The roots of symposia


Susan Bird posts about the origins of the word "symposium," and how far we've gotten from its original meaning. From her post:

    In a museum of Etruscan artifacts in Cortona, Italy, I was struck by an exhibit that explained the word symposium comes from the Etruscan practice (we’re talking 7th Century, BC here) of gathering people to have a conversation about something important. It gave testimony, said the exhibit, to the need for a leader to reinforce the community of consensus on an issue, critical to the retention of the leader’s power.

Does that sound anything like any seminar you've been to recently? Should it? I believe it still should be a conversation (not a lecture, a conversation) about something important, but not necessarily something to bolster a leader's power. It's interesting to ponder on this hot, hot afternoon, anyway.

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