The Classics Summer School is a chance for anyone to learn a little more about the ancient world by taking some informal courses over the summer.

Date: 9-13 January 2017
Time: 9.15am - 5.00pm
Location: Macmahon Ball Theatre, Old Arts (Building 149)
The University of Melbourne, Parkville 3010

Held over one intensive week in January, the Classics Summer School will present classes in four different subjects focussing on the great archaeological discoveries of ancient Greece and Rome, the fascinating history of the Roman province of Dalmatia, the domestic life of ancient Greeks and Romans, and finally a practical workshop to develop your argumentation skills in the style of Socrates.

Certificates of participation will be offered upon completion of the course.

For full subject details, download the program flyer.

Download the flyer


1. Uncovering the past: Great archaeological discoveries

9.15am - 11.30am daily

Presented by Emeritus Professor Frank Sear

Many Greek and Roman sites were uncovered by archaeologists, for example Heinrich Schliemann at Troy and Mycenae, Sir Arthur Evans at Knossos, and Spyridon Marinatos at Santorini. Generations of archaeologists worked for 200 years to uncover the remarkably well-preserved towns of Pompeii, Herculaneum, Stabiae and Oplontis; and their work goes on to this day. In this course you will learn how the past is uncovered in many different ways and by many different people; and the influence of these discoveries is also a source of great fascination.

2. Dalmatia: The story of a Roman province

12pm - 1pm daily

Presented by Dr Chris Gribbin

Wedged between Greece and Italy, the Dalmatian coast lay on an important trade route in antiquity. It was therefore inevitable that the Romans would take an interest in the area. And Roman interest led inevitably to conquest. This course explores the history of this province from its conquest by the Romans to its loss to the barbarians. As well as being a fascinating story in its own right, the history of Dalmatia gives us a great insight into how the Roman Empire grew and maintained control.

3. At home with the Greeks and Romans

2pm - 3pm daily

Presented by Dr Chris Gribbin

In this course, we'll get to know the Greeks and Romans better by understanding their home life. We'll use archaeology to understand what their houses looked like and texts to understand what happened inside their houses. In exploring the homes of the ancients, we encounter many differences and similarities between our lives and theirs - such as slaves, gender relations, ostentatious displays of wealth and very different notions of privacy.

4. How to argue like Socrates

3.30pm - 5pm daily

Presented by Dr Chris Gribbin

'How to argue like Socrates' is a practical course that develops your ability to argue effectively. Based on the techniques of Socrates, one of the greatest arguers of all time, this course mixes theory and practice. We'll look at passages from Plato's dialogues to understand what questions to ask and what mistakes people often make, but we'll also put the principles into practice with in-class dialogues. The Socratic method is a powerful tool for learning about other people and yourself and for getting at the reasons for disagreements. Course materials will be provided. Just bring along your curiosity and a willingness to argue.


Emeritus Professor Frank Sear is a world-renowned architectural historian and former Chair of Classics at The University of Melbourne, Emeritus Professor Frank Sear is a graduate of Cambridge University, where he completed both his undergraduate and graduate studies. He has published widely on his archaeological work and published a number of books including Roman Wall and Vault Mosaics, Roman Architecture and Roman Theatres: an architectural study.

Dr Christopher Gribbin is a fellow at The University of Melbourne's School of Historical and Philosophical Studies and has a particular interest in understanding how people make sense of the world, whether through religion, philosophy, story-telling, art or architecture. Chris has taught wth the Classics Summer School since 2002 and has been involved with some less-traditional means of bringing the ancient world to life for modern audiences, such as hosting a monthly Socratic Discussion Group, has worked with the ABC on a website bringing myths to life for kids and leads groups on guided tours of the Graeco-Roman world.


Uncovering the past: Great archaeological discoveries $300 / 250*
Dalmatia: The story of a Roman province $150 / 125*
At home with the Greeks and Romans $150 / 125*
How to argue like Socrates $225 / 190*
ALL SESSIONS $700 / 500*

* University of Melbourne Alumni, concession, staff and students

About the Classics Summer School

The Classics Summer School is a chance for anyone to learn a little more about the ancient world by taking some informal courses over the summer. Classes are small, relaxed and fun, and anyone is welcome to take part. Participants typically include the general public, high school teachers, secondary/tertiary students and many others. Classes take place at The University of Melbourne, using university facilities and academic staff.

Lecturer Dr Chris Gribbin said, "The Classics Summer School helps students to understand the contribution of the ancient world and gives them a context for those contributions. The Greek and Roman world is a major part of our cultural heritage and students value the deeper appreciation of it they gain."

More information

For more information please contact

Caterina Sciacca, Community Education Manager, Faculty of Arts

Phone: +61 3 8344 3996

Image credit

Parthenon Frieze. The so-called peplos scene, East V, 31–35, London c. 443 and 438 BC