress. And this, not only as past models of historical phenomena, but also as clues to the better understanding of our actual world. In many aspects, what we are nowadays, in the global society, has its roots and its justification in the world of Greeks and Romans, not only in Europe or what has been traditionally called the Western culture, but also among the rest of the world. In that sense, our main aim must be to make this evident to the authorities and, even more important, to the whole society. And, of course, this must be made with absolute respect to other cultures and traditions, looking for the common aspects and developements of human beings around the world, but also reclaiming for the Classical world the fundamental role that has had and still has in our present and culturally complex global society.