Welcome Address from Efimia Karakantza
It is my great pleasure to address these few welcoming words to the visitors of this website. Jocasta is the product of a long process, the beginning of which is not traceable only to its ‘official moment of birth’.
I cannot recall with great certainty when my interest in Classical Reception started, but I remember vividly that, even in the first steps of my academic career, I was anxious to answer my students (and myself primarily) the questions: ‘Why do Classics matter?’ and “Why is Classical Antiquity everywhere around us?’ The snapshot on this slider is a case in point; it was taken during my recent trip to Copenhagen, and it depicts the Church of our Lady, the Cathedral of the city, designed by the architect Christian Frederik Hansen in neoclassical style, and completed in 1829. In order for my answers to be convincing to the new generation of scholars without resorting to stereotypes of ‘eternal humanistic truths’ and (for the Greek students) ‘of nationalistic pride’, I decided to immerse myself into theory in order to understand how Greece was re-invented and, consequently, to rid myself of the new stereotypes that modernity imposed on it. I also found myself resorting to the Greek texts whenever a crisis occurred; to talk about the hecatombs of the refugees in the Mediterranean Sea last May I turn to the supplication of Priam to Achilles in the Iliad. To understand how the public self and human agency are constructed (issues of primal importance to contemporary societies), I turn to Oedipus Tyrannus, Antigone, and Ajax, at the very core of which the notion of the human is renegotiated.
Thus far I have described the long gestation that led to launching my class on the Reception of Ancient Greek Drama (2014) and the Jocasta project (2015). Their ‘birth moment’ is when my (currently PhD) student, Efstathia Athanasopoulou came back from UCL holding a Master’s degree in the Reception of the Classical World. Her expertise, but mainly her enthusiasm and determination have been the most important factors in the conceptualisation and implementation of this multilateral project. Around us gathered an energetic group of students, who, with more enthusiasm and fresh ideas, have become the driving force in the making of Jocasta. I would like to extend my warmest gratitude to them. Last, but not least, my gratitude goes to the seven hard-working people – Alexandros Velaoras, Marietta Kotsafti, Andreas Filippopoulos, Gesthimani Seferiadi, Crysanthi Militsopoulou, Dimitra Athanasopoulou, and Aspasia Balta – who have spent months brainstorming, designing, skyping, writing, editing, and collecting material, while preserving their (and our) sanity. Special thanks are also due to George Lekatsas, the IT Administrator of our University, for his continual support. Without the people, Jocasta would not have been born.