Wednesday, June 6, 2012

81st Anglo-American Conference of Historians

Ancients and Moderns
81st Anglo-American Conference of Historians

5-6 July 2012
Senate House, London

Ancients and Moderns is the theme of this years Anglo-American Conference, the flagship event of the Institute of Historical Research. The conference will take place on 5th and 6th July 2012 at Senate House, London.

With the Olympics upon us in the UK it seems an appropriate moment to think more broadly about the ways in which the classical world resonates in our own times, and how successive epochs of modernity since the Renaissance have situated themselves in relation to the various ancient civilisations. From political theory to aesthetics, across the arts of war and of peace, to concepts of education, family, gender, race and slavery, it is hard to think of a facet of the last millennium which has not been informed by the ancient past and through a range of media, including museums, painting, poetry, film and the built environment.

For our 81st Anglo-American conference we are joining with the Institute of Classical Studies to showcase the full extent of work on classical receptions, welcoming not only those scholars who work on Roman, Greek and Judaeo-Christian legacies and influences, but also historians of the ancient kingdoms and empires of Asia and pre-Colombian America.

Our plenary lecturers include: Paul Cartledge (Cambridge), Constanze Gthenke (Princeton), Mark Lewis (Stanford), Sanjay Subrahmanyam (UCLA) and David Womersley (Oxford).

For programme and registration details, please visit or contact the IHR Events Office at or on 0207 862 8756.

Many thanks,

Sarah Mayhew
ICS 0207 862 8705

Sunday, June 3, 2012

An Introduction to Ancient Greece 

An Introduction to Ancient Greece
Start date 22-Sep-2012
Duration 2 days, 9.30am - 5pm
Location London
Price £99.00 (inc of VAT)
Book Now

Course Description 
Go back in time for two days of immersion in the extraordinary world of ancient Greece. In this course we’ll be studying many of the most important cultural and political inventions of the ancient Greeks. Spanning the archaic age of epic song, the classical era of science and reason, and globalisation of the Hellenistic and Roman periods, this course will introduce the people, places and ideas that made ancient Greece so unique.

In a series of lectures and discussion sessions we will investigate how the Greeks used myths and storytelling to analyse their own society, why the poetry of Homer shaped a millennium of Greek literature, and what Athenian democracy was all about. We’ll look at the horrors of Greek tragedy, the uproarious rudeness of Greek comedy, the values underpinning Greek athletic competitions, and the role of women throughout Greek society. We’ll also consider the ways in which this remarkable culture has influenced later writers, thinkers, and filmmakers, from Byron to Freud, from Virginia Woolf to Oliver Stone.

No previous knowledge required.

What's Included 
 Day 1
Session 1: Introduction: 1000 Years of Ancient Greeks
Session 2: Greek Myth as Art and Education
Session 3: Homer and the Origins of Greek Literature (Charlotte Higgins)
Session 4: The Invention of Reason: Philosophy, Science and Democracy

Homework: A short quiz and some extracts from ancient Greek plays, poems and novels to read for Day 2.

Day 2
Session 1: Athletic Games and Festivals: The (Greek) World's a Stage
Session 2: Tragic Women and Comic Communities: Insiders vs. Outsiders
Session 3: Hellenistic Multiculturalism
Session 4: What Happened Next? The Enduring Impact of the Ancient Greek World

Tutor Details 
 Dr Emily Pillinger studied Classics as an undergraduate at Oxford University and then went to teach and study in America for several years, gaining a Ph.D. in Classics from Princeton University in 2009. She moved back to the UK to work at Bristol University and more recently at Balliol College, Oxford. Her research focuses on unusual forms of communication in the literature of the ancient world, and she is particularly interested in the mysterious voices of prophets, witches, and ghosts from beyond the grave.

Charlotte Higgins will offer a special guest lecture. She is chief arts writer for the Guardian newspaper, graduate in Classics from Oxford University, and author of the award-winning ‘It’s All Greek to Me’

More Information 
This course will take place Saturday 22 - Sunday 23 September in London (TBC).

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

On BBC 2

Don't miss...

The films will transmit April 11, 18 and 25 on BBC 2 at 9pm. The series tells the story of the relationship between women and religion from 9000 BC onwards. The female of the species has always formed 50% of the population but has never occupied 50% of human history. Yet the connection between women and the divine has been so strong in all societies that when we follow the stories of 'divine women' we uncover new evidence for the character of humanity and a fuller, truer history of the world. 

April 11 -When God Was A Girl - Programme One looks at the evolution of the goddess in Turkey, Greece, Rome and India 

April 18 - The Handmaids of God - Programme Two investigates the story of the priestess; from the poet Sappho on the island of Lesbos to Vestal Virgins in Rome and the elevated role of women in the early Christian church
April 25 - The War of the Word - Programme Three explores a missed 'golden age' for women, when historical characters such as the Empress Theodora in Byzantium, Wu Zetien in China (the Empress who called herself Emperor), the early women of Islam and Anglo-Saxon Hilda of Whitby, used the power of ancient traditions and new ideas about religion and philosophy to wield influence in a man's world - notably through the power of reform, education and the word. We look at evidence through the Byzantine Empire, early Islam, in China, Northumbria and Oxford.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Seven Olympians

Monday 16th January 2012,

6:15 pm (supper with wine) for 6:45 pm start (ends 8:30 pm)

St Olave's, Hart Street, London EC3 (near Tower Hill)

A brand new series of supper lectures by Graham Fawcett on seven poets in history whose achievements on the page have made them national heroes, each evening also including the performance of a piano sonata by Beethoven

Seven Olympians 1


and Simon Watterton plays Beethoven's Piano Sonata Op. 14 No. 1 in E major

£15 (includes supper) on the door


Monday 16th January 2012

at 6:15pm for 6:45pm


Publius Ovidius Naso

"We are slow to believe that which if believed would hurt our feelings”.

All welcome, including those who will be coming for the first time.
These lectures are written to be enjoyed one by one.
You do not need to have attended the preceding lecture(s)

Perfer et obdura; dolor hic tibi proderit olim.
Be patient and tough; one day this pain will be useful to you.

(Ovid, Elegy XIa)

About Ovid

Consummate showman and stand-up comic that he was, and still is, nearly 2000 years on, Ovid would have relished the fact that the English-speaking world’s short version of his name is divo, male equivalent of a diva, but only when spelled backwards.

Publius Ovidius Naso was born the year after Caesar’s assassination, was educated in Rome , and started reading his poems in public at the age of 16. His work gives us master-classes in how to write with profound and rollicking delicacy about love and sex, put on a spectacular poetic pageant of transformation myths, and sing with great pathos from direct experience of the heartache of exile.

In BBC Radio 4's programme 'Archive on 4: Ted Hughes: Memorial Tones' on Saturday 10th December 2011, Seamus Heaney said of Ovid's importance to Ted Hughes, "I think the Metamorphoses, man into beast, or tree, or whatever, suited everything in him, you know. It wasn’t English but it was part of his inheritance in a way, Ovid having been part of the furnishings of the Renaissance mind with the corroboration of Shakespeare: the mythological part of himself responded to Ovid; a lot of energy released".

Hughes’s Tales From Ovid (1997) is one of the latest poetry books to attest to Ovid’s powerful influence on English poets and poetry especially through his Metamorphoses, while Chaucer, Spenser, Marlowe, and Shakespeare are among the earliest, Francis Meres declaring that that “the sweet witty soul of Ovid lives in mellifluous and honey-tongued Shakespeare”.

But so often the Ovid we admire is the metrical gymnast making us gasp over and over again at the outrageous virtuosity of his mastery of form and content, the parallel bars of a poetry which fine translations reveal as speaking to our own times. So modern does he go on sounding, indeed, that the Italian writer and critic Giuseppe Pontiggia has even described him as a “contemporary of the future”.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Summer School for Teachers of Ancient History GCSE (OCR)

Summer School for Teachers of Ancient History GCSE (OCR)

August 7-9 2012, University of Liverpool

This three-day residential summer school is intended both to support existing teachers of the OCR GCSE in Ancient History and to help to equip other teachers (including those undertaking training, in whatever subject) who are planning to teach it in the future. Thanks to the generosity of the university’s John Percival Postgate fund, we are able to offer a substantial number of bursaries to cover the cost of attendance.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


173 Euston Road, London NW1 2BJ

2.15 to 5.30 and 7.00 to 9.15

The success of Royal Holloway depends on its reputation as a mature centre for Higher Education and research of towering intellectual calibre. The study of ancient Greece and Rome, at a superlative scholarly and professional level, has always played a crucial role in the international perception of Royal Holloway’s standing as an institution which fosters intellectual activity of the highest quality. The value Classics adds to Royal Holloway’s brand is literally immeasurable, in that its enhancement of the college’s reputation may not be directly translated into monetary terms. By its nature, intellectual prestige takes many decades to take root and mature. It takes only weeks to destroy.

This event has been made possible only by the extraordinary generosity, hard graft and collaboration of a very large number of people and organisations. The staff of the Department of Classics & Philosophy at Royal Holloway University of London is particularly grateful to the Classical Association, Peter Bing and Philip Hooker for their financial support, and for all kinds of energetic input from PhD students Mario Creatura, Lottie Parkyn, Matt Shipton, Laura Wood, as well as from Sarah Honeycombe and everyone on the Facebook Group.

2.15 to 5.30 pm Classics at Royal Holloway and Bedford Colleges

2.15 Welcome and Introduction Prof. Edith Hall (RHUL)
2.30 George Eliot Prof. Pat Easterling (Cambridge)
2.40 Sarah Parker Remond Dr. Justine McConnell (Oxford)
2.50 Anna Swanwick Prof. Oliver Taplin (Oxford)
3.00 Sybella Gurney Dr Sarah Butler (RHUL)
3.10 Frances Stevenson Dr. Fiona Macintosh (Oxford)
3.20 Richmal Crompton Helen Eastman (RHUL)
3.30 Dorothy Tarrant; Hugh Tredennick Prof. Anne Sheppard (RHUL)

3.45 Break

4.00 Rosemary Manning Adam Ganz (RHUL)
4.10 Classics and Popular Culture Dr. Nick Lowe (RHUL)
4.20 Classics and the Material World Dr. Janett Morgan (RHUL)
4.30 Classics and the Feminist Voice Dr. Efi Spentzou (RHUL)
4.40 A.N. Other
4.50 What next: the undergraduate view Sarah Honeycombe

5.30 Break for sustenance at local cafes and pubs of your choice
6.00-7.00 Convene to the accompaniment of music by Charlie Rose

7.00 to 9.30 pm Classics Internationally

7.00-7.30 Five-minute messages
Welcome and Introduction Prof. Edith Hall (RHUL)
Watching the department grow Prof. Anne Sheppard (RHUL)
Message from the University of London Prof. Maria Wyke (UCL)
Messages from Europe Prof. Ineke Sluiter (Leiden)
Prof. Kai Brodersen (Erfurt)
Message from America Prof. Ruth Scodel (Michigan)

7.30 Education and Longterm Thinking Prof. Greg Woolf (St.
7.45 A Poet on Classics and Being Closed Tony Harrison (currently
8.00 Histories that Make Us Tom Holland (classicist and novelist)
8.15 Classics as Living Word Live Canon, dir. Helen Eastman (RHUL)
8.30 The Politics of the Real World Prof. Paul Cartledge (Cambridge)
8.45 The Ancient Guide to Modern Life Natalie Haynes (classicist
and comedian)
9.00 Messages from Planet Classics Lottie Parkyn (RHUL) and team

No need to register—just turn up wearing something purple