FREDERICK, Md.—A Hood College professor has published a new study on the ways 19th century scholars and politicians viewed Greco-Roman Antiquity and how this reinterpretation of the past was essential in the creation of the modern French nation-state.
Donald Wright, Ph.D., assistant professor of French and Arabic and director of Hood's Middle East studies program, has published Modern Antiquity. The book focuses on the period 1870 to 1939, known as the Third Republic, a time when France's colonial power was at its peak. He contends that the ideological concepts prominent during Greco-Roman Antiquity—the period in which Greek and Roman society flourished and wielded great influence throughout Europe, North Africa and the Middle East—helped shape the identity of the nations that dominated foreign power during that era, especially those that had been part of the Roman Empire.
The culture of the ancient Greeks prevailed throughout classical antiquity as the basis of art, philosophy, society and education ideals. Preserved and imitated by the Romans, the Greco-Roman cultural foundation has greatly influenced the language, educational systems, philosophy, science, art and architecture of the modern world.
Wright earned a diplôme d’études approfondies degree in art history and archaeology—a tertiary education degree higher than a master's degree but lower than a doctorate—and a doctoral degree from the Sorbonne in Paris. He has taught at a number of universities in France and the United States and has worked in many museums, including the Louvre. He is the author of a book on Proust and medicine, Du discours medical dans a la recherché du temps perdu, and has been invited to give lectures at various conferences in the United States, Europe and Asia.