Serenade on a Blue Guitar: The Nature of Speeches in Xenophon

Wednesday, 3 February, 6.30
Public Lecture Theatre, Old Arts Building, The University of Melbourne
(pre-lecture reception 5.30 onwards in Arts Hall, see below)

Associate Professor Emily Baragwanath (UNC Chapel Hill)

This lecture examines the theory behind the Greek historian Xenophon’s use of speeches across the several genres of his literary oeuvre. The lecture also reviews the speeches’ functions, before taking a closer look at four case studies: in the “Hellenica”, the speeches of Euryptolemus to the Athenians, of Pharnabazus and Agesilaus, and of the Athenians to the Spartans; and in the “Anabasis,” the speech of Xenophon to the Greek mercenaries. The lecture argues that Xenophon proves remarkably creative in his employment of speeches, even as he finds inspiration both poetic and historiographical. Rather than simply recounting particulars, the speeches promote narrative intelligibility and assist readers to engage with the account of events, in various ways, including by revealing the abilities (or lack thereof) of those responsible for shaping policy or strategy; or by setting out higher truths, especially relating to character and relationships.

Emily Baragwanath is Associate Professor of Classics at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Emily received her BA (1999) in Ancient History and English and MA (2001) in Ancient History from the University of Auckland before taking up a Rhodes Scholarship to Magdalen College at Oxford, where she earned her PhD in 2005. She has been at UNC Chapel Hill since 2007. She has also conducted research at Harvard’s Center for Hellenic Studies in Washington D.C. (2009-2010) and at the University of Heidelberg in Germany as an Alexander von Humboldt fellow (2013-14). Emily’s main area of scholarly interest is the literary techniques employed by Greek historians in their construction of historical narratives. Her book “Motivation and Narrative in Herodotus” (OUP 2008), winner of Oxford’s Conington Prize and the CAMWS Award for Outstanding Publication 2010, explores the representation of human motivation in Herodotus’ Histories.

This public lecture doubles as the keynote address for the ASCS (Australasian Society for Classical Studies) 37th Annual Conference. This lecture will also be preceded by a reception from 5:30 pm onwards, in Arts Hall (Old Arts Building), which is on the floor above the PLT. If you are not already registered for the ASCS conference and would like to attend the reception (which is free), please email so we can have an estimate of numbers for catering. This reception is sponsored by the Classical Association of Victoria, and AWAWS (Australian Women in Ancient World Studies).

If you wish to register to attend the ASCS 37 conference and hear the many academic papers during the daytime (February 2-5), you may pay the registration fees online at URL