2021 Leventis Conference

The 12th biennial Leventis Conference (18–21 November 2021) explores ‘The Greek Revolution of 1821: Contexts, Scottish Connections, the Classical Tradition’.

HCA Leventis logo

With generous support from the A. G. Leventis Foundation and as part of Protovoulia 1821–2021 (‘Initiative 1821–2021’), the School of History, Classics and Archaeology is delighted to host a conference on ‘The Greek Revolution of 1821: Contexts, Scottish Connections, the Classical Tradition’.

The revolution of the Greek-speaking, Orthodox Christian subjects of the Ottoman empire in 1821 was accompanied by declarations of national independence inspired by the recent revolutions in the Americas and France. The Greek Revolution was the first of its kind to be successful on European soil, and led to international recognition for Greece as an independent, sovereign state in 1830. In this way, the story of Greece as a modern nation-state begins, and also a new chapter in the history of our continent, as the era of multi-national empires slowly gave way, over the next two centuries, to an era dominated by the self-determination of nation-states.

HCA Protovoulia logo

In the year that marks the bicentenary of the start of that revolution, events are taking place around the world and in the UK to commemorate this turning-point in a history that can be traced back through three and a half millennia.

This conference, held under the auspices of the A. G. Leventis Visiting Professorship in Greek, and forming part of Edinburgh’s biennial series of international conferences on Hellenic studies, will bring together scholars from around the world and a range of academic disciplines to re-assess the nature and significance of the Greek Revolution from the perspective of the twenty-first century and of a city and a nation that geographically lie at the opposite end of Europe from Greece, and have often been compared, namely Edinburgh (the ‘Athens of the North’) and Scotland.

In keeping with the broad remit of the Leventis series of conferences at Edinburgh, speakers are encouraged to assess the role of the ancient and Byzantine Greek past in the causes, ideology, and reception of the 1821 revolution. The conference will also highlight Scottish connections to Greece, both ancient and modern, and specifically the Greek past as an inspiration for the Scottish Enlightenment and in the architectural planning of Edinburgh’s ‘New Town’.

The conference will be organised around three main themes:

  1. Contexts: Events in Greece and the Ottoman Empire in the run-up to the Revolution; western Philhellenism; Russian plans to renew the Byzantine empire; impact of the French Revolution; events of the revolution; beginnings of the modern Greek state; political contexts (European, Near and Middle Eastern); contemporary historiography/assessments of Greece and the revolution, etc.
  2. Scottish Connections: e.g. Thomas Gordon; George Finlay, Edward Masson; the Parthenon project on Calton Hill starting in 1822 and its connection to the ‘Elgin Marbles’ etc.
  3. The Classical Tradition: repercussions in and impact on classical philology and archaeology, art and architecture.

The 2021 Leventis Conference is organised by the twelfth A. G. Leventis Professor of Greek, Professor Roderick Beaton, FBA, with local assistance from Professor Niels Gaul.

Confirmed speakers include Thomas Ahnert (Edinburgh), Iain Gordon Brown (NLS), Julia Chatzipanagioti-Sangmeister (University of Cyprus), Richard Clogg (Oxford), Ioannis Evrigenis (Tufts), Lucien Frary (Rider University), Alasdair Grant (Edinburgh), Constanze Güthenke (Oxford), Paschalis Kitromilides (Athens), Vassiliki Kolocotroni (Glasgow), Sanja Perović (KCL), Alexia Petsalis-Diomidis (St Andrews), Christine Philliou (Berkeley), Gonda Van Steen (KCL), Nassia Yakovaki (Athens), Matteo Zaccarini (Edinburgh), Simon Zenios (UCLA).

The conference will be accompanied by a major exhibition in the University Library, 'Edina/Athena: The Greek Revolution and the Athens of the North, 1821–2021' from 29 October 2021 to 29 January 2022, and other events.

Programme and registration details to follow.