he Speros Basil Vryonis Center for the Study of Hellenism is a nonprofit research institute dedicated to fostering a better understanding of Greek civilization and its interaction with other cultures. The Center provides opportunities for the study of all phases of the history of Hellenism, including ancient Greece, the Byzantine Empire, the Ottoman era, the period following the formation of the modern Greek state, contemporary Greece, and Greeks in the diaspora.
Since antiquity, the Greeks have had a profound effect on other peoples and cultures, and, in turn, Greek culture and its institutions have been influenced by numerous external forces. The impact of Hellenism has been ecumenical. For example, western civilization and Islamic philosophy, science, and medicine have Hellenic roots. In addition, the origins of much of Slavic civilization can be traced back to Byzantium. Consequently, an understanding of Hellenism requires a broad framework of analysis, one which examines the relations between the Greeks and a variety of peoples, such as Egyptians, Jews, Romans, Armenians, Slavs, Persians, Arabs, Turks, and Europeans.
Pivotal to the Vryonis Center's goal of providing this framework is the Center's library, with its rich collection of books on ancient, Byzantine, medieval, and modern Greece, the Balkans, and the Middle East. Particular emphasis is given to developing the sections on the history, society, and culture of modern Greece, and the Greek-American community. While providing a wide range of resources for scholars who wish to conduct specialized research, the library also houses numerous books of interest to the general public, who are encouraged to use its facilities.
The Vryonis Center's cultural outreach program provides diverse opportunities for the community at large to participate in activities focusing on the study of Hellenism. In developing this program, which includes conferences, lectures, film presentations, musical performances, and exhibits, the Center has established a cooperative relationship with California State University, Sacramento, and the American Hellenic Professional Society in Sacramento. In doing so, the Center has become an integral part of the educational and cultural enrichment of the community as a whole.
While planning activities that examine all historical stages of the development of Greek civilization, the Vryonis Center places special emphasis on events which explore the modern history, society, and culture of Greece. Recognizing the prominent role played by Greeks in the diaspora in charting the course of Hellenism, the Center also sponsors activities which focus on the social and cultural dynamics of diaspora communities, particularly the Greek-American community.
The Center is also fulfilling its educational objectives through the publication of two series of books under its auspices: Hellenism: Ancient, Mediaeval, Modern, and Subsidia Balcanica, Islamica, et Turcica. The books include important contributions by distinguished scholars in these subject areas. The Center publishes a newsletter which generally covers its academic activities. The newsletter provides information on both publication series, discusses library acquisitions, and announces the events of the cultural outreach program.
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