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History and Classical Societies

History and Classical Societies: Prof David Purdie on civilisation

A resplendent Professor Purdie (, dressed in a mustard yellow waist coat and purple and green bow tie gave an interesting, insightful and somewhat eclectic talk to history and classical societies. He began with a brief image of the damaging effects of Osteoporosis (he is an esteemed doctor) which led into a point about the importance, ingenuity and fallibility of humankind. This became his loose theme as he profiled, in turn, the great figures and pioneers of three great cities (Athens, Florence and Rome) and how their contributions to the humanities and sciences (often in opposition to the establishment – mainly the church) had facilitated such monumental advances in civilisation. We enjoyed brief sketches of Pericles, Socrates and Plato, of Galileo, Da Vinci and Raphael, of Burns, Hume and Smith amongst many others. He then finished with a return to his initial theme: humankind and their role, importance, past and future.

It was an unusual evening, given the range of topics covered. Personally I found its variety somewhat refreshing (given the normal form is to have someone talking alot about just a narrow subject) and as MJA said, it made one feel that humans were in fact rather important. A remarkably intelligent and quirky chap, Professor Purdie is an intellectual in many fields and provided a breath of fresh air to Election Hall.

Henry Vane (TEJN)

DATE POSTED: 12 January 2009

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