Ancient and Modern Rowing – 12:15-12:45 24th March 2016
In this talk, Henry Clarke, both Classicist at the University of Leeds and rowing coach at Leeds Rowing Club, combines his two passions to explore the links between rowing in the ancient and modern worlds. For the ancient world powers in Egypt, Greece and Rome, rowing was a fundamental means of transportation and warfare. The Trireme in particular required a high degree of skill and precision to ensure over 150 rowers would respond to orders instantly and as one body. Although the sporting aspect of rowing has been attributed to 17th Century England, frequent training exercises and racing competitions were considered essential for guaranteeing an effective crew by the Roman navy. The same goes for today’s competitive rowing clubs.
Days before the 2016 Boat Race is due to take place on the River Thames in London, Henry will trace the history of rowing from the boat race in Virgil’s Aeneid to the modern annual contest between Oxford and Cambridge University. The talk will explore the differences between the sport of rowing in the ancient and modern worlds; the crafts used to compete, from galleys and triremes to the latest racing shell; and the technological innovations introduced along the way.
Venue: Ancient Worlds Gallery, Leeds City Museum
NB The date (a week earlier than normal: Thursday 31st March is the last Thursday of the month) is correct.