The ancient civilizations of Greece and Rome witnessed the birth of democracy and, to some extent, of representative government. The famous Greek and Roman philosophers such as Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Cicero and Seneca greatly influenced thought and the advancement of ideas. They made enduring contributions, for instance to the role of ethics in modern life.
Euclid’s rules of geometry and the theory of right triangles, ascribed to Pythagoras, propelled mathematics forward reaching far into modern science. Hippocrates, the greatest Greek physician of the 5th - 4th century B.C.E., professionalized the field of medicine. The Hippocratic Oath, a code of ethics has been used and adopted to modern versions that suit the profession in the 21st century.
The great literary works ascribed to Homer, the Iliad and the Odyssey, have been read ever since their creation in classical Greece , more than two-and-a-half millennia ago. They are studied and interpreted for their significance and influence on ancient and modern society.
The legal systems, social practices and military strategies of ancient Rome have significance for modern day business, politics and academia. Modern generals study the campaigns ancient commanders such as Alexander and Julius Caesar, while historians investigate the comparative development of the Roman Republic and of modern states.
Studying the classics not only broadens perspectives, but provides a link to the ancient history of humankind and ensures that this heritage is not lost.
The 2013 Dan David Prize for the Past Time Dimension will be awarded to an outstanding classicist whose work has greatly advanced our knowledge of the ancient world shedding light on the significance and influence for modern times.