News and Events
Silius Italicus and Flavian Culture: Pacific Rim Latin Literature Conference
4-6 July, 2011
Venue: Centre for Classical and Near Eastern Studies of Australia (CCANESA):
The University of Sydney
Silius Italicusâ€™ epic on the Hannibalic War, the Punica, has moved from scholarly neglect and even contempt to being the focus of immense interest and research. Yet much scholarship has tended to divorce the poet and his poem from its context in Flavian and especially Domitianic Rome. This conference, only the second ever devoted to Silius and the first in the English-speaking world, aims to resituate Silius and the Punica in its Flavian context.
'THE Greeks and Romans knew what to do about asylum seekers. Our very language reflects the ancient nature of the problem. Refugee, asylum, migrant, sanctuary, all are derived from Greek and Latin roots. Yet the difference between the ancient response and the modern one is striking. For the Greeks and Romans, the correct action to take wasn't debatable. Every right-thinking person knew what to do. When people were washed up on your shore, you fed and clothed them, and offered them a helping hand.'
Classics recruit focuses on politically incorrect Greek
Kevin Lee Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Dr Sebastiana Nervegna, speaks to the Australian's 'Higher Education Supplement' commentator, Luke Slattery about soap opera, comedy, sex and the Greeks, and Classics at the University of Sydney:
'ON my way to interview Sebastiana Nervegna, the latest recruit to a buoyant University of Sydney classics department, I give the address to the taxi driver. "You're interviewing an academic," he snorts. "How exciting. Not."
'His scorn evaporates when I explain that Nervegna is an expert in Menander, a late 4th century Greek playwright who refocused Athenian comedy on domestic intrigues: his tightly constructed plots are driven by sensational lusts and infidelities, peopled with the rich and the poor.
'"So he invented the soap opera," asserts the cabbie with attitude. "Did he also invent farce?' Minutes later I put the question to Nervegna, and she explains that although Menander's work seems to have inaugurated romantic comedy and contains elements that could be seen as farcical, this kind of comedy had precursors.'