CAV In-service Day 2018

The 2018 Classical Association of Victoria In-service Day for teachers will be held at Camberwell Grammar School, Mont Albert Road, Canterbury from 8:45 until 3:00 on Thursday 22 February.

The keynote speaker will be Jane Montgomery Griffiths: The Greek Theatre in its Contexts.

Other sessions include:

Cleopatra and the Demise of the Roman Republic
Myth vs Archaeology
Virgil Manuscripts
Literary Techniques in Latin
Thoughts on Marking Latin Unseens
The New Classical Studies Study Design
Examiner’s Reports for Latin and Classical Studies
Ancient History Workshop

For full details, programme and registration download the flyer.


Professional Development Course: Ancient History Teachers 2018

This professional development course for ancient history teachers closely relates to VCE Units 1 to 4 of the Ancient History Study Design.

Full details including session overviews.

This professional development course for ancient history teachers closely relates to VCE Units 1 to 4 of the Ancient History Study Design. In the first session John Whitehouse from the Melbourne Graduate School of Education will present on historical thinking and assessment in teaching ancient history. Each week eminent scholars from the Faculty of Arts will present key areas of study including Ancient Mesopotamia, Ancient Egypt, Ancient China, Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome, exploring and developing historical skills, historical thinking and highlight a selection of appropriate primary source materials and historical interpretations.

Before the commencement of the program there will be an online forum (Learning Management System) to enable registered participants to access sample scholarly articles and support material. These resources, plus the lecture, will form the basis for discussions.

Professional Certificates of participation will be offered upon completion of the course and VIT applicable.


Thursdays 1-29 March, 6:00-8:15

Session Subject
Thursday 1 March: UNIT 1 Historical Thinking and Assessment in VCE Ancient History: John Whitehouse
Ancient Mesopotamia: Associate Professor Andrew Jamieson
Thursday 8 March: UNITS 2 – 4 Ancient Egypt: Dr Brent Davis
Thursday 15 March: UNIT 2 Ancient China: Dr Lewis Mayo
Thursday 22 March: UNITS 3 and 4 Ancient Greece: Dr Hyun Jin Kim
Thursday 29 March: VCE UNITS 3 and 4 Ancient Rome: Professor Tim Parkin and Dr Gijs Tol


Individual session: $60
Series pass: $250

Light refreshments provided, (GST inclusive)


Arts West (Building 148),The University of Melbourne, Parkville


Winckelmann’s Victims: The Classics: Norms, Exclusions and Prejudices

Ghent University (Belgium), 20-22 September 2018

Confirmed keynote speakers: Michelle Warren (University of Dartmouth) – Mark Vessey (University of British Columbia) – Irene Zwiep (University of Amsterdam)

“Der einzige Weg für uns, groß, ja, wenn es möglich ist, unnachahmlich zu werden, is die Nachahmung der Alten.” Johannes Winckelmann

Classics played a major and fundamental role in the cultural history of Western Europe. Few would call this into question. Since the Carolingian period, notably ‘classical’ literature has served as a constant source and model of creativity and inspiration, by which the literary identity of Europe has been negotiated and (re-)defined. The tendency to return to the classics and resuscitate them remains sensible until today, as classical themes and stories are central to multiple contemporary literary works, both in ‘popular’ and ‘high’ culture. Think for instance of Rick Riordan’s fantastic tales about Percy Jackson or Colm Tóibín’s refined novels retelling the Oresteia.

At the same time, this orientation and fascination towards the classics throughout literary history has often —implicitly or explicitly— gone hand in hand with the cultivation of a certain normativity, regarding aesthetics, content, decency, theory, … Classical works, and the ideals that were projected on them, have frequently been considered as the standard against which the quality of a literary work should be measured. Whether a text was evaluated as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ depended on the extent to which it could meet the ‘classical’ requirements. Probably the most famous example of someone advocating such a classical norm was the German art critic Johannes Winckelmann (1717-1768), whose death will be commemorated in 2018. His Geschichte der Kunst des Altertums may be considered as the embodiment of the idea that the classics should be the norm for aesthetic or even any evaluation, such as, in Western Europe, it has recurrently cropped up, to a greater or lesser degree, from the Early Middle Ages until modern times.

Almost inevitably, this normativity has implied, shaped and fed prejudices and thoughts of exclusion towards literary features and aesthetic characteristics that seemed to deviate from classical ideals. Throughout literary history, examples occur of literary works, styles and genres that were generally appreciated within their time or context of origin, yet whose quality was retrospectively called into question because they were said not to be in accordance with the classical norm as it prevailed at the moment of judgement. Sometimes, this has even applied to whole periods. The persistence of similar assessments up until today is telling for the impact classical normativity still exercises. Besides, literary texts, though clearly not created to conform to the ‘classical’ standard, have been ‘classicized’ during judgement, being forced by a critic to fit into a classical framework and celebrated for its so-called imitation of antiquity. Even the Classics themselves often had and have to obey to this process of ‘classicization’. Therefore, with a sense for drama, one could say that all these works, literary forms, periods, etc. have seriously ‘suffered’ from the prejudices born from classics-based normativity, being the ‘victims’ of Winckelmann-like ideas concerning ‘classical’ standards.

This conference aims to consider classical normativity with its including prejudices and exclusions as a case-study for cultural self-fashioning by way of European literature. It seeks to explore how the normative status ascribed to the classics and the ensuing prejudices have, from the Early Middle Ages to modern times, influenced and shaped thoughts and views of the literary identity of Western Europe. Therefore, we propose the following questions:

Ø What are the processes behind this normativity of the Classics? Is it possible to discern a conceptual continuum behind the time and again revival of the Classics as the norm for ‘good’ literature? Or, rather, are there clear conceptual and concrete divergences between succeeding periods of such ‘classical’ normativity?

Ø What are the links (conceptual, historical, aesthetic, political, …) between the normativity of the Classics and the excluded ones, both in synchronic and diachronic terms? How does literary normativity of the Classics imply literary prejudices and exclusions?

Ø How has normativity of the Classics with its prejudices and exclusions imposed an identity on European literature (and literary culture)?

Ø What does this normativity of the Classics with its prejudices and exclusions mean for the conceptualization of European literary history?

Besides these conceptual questions, we also welcome case studies that may illustrate both the concrete impact of classical normativity and concrete examples of prejudice and exclusion as resulting from this normativity. We think of topics such as

Ø  the Classics themselves as victims of retrospective ‘classical’ normativity
Ø  the exclusion of literary periods that are considered non- or even contra-classical (baroque,

medieval, …) and the clash with non-European literature
Ø  literary ‘renaissances’ and their implications
Ø  classical normativity and its impact on literatures obedient to political aims (fascism, populism,…)
Ø  literary appeal to the classics as a way of structuring and (re-)formulating society (‘higher’ liberal arts vs. ‘lower’ crafts and proficiencies, literary attitudes towards slavery, …)

We accept papers in English, French, German, Italian and Spanish. Please send an abstract of ca. 300 words and a five line biography to by 15 April 2018.

Organisation: Wim Verbaal, Paolo Felice Sacchi and Tim Noens are members of the research group RELICS (Researchers of European Literary Identities, Cosmopolitanism and the Schools). This research group studies historical literatures and the dynamics that shape a common, European literary identity. It sees this literary identity as particularly negotiated through languages that reached a cosmopolitan status due to fixed schooling systems (Latin, Greek and Arabic), and in their interaction with vernacular literatures. From a diachronic perspective, we aim to seek unity within the ever more diverse, literary Europe, from the first to the eighteenth century, i.e. from the beginning of (institutionally organized) education in the cosmopolitan language to the rise of more national oriented education.

Theatre and Autocracy in the Ancient World

July 26-27 2018, Centre for Classical and Near Eastern Studies, Room 480, Level 4, Madsen Building, University of Sydney

Plato claimed that poets of tragic drama ‘drag states into tyranny and democracy’. The word order is very deliberate: he goes on to say that tragic poets are honoured ‘especially by the tyrants, and secondly by the democracies’ (Republic 568c). For more than forty years scholars have explored the political, ideological, structural and economic links between democracy and theatre in ancient Greece. By contrast, the links between autocracy and theatre are virtually ignored, despite the fact that in the first 200 years of its existence more than a third of all theatre-states were autocratic. For the next 600 years, theatre flourished exclusively in autocratic regimes. The conference brings together experts in ancient theatre to undertake the first systematic study of the patterns of use made of the theatre by tyrants, regents, kings and emperors. For two generations theatre has, as an instrument of mass communication, been characterised as ancient democracy’s supreme cultural artefact. Our conference will explore the historical circumstances and means by which autocrats turned a medium of mass communication into an instrument of mass control.

For More information contact Billy Kennedy

Lucia Athanassaki (University of Crete), Ewen Bowie (Oxford University), Bob Cowan (University of Sydney), Eric Csapo (University of Sydney), Anne Duncan (University of Nebraska-Lincoln), Simon Goldhill (Cambridge University), Hans Goette (German Archaeological Institute and University of Giessen), Chris Kraus (Yale University), Brigitte Le Guen (University of Paris 8), Chris de L’Isle (Oxford University), Nino Luraghi (Princeton University), Elodie Paillard (Universities of Basel and Sydney), Simon Perris (University of Wellington), Jelle Stoop (University of Sydney), Paul Touyz (Princeton University), Peter Wilson (University of Sydney)

A number of travel bursaries are available to doctoral students who wish to attend the conference. Please register your interest before March 15, 2018, by sending (as a single pdf file) a short letter of application, stating how the theme of the conference relates to the topic of your PhD, a CV (with list of publications) and a short reference letter from your supervisor to Billy Kennedy at

Eric Csapo (University of Sydney), J. R. Green (University of Sydney), Brigitte Le Guen (University of Paris 8), Elodie Paillard (Universities of Basel and Sydney) Jelle Stoop (University of Sydney), Peter Wilson (University of Sydney)

Registration and attendance is free.  Please confirm your place by emailing Billy Kennedy by July 2 2018 at

Australian Research Council
Centre for Classical and Near Eastern Studies of Australia
Ian Potter Foundation
Nicholson Museum, University of Sydney
School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry, University of Sydney

Living the Dream: 27 Years of Fieldwork in the Egyptian Sahara

Gillian Bowen

Public Lecture
Tuesday, 24 October 2017, 6:30-7:45
Forum Theatre, Arts West 153 North Wing, The University of Melbourne

This is a story of living the dream; achieving what I once considered impossible. By telling my story, I hope to inspire not only young academics, but also students of all ages, particularly those who feel disillusioned and that a fulfilling career is out of reach. From an early age I was fascinated by the ancient world and dreamed of working in that field. In 1980, thanks to Whitlam’s free access to higher education, I joined numerous other mature-age students and began to study Ancient History at Monash University. Following my Honours year, a fortuitous meeting with Colin Hope and a subsequent invitation to join his archaeological team in Egypt’s Dakhleh Oasis, led to the fulfilment of a life-long passion: excavating in Egypt. It also provided me with an ideal PhD topic. In this talk I look at the highlights of my research in Dakhleh Oasis, which focuses upon the early Christian monuments of the region.It includes an introduction to the ancient village of Kellis which was abandoned at the end of the 4th century and preserves some of the earliest surviving churches as well as a wealth of evidence of everyday life. I will also look at our interaction with the local communities and the men we rely on to undertake the hard excavation work.

Gillian is an Adjunct Research Fellow in the Centre for Ancient Cultures at Monash University. Her areas of research specialisation are Ptolemaic and Roman Egypt, and early Christianity. Each year she undertakes archaeological field work at the site of Ismant el- Kharab, ancient Kellis, in the Dakhleh Oasis, Egypt, where she focuses upon the early Christian monuments. She is also the numismatist for the Dakhleh Oasis Project.

To register visit:

For further information please contact Emily Forster:

This lecture is co-hosted by the Australasian Women in Ancient World Studies (AWAWS) Melbourne Chapter. This lecture is also part of the public lecture program of the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies (SHAPS) at the University of Melbourne.

Hellenic Museum Summer School (January 2018)

Spend a week this summer at Melbourne’s Hellenic Museum, learning about the fascinating and thought-provoking world of the ancient Greeks. The Hellenic Museum Summer School offers a series of informative, relaxed and entertaining short courses over one week in January. The courses are taught by Dr Christopher Gribbin (who previously ran the University of Melbourne’s Classics Summer School) and cover:
– Socrates: His Life and Times
– Love and Relationships in Ancient Greece
– Understanding Greek Theatre Like an Ancient Greek
– An Introduction to Classical Mythology
Classes run from 8-12 January 2018. Anyone is welcome!
For more details, go to

The Invention of Sin

Professor David Konstan

Public Lecture
Wednesday, 8 November, 2017, 6:15
Elisabeth Murdoch Theatre A, The University of Melbourne

What if English lacked the word “sin,” with its religious connotations and Judeo-Christian heritage, and had only words like “fault,” “error,” “crime” and the like? For this is the precisely case with the ancient Greek word ‘hamartia’ – a perfectly common term meaning “fault” (as in Aristotle’s famous “tragic flaw”), but which, when it appears in English translations of the Bible, is almost invariably rendered as “sin.” Is there something in the Biblical context that justifies the use of a special word in English? How do we know that ‘hamartia’ should be translated differently in pagan and Judeo-Christian contexts? In his talk, David Konstan addresses the question of when, how, and whether error and wrongdoing acquired the specific sense that we associate with the word “sin.”

David Konstan is Professor of Classics at New York University. Among his publications are Greek Comedy and Ideology (Oxford, 1995); Friendship in the Classical World (Cambridge, 1997); Pity Transformed (London, 2001); The Emotions of the Ancient Greeks: Studies in Aristotle and Classical Literature (Toronto, 2006); “A Life Worthy of the Gods”: The Materialist Psychology of Epicurus (Las Vegas, 2008); Before Forgiveness: The Origins of a Moral Idea (Cambridge, 2010); and Beauty: The Fortunes of an Ancient Greek Idea (Oxford, 2014). He is a past president of the American Philological Association (now the Society for Classical Studies), and a vice president of the Bristol Institute of Greece, Rome & the Classical Tradition. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and an honorary fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities.

This lecture is part of the public lecture program of the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies (SHAPS) at the University of Melbourne.

To register your attendance at this free public lecture, go to

For further information please contact Emily Forster: