Peter Frankopan

Dr. Peter Frankopan (photo by Johnny Ring)

Dr. Maria Georgopoulou, Director of the Gennadius Library, and Andreas Zombanakis, Chairman of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens’ Board of Overseers, are pleased to announce the selection of Dr. Peter Frankopan as the inaugural speaker for the Thalia Potamianos Annual Lecture Series on the Impact of Greek Culture.

Dr. Frankopan is Professor of Global History at Oxford University, where he is Stavros Niarchos Foundation Director of the Oxford Centre for Byzantine Research. He is a world-renowned historian and an award-winning author who will present “Global Greece: A History.” This series of lectures examines the role that Greece and Greek culture, literature, and language have played over the course of more than two and a half millennia. Rather than exploring the familiar and limited Mediterranean context, he will discuss it from a global perspective, allowing for a better understanding of not only world history but Greece itself.

Dr. Frankopan said, “I am delighted to have been invited to present the first Thalia Potamianos lectures. The American School and the Gennadius Library are famous around the world, so it is an honor and a privilege. I am very excited to give the first talk in Athens in October and then in the United States in the spring of 2022.”

The Thalia Potamianos lectures are being made possible by a generous commitment from Phokion Potamianos, an Overseer of the Gennadius Library. Mr. Potamianos named the series in memory of his grandmother, a distinguished Greek physician, academic, and philanthropist. Mr. Potamianos remarked, “It is a great pleasure to commence the Thalia Potamianos lectures with a series of presentations in Greece and the United States by Dr. Frankopan. His work, placing Greece's cultural role in a global context, is at the heart of the purpose of the lectures and highly relevant to modern Greece that is, once again, connected to the modern Silk Road.”

Dr. Georgopoulou stated, “I am elated that for the first of our Thalia Potamianos lectures, Dr. Frankopan’s bold thinking will delve into such an intriguing topic: the history of Greece from a global perspective.”

Mr. Zombanakis noted, “A new chapter in the history of the Gennadius Libary begins as we continue to rapidly expand our outreach program of lectures, exhibitions, and webinars beyond the confines of Athens. Dr. Frankopan is a most worthy maiden speaker for our new Thalia Potamianos Annual Lecture Series.”

Thalia Potamianos Annual Lecture Series


Established in June 2020, the Thalia Potamianos Annual Lecture Series on the Impact of Greek Culture seeks to create a stimulating environment to draw both the academic community and the general public to the American School and the Gennadius Library.

Every year, a highly distinguished, internationally renowned scholar is selected to conduct research and develop programs on a topic relevant to the Gennadius Library. The research will culminate in a minimum of three annual public keynote lectures, which will be delivered in Athens and the United States. These talks will be accompanied by publications, podcasts, and other appropriate media to maximize exposure and engagement.


Lecture One: "Greece: Beginnings"
Thursday, October 7, 2021
7:00 p.m. EEST (Greece) / 12:00 p.m. EDT (U.S.)
Cotsen Hall, Athens

Lecture Two: "Greece: Legacies"
Wednesday, March 16, 2022
6:00 p.m. EDT (U.S.)
Lohrfink Auditorium, Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.

Lecture Three: "Greece: Futures"
Tuesday, May 10, 2022
6:00 p.m. EDT (U.S.)
St. Bartholomew's Church, New York City

Please click here to learn more about this lecture series.

Peter Frankopan at his home in Oxford

Dr. Frankopan at his home in Oxford (photo by Andy Lo Pò)


Peter Frankopan’s academic interests include the history of the Byzantine Empire, Eastern Mediterranean, Russia, the Middle East, Central Asia, and China. His book The First Crusade: The Call from the East looks at the Crusades not from the perspective of the Latin West but of Constantinople and Byzantium. It was described as making “the most significant contribution to rethinking the origins and course of the First Crusade for a generation” (TLS). This followed on from Dr. Frankopan’s translation of The Alexiad (Penguin Classics, 2009) by Anna Komnene, perhaps the most famous of all Byzantine histories.

His book The Silk Roads: A New History of the World was described as “magnificent” (Sunday Times) and “not just the most important history book in years, but the most important in decades” (Berliner Zeitung). A New York Times Best Seller, it has topped the non-fiction charts all around the world, including in the U.K., India, and China. It was also named Daily Telegraph’s History Book of the Year and one of Sunday Times’ books of the decade (2010–2019).

Dr. Frankopan’s most recent book, The New Silk Roads: The Present and Future of the World, is a “masterly mapping out of a new world order” (Evening Standard). In 2019, it was awarded the Carical Prize for Social Sciences in Italy, when Dr. Frankopan also won Germany’s prestigious Calliope Prize.

Dr. Frankopan advises governments, inter-government agencies, and multi-lateral organizations about the past, present, and future, including UNIDO, UNESCO, the Asian Development Bank, and the World Bank. He writes regularly in the national and international press about history and its relevance to understanding the world around us.

In 2019, Dr. Frankopan was named one of the “World’s 50 Top Thinkers” by Prospect Magazine. He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, the Royal Society of Literature, the Royal Asiatic Society, the Royal Geographic Society, the Royal Anthropological Institute, and the Royal Society of Arts. He has been President of the Royal Society of Asian Affairs since 2020.

Please click here to learn more about Dr. Frankopan.