The Indo-European dual
English, Greek, Farsi, Hindi, German, French and many other modern languages were once one language spoken by an ancient people we call “Indo-Europeans”. This language had a feature now lost in its daughter tongues, a dual number: “The two of us did it”. Dual forms explain features of English but, more important, unlock the door to understanding the pervasive influence of Indo-European culture today. As we the descendants of that ancient Indo-European civilization “globalize” the planet and reach for the stars, we should reflect upon the devastations left behind by our success.
Mark Damen doesn’t care for anything “new” until it’s at least 1,000 years old. He’s studied the ancient world since eighth grade when he took a Latin class and realized that English is best understood from the outside looking in. He believes the best way to know your own language is by comparing it to others, and the more remote, the wider the perspective. Thus began a love of all things old. Mark began his acting career in third grade, involving himself in school plays and acting activities. Many years of acting and working in theater naturally blended into a life’s work on ancient drama. Mark’s research on classical Greek and Roman performance and playwriting has appeared in premier journals in the field of Classics, but teaching and passing on his passion for antiquity have always been equally important to him. In students, he believes, lies the future of the past.
Mark is inspired by failure and the opportunity to hypothesize and re-hypothesize. “The fact that we fail is noble,” he says. He’s fascinated by following “the science” and data of the world around him and its ever-changing landscape. “What excites me is that wonderful boat-jumping process that happens on the scientific side of the world…that’s one of the most amazing amusement parks I’ve ever been on. I could ride all those rides forever.”