FIEC resolution towards supporting the registration of Ancient Greek and Latin in the UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural Heritage
(approved by the FIEC General Assembly of Delegates, London July 4th, 2019)
The International Federation of Associations of Classical Studies (FIEC) supports the registration of Ancient Greek and Latin in the UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural Heritage. Those two languages have had a deep impact on the Mediterranean area (in a wide sense) over several millenia; this impact is still to be felt very strongly today, not only in that area, but also in the world at large.
Ancient Greek was the main language spoken and written in Archaic and Classical Greece, as well as in the whole Eastern Mediterranean from the Hellenistic period till the end of the Byzantine period. In contact with other languages (notably Semitic languages and Latin), it has gradually evolved without changing its basic structure, to become Modern Greek. Latin started in the Italic peninsula and, as Roman power extended over the centuries, has spread to most areas of present-day Europe, where it evolved to produce the Romance languages. Through the process of colonization, Latin has also spread to other parts of the world, notably the Americas.
Ancient Greek and Latin were used by authors who wrote many texts that are considered as fundamental by people of numerous countries around the world. They constitute the origin of many forms of literature through more than two millennia, and they still have a considerable impact on today’s literature.
Although Ancient Greek and Latin are no longer in use in modern daily life, the understanding of those languages is maintained in schools and universities everywhere. This knowledge must be preserved and deserves the active support of governments and of their teaching institutions.