Department of Classics



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CLASSICS PRESENTS... Speakers' Programme 2014-15



Writing and Reading Violence in Statius' Thebaid

Following a century of unjustifiable neglect, Statius' imperial epic poem, the Thebaid has enjoyed a resurgence of interest that encompasses a wide variety of scholarly approaches, including philology, sociology, intertextuality, metapoetics, gender studies, political studies, digital humanities, and reception studies. Dr. Gervais presents an overview of several of these approaches as applied to the end of Thebaid 2, where the hero Tydeus violently repels an ambush of Theban soldiers.
He argues that the Thebaid can reward scrutiny ranging from the most traditional to the most experimental--from textual criticism to comparisons with the films of Quentin Tarantino.









Living the Law in Classical Athens

Pericles’ Citizenship Law of 451 BCE defined a citizen as the child of an Athenian father and an Athenian mother. This law thus created a sharp distinction between legitimate and illegitimate marriages and between legitimate and illegitimate families. But when we look at court cases from Classical Athens, a murkier picture of family life emerges, full of mistresses and prostitutes, bastard children and secret love-affairs. Here the distinction between legitimate and illegitimate is policed not by the law but by neighbourhood gossip. While the court cases show Athenians living their lives in the gray areas left by the law’s black-and-white distinction, Athenian tragedy widens the gap between lived reality and the law in order to show the high cost to the individual of transgressing the law and the high cost to society of upholding it.