Artistic Responses to Antiquity

(Image of a Bacchant courtesy of Zofia Guertin)

Artistic Responses to Antiquity

Saturday 3rd April 2021 (2-5pm)

The ancient world is a dazzling place full of different languages, cultures, faiths and population groups. It is something that is altogether familiar and yet incredibly detached from our daily existence in the twenty-first century. While some groups have historically claimed ownership of the classical past, the real beauty of Classics is that it is no one group’s sole inheritance. In being familiar-yet-different, the ancient world has provoked an array of literary and artistic responses. From the opulent imagery of Neoclassical artist Jacques-Louis David, or the Romanticism of Laurence Alma-Tadema – Greece, Rome and other ancient civilisations have informed and inspired artists for centuries.

In more recent times a new wave of artists is arising, individuals who respond to classical imagery in their own personal way and channel antiquity in new and exciting projects: Marian Maguire’s Goddesses (2019), for instance, reimagined female Greek deities through a feminist lens; Webtoon series Punderworld (Linda Šejić) and Lore Olympus (Rachel Smythe) have mainstreamed Greek myths into weekly webcomics; the University of Edinburgh’s Aeclanum project was recently the subject of an exhibition in Cambridge’s Museum of Classical Archaeology for its use of comic art to build a public engagement strategy created by artist and public archaeologist Zofia Guertin.

This seminar will give participants the opportunity to hear from a selection of artistic classicists, before being challenged to create their own classically-inspired work of art in only one hour’s time!

In this hour we guide attendees in creating their own classically-inspired masterpiece!

Session I:

This session will provide an overview of how classically-inspired artwork has developed over time, and how this fits into the wider theory of Classical Reception. The session will demonstrate how artwork has been an important aspect in the evolution of Classics, and how it continually evolves still. This section will be divided between two presentations, with plenty time for Q&A.

Session II:

This session moves participants on from the wider theory and history underpinning artistic responses to antiquity, and offers the chance to hear from three artists who create works inspired by the ancient world. Each artist will take time to explain their personal relationship with the ancient world, how this has impacted on their subsequent creations,

Session III:

In this session, we hand over to the participants. Within the hour, we guide attendees in creating their own classically-inspired masterpiece! Our artistic experts will be on-hand for the duration of the session to field questions and enquiries while we help each other create pieces that chart our own relationships with the ancient world. We will ask people to take pictures of their creations so that we can create a ‘virtual gallery’ on the Classical Association of Scotland website, and we will be sharing a hashtag so that our creations can be shared on social media, too!

Prior to the seminar, Zoom links and a package of images will be sent out to all registered participants. You do not need to purchase anything specific prior to the sessions, only have to hand anything that you will want to create your piece of art!

This session brings together an exciting group of classicists and artists:

Dr Briana King (University of St Andrews)

Zofia Guertin (PhD Candidate – University of St Andrews) @ZofiaAstrid

Dr Maria Haley (University of Leeds/University of Manchester) @marianuncsum

Flora Kirk (MA, University of Durham) @flaroh

As with all of our sessions, it is absolutely free to attend, but registration is required. To sign up or for more information, please contact Dr Alex Imrie (A.Imrie@ed.ac.uk)

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)