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Our Debt to Antiquity



The eight lectures compiled here were given in St. Petersburg at the turn of the 20th century by a man of the East who was an expert on the Classical West. Combining vigorous advocacy for classical education with a comprehensive overview of its relevance to the modern world, Our Debt to Antiquity is a brisk defense of high intellectual aspiration. The author uses numerous examples from Latin and Greek to unlock the riches of Antiquity, which are primarily useful in helping expand our ‘ways of seeing’ and attaining the mental freedom to change our minds. Dismissing the fashions and moods of men, his theme is the hidden causes by which individuals and groups are able to learn and evolve. He sweeps away all appeals to modern trends without ever becoming precious or reactionary. Anyone who has ever argued for an unpopular cause will recognise the skill and delicacy with which Tadeusz Zielinski works.

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Author Description

Born to a Polish family living in the Kiev region, Zielinski was trained in Classical Philology in Germany and Austria. He established his professional reputation at the University of Saint Petersburg, then taught in Poland following the Great War. During the Siege of Warsaw in 1939 his apartment and possessions were destroyed and he was forced to flee to Germany, where he later died. During his lifetime Zielinski published widely on a variety of Classical topics, including philology, literature, religion and theatre and was involved in ‘recreating’ a Greek-style theatre in Saint Petersburg. Our Debt to Antiquity is one of only a handful of his works that have been translated into English.