Scholars' Association News
Issue 42
June 2017

04/05


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The Presidents of Greece and Italy at the Onassis Library

H.E. the President of the Hellenic Republic, Prokopis Pavlopoulos, and the H.E. the President of the Italian Republic, Sergio Mattarella, visited the Onassis Library on 18 January 2017 as part of the Italian President's State Visit to Greece. The Onassis Library was one of the most important cultural venues in Greece which the Italian President expressed a wish in visiting during his stay here.

The two leaders were greeted by Antonis Papadimitriou, President of the Onassis Foundation, accompanied by Marianna Moschou, Secretary of the Onassis Foundation's Board, and Afroditi Panagiotakou, the Onassis Foundation's Director of Communications.

"We are particularly honored to welcome you to the Onassis Foundation's library, which is living proof of the deep-seated cultural ties between Greece and Italy. Your decision to visit the Onassis Library -an open and accessible library- stresses the importance of its historical and intellectual import. Today El Greco and Theophilos Poulakis from Venetian-occupied Crete, whose works adorn the Library's walls, the publications of Italian intellectuals from the Renaissance and nearby Hadrian's Arch demonstrate the historical continuity of the ties between us," said Antonis Papadimitriou welcoming both leaders. He finished his speech with the words of the general, emperor and humanist Marcus Aurelius: "“Πεποίηκά τι κοινωνικῶς; οὐκοῦν ώφέλημαι”, which translates as: "I must do something for society as a whole". The Onassis Foundation thanks you for being here; your presence encourages us to cultivate our shared, humanistic heritage, which also happens to be the basis of a United Europe".

For his part H.E. the President of the Hellenic Republic, Prokopis Pavlopoulos, thanked the Onassis Library for its hospitality and commented on the words of Antonis Papadimitriou, pointing out that this phrase from Marcus Aurelius is "one of the most concisely put manifestations of the notion of public interest".

In his own speech, Sergio Mattarella, President of the Republic of Italy, stated that, "I too would like to thank you for your hospitality, and to thank H.E. the President of the Hellenic Republic, Prokopis Pavlopoulos, who accompanied me on this tour of the Onassis Library; a library whose cultural contribution is particularly important. We know that relations between Greece and Italy were also close on many levels - on the political, economic, tourist and above all on the cultural level. Culture has always united us, and will continue to unite us in the future".

The two Presidents were then taken on a tour of the Library by the architect, book historian and scientific advisor of the Onassis Library Konstantinos Staikos, visiting the "Humanism - Renaissance" Section. He presented original works and old editions of works of Greek literature and their Latin translations. They are books printed exclusively in Italy - in Rome, Milan, Venice and Florence- revealing the close intellectual ties cultivated by Greek and Italian scholars and their exclusive purpose is to showcase the achievements of the ancient Greek and Roman spirit.

Among other things, the Presidents of Greece and Italy had the chance to see up close the first edition of The Complete Works of Homer (Florence, 1482‒1483), the Anthology of Maximus Planoudes (published by Ianus Lascares, financed by Pietro di Medici, Florence, 1494), Hymni and Epigrammata by Michael Maroullos-Tarchaniotes (Florence, 1497) and the Etymologicum Magnum, which is the first book printed by the very first Greek-owned printing press in Venice (Zacharias Kallierges - Nikolaos Vlastos, 1499).

H.E. the President of the Republic of Italy was accompanied by the Italian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Vincenzo Amendola, and the Italian Ambassador to Athens, Luigi Efisio Marras.


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