Money in a New World: Introduction to Hellenistic Coinage

CAS is pleased to announce the next in its ongoing series of seminars designed to demystify the ancient world and to provide a friendly and accessible gateway into classical topics for learners of any background or ability. Starting off our series in 2021 will be a seminar on Hellenistic coinage!

The figure of Alexander the Great understandably casts a long shadow: his ruthless conquest of the Achaemenid Persian Empire, his claims to divinity and his early death all combine to make Alexander a true celebrity of the ancient world. Outside of academic circles, the period following Alexander’s demise is less well known. It is, however, a period well worth finding out more about. From almost the moment of Alexander’s death, it was clear that his trusted commanders could not be relied upon to maintain any degree of harmony, and soon afterwards they were fighting among themselves to carve out the largest pieces of their dead king’s massive empire. These so-called Successor Kingdoms would be contentious neighbours and rivals for centuries, the new Hellenistic era only truly ending with the death of Cleopatra in 30 BCE.

In this two-hour seminar, participants will be introduced to the history of this dynamic period, and will be given an introduction to studying ancient coinage (and how it compares to modern output). The seminar uses Hellenistic coinage to illustrate how these regimes sought to define and legitimise themselves. After these presentations, participants will get to grips with some ancient examples themselves, working in small groups to analyse some ancient coins and discover how much information can be extracted even from the smallest pieces of metal.

As with all our seminars, this session is entirely *free*, although registration will be required. To sign up, please contact Dr Alex Imrie (A.Imrie@ed.ac.uk) 

This session is being offered in conjunction with the Edinburgh University Classics Society. It has been designed by Jenny Shearer, an undergraduate student in Classics with a special interest in the period, with input from faculty members at the university. She will be assisted by a number of her colleagues in the society. This is an exciting opportunity to learn more about a less commonly publicised subject from antiquity, and to see a group of exciting young classicists demonstrating that the ancient world is far from inaccessible!

Gilbert Murray Essay Competition

The Gilbert Murray Essay Competition is an annual contest hosted by the Glasgow & West Centre of the Classical Association of Scotland. It is open to any pupils at Scottish schools from P6 through to S6. If your school teaches Classics, entries may be submitted through them, but you should not worry if your school does not offer Classics: you can still enter by yourself!

We are now open for entries in the 2020-21 competition!

Prizes will be awarded in four sections, each with their own topics (the tasks can be found below!):

a) for pupils in P6 & P7      

b) for pupils in S1 & S2              

c) for pupils in S3 & S4         

d) for pupils in S5 & S6

There will also be a special award of £50 to the most outstanding entry overall.


Conditions of Entry

Entries can be made by pupils at Scottish schools through their teacher, or can be submitted independently. Please remember the following conditions:

  1. The entrant’s own name along with the name of their school should be written on each entrant’s work.
  • (a) Entries that are submitted through schools should be accompanied by a letter from the teacher listing the name and year group of all the pupils concerned, and confirming that the work has been done independently.
  • (b) Entries submitted on an individual basis should be accompanied by a signed declaration that the work has been done independently and contact details (postal and email addresses).

Length 

For P6 – P7   Not more than 600 words

For S1 – S2     Not more than 800 words

For S3 – S4        800 – 1000 words

For S5 – S6        At least 1000 words*

(A bibliography is essential for S5/S6.)

*Advanced Higher Dissertations may not be submitted. See section (d) option 3, however, for a possible alternative.

Please note that completed work should be sent to Dr Jane Draycott, Classics, School of Humanities, 65 Oakfield Avenue, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, G12 8LP OR emailed to Jane.Draycott@glasgow.ac.uk to arrive no later than Friday 30th April, 2021. 

Entries will be assessed by members of the Committee. One or more prizes and certificates will be awarded in each section, depending on the quality of the entries. The decision of the judges will be final.

The results will be posted on the Classical Association of Scotland website (https://cas.wp.st-andrews.ac.uk/). 

It would be helpful if staff from participating departments would include their e-mail address at school in the letter which accompanies the entries.


Essay Subjects 2020/21 

(NB only one option should be entered by each pupil.)

Section a) P6-P7

1. Draw a picture of a monster from classical mythology.

2. Imagine you are a soldier based in Vindolanda. Write a letter home with the latest news.

Section b) S1–S2

1. Draw a cartoon-strip which retells the story of Romulus and Remus.

2. Imagine you are a travel agent in ancient Greece. Design a brochure advertising the Olympic Games.

3. Retell the story of Theseus and the Minotaur from Ariadne’s perspective.

Section c) S3-S4

1.  Generally we know little about the lives of gladiators except what is on their tombstones. Look at this inscription and the accompanying translation, then write a possible life-story for Diodorus.

Diodorus, gladiator (left) and opponent Demetrius.

‘Here I lie victorious, Diodorus the wretched. After breaking my opponent Demetrius, I did not kill him immediately. But murderous Fate and the cunning treachery of the summa rudis (the referee) killed me, and leaving the light I have gone to Hades. I lie in the land of the original inhabitants. A good friend buried me here because of his piety.’

For more about the inscription and story, see the website below: https://www.livescience.com/14650-roman-gladiator-tombstone-epitaph.html

2.  You are organising a party. Who from the classical world would you invite and why?

3.  Why are films, games and other entertainments based on the classical world so appealing today?

Section d) S5-S6

1. Should statues of Julius Caesar be removed in response to concerns being raised about his violation of human rights in Gaul?

2. Re-imagine a piece of classical art or literature for the modern age, e.g. a sculpture, mosaic, piece of drama etc.

3. Take an aspect of your dissertation and explain why you find it interesting. (Note: you should stick to the recommended length for S5/S6 essays.)


Once again, please note that completed work should be sent to:

Dr Jane Draycott
Classics, School of Humanities,
65 Oakfield Avenue
University of Glasgow, Glasgow, G12 8LP
OR
Emailed to Jane.Draycott@glasgow.ac.uk to arrive no later than Friday 30th April, 2021. 


Gilbert Murray, Professor of Greek at University of Glasgow (1889-99)