American students need access to curated Classical contextualization. The Torah, Homer’s epics, Persian bureaucracy, Caesar’s conquests, Sumerian deities, Sappho’s poetry, Silk Road exchanges: this stuff still shapes and reshapes the American cultural landscape. Students need Classical material presented to them with regularity and accountability, as a way for success in careers, higher education, and cultural awareness.
The Classics haunt the halls of our best schools and the desks of our star pupils. It’s always hard to draw boundaries (and that’s a good thing), so simply put: American students need to know what people were up to in and around the Roman-oriented world from 800 BCE to 800 CE to fully appreciate their slice of the modern world. Without understanding Ancient Rome, Ancient Greece, and Ancient Israel, American students lack vital awareness. This isn’t to say that the Classical world was good, just that it remains uniquely influential in an American context.
The Kadmos Consortium seeks to examine this issue, starting with how Classical elements relevant to modern American education are presented in popular discourse. Topics of interest include Latin studies (especially among American primary and secondary students), Biblical literacy (without zealotry), Classical reception in modern pop culture, etc.
The name of this little venture comes from the myth of Cadmus. The Judeo-Hellenic world (or Greco-Roman, or Classical, or whatever terminology you prefer) acknowledged its debt to and relationship with older societies: Canaan, Mesopotamia, & Persia in the Near East, Egypt and Nubia in the Nile River Valley, etc. It seemed fitting to give proper credit to the larger world of the ancients in the same way Rome, Greece, and Israel did.