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Roman encounters with the 'Barbarian' West

Press release issued: 1 May 2009

A prestigious series of lectures on ancient Rome, sponsored by Wiley-Blackwell, will be hosted by the University of Bristol this Spring. The four lectures will be given by Professor Greg Woolf of the University of St Andrews and will subsequently be published in book form.

This is the third of five annual Blackwell lecture series taking place in Bristol every Spring for five years. Each year, a world-leading academic in the field of Greece, Rome and the Classical Tradition gives four public talks on their subject.

This year’s series, entitled Barbarian Science: Ethnography and Imperialism in the Roman West begins on Tuesday 5 May with Expanding horizons which looks at Roman expansion into western Europe and the subsequent flurry of investigative activity aimed at characterising, identifying, describing and mapping the populations the Romans encountered there.

Myth and Science, the talk on Wednesday 6 May, will explore how myth and science were mobilised in the investigation of the Roman west.

On Tuesday 12 May, Ethnography and Empire will consider how conquest and exploration were related and ask what use ancient geography was to the rulers of the world.

The final lecture in the series Irreducible Barbarians? will be held on Wednesday 13 May.  Beginning from a series of key examples, this talk will ask how far a closer acquaintance and an increased familiarity with the ‘barbarians’ led to the correction, modification or expansion of ancient ethnographies.

All lectures start at 5.15 pm, in Arts Lecture Theatre 2, Department of Classics and Ancient History, 11 Woodland Road, University of Bristol (entrance at 3-5 Woodland Road).  The lectures are free and all are welcome.  Each lecture will be followed by a drinks reception.  Please inform if you wish to attend. 

Greg Woolf is Professor of Ancient History at the University of St Andrews, having previously taught in Oxford and Cambridge. His research interests include patronage, epigraphy as a cultural phenomenon, literacy and the economic history of the Roman empire.  A major focus has been on the archaeology and history of Roman Gaul, especially the cultural changes usually termed Romanization. He is the author of Becoming Roman: the origins of provincial civilization in Gaul (1998) and Et tu Brute? The murder of Caesar and political assassination (2006), as well as numerous articles, and co-editor of Literacy and Power in the Ancient World (1994) and Rome the Cosmopolis (2003).

The lectures are organised by Bristol’s Institute of Greece, Rome and the Classical Tradition.

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