Peter Wilson - Public Lecture: A potted political history of the Sicilian theatre (to ca. 300)

By Dr Julie-Ann Robson

6 July, 2017

Wednesday the 12th of July 2017
5-6:30pm in the General Lecture Theatre
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Part of the Amphorae Conference

Plato claimed that tragic poets ‘drag states into tyranny and democracy’. The word order is deliberate: tragic poets are honoured ‘especially by the tyrants, and secondly by the democracies’ (Republic 568c). For over forty years scholars have explored the political, ideological, social and economic links between Athenian democracy and theatre. By contrast, study of the politics of Sicilian theatre is in its infancy. At the same time historians have observed that Greek Sicilian culture was, rather more than Athenian culture, broadly and intensely theatricalised. In this paper I make the case that Greek Sicily’s hypertheatrical culture can be explained in part as a consequence of the dominant role of tyranny on the political horizon of the fifth and fourth centuries. Tyrants depended on theatre and exploited its possibilities even more energetically than democracies. In a democracy the theatre was only one political space among several, and ultimately not the most important. In tyrannies, theatre was the sole space for mass communication between ruler and ruled. In a series of case studies I shall explore the multiple intersections between politics and theatre in Greek Sicily. 

Phone:+61 2 9351 2862

Athens Classical Archaeology Intensive Summer Program - January 4-25 2019

On-site teaching in Athens, Attika and Delphi

The Department of Archaeology and the Australian Archaeological Institute at Athens invite your application to join the fifth Classical Archaeology Intensive Summer Program in Athens.

The Summer Program is a unique opportunity to study the archaeology and history of ancient Athens at first hand. With a particular focus on the Archaic and Classical periods (ca. 630-323 B.C.) and under expert tuition, you will enjoy formal lectures integrated with daily visits to archaeological sites and museums in Athens and Attica. You will also travel further afield to the panhellenic sanctuary of Apollo at Delphi.

The course is open to students of Australian and New Zealand universities and to high school teachers in Australia and New Zealand. Interested members of the general public are also welcome to apply.


Download Athens Summer School application information

Download Athens Summer School poster

Credit points
University of Sydney students can earn 6 credit points by undertaking this Summer Program in lieu of ARCO3009
(undergraduates) and ARCL6902 (postgraduates). All students enrolling in the Program for credit will be required to complete specified assignments both in Athens and on return to Australia.
Non-University of Sydney students should discuss accreditation with their home institutions.

A number of bursaries to offset the cost of participation in the Summer Program will be available to successful applicants who would not otherwise be able to participate. If you wish to apply for a bursary, please enclose a letter to Dr Beaumont explaining your reasons for applying. Please note, you may also be eligible to apply for scholarships such as the Marion Macaulay Bequest Scholarship for overseas studies in Arts and Education.

Summer Program tutors

- Dr Lesley Beaumont Associate Professor of Classical Archaeology The University of Sydney (formerly Assistant Director of the British School at Athens)

- Dr Stavros Paspalas
Acting Director of the Australian Archaeological Institute at Athens