Professor of Ancient History and director of Diploma in Archaeology
In my capacity as Associate Dean of Alumni of the School of Philosophy and Letters of the University of Navarra, I like to address a few words to the new students at the workshop welcome ceremony that opens each academic year. Last September, in front of hundreds of excited students who were beginning their programs of study in History, Philology, Literature and Creative Writing, Philosophy, Humanities or Philosophy, Politics and Economics, I articulated my words around the Roman idea of the orator, the good politician who, as a connoisseur of rhetoric, was also a bonus uir, a good person in the most ethical and committed sense of the term. I accompanied my reflections with quotations from Plutarch, Cicero and especially Quintilian, the famous rhetoric teacher from Calagurris (Calahorra) who was so successful in the Rome of Emperor Domitian. Behind the masks I could see smiles and emotion in the eyes of such a singular audience. At the end of my dissertation I was able to talk with some of those students -who have frequented my subject of "Classical World" or have had a special relationship with me because they attended the Diploma of Archaeology that I coordinate- and I found that many had heard of these and other classical authors to which I alluded, convinced as I am that, as "survivors" of the past, these authors still have much to teach us, even more so in these difficult times. It was comforting. In fact, two thousand years later the bequest of these authors has become, almost, a "pop" icon. There are the sales figures of the essays of the classical philologists Mary Beard or Irene Vallejo or the archaeologist Néstor Marqués or the novels of the writer Santiago Posteguillo that bring to our time and evoke the perenniality of the bequest of ancient societies, the basis of our own western and also Hispanic cultural identity.
However, it seems that the government of "leaving no one behind" -which in so many things presumes to be at the forefront of citizens' problems- has not yet become position of this popularity of the classics or, knowing it, has some special interest in hiding it and, what is more serious, in stealing it from our young students. Thus, in the last quarter of 2021, through the Portal of the Spanish educational System of the Ministry of Education and training Professional, we have been learning details about the insignificant role that the Humanities -not only the classics, also the Philosophy or the medieval and modern periods of our History- are going to have in the curriculum of Secondary and of high school diploma of the LOMLOE, the so-called "Celaá Law". Prominent professional groups such as the Spanish network of Philosophy and the Spanish Society of programs of study Classics have orchestrated very justified campaigns to react to the trampling of the Philosophy -which disappears from the teaching Secondary- or Latin and Greek -reduced to a minimum expression in the study plans- intended to perpetrate this law, approved a few months ago. This same newspaper has undertaken in the last two months a sensational campaign to which have joined the pens of prominent historians colleagues who have denounced the oblivion to which the new law condemns -especially in high school diploma- any event prior to 1812. In his Lessons in Ethics, Kant affirmed that the sciences called humaniora, that is, the Humanities, conferred on man "refinement and gentleness", made man more manly. However, the same Government that accuses of being a critic to anyone who reminds it of its errors, Withdrawal to the Humanities and does not even contemplate them to refine our society, depriving our pre-university students of knowing some of the most sublime creations of man and some of the most singular episodes of our History.
This ostracism to which the Humanities is destined in the new curriculum of the LOMLOE is especially painful in the case of the subject History of Spain in the 2nd year of the LOMLOE. high school diploma. Until today, the much criticized Wert Law articulated the agenda of that subject in several blocks, four of which dealt with "the beginnings of our history, from the first humans to the Visigothic monarchy; the Middle Ages, from the Muslim conquest of the peninsula ( ...) and the Modern Age until the eve of the French Revolution" and the rest, up to eight, to "the Contemporary Age". Now those first blocks are omitted and the attention to "the cultures and civilizations that have developed along the Ancient, Medieval and Modern History " -the quotation is from the new law- is reservation only to some minimum contents of 1st and 2nd of teaching Compulsory Secondary Education when the young students are not yet critically prepared to value the bequest of those historical periods. But, the mistreatment of those essential moments to understand the History of our country is even cynical if we make a careful reading of the objectives of this subject in the new law. Thus, the new law states that it is intended that the student of high school diplomaThe new law states that the aim is for students of Spanish History to be able to "know and critically assess the realities of the contemporary world, its historical background and the main values of its evolution"; to be able to "value the historical and cultural heritage as bequest and expression of the collective report , identifying (...) the public uses that certain events receive (...) by means of historiography (...) the public uses that certain events receive (...).) by means of historiography and historical thought"; to "recognize the geostrategic value of the Iberian Peninsula, identifying the rich historical and cultural bequest generated as a result of its connection with relevant historical processes"; and, finally, it does not dodge, as is meritorious, "the national question: historical awareness and source criticism to address the origin and evolution of nationalisms and regionalisms in contemporary Spain" in the interest of illuminating "the public uses of history". If these are the objectives of a subject that, from a thematic point of view, only covers from 1812 to recent Spain, the Spanish Government is denying the entity of historical and cultural background of the contemporary world to ancient or medieval times; it is affirming that the millenary archaeological heritage that our country treasures -and whose consumption as a tourist product shows more positive figures every year- is not part of that "bequest and expression of the collective report " either; it is also affirming, surprisingly, that source criticism and historical awareness have nothing to do with those who -like Thucydides or Polybius- founded History as knowledge and reflection of the past, providing it with a method. Similarly, it seems that neither Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Greeks nor Romans -who, as Tacitus wrote in the Annales, made Hispania "an example for all the provinces"-perceived the "geostrategic value of the peninsula" or that Romanization, the first great example of cultural globalization that the Mediterranean, and also our soil, knew, is not a "relevant historical process". It seems, moreover, that the theoreticians of this law are unaware that many of the essentialist nationalist movements in our country started from a distorted use of the identities that Rome promoted during its centuries of presence in the peninsula, identities that the new law does not consider of sufficient interest for pre-university students to form, through their study, that critical judgment that they claim to want to promote. It is a bad way to forget our roots and to bring this incomprehensible culture of cancellation also to a space that should be sacred for the future of our nation, such as the classrooms of schools and institutes.
As it states on its website, the Ministry has disseminated the drafts of the regulatory apparatus of the law to promote "the public discussion ". This discussion should not remain just a discussion for the gallery. In the face of this nonsense, the euphemistic syntagma "our politicians" -so often repeated these days- must be replaced by the deictic, accusatory and inculpatory "our Government" which, in the end, will be -it is already- the manager of throwing into the dustbin of oblivion not only disciplines that, for more than twenty-five centuries have allowed societies of the past to remake themselves culturally and ideologically but also of cancelling some of the episodes of the past that have allowed them to be culturally and ideologically reconstructed, but also of cancelling some of the episodes of the past that have allowed them to be culturally and ideologically reconstructed, also, to cancel some of the most worthy episodes of our History for the sake of the defense of a collective and democratic report that, paradoxically, banishes those cultures that are at the very root of the creation of the values that have marked -and will continue to do so, despite some- our own cultural identity.