I will be the other me

17 Maurizio Bettini

I will be the other me

€ 3.00
Sunday 30 May 2010 3:30 pm
piazza del Duomo 3

When the Latin poet Ennius declared that the soul of Homer had reincarnated in his own body, who was he really: himself, Homer, or the peacock into which others said the Greek poet had been turned? The point is that the Orphic-Pythagorean theories of reincarnation raise first of all an issue of personal identity: am “I” my soul, or what else? It is the same issue raised by the Stoics thinkers, who believed that after the cosmic destruction the world would start anew with the same places, events, and persons - Socrates would go on trial again, and be again accused by Anitus and Meletus. But if each cycle repeats itself endlessly, who will Socrates really be - the same man who had lived earlier on, or someone else? Such mythologies and philosophies instill the suspicion that each one of us might have a true and proper ‘double’. In that case, will I be the ‘other’ me?



Maurizio Bettini is Professor of Classical Philology at Siena University, after being its dean for some time. He was among the founders of the Anthropology and the Ancient World Center that he heads at the same university. He has held seminars at the Department of Classics of the University of California at Berkeley. He was many times directeur d’études associé at EHESS (School of Higher Studies in Social Sciences) in Paris, and he taught at the Collège de France. His chief interest is an anthropological study of the Greek and Roman cultures seen in their connection with the experience of modernity. He often contributes to the news daily la Repubblica. He has authored a number of books, including I classici nell’età dell’indiscrezione (1994); Nascere. Storie di donne, donnole, madri ed eroi (1998); Le orecchie di Hermes (2000); Voci. Antropologia sonora della cultura antica (2008); Il Mito di Circe (with C. Franco, 2010), all published by Einaudi, and Affari di famiglia. La parentela nella cultura e nella letteratura antica (Il Mulino, 2009).

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