Anya Leonard

Until you read the Classics, you simply don’t know how much of it is around you.

Sure, there are some things that have survived into popular culture, a herculean task to be sure. A few of the Olympic gods, a reference to a wooden horse, a quote about stepping into a river twice might be surmised without having had the opportunity to read and understand the originals... but this is just a simulacrum, a thin veneer of the wisdom and insight gained from the great texts.

Once the journey begins, right from the outset, classical references make themselves known. They appear suddenly, brightly, like the shapes of constellations (like understanding the myths behind the stars themselves). It’s as if you’ve put on a pair of x-ray glasses and lo and behold, everything you see has another layer, another dimension and a deeper understanding.

Sometimes, depending on the place or situation where this occurs, you won’t be surprised. You are reading great literature: Joyce, Eliot, Shakespeare or the Bible, and so of course the Classics will be infused with these wondrous works. You may be wandering the great halls of art or history museums, enjoying the mythological references or the depictions of great philosophers or statesmen of the ancient world. Perhaps you are studying psychology, the mind or any of the modern thinkers... then of course classical references are to be expected.

Other times, however, you catch a glimpse of the ancients and delight... in a store sign, a song lyric, or a T-shirt motif and you know that you understand where that image or idea came from... that the world is lit up just a little more so for that knowledge.

The classics were required learning for any educated person up until the 19th century... and so the insights from the ancient world were essential building blocks for just about every idea, philosophy, art and literature that occurred in the Western world (and many other places as well) afterwards...

Want to enjoy the Louvre? The Prado? Or the Hermitage?

Want to understand Freud? Nietzsche? Or Hegel?

Want to appreciate Henry James, John Updike or Patrick White?

Then... you really gotta know the Classics.

But this is just one of the reasons to read these works...

While there are often trends and fads in education and learning, it’s always worth remembering that the Classics are the tried and true stuff... the concepts, the texts, the philosophies that have inspired and nurtured generation after generation after generation... and they continue to inspire to this day all over the world. 

Contrary to what some may think, studying the Classics does not require previous knowledge or terms. They are fundamental as well as foundational... and when it comes to education you could literally not find a better place to start. You can begin just like the first philosophers, the pre-socratics, who, using their rational and observational skills, tried to make sense of the world around them and figure out how they should live to be good, happy people with meaningful lives.

If even just a portion of folks got only that far... then the world would already be a much better place.

But for those who go further, they are rewarded with the stories and mythology that have survived thousands of years because they are still great, still captivating, still essential. They’ll discover the histories that are more fascinating than fiction, filled with figures that at turns inspire, forewarn and kindle an interest in learning even more...

...and of course they can continue to encounter the amazing insights preserved from these ancient philosophers, mathematicians, historians, poets, leaders and more.

The Classics are an incredible toolbox, filled with resources for being a better person that can help one navigate the world, just waiting to be used and employed...

These tools are all the more powerful and rewarding because the experience of reading the classics and studying history is humbling, it gives a perspective. In an era when we can easily become mired in the exhausting nothingness of social media and popular culture, it is an opportunity to enter another world, a realm of the sublime that encourages a type of empathy for people living in another time and place.

The resources found in these ancient texts cover how to be a better friend, partner, member of the community... but they also teach critical reasoning, ways to communicate our ideas better or question what our relationship should be to the state.

It’s an eye-opening experience from the very beginning and on every level... and one of the most important aspects of the Classics is just how relevant it is in the here and now.

In fact, this is one of our main missions at Classical Wisdom - to demonstrate just how important studying these works are... and how we can apply them to our personal and societal issues. From current events to timeless philosophical inquiries, each week we address the important questions and see how the Classics can shed light.

And so I would like to invite you to join us in this endeavor. We believe we should approach history with respect, conservation as well as with a critical eye. After all, we are following in the humbling footsteps of brilliant minds who came before us who believed fervently in partaking of the “Great Conversation”. To take these ideas and discuss them together, as a community. I hope you can join us here:

Classical Wisdom is dedicated to bringing ancient wisdom to modern minds... but also to future minds. While we have been growing our Classical Wisdom community (now over 61,000 strong) for over ten years, we have recently launched our newest endeavor: Classical KIDS - with the aim to bring ancient wisdom to FUTURE minds.

We provide games, worksheets, activities and more to help reinforce and teach these critical lessons from the ancient world. Every month we delve into new historical figures and discuss their life, works and legacy... helping build a fantastic foundation in the Classics.

And we’ve recently launched our Ancient Greek Word of Week, generously provided by Eugenia Manolidou of the prestigious Athenian school Elliniki Agogi. From Logos and Idea to Philos and Astron, this has been a great way to teach children both the language and lessons of the ancient world.

In fact, as a fun way to introduce more Classics for kids, I would like to offer a free three month membership to our Classical KIDS Club.

You can redeem it here:

I hope you can join us and discover more of the wonders of the ancient world for both yourself and the kiddos in your life... It's a wonderful journey.


All the best,

Anya Leonard

Founder and Director
Classical Wisdom