39 episodes

Welcome to the
Institute of Classical Studies

The national centre for the promotion and facilitation of research in Classics and related disciplines throughout the UK and abroad.

Institute of Classical Studies University of London

    • Books

Welcome to the
Institute of Classical Studies

The national centre for the promotion and facilitation of research in Classics and related disciplines throughout the UK and abroad.

    ICS/ Herculaneum Society Lecture: 'Invisible Herculaneum'

    ICS/ Herculaneum Society Lecture: 'Invisible Herculaneum'

    Michael Scott, whose BBC documentary series 'Invisible Cities' delved beneath Naples, Rome and Athens - amongst other cities - talks about his experiences at Herculaneum and examines what else may yet be uncovered.

    In 79CE, the seaside town of Herculaneum, with a population of about 5000, was buried 20 metres deep under the volcanic material of the super-heated pyroclastic surge from Vesuvius. The eruption killed those who had not managed to escape, but preserved their villas, wooden furniture, artefacts, shops, baths, sewers, theatre and statues. It also buried the only Greco-Roman library to survive into the modern era, and it is hoped that new techniques may soon enable its hundreds of carbonised papyrus scrolls to be read once more. Two-thirds of Herculaneum, which lies beneath the modern town of Ercolano, still remains unexplored.

    Michael Scott, academic, author and broadcaster in history and archaeology, is a Professor in Classics and Ancient History at the University of Warwick https://michaelscottweb.com/

    • 1 hr 3 min
    ICS/British School at Rome Lecture 'January 14, 1506: the discovery of the Laocoon'

    ICS/British School at Rome Lecture 'January 14, 1506: the discovery of the Laocoon'

    Professor Rita Volpe, Roma Tre University

    On January 14 1506 the statue group of the Laocoon was discovered in a vineyard on the Esquiline Hill in Rome. It was almost intact and recognized at once as the same work of art which Pliny the Elder considered one of the most beautiful creations of antiquity. The Laocoon quickly became one of the best known sculptural groups in the world, yet even today we ask where exactly that vineyard was located and precisely where the Laocoon was found.

    Our research into the find spot of the statue group began with the owner of the vineyard and the discovery of new archival documents, which have provided a definitive solution to the problem. The reconstruction of a landscape of Rome of the sixteenth century, populated by notaries, innkeepers, doctors and prostitutes throws light onto the ancient Rome in which the Laocoon was admired.

    • 48 min
    Dorothy Tarrant Lecture: Earthquakes, Etruscan Priests, and Roman Politics in the Age of Cicero

    Dorothy Tarrant Lecture: Earthquakes, Etruscan Priests, and Roman Politics in the Age of Cicero

    Speaker: Anthony Corbeill, University of Virginia

    In 56 BCE Cicero, orator and statesman, was enjoying his first Roman spring since returning from exile. April brought terrestrial rumblings north of Rome. The senate chose to investigate, enlisting Etruscan diviners to determine their significance. The priestly response was elucidated before the assembled Roman people by Publius Clodius, former tribune and engineer of Cicero's exile. The next day, Cicero offered the senate his reading of the same text in a speech combining harsh personal invective with incisive argumentation about determining divine will through natural phenomena. Cicero’s 'De haruspicum responsis' is unique in providing a contemporary account of how the senate assessed a prodigy, and it offers the only complete text written by a priestly body (here, the Etruscan 'haruspices'). My lecture will address the criteria used by the senate in deciding how natural phenomena might affect the Roman state

    • 43 min
    ICS/British School at Athens Lecture: Pella. The Great Capital of the Macedonian Kingdom

    ICS/British School at Athens Lecture: Pella. The Great Capital of the Macedonian Kingdom

    Institute of Classical Studies

    ICS/British School at Athens Lecture: Pella. The Great Capital of the Macedonian Kingdom

    Dr Elisavet Bettina Tsigarida
    (Director of the Ephorate of Antiquities of the County of Pella)

    Sixty years of continuous archaeological research have uncovered evidence for many aspects of the life Pella, the second capital of the Macedonian kingdom. The paper will present its history from its origins as a small, coastal city on the NW shore of the Thermaic Guld, which Archelaos made his capital around the end of the 5th century BC, through its period of glory between the conquests of Alexander and before the Roman defeat of Macedon in 168 BC, until its eventual abandonment around 30 BC. Among the new discoveries are luxurious houses, many named after the famous mosaics that decorated them; the royal palace; and the rapid transformation of the surrounding landscape in the late Classical and the Hellenistic periods.

    • 59 min
    • video
    ICS/British School at Athens Lecture: Pella. The Great Capital of the Macedonian Kingdom

    ICS/British School at Athens Lecture: Pella. The Great Capital of the Macedonian Kingdom

    Institute of Classical Studies

    ICS/British School at Athens Lecture: Pella. The Great Capital of the Macedonian Kingdom

    Dr Elisavet Bettina Tsigarida
    (Director of the Ephorate of Antiquities of the County of Pella)

    Sixty years of continuous archaeological research have uncovered evidence for many aspects of the life Pella, the second capital of the Macedonian kingdom. The paper will present its history from its origins as a small, coastal city on the NW shore of the Thermaic Guld, which Archelaos made his capital around the end of the 5th century BC, through its period of glory between the conquests of Alexander and before the Roman defeat of Macedon in 168 BC, until its eventual abandonment around 30 BC. Among the new discoveries are luxurious houses, many named after the famous mosaics that decorated them; the royal palace; and the rapid transformation of the surrounding landscape in the late Classical and the Hellenistic periods.

    Why do we need Monsters?

    Why do we need Monsters?

    Why do we need Monsters?

    Today we worry about chimaeras - organisms created by combining genes from more than one species - and science fiction writers imagine bizarre aliens on other planets, just as nineteenth-century novelists placed them in the Centre of the Earth, on Lost Worlds or in Lands that Time Forgot.
    Almost every society has imagined monsters, often as hybrids of humans and beasts. This free public event brings together some of the most interesting researchers on ancient monsters and invites us to reflect on what purpose these nearly humans serve in societies ancient and modern.

    Professor David Wengrow (UCL)
    ‘What is a monster, and do we really need them?’

    I will offer some brief highlights from the argument of my (2014) book, 'The Origins of Monsters'. While we tend to think of monsters as free creations of the mind, their history is often remarkably conservative. The same ones appear, time and again, in different contexts. But how far back in human history do these stubborn, composite creations really go? Why is their transmission so often propped up by technologies of mechanical reproduction, like seal-stones and printing? Why are there so few of them in the art of prehistoric peoples, who lived before the rise of cities?

    Dr. Dunstan Lowe (University of Kent)
    ‘Real monsters in ancient Rome’

    Strange and monstrous creatures were well known in ancient myth. But there are also fascinating eyewitness reports from Roman times, and not just from remote places but even in the city of Rome itself.
    People saw giant bones of ancient beasts and heroes, a stuffed mer-man, and a centaur pickled in honey. There were also living creatures that shocked and fascinated: wild crocodiles and elephants, and exotic pets such as eels and baboons. There were even humans with rare physical peculiarities, who were put together with other ‘monsters’ in a way that seems shocking to the modern world.

    The rich and powerful, including emperors, sought out ‘real monsters’ for public enjoyment, as attractions, and also for personal enjoyment, as possessions. Some called it disgraceful, but the evidence is undeniable: the ancient Romans were as fascinated by monsters as we are.

    Dr Liz Gloyn (Royal Holloway, University of London)
    ‘Why does the ancient monster survive in the modern world?’

    Ancient monsters were created over two millennia ago, yet they continue to play an important part in our contemporary culture. From Clash of the Titans to the Percy Jackson series, and even video game villains, classical monsters are alive and well. But what has given these monsters such a strong lease of life, and prevented them from disappearing back into the shadows that they first came from? In this talk, I will look at some examples of classical monsters on film to explore how they operate, how we might understand them, and how they connect with wider patterns of monster theory.

    Dr Valeria Vitale (Institute of Classical Studies)
    ‘Making Monsters’

    Does your house look too quiet during the night? Do you really want to scare off the annoying neighbour’s cat? Do you want to, literally, amaze your friends at parties? Nothing like having your own monster! Join us as we share our tips on how to make and customise the monster of your dreams! You can leave the clay at home as we’ve moved into digital technologies. We will start by looking at the most common features that make a class of imaginary creatures perceived as “monstrous”, and try to extrapolate the recurring rules behind their creation. We will then transfer the same concepts into 3D modelling, using free software to explore the combination and modification of different components in order to build brand new digital monsters ready for 3D printing and the monsters’ entrance into the material world.

    Supported by the John Coffin Memorial Fund

    • 1 hr 21 min

Top Podcasts In Books

Listeners Also Subscribed To

More by University of London