Past Events 2014

Life-Lessons from Ancient Greek Tragedy: Enjoying Euripides

Public Lecture and Annual General Meeting

Tuesday, 16 December, 2014; Lecture 6:00; Annual General Meeting at 5:45
Theatre 1, Alan Gilbert Building, The University of Melbourne (corner of Grattan Street & Barry Street, Carlton)

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Dr. K.O. Chong-Gossard, University of Melbourne

The ancient Athenians acted out the stories of their legendary kings and princesses every spring during their dramatic festival, the Dionysia. These tragedies have remained at the core of Western literature because they continue to be relevant in every age. This lecture looks at a lesser-known and fragmentary play, Euripides’ Hypsipyle, whose female characters make extreme choices in the face of extraordinary misfortunes. It is the only known ancient tragedy to dramatize the accidental death of an infant through the negligence of his nursemaid. It is also one of the few tragedies in which a woman–in this case, the infant’s mother–is persuaded not to seek revenge for the death of her family. Through both positive and negative examples, the heroines of Greek tragedy can even today teach us life lessons about grief, endurance, and forgiveness.

Dr K.O. Chong-Gossard is a senior lecturer in Classics at The University of Melbourne, and is known to most of you as the Honorary Secretary of the Classical Association of Victoria. He is the author of “Gender and Communication in Euripides’ Plays: Between Song and Silence” (Brill 2008), co-editor (with AJ Turner and FV Vervaet) of “Private and Public Lies: the Discourse of Despotism in the Graeco-Roman World” (Brill 2010), and author of numerous articles on Greek drama, as well as ancient language pedagogy. He has over 200 teddy bears in his office, and owns two cats that demand most of his attention.

Immediately prior to this lecture, the next Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Classical Association of Victoria (CAV) will take place. The AGM runs for 10 minutes, beginning at 5:45 pm. K.O. Chong-Gossard’s public lecture will begin at 6:00 pm (please note the early starting time).

The AGM will include the election of office bearers. Any nominations (by current members of the CAV) for the following positions should reach the Honorary Secretary (email preferred) by Thursday 11 December: president, secretary, treasurer, and council members. Nominations should be signed by the nominee and seconded.

The Classics as a Global Discipline: Greco-Roman Civilisation in Eurasia

W.H. Allen Memorial Lecture

Tuesday, 7 October, reception 6:00, lecture 6:30
Kaye Scott Room, Ormond College, 49 College Crescent, Parkville

Dr Hyun Jin Kim, University of Melbourne

To whom does the cultural, artistic, scientific and political inheritance of ancient Greece and Rome belong? The answers to this question have usually limited that magnificent legacy to Western Europe alone. However, this lecture will demonstrate that the legacy of ancient Greece and Rome is the inheritance of the whole of Eurasia or Afro-Eurasia. That legacy therefore continues to impact on and is relevant to the lives of every Eurasian people and those influenced by Eurasian cultures, that is everyone on this planet. One must not confine the reach of the Classics to just the ‘West’, but rather adopt a wider perspective, a Eurasian perspective. Only then can the true impact of Greco-Roman civilisation be fully appreciated.

Dr Hyun Jin Kim is Lecturer in Classics at The University of Melbourne. He is the author of “The Huns, Rome and the Birth of Europe” (Cambridge 2013), “Ethnicity and Foreigners in Ancient Greece and China” (Duckworth 2009) and numerous publications on ethnicity and political history in ancient Greek, Rome and imperial China. He is currently the recipient of an Australian Research Council DECRA (Discovery Early Career Researcher Award) entitled “The Transfer of Global Hegemony: Geopolitical Revolutions in World History.”

The annual W.H. Allen Memorial Lecture is sponsored by the Classical Association of Victoria and Ormond College, in honour of Barney Allen, the first Secretary of the Classical Association of Victoria (1912 onwards), and Vice-Master of Ormond College from 1915-1943. The event will begin with the awarding of the annual Alexander Leeper Prize for the highest-achieving undergraduate Classics honours student in the state of Victoria. Alexander Leeper in 1876 became the first Warden of Trinity College at the University of Melbourne, and in 1912 became the first President of the Classical Association of Victoria.

Philosophy as Therapy and Self-Transformation in Seneca

Tuesday, 30 September, 6:30
Theatre C, Old Arts, University of Melbourne

Prof Aldo Setaioli

Seneca, the tutor and advisor of the Roman emperor Nero, left behind a wide range of philosophical writings. The first goal of Seneca’s philosophy is the therapy of the soul – in other words, the moral progress of the reader as well as of the writer himself. This is a process entailing several stages. The philosophical therapist will first address the emotions of the reader still far removed from wisdom and reason; he will then encourage ascetical ‘exercises’ and finally he will be able to appeal to reason. An important role in this spiritual progress is also played by reading.

Aldo Setaioli is Professor Emeritus of Latin Language and Literature at the University of Perugia (Italy). He has published widely in the area of Latin literature, never losing sight of Greek antecedents and devoting special attention to such authors as Catullus, Virgil and his commentators, Horace, Seneca and Petronius. His research interests have been in the philosophical and allegorical interpretations of classical myth and poetry, as well as afterlife beliefs in the Greek and Roman world down to late antiquity.

This public lecture and Professor Setaioli’s visit are sponsored by the Classical Association of Victoria (CAV), the Australasian Society for Classical Studies (ASCS), the School of Philosophical, Historical and International Studies (SOPHIS) of Monash University and the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies (SHAPS) at The University of Melbourne.

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The Crafts and Arts of Early Greece (from 12th to the 8th centuries BCE)

Tuesday, 9 September, 6:30
Laby Theatre, Physics South, University of Melbourne

Australian Archaeological Institute at Athens Visiting Professor, Irene Lemos, Oxford

This lecture looks at the work of Greek craftsmen and artists of the period from 1200 to 700 BCE. Although Mycenaean architecture and art have been greatly admired and the Archaic and Classical Greek monuments, ceramics and sculpture are well known and discussed, the achievements of the early Greek artists and craftsmen are less acknowledged and often even ignored. This lecture explores the ceramics, personal ornaments, tools and buildings of the period and argues that the early Greek craftsmen and artists achieved and accomplished a lot during a period when much social and cultural change took place. Indeed, their skills and achievements pioneered the perception of what is considered to be Greek art.

Professor Irene Lemos is Reader in Classical Archaeology at Oxford University, and Director of the Lefkandi-Xeropolis excavations in Euboea. She is the author of The Protogeometric Aegean: The Archaeology of the Late Eleventh and Tenth Centuries BC (Oxford, 2003) and of numerous publications on the Lefkandi excavations as they relate to elite burials in the Iron Age, tell formation processes and ceramic statistical analyses.  Professor Lemos is this year’s Australian Archaeological Institute at Athens Visiting Professor.

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Like Frogs Around a Pond: The Role of Maritime Religion in Ancient Greek Culture and Identity

Tuesday, 27 May 2014. 6:30 pm
Babel Building Middle Theatrette, University of Melbourne

Dr Amelia Brown, University of Queensland

The ancient Greeks were never politically unified before the rise of Rome, yet they succeeded in spreading and maintaining a common culture around the Mediterranean sea ‘like frogs around a pond’ (Plato Phaedo 109b). Modern historians struggle to explain how the ancient Greeks could have shared such strong bonds of language, religion and identity, despite a homeland of separate city-states and large-scale migration and intermarriage with other ancient peoples around the Mediterranean sea. This paper looks to the maritime religion of the ancient Greeks for an answer, especially the widespread cults of saviour gods and the rituals practiced at harbors and aboard ships. I argue that the religious system of sailors and travellers helped the ancient Greeks develop and maintain their common culture, all around the Mediterranean sea. Cults of seafaring gods like Aphrodite, Apollo and Poseidon were carried from port to port around ancient Greece, to the Greek colonies and into foreign cities, yet this maritime religion and carriage of cults ‘on the winedark sea’ is not well understood today. The sources are very widely scattered, from ancient testimonia for seafaring rituals of embarkation, accurate navigation and safe arrival on shore, to the archaeological remains of shipwrecks, harbourside sanctuaries and votive offerings. Bringing this evidence back together, however, reveals a durable yet flexible network of travelling rituals and beliefs which bound the ancient Greeks together in unexpected and close-knit ways, even across great distances and without political bonds.

Amelia Brown is Lecturer in Greek History and Language within the School of History, Philosophy, Religion and Classics at The University of Queensland. She was awarded her PhD from the University of California at Berkeley and has published research on the cultures of Late Antiquity and Byzantine Greece and post-Classical Greek cities (especially Corinth and Thessaloniki).

Mosaics and Multiculturalism: Discoveries at Ancient Sepphoris

Tuesday, 25 March, 2014, 6:30 pm
Charles Pearson Theatre (Eastern Resource Centre), University of Melbourne

Professor Carol Meyers (Duke University)

Several major universities – including Duke University – have been excavating at the Galilean site of Sepphoris since the mid-1980s. Discoveries have included stunning mosaics, grand buildings (synagogue, baths, theater, mansions), a large number of underground cavities (ritual baths, cisterns), and a variety of artifacts (pottery, stone vessels and tools, coins, lamps, bronze statues, and more). This impressive array of materials is important for understanding various aspects of life in the Hellenistic, Roman, and Byzantine periods.

Carol Meyers is Mary Grace Wilson Professorship in Religion at Duke University. Her book “Discovering Eve” is a landmark study of women in ancient Israel; and her reference book, “Women in Scripture,” is the most comprehensive study ever made of women in Jewish and Christian scriptures.

This public lecture is sponsored by the Classical Association of Victoria, the Australian Institute of Archaeology and the University of Melbourne’s School of Historical and Philosophical Studies (SHAPS).

Athens Under Roman Domination

Wednesday, 19 March, 2014, 6:30 pm
Theatre A, Elisabeth Murdoch Building, University of Melbourne

Professor Michael Hoff (University of Nebraska-Lincoln)

Few cities of the ancient world can rival Athens’ rich array of cultural splendors.  Monuments such as the Parthenon, Erechtheion, and Theater of Dionysos (to name only a few) serve as visual reminders of Athens’ glory during the Classical Age.  But scholars have neglected the era in Athenian history when Rome held dominion over all of Greece and the “Golden Age” of Athens was long passed. The Romans heavily patronized the city with endowments of magnificent buildings and monuments that outwardly reflect and honor Athens’ past glory, yet also readily testify to Roman domination.  Considering the heavy debt the Romans owed to Greece with respect to their own art and culture, it is curious to note the Roman contributions to Athenian art and architecture. This talk traces the topographical and architectural changes Athens underwent during the formative period of Roman control, which occurred during the late Hellenistic period and to the mid-first century AD.  There is a particular emphasis on the role Augustus played in the civic transformation based on research by the lecturer.  Monuments to be discussed include the Parthenon, Agora, Temple of Roma and Augustus, Roman Market, and others.

Michael Hoff is Hixson-Lied Professor of Art History in the Department of Art and Art History at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where he has taught since 1989.  His research interests include Greek architecture, the architectural topography of Athens during the Roman period, and the archaeology of Asia Minor.  He is Director of the Antiocheia ad Cragum Excavations in Turkey, and has participated in excavations in North Wales, Corinth, Crete, Nemea, and Rough Cilicia in southern Turkey. He is co-editor of “The Romanization of Athens” (1998), and has published articles in a wide array of scholarly journals.

This public lecture is sponsored by the Classical Association of Victoria and the University of Melbourne’s School of Historical and Philosophical Studies (SHAPS).

2014 CAV In-service Day

The 2014 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 Friday 7 March.

For full details download the flyer.

The Study of Classics in UK Schools and Universities – Boom or Bust?

Thursday, 20 February, 2014, 5:30 pm
Old Arts, Theatre B, The University of Melbourne

Arlene Holmes-Henderson

This lecture will outline the current state of Classical education in the UK and will highlight areas of both growth and decline. At a time when funding for Classics in schools and universities is being scaled back, what is the prognosis for the study of Latin, Greek, Classical Civilisation and Ancient history? Can, and should, they survive? Dr Holmes-Henderson presents a report from the front line.

Dr Arlene Holmes-Henderson is a Churchill Fellow from the UK. A Classicist with degrees from Oxford, Harvard and Cambridge universities, she is closely involved with Classical education policy and practice in both Scotland and England. She is currently conducting research into language education and critical literacy in New Zealand and Australia, sponsored by the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust in London.

This free public lecture is sponsored by the Classical Association of Victoria and The University of Melbourne’s School of Historical and Philosophical Studies (SHAPS).

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From Achilles to Anzac: Locating the Classical Past in the Anzac Tradition

Tuesday, 18 February, 2014, 5:15 pm
Old Geology, Theatre 1, The University of Melbourne
Norman Macgeorge Public Lecture

Sarah Midford

This lecture traces the use of the classics in the construction of the Anzac tradition and the commemoration of Anzac soldiers who fell during the Great War (1914-1918). Since the first Australian soldiers landed on the beach at Gallipoli in April 1915 they have been likened to ancient Greek warrior heroes. However, the Trojan hero is simply one aspect of the multi-faceted Australian Anzac archetypal hero whose construction is equally informed by ancient Greek democratic ideals.

This lecture will briefly examine C.E.W. Bean’s use of the ancient Greek past in the commemoration of the Anzac soldier before focussing on allusions to Homeric heroes in Peter Weir’s Gallipoli (1981). The lecture will emphasise the depth to which the classics are embedded in the Anzac Legend by exploring the characterisation of Weir’s two protagonists Archy Hamilton and Frank Dunne as incarnations of the Homeric heroes Achilles and Odysseus respectively.

Sarah Midford is completing a PhD thesis at the University of Melbourne on the influence of the classics on the construction and development of the Australian ‘Anzac Legend’. Since 2010, Sarah has worked on the Joint Historical and Archaeological Survey of the Gallipoli Peninsula, recording what remains of the Great War battlefield site. In 2013 Sarah undertook research at the Korfmann Institute in Çanakkale as the Norman Macgeorge Scholar and in 2014 she will return to Çanakkale to excavate at Troy with Dr Rüstem Aslan from Onsekiz Mart University.