Eternal youth of the classics

Professor Elżbieta Wesołowska is both a classicist and a mathematician. She works in Classical Philology Institute of Adam Mickiewicz University.

Among her main scientific interests are Senecan tragedies in many aspects and the reception of the Antiquity in the modern culture.

She has translated a few of Seneca’s tragedies and Ovid’s poems into Polish.

Why did has classical philology won with mathematics? Don’t you regret it?  

I love my profession, but sometimes I wonder if I’m fully a classical philologist.

I long for mathematics from time to time, though. I ease this longing through teaching maths to children in my neighbourhood.

What connects old wise man Seneca with eternally young Ovid?

I will answer on my own behalf. What connects them is my difficult friendship with Seneca and big love to a wonderful poet who seduced me with his poems long ago. I’ve never regretted it.

Seneca’s sententiae are still read today, they are quoted and used on everyday basis.

„The Art of Love” by Ovid is simply a masterpiece, while its erotic content adds it even more charm.

Ovid’s exile poetry shows a dramatic testimony of authority’s cruelty and a try to defend creator’s independece.

Are classical studies worth studying?

Yes, absolutely. It’s a great intelectual and spiritual adventure. Especially with a basic knowledge of Antiquity one gets to understand literature and film better and to a greater extent.

By studying classical philology we reach the very roots of our civilisation. Those who possess literary talent and inspiration will perhaps one day be able to get closer to the magnificent literature of ancient times thanks to the new translations to Polish.

We may not have plenty of students, but the majority of those we have are great individuals and study with passion.

It would be great if Latin came back to schools as an obligatory subject. Meanwhile, an important part of intellectual elite of our university evolves here, among our students of classical and Mediterranean studies.

I would like to express my gratitude to the authorities of the university for letting our institute continue our work.