Remembering Zolotas: A speech in English with all Greek words
Just two days ago was the birthday of the late Xenophon Zolotas, the patrician economist of international repute, university professor, thrice governor of the central Bank of Greece, and the prime minister of an ecumenical multi-party government in the tumultuous late 1980's
He is widely viewed as one of the most prominent Greek academics and public intellectuals of the 20th century.
After his law studies at the University of Athens, he studied economics in Leipzig and political science at the University of Paris.
At the age of 24, he occupied the first Chair in Economic Law at the University of Thessaloniki, and soon occupied a series of top public posts related to his field.
Beyond excelling in his academic field, the cosmopolitan Zolotas harboured a deep love and knowledge of the Greek language.
Even those who are not acquainted with Zolotas' academic work may be familiar with his famed speeches before the IMF and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, in which he addressed a stunned audience in English but using only words derived from the Greek language.
The text of the 2 October, 1959 speech is as follows:
"Kyrie, I eulogize the archons of the Panethnic Numismatic Thesaurus and the Ecumenical Trapeza for the orthodoxy of their axioms, methods and policies, although there is an episode of cacophony of the Trapeza with Hellas.
With enthusiasm we dialogue and synagonize at the synods of our didymous Organizations in which polymorphous economic ideas and dogmas are analyzed and synthesized. Our critical problems such as the numismatic plethora generate some agony and melancholy.
This phenomenon is characteristic of our epoch. But, to my thesis, we have the...