In his greeting during the official dinner hosted by the Governor of the Bank of Greece Giannis Stournaras in honor of the President of the European Central Bank Mrs. Christine Lagarde referred to the examples to be imitated but also avoided that Ancient Greece offers.

As Mr. Stournaras said, the coupling of the spirit of democracy with the flourishing of creativity, which we see in the Parthenon, was a constant source of inspiration over the centuries. The discovery of classical culture, which had survived in the Middle Ages through the manuscripts of monks in East and West, began with Italy since the 13th centurywith the poetry of Dante and the painting of Giotto, and culminated in the 15th-16th century with the Renaissance, in which erudition was sought after the model of homo universalis.

He then referred to the way in which the Greek spirit permeated through the centuries all modern currents of culture from the Renaissance to Neoclassicism and the Enlightenment.

As he pointed out of course, our world today is very different than it was during the Golden Age of Athenian democracy. “However, as Europeans today, we believe in democracy, we promote science and knowledge, we have faith in the power of man, we admire beauty, we pursue excellence.”

He recognized, of course, that ancient Greece offers us examples to avoid such as the lack of unity, the factionalism and rivalry that prevailed between the ancient city-states can cause disastrous wars, with the typical case of the Peloponnesian, which militarily weakened the Greeks and led to the withering of Athens, the most culturally advanced city-state.

Finally, Mr. Stournaras said goodbye to the governor of the Central Bank of Italy, Ignazio Visco, as today is the last time he participates in a meeting of the Governing Council of the ECB after 12 years at the helm of the Bank of Italy, specifically mentioning that “He is a true European citizen, loyal to the euro, which he supported in its most difficult moments”.