Coubertin Quote for Oct, 26
Socrates' famous precept (Know thyself) … remains the foundation of all philosophy, for it is both the leaven and the safeguard of human reason.Share
It is well known that in 1927 the Greeks honored Baron Pierre de Coubertin by installing a marble stele at the stadium in ancient Olympia. Engraved with a tribute to the Baron, it provided a long-overdue recognition of his irrefutably central role in resurrecting the modern Olympic Games, and, of course, a final resting place for his heart. It is less well known that in Athens the Greeks also honored the Baron at the same time by engraving his name in a marble seat at the Panathenaic Stadium where the first modern Olympic Games were staged. The Baron made note of this second tribute in a speech he gave on the occasion at the Academy of Athens. The long passage below comes from that speech, “On the Transformation and Spread of Historical Studies: Their Character and Consequences,” which starts with the Socratic premise that “to know thyself” is the foundation of all knowledge.
“It is indeed a great honor to speak in these illustrious surroundings, an honor made even greater by your warm welcome. Yesterday, Athens honored me by reviving one of the most highly regarded tokens of esteem that the ancient city possessed (engraving his name in a stadium seat). Today, as in those Olympic times whose spirit I have attempted to restore, it is my singular good fortune to present to you a purely intellectual work, conceived and written during the free time that my work as General Ephor of the Games has left me. To make everything that surrounds me as Greek as possible, I must now critique my own work, in application of Socrates' famous precept which, as we have been saying these days at the university, remains the foundation of all philosophy, for it is both the leaven and the safeguard of human reason.”