Classical education has a long tradition in many foreign countries. In particular, the ancient Greek language and the culture of ancient Greece occupy an important place in the Croatian educational system. Archaeological research has proven the existence of Greeks on Croatian soil as early as the Neolithic period. According to studies, the ancient Greeks had established several colonies in Croatia and some areas of the country still retain their ancient Greek names to this day. A typical example is the popular island of Hvar in the Adriatic. It is a colony of the ancient Greeks from the island of Paros who settled on the island around 380 BC and gave it the name Faros. Greek colonization seems to had spread rapidly along the coast of the country and to many islands. Thus, the emergence and learning of the ancient Greek language dates back thousands of years and despite the geographical, political and social changes over the centuries, ancient Greek held an important place and an almost constant presence in Croatian schools.
The first Classical Lyceum was founded in 1607 in Zagreb by the Jesuits with the aim of focusing on the intellectual development of the students. Latin, ancient Greek, rhetoric, philosophy and history were the main subjects. A few centuries later, educational reforms in the Austrian Empire, which included the territory of present-day Croatia, recognized the importance and richness of ancient Greek, which had a fundamental place in the curriculum. After the popularity of classical studies, there was a period of stagnation due to socio-political reforms within the country, and after Croatia’s independence in 1991, ancient Greek was dynamically reintroduced into schools.
The teaching of Ancient Greek in Croatia begins at the age of 13-14 years and continues in twelve different classical high schools as a compulsory subject. Εmphasis is particularly placed on the study of ancient drama, the lives of the great philosophers and the study of major works such as Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, Socrates’ Apology, Sophocles’ Antigone. It is worth mentioning that, in addition to learning ancient Greek, students of the Classical High School in Zagreb have the opportunity to attend Modern Greek classes, an initiative that is financially supported by the Alexander Onassis Foundation.
Greece and Croatia have been cooperating in the educational, cultural and scientific level since 1995 with programs such as exchanges of students, scientists and researchers, the organization of seminars and language and culture courses and participation in events and festivals aimed at strengthening relations and promoting cultures in both countries. At the Universities of Zagreb and Zadar there is a department of Ancient Greek Philology. In addition, students have the option to study Modern Greek in some semesters. Undeniably, language as a cultural asset represents the history and heritage of each nation. Learning both ancient and modern Greek enables Croatians to learn about the history and culture of Greece and to follow its continuity in time through modern Greek. Along with the language, the values of the nation are transmitted and history has shown the close connection between Greece and Croatia throughout the centuries.
Mislav Cvitković (2014). Greek language in Croatian Lands
Διαθέσιμο στο https://www.academia.edu/20411376/%E1%BC%A9_%E1%BC%99%CE%BB%CE%BB%CE%B7%CE%BD%CE%B9%CE%BA%E1%BD%B4_%CE%93%CE%BB%E1%BF%B6%CF%83%CF%83%CE%B1_%CF%83%CF%84%E1%BD%B0_%CE%9A%CF%81%CE%BF%CE%B1%CF%84%CE%B9%CE%BA%E1%BD%B0_%E1%BC%90%CE%B4%CE%AC%CF%86%CE%B7_The_Greek_Language_in_Croatian_Lands_