Ancient World Seminar

Erechtheion, Acropolis, Athens
(Photograph: Andrew Stephenson)

The Ancient World Seminar is held on Mondays from 13.00 - 14.00 during semester for presentations and discussions of papers from students and academic staff on all aspects of the ancient world.


For information on the seminar series please contact Dr Andrew Turner (


Seminars are held via Zoom until further notice.  Meeting details will be emailed in the week before each seminar.  To receive the Zoom link please email Dr Andrew Turner (

2021 Programme

15 March

Christopher Greenough, University of Melbourne

Bronze Age Aegean Lion Iconography and its Egyptian and Near-Eastern Connections

This paper will be a PhD commencement seminar.  In his dissertation Christopher will examine shared iconographic conventions of Bronze Age civilizations, and what these common cultural traits might tell us about the ancient Mediterranean.  Though iconography is just one facet of an ancient culture, it can communicate what a civilization/culture may have looked like, how it was structured, how its people lived, and — possibly — their beliefs in this life and the next.  Through an in-depth analysis of select objects — context (geographical/political), iconography, and use — it is his aim to ascertain whether or not the societal structure/belief systems of Bronze Age Aegean cultures can be reflected in lion iconography.

Christopher Greenough is a PhD candidate at the University of Melbourne, specializing in Bronze Age Aegean iconography.  Prior to this he completed a Master of International Relations and has participated at the Tell es-Safi archaeological dig in Israel.

22 March, 6-7 pm

Aren Maeir, Bar Ilan University

Philistines and Sea Peoples in Light of the Excavations at Tell es-Safi/Gath

25 years of excavations at the site of Tell es-Safi/Gath, Israel, conducted by a multi-national team, including from Melbourne, have revealed important finds relating to many periods and cultures.  In this lecture, Professor Maeir will present and discuss finds from the site that contribute to our understanding of the fascinating Sea Peoples and Philistines, in light of the identification of Tell es-Safi/Gath as Philistine Gath, biblical home of Goliath

Aren Maeir is a professor of archaeology at Bar-Ilan University, director of the Tell es-Safi/Gath Archaeological Project and head of the Institute of Archaeology.

29 March

James Tan, The University of Sydney

Regional Representation and the Reform of the Comitia Centuriata in the Third Century BCE

At some point between 241 and 219 BCE, the Romans changed the way that they ran their most prestigious elections. In the comitia centuriata, votes had always been weighted in favour of the wealthy, but now many votes were also organised by territorial tribe. This paper will argue that the reform was not intended to change to change the balance of voting by rich or poor. Instead, it was designed to recalibrate the political influence of old citizens near Rome and of new citizens (and colonists) in more recently conquered areas. While this may well have been a response to the shared sacrifice of the First Punic War and perhaps the Gallic War of the 220’s, I will argue that it also speaks to the development of a spatial perception of Rome that was no longer in sync with political institutions.

James Tan is Lecturer in Classics and Ancient History at the University of Sydney. He receive his PhD from Columbia University and is the author of Power and Public Finance at Rome (264-49 BCE). He is currently working on a book on the Tribuni Aerarii and the role of taxation in ordering rural communities and creating a sociologically stable Republican elite.

12 April

Ashley Green, The University of Melbourne

Fowling in Imperial Rome: Methods, Tools and Consumption Patterns

This paper examines the practices of fowling and bird-catching in Imperial Rome to create a general profile of the methods, tools, and consumption patterns common across the Empire. It asks how birds were hunted, when they were hunted, and how consumption of wild birds was used to advertise class, status, and inequality. It examines such phenomena as the practice of eating birds 'out of season' and the boom in demand for exotic table birds at the beginning of the Imperial period. Finally, it makes comparison to hunting practices of the Middle Ages and looks at points of differentiation, including Roman lack of falconry and the absence of the concept of poaching in Roman law.

Dr Ash Green is a recent graduate of The University of Melbourne. Her research is concerned with birds in Roman life and myth, and what the study of human/animal relations can reveal about cultures and societies both past and present.

19 April

Stephanie Zindilis, The University of Melbourne

Distaff Displacement: Narratives of Female Exile in Ovidian Poetry

26 April

Displacement, the removal from one’s home or country of origin with the possibility of return being difficult or impossible, is a torment experienced by numerous women in Ovid’s Heroides and Fasti. These episodes reveal how exile is experienced by women and its impact on their psychology, agency, and identity, exploring the myriad of factors that can influence a woman’s success or failure in finding refuge, and how gender and exile intersect to create an oppressive cycle of dual-marginalization. The increased vulnerability of exiled women provides a powerful model for Ovid to voice his own experience of displacement in the Tristia and Epistulae ex Ponto, written after his exile to Tomis in 8 CE. Thematic and linguistic echoes link his pre-exilic and post-exilic work to bridge poetic fact and fiction, identifying the poet with his characters through the shared experience of social exclusion and persecution by a more dominant masculine force.

Stephanie has completed an honours level thesis at the University of Melbourne on Ovid’s Metamorphoses, for which she was awarded the D.H. Rankin Essay prize and the Alexander Leeper Prize. She is currently undertaking a Master of Arts, focusing on the intersectionality of exile and gender throughout Ovid’s textual corpus. With 9 years of Latin and 3 years of Ancient Greek language study, Stephanie has developed a keen interest in early Roman Empire poetry and Greek Lyric poetry. Her research interests include gender, marginalisation, and intertextuality, concepts which are crucial to her current study of Ovidian literature.

Edward Jeremiah, The University of Melbourne

Divine Envy and Generosity in Cosmological Arguments between Neoplatonists and Christians

3 May

Monique Webber, The University of Melbourne

An Exploration of Rome's horrea piperataria

10 May, 6-7 pm

Jana Mokrišová, University of Cambridge

Forged Connections: Bronze and Iron in Pre-Archaic Southwestern Anatolia

17 May

Speakers and topics TBA

National Archaeology Week

24 May

Giulia Torello-Hill, The University of New England and Andrew Turner, The University of Melbourne

The Lyon Terence: Illustrator and Editor