STUDYING THE CLASSICAL WORLD: Classical Views on Modern Issues

From the RH Dept…

Join the Classics department for a day of Studying the Classical World at Royal Holloway, University of London.

About this event

Tuesday 19th July 2022, 10.30 a.m. – 3.15 p.m.

Moore Annexe Lecture Theatre

Royal Holloway, Egham, Surrey TW20 0EX

10.30 a.m.

Registration and welcome

10.35-11.05 a.m.

How Homer Predicted All This

Dr. Nick Lowe, Reader in Classics

Can the oldest books in the western world make sense of what just happened? How is it that the Iliad and Odyssey not only anticipated the key issues facing the world of 2022, but proposed analyses from which we can still learn and solutions which remain actionable? Why do texts we’ve been reading since the very invention of the alphabet keep turning out to be about new things? – things that they were about all along, but which we never noticed until we lived through something like them? For the case of the Homeric epics, there’s an actual answer, which goes to the heart of what Classics is and does.

11.05-11.35 am.

Toxic masculinity in Ovid’s Metamorphoses

Dr. Efi Spentzou, Reader in Latin Language & Literature

What makes a good hero? Greek myth offers colourful stories of strong and invincible warriors and larger than life characters, but the Roman poet Ovid in his quirky epic, the Metamorphoses, gets into the mind of these epic heroes to dig out their desires, ambitions, but also fears and insecurities, as men as well as soldiers. This session explores some striking examples of toxic masculinity, as the men struggle with their thoughts as much as (if not more than) with the opponents facing them in battle.

11.35-12 noon Refreshments


Conquest and Atrocity: Land and Blood in Roman Germany

Professor Richard Alston, Professor of Roman History

In 14 CE after putting down a mutiny of his own troops, Germanicus Caesar, presumed heir of the Emperor Tiberius, led his armies across the Rhine into Germany. What followed was by all modern standards a war crime. Yet, it passes almost without comment in our ancient writers. This presentation asks the fundamental question of why states sponsor massacres. In so doing, we will examine the relationship between territory, nation and trauma and how the differences between antiquity and the present help us understand better some of the fundamental moral and political questions of our time.

12.30-2.00 p.m. Lunch Break

You can bring a packed lunch, or purchase sandwiches and drinks from a variety of venues across the campus. Student ambassadors will be on hand to show you around our impressive campus.

1.00-2.00 p.m. Mini Campus Tour with Student Ambassadors (optional)

2.00-2.30 p.m.

A Woman’s Place: Creating Space and Gender in Plautus

Dr. Liz Gloyn, Reader in Latin Language & Literature

We take the space and place for granted, but it often influences and shapes us in unexpected ways. Dr. Gloyn examines the plays of the Roman comic dramatist Plautus to explore how he uses spaces occupied only by women, and asks what fresh interpretations of the texts open up if we ask what happens when women take centre stage.

2.30-3.15 p.m.

Studying the classical world at University & its Career Opportunities: a Q&A session

Dr. Richard Hawley, Senior Lecturer in Classics

This session will explain how studying classical culture at university level differs from studying at school/college. It will also explore the wealth of career opportunities for those with classical culture degrees and give all those present an opportunity to ask questions of Dr. Hawley and the student ambassadors, for example about application procedures, degree course content, and student experience.

The Moore Annexe Lecture Theatre is in the middle of the campus, on the Campus Plan, downloadable from