Global pandemic made people creative to overcome crisis, says British historian

Global pandemic made people creative to overcome crisis, says British historian

Her latest book, Venus & Aphrodite examines the complicated roots of the Roman & Greek deities as well as what they meant to classical civilisations.

The global pandemic has encouraged people to use creativity to overcome the crisis, according to a renowned British television presenter, historian and writer.

In an interview with WAM, Bettany Hughes said, "It is fascinating that as soon as the pandemic hit, people started to share poetry, book recommendations, and creative art on social media, so we could understand that we need to use creativity in a crisis and also that we can create our way out of the crisis!"

She added, "Actually, this incredible global event proved to me that more than anything else, how central arts is to our understanding of the world, and that art allows us not just to survive, but to thrive in the world." Hughes was a speaker at cultural programmes of the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (ADIBF) on Monday.

She has written about Socrates, Helen of Troy and the history of Istanbul, as well as presented TV series on many historical topics, most recently ancient Egypt.

Her latest book, Venus & Aphrodite examines the complicated roots of the Roman & Greek deities as well as what they meant to classical civilisations.

Although the pandemic has left her "speechless in terms of the sufferings, trials and tribulations that people have been through," she has found one positive development.

"The one positive thing which I think genuinely has happened is that we have had to accept how connected we are all globally, across borders and boundaries. So we know that everything that we do affect somebody, even if they are on the other side of the world. So I just hope that, philosophically, going forward, that will be a single positive that we can take from it," she explained.

The pandemic has also taught the humanity its inseparable connection with nature, Hughes observed.

"I think it is interesting that now we have actually realised we can't talk about ourselves as being apart from nature. We have to realise how powerless we are in the face of nature."

Hughes talked about “Plagues and Pandemics: Shaping Civilisations” at the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair on Monday evening, in a conversation with Peter Hellyer, an adviser at the UAE Ministry of Culture and Youth, who is author and editor of nearly 20 books on the UAE’s archaeology, history and environment.

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