Upcoming Conferences

Local Horizons of Ancient Greek Religion

Call for papers - deadline 25 February 2018

There has recently been an upsurge of scholarly interest in diversifying our understanding of ancient Greek religion. At the same time, conceptual work on the local provides new insights
into the lived experience in the ancient Greek world. The conference ‘Local Horizons of Ancient Greek Religion’ combines both lines of inquiry. The overall aim is to complicate our
understanding of ancient Greek religion by exploring the local as a space for divergence, idiosyncrasy, and plurality. Rather than simply reviving the idea of polis religion, advocacy for the local perspective encourages a conception that is not confined to the political and social aggregation of the city-state alone.

A critical discussion of ancient Greek religious localism and how it can inform different areas of study is still outstanding. Recent advances in the field of local/global interactions disclose the tension between the local sphere on the one hand, and regional/universal, or Panhellenic, paradigms on the other. The individual papers of this conference will come together to explore this tension. In doing so, they will investigate the local both as a sphere of religious conduct and as a quantity in its own right that informs the exercise of religion in ancient Greece.

We anticipate participation from scholars working in the areas of Greek religion, history, philology, material culture, historical anthropology, and the other sub-disciplines of our field.

Abstracts should be about 300 words in length, and should be submitted electronically to one of the organizers:

Julia Kindt (julia.kindt@sydney.edu.au)
Hans Beck (hans.beck@mcgill.ca)

Conference date: November 21-22, 2018

Venue: Centre for Classical and Near Eastern Studies of Australia (CCANESA), The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia

Theatre and Autocracy in the Ancient World

Plato claimed that poets of tragic drama ‘drag states into tyranny and democracy’. The word order is very deliberate: he goes on to say that tragic poets are honoured ‘especially by the tyrants, and secondly by the democracies’ (Republic 568c). For more than forty years scholars have explored the political, ideological, structural and economic links between democracy and theatre in ancient Greece. By contrast, the links between autocracy and theatre are virtually ignored, despite the fact that in the first 200 years of its existence more than a third of all theatre-states were autocratic. For the next 600 years, theatre flourished exclusively in autocratic regimes. The conference brings together experts in ancient theatre to undertake the first systematic study of the patterns of use made of the theatre by tyrants, regents, kings and emperors. For two generations theatre has, as an instrument of mass communication, been characterised as ancient democracy’s supreme cultural artefact. Our conference will explore the historical circumstances and means by which autocrats turned a medium of mass communication into an instrument of mass control.



Lucia Athanassaki (University of Crete), Ewen Bowie (Oxford University), Bob Cowan (University of Sydney), Eric Csapo (University of Sydney), Anne Duncan (University of Nebraska-Lincoln), Simon Goldhill (Cambridge University), Hans Goette (German Archaeological Institute and University of Giessen), Chris Kraus (Yale University), Brigitte Le Guen (University of Paris 8), Chris de L’Isle (Oxford University), Nino Luraghi (Princeton University), Elodie Paillard (Universities of Basel and Sydney), Simon Perris (University of Wellington), Jelle Stoop (University of Sydney), Paul Touyz (Princeton University), Peter Wilson (University of Sydney)

Where: Centre for Classical and Near Eastern Studies of Australia
When: July 26-27, 2018

More detail on the conference and updates can be found on the conference web site:

For more information please email Dr Billy Kennedy:



CCANESA is excited to announce that we are acting as the hub once again for AMPHORAE, running from the 12th to the 14th of July. AMPHORAE seeks to connect postgraduate students in Classical Studies from around Australasia, with papers from Honours, Masters and Ph.D. students. The theme for this year’s conference is “Immortal Words: Classical Antiquity Then and Now.” For more information, visit the AMPHORAE Sydney 2017 website


CCANESA, alongside the Department of Classics and Ancient History, is proud to host a symposium on Teaching Classical Languages on Thursday, 20th April. Ancient Greek and Latin are taught in schools and universities all over the world and their enduring popularity has meant that teachers are continually developing innovative methodologies in teaching and learning these languages. A plethora of text books, many advocating different approaches, have been published, prompting discussion and debate about how best to advance student learning.

The symposium is primarily intended for teachers, secondary and tertiary, to share their experiences teaching classical languages. We are interested, inter alia, in exploring pedagogical strategies, the use of online resources in the classroom, the perceived aims of learning a classical language, the use of conversation in the target language, and other related issues. Speakers are Dr Janette McWilliam (UQ), Dr Paul Roche (USyd), Dr Sarah Lawrence (UNE), Helen Pigram (North Sydney Girls), Anthony Gibbons (Sydney Grammar) and Ulrike Ruepke (Erfurt). A round table discussion, with Dr Emily Matters (Pymble Ladies College) and Dr Christopher Bishop (ANU), will take place in the afternoon to address the topic of “Best practice pedagogy: Beginners, Intermediate and Advanced.”

Greek Script Image

Image: Wikimedia

We invite Latin and Greek teachers, students of Latin and Greek, especially those who wish to become teachers themselves, and all interested others. The course is currently in the process of being registered for four hours of TPL.

To RSVP for this event please complete the registration form and email to by April 7.

Thursday, April 20
CCANESA Boardroom,
Level 4, Madsen Building
University of Sydney


On Monday, April 10th, 2017, CCANESA, in conjunction with the China Studies Centre, will host a Workshop exploring minerals, metals and mining in antiquity. Our keynote speaker will be Professor Mei Jianjun, Director of the Needham Research Institute, Cambridge. Professor Mei is a leading scholar in studies into the development of metallurgy in China. Other speakers include specialists from inter-state, other Sydney Institutions and academics from the University of Sydney.

The impact of the development of metallurgy on the peoples of the ancient world was as fundamentally significant as the processes of domestication and the shift from a hunter-gatherer economy to one of farming. The ability to work bronze, and later iron, caused the development of newly hierarchical societies, introduced radical new technologies and also facilitated military engagement. The study of metals and mining necessarily draws on a range of disciplines in the Arts and Sciences. The aim of Mining for History is to encourage cross-disciplinary dialogue on this important topic.

Copper mine - image by Alison Betts

Kushan period cult site outside Kalaroos copper mines, Kupwara district, Indian Kashmir (Image: Alison Betts)

The workshop is free but all participants must register first to secure a place by emailing , Professor of Silk Road Studies, Department of Archaeology.

The Workshop has been funded by the China Studies Centre and the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Sydney.

Check back soon for final programme.

Monday, April 10, 2017
CCANESA Boardroom,
Level 4, Madsen Building
University of Sydney


The Department of Classics and Ancient History, along with the Australasian Roman Law Network is delighted to announce our inaugural symposium on the rule of law in ancient Rome. The rule of law is an important concept in modern liberal democratic traditions. The idea that the relationship between sovereign power and the individual should be regulated by the law is fundamental to modern understandings of the authority of the nation state. At times of crisis, the preservation, abnegation or setting aside of the rule of law becomes a litmus test of the health of a democracy. For centuries, scholars have looked to the ancient world – especially the legal and democratic traditions of Greece and Rome – in order to understand the development of the concept of the rule of law.

The Symposium is to be held on the 8th and 9th of February, 2017 in CCANESA (Centre for Classical and Near Eastern Studies of Australia), University of Sydney.

Speakers include:
Professor Catherine Steel (University of Glasgow)
Professor Andrew Riggsby (University of Texas)
Professor Paul du Plessis (University of Edinburgh)
Professor Jeff Tatum (University of Wellington)
Dr Valentina Arena (University College London)
Dr Amy Russell (University of Durham)
Dr Michael Sevel, Dr Kit Morrell, Dr Andrew Pettinger and Dr Eleanor Cowan (University of Sydney)

A reading group will be held during the afternoon of the 8th February on Cicero’s de Legibus. Those wishing to attend the symposium and/or participate in the reading group should contact Dr Eleanor Cowan. A small fee to cover the costs of catering will be charged.

Thanks to the generous support of the Faculty of Arts and a SSSHARC grant, we are able to offer a contribution towards to travel and accommodation costs of up to two selected postgraduate or postdoctoral participants. Interested applicants should contact Dr Cowan () briefly outlining their interest in Roman Law.

CCANESA Boardroom,
Level 4, Madsen Building
University of Sydney
February 8-9, 2017

Further information may be found on the website of the Roman Law Network.

The Alternative Augustan Age

First Symposium Campanum
Villa Vergiliana, Cuma, Italy
12–16 October 2016

The first conference in the new Symposium Campanum series, The Alternative Augustan Age, will provide the opportunity to explore the Augustan Age with the focus off Augustus. The conference is being co-organised by Kathryn Welch, Department of Classics and Ancient History, University of Sydney (kathryn.welch@sydney.edu.au) and Josiah Osgood, Georgetown University (jo39@georgetown.edu), and is to be held in Italy in October 2016.

Further information and conference updates can be found by visiting the Classics and Ancient History homepage, or by clicking on the link to the conference website

To go directly to the conference registration and payment page click here


Children playing games, The Louvre

The conference was held in CCANESA from 14 July to 16 July 2015.

A report on the conference will be added soon.

Download the programme here

Keynote Speaker

Professor Mark Golden, Department of Classics, University of Winnipeg

Ancient childhood studies comprise a developing and important field of scholarship, in which major advances are currently being made. This conference will constitute a major contribution to our understanding of the history and archaeology of children in the ancient Mediterranean by drawing together key international scholars working in the area. Papers will focus on three major geographical regions – Egypt, Greece and Italy – and will present a diachronic perspective from the Bronze Age to Byzantium, thereby producing a fertile forum for the discussion of cross-cultural and multi-temporal approaches to the children of antiquity.

Conference attendance was free and open to academics, students, Ancient History high school teachers and interested members of the general public.

Conference organisers

Associate Professor Lesley Beaumont Department of Archaeology, University of Sydney

Dr Nicola Harrington Department of Archaeology, University of Sydney

Associate Professor Matthew Dillon School of Humanities, University of New England

Please contact Lesley Beaumont for further information.


Augustus from a Distance

From 29 September to 2 October 2014 Classics and Ancient History hosted a conference at the University of Sydney to mark the bi-millennial year of the death of Gaius Iulius Caesar Octavianus Augustus. Caesar Augustus died at Nola on 19 August, 14. On conventional dating, 2014 marked 2000 years since his death and this offered a chance to reflect on the man, his history, the culture named after him and the different ways that scholarship studies and has studied him.

CCANESA was able to offer its conference facilities to help host the Augustus Conference. The Centre became the main venue for registrations and session breaks, acting as a central focus for the 110 participants from cities all over Australia and international visitors from New Zealand, United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, Germany, United States and Poland. The Centre provided an informal atmosphere for the broad range of attendees from different universities, schools and the community to meet and discuss the themes of the conference throughout the day. The CCANESA library was also in demand with several of the visiting scholars requesting access to resources housed in the Centre, in particular the expanding research collection maintained by the Department of Classics and Ancient History.

The conference consisted of papers on a range of topics, including developments in law, religion and society; other significant individuals such as Marcus Antonius, Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, Livia and Octavia; the nature of Augustus’ rise to power; the question of what was to happen after his death; the presence or absence of opposition to Augustus; the nature of the Augustan res publica; the physical development of the Augustan city. We held panels which placed literature and numismatics in their contemporary contexts and, as scholars of res Romanae based in the Antipodes, on provincial responses to the social and political upheavals of Italy in the first
century BCE.

Themes included:

‘Augustan culture’: how useful is the term?
The Hellenistic World and the coming of the Principate
What is ‘Augustus’? Then and Now.
Who fashioned the Augustus we think we know? Contemporary appraisals and their impact.
A long-lived family: how did Augustus, Livia and Tiberius survive for so long?
The Augustan elite: how they are presented and how they might have represented themselves.
‘Augustan Italy’; the ‘Augustan’ empire
The Res Gestae. What is in it, what is not? Language, tone, genre, evasions, translation

At the end of a very packed week of talks and social events the conference convenors received overwhelmingly positive feedback from many of the local and international visitors. Most notable were comments on the high standard of the papers and ensuing discourse, as well as the hospitality shown to attendees. One visitor noted that this was the largest Augustus conference held anywhere during the year.

The partners and staff at CCANESA were very happy to be involved in helping showcase the high standards of intellectual pursuit encouraged by the Department of Classics and Ancient History and hope to host many more similar events to come.

Eleanor Cowan,
Geraldine Herbert-Brown,
Andrew Pettinger and
Kathryn Welch.

For more information please contact


The seventh Annual Meeting of Postgraduates in Hellenic or Roman Antiquities (AMPHORAE VII) was held at the University of Sydney from Wednesday 17th to Friday 19th July, 2013. The conference is the major forum for post-graduate students from Australian and New Zealand universities to present their research. AMPHORAE VII was hosted by the Classics and Ancient History Department. Post-graduate students from the Department, Samantha Brancatisano and Bryn Ford, were the conference convenors and prepared the following report.

The conference welcomed 71 participants from 14 Australasian and overseas universities, who presented a total of 54 papers and two posters, including special panels sponsored by the Australasian Classical Reception Studies Network (ACRSN) and the Ancient North Africa and Phoenician Diaspora Research Network.

Dr. Craig Barker (Sydney University Museums) gave the opening address, “From Bronze Age tombs to Medieval Ceramics: 75 Years of Australian archaeological activity in Cyprus” and the Todd Memorial Lecture by Professor Harriet Flower of Princeton University, “Consensus and Community in Republican Rome” doubled as the keynote address. In addition, the conference included a master-class on the topic “Who worshipped the genius Augusti?” also by Professor Harriet Flower, followed by a Careers Seminar by Professor Michael Flower, both from Princeton University. The conference included a meeting of Australasian Women in Ancient World Studies (AWAWS), and a drinks reception funded by the Australasian Classical Reception Studies Network (ACRSN). The Nicholson Museum generously offered free Museum tours to conference attendees.

The convenors would like to thank the many organisations and individuals who supported the conference for their assistance, including:
The Australasian Society for Classical Studies (ASCS)
TheAustralian Archaeological Institute at Athens (AAIA)
The Centre for Classical and Near Eastern Studies of Australia (CCANESA)
The Australasian Classical Reception Studies Network (ACRSN)
The Ancient North Africa and Phoenician Diaspora Research Network
Sydney University Museums
The Department of Classics and Ancient History at the University of Sydney
The Department of Archaeology at the University of Sydney
The Co-op Bookshop

Samantha Brancatisano
Bryn Ford


The international conference ‘Silius Italicus and Flavian Culture’ was held in CCANESA from Monday 4th to Wednesday 6th July 2011. It was the 2011 Pacific Rim Latin Literature Conference, as well as being the fifth (the first outside the UK) in a series of conferences on Flavian epic held under the aegis of the Flavian Epic Network. It was also the first conference devoted to Silius Italicus in the English-speaking world and only the second anywhere (after Innsbruck in 2009).

The conference was attended by delegates from universities in seven countries on three continents (Australia, New Zealand, Canada, USA, UK, Netherlands, Sweden). Germany and Italy were also represented by nationality. A full list of delegates and their institutions is included at the end of this report. There were thirty-eight delegates, including twelve postgraduates.

The conference was opened by Prof. Barbara Caine, Head of the School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry, at the University. Twenty-eight papers (including seven by postgraduates) were delivered in eleven panels over three days. Six of the papers were delivered by members of the Department of Classics and Ancient History at The University of Sydney, three by postgraduates and three by academic staff. A seventh was to have been delivered by Lindsay and Patricia Watson, but severe weather prevented them from reaching CCANESA on the day of their panel. The keynote speaker was Assoc. Prof. Raymond Marks of the University of Missouri, who delivered a paper entitled “War, Reconciliation, and the New Flavian Order: the Funeral Games in Punica 16”.

The conference was generously supported by the CCANESA Conference Fund, the School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry, University of Sydney, the Australasian Society for Classical Studies and the Sydney Latin Summer School through the Classical Association of New South Wales. I would also like to express my gratitude to the postgraduate assistants, Michelle Borg, Peta Greenfield, Michael Hanaghan, Alina Kozlovski, Peter Merz, Chris Ransom; to all at CCANESA, esp. Wendy Reade; to the SOPHI administrative staff, esp. Cam Pham, Jinfeng Huang, Maria Cortes & Jane Yan in finance, Kaaren Walker-Smith, Adrian Atkins & Johann Loibl in the SOPHI office, Julie-Ann Robson for poster design, and Carolyne Carter; Kit Morrell for her work on the website; and Peter Davis, Frances Muecke & Kathryn Welch for general advice on conference organization.

List of delegates (speakers asterisked)

*Paolo Asso (University of Michigan)
*Hannah Bartonek (Uppsala University)
*Frances Billot (University of Auckland)
*Michelle Borg (University of Sydney)
*Bob Cowan (University of Sydney)
*Peter Davis (University of Adelaide)
*Jessica Dietrich (Australian National University)
*Simone Finkmann (University of Oxford)
Daniela Galli
Judy Goodsell (University of Sydney)
*Peta Greenfield (University of Sydney)
Michael Hanaghan (University of Sydney)
*Mark Heerink (Leiden University/University of Cambridge)
*Liz Klaassen (Carleton University)
Alina Kozlovski (University of Sydney)
*R. Joy Littlewood
*Helen Lovatt (University of Nottingham)
*Raymond Marks (University of Missouri)
*Mark Masterson (Victoria University Of Wellington)
Peter Merz (University of Sydney)
*Frances Mills (La Trobe University)
Frances Muecke (University of Sydney)
*Jen Oliver (Victoria University Of Wellington)
*John Penwill (La Trobe University)
Roger Pitcher (University of Sydney Grammar School)
*Arthur Pomeroy (Victoria University Of Wellington)
*Chris Ransome (University of Sydney)
*Paul Roche (University of Sydney)
*Anne Rogerson (University of Sydney)
*Shawn Ross (University of New South Wales)
*Claire Stocks (University of Cambridge)
*Michiel van der Keur (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)
*Lindsay Watson (University of Sydney)
*Patricia Watson (University of Sydney)
Kathryn Welch (University of Sydney)
*Marcus Wilson (University of Auckland)

Robert Cowan


Professor Eric Csapo, Emeritus Professor Richard Green and Professor Peter Wilson convened a three-day colloquium in July 2011 at CCANESA entitled “Death of Drama or Birth of an Industry? Greek Theatre in the Fourth Century BC”.

Nine esteemed international and domestic presenters, and two guest chairs, participated in the conference. Six University of Sydney research staff also contributed papers. The conference was also able to offer three bursaries to international post-graduate students from Oxford University, the University of Nottingham and the University of Athens, in order to support their attendance at the colloquium.

The colloquium was structured to combine the format of a two-day conference and a one-day workshop, with associated functions. The conference was open to the general public, for which 19 people registered. The workshop was restricted, for practical purposes, to participants and bursary recipients. This allowed for a genuinely interactive platform to discuss the major themes of the presentations.

The colloquium examined the traditional scholarly view that the decline of the city-state in the fourth century BC coincided with the “death” of serious theatre, which was to be replaced by mediocre popular entertainment. Rather, there is much evidence, from varied sources, to support the view that theatre was a rapidly developing “industry” at this time.

The colloquium promoted inter-disciplinary collaboration, bringing together experts from nearly all the sub-disciplines of classical studies: archaeologists, epigraphers, iconographers, literary and social historians. These various areas of expertise afforded presenters the opportunity to engage with colleagues from related fields on the question of why, at the critical moment of the fourth century BC, theatre developed into the world’s first form of mass communication. Theatre is the most pervasive and enduring legacy of democratic Classical Athens, and understanding this historical process is crucial for ongoing research.

Ancient theatre research is a core undertaking of CCANESA. Ancient theatre is the major field of research for four ARC-funded permanent staff members of the Departments of Archaeology and of Classics and Ancient History as well as two post-doctoral research fellows. The “Sydney School” of ancient theatre research is a recognised leader in the field.

The Australian Archaeological Institute at Athens supported the travel expenses of Christina Papastamati-von Moock, thanks to a strong collaboration between the AAIA and CCANESA.


The Appian and the Romans conference, convened by Kathryn Welch, was held at CCANESA from 5-7 July 2010. Paper givers included Kavita Ayer (Macquarie); James Chlup (Manitoba University), Eleanor Cowan (Sydney), Danijel Dzino (Macquarie University), Daniel Gargola (University of Kentucky), Bronwyn Hopwood (University of New England), Trevor Mahy (St Andrews), Liam McGowan (University of Sydney), Hannah Mitchell (St Andrews), Josiah Osgood (Georgetown), Luke Pitcher (Somerville, Oxford) Anton Powell (Classical Press of Wales) John Rich (University of Nottingham), Tom Stevenson (University of Queensland), Martin Stone (University of Sydney) Fiona Tweedie (University of Sydney), Kathryn Welch (University of Sydney). The School of Philosophical and Historical Enquiry, the Faculty of Arts and the Australasian Society for Classical Studies generously assisted with funding the conference.

In 2008, Eleanor Cowan, then of the University of Leicester, Kathryn Welch of the University of Sydney and Anton Powell, founding editor of the Classical Press of Wales, began a series of conferences examining the key authors of Roman history whose work is in need of closer attention. The papers from the first conference (on Velleius Paterculus) will appear in September. The Appian conference was the second in the series and work on its publication is well underway. A third conference, on Suetonius, will be hosted by Professor John Marincola at Florida State University in 2013.


The Historiography and Antiquarianism Conference was held at CCANESA from 12-­14 August, 2011. The organizers, Frances Muecke (CAH) and John Gagné (History), are pleased to report on the successful conclusion of the conference, financially supported by CCANESA, the Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences, SOPHI, MEMC, and the Sydney Latin Summer School, for whose subvention they are very grateful.

“History and Antiquarianism” was convened with the purpose of inviting scholars in disparate fields to engage in an interdisciplinary dialogue over two interrelated questions. The first was to evaluate the history of antiquarianism, the pursuit, collection, and cataloguing of ancient things – a habit of scholars from the ancient world to the present, though rarely considered as a practice over the longue durée. The second was to investigate the relationship of antiquarianism to history writing, and to press on the similarities and differences between the authoring of history and antiquary works. In asking these questions, the conference assembled delegates who don’t often have the chance to interact: scholars of antique, medieval, and early modern Europe.

The conference revealed the divergence of approaches and encouraged the delegates to discuss and evaluate their fundamental terms. From within the University of Sydney, the conference involved scholars from several units and disciplines: Classics and Ancient History, Celtic Studies, Medieval Studies, History, Art History, Musicology, and Italian Studies. Participants from other institutions also offered perspectives from disciplines such as Theology and Architectural History. Delegates to the conference represented over 10 Australian and New Zealand universities, and about the same number of international institutions, including Toronto, Yale, York (UK), Holy Cross (MA), Harvard, Sheffield, St. Andrews, Oxford, Mt. Holyoke, and others. Roughly 50 people attended the conference, and 30 papers were

“History and Antiquarianism” derived much of its dynamism from the combination of junior, mid-­-career, and senior scholars; papers were evenly divided between those three groups. We also had two keynote addresses: the first by Chris Given-­-Wilson (St. Andrews) author of Chronicles: The Writing of History in Late Medieval England (Continuum, 2004), and the second by David Karmon (Holy Cross) author of The Ruin of the Eternal City (Oxford, 2010). Several scholars reported making beneficial contacts (including a classicist and a Renaissance historian whose offices are one floor apart at their institution, but who only met at our Sydney conference).

We are currently discussing the possibility of inviting delegates to contribute to a volume on the topic of history-­writing
and antiquarianism.

  • Antiquity
  • Late antiquity / Byzantine period
  • Middle Ages
  • Early Modernity