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As members of the Classics Department at the University of Leeds give talks linking the ancient and modern worlds either in Yorkshire, or elsewhere, they will be added to this page.

August 2011

Dr Eleanor OKell on Classical myths in Leeds art/architecture in just 5 minutes (Secret Bettakulcha, Leeds) and why this provides a transferrable model for Humanities researchers (Vitae Public Engaegment Competition , Durham)

Watch Classics and the City (5 mins, online video from Secret Bettakulcha)

Watch Classics and the City (5 mins, one of two online videos from the Vitae Public Engagement Competition)

October 2011

Dr Emma Stafford on the reception of Hercules in a 20-minute talk for the New Classical Research Day, Leeds.  Emma Stafford explores why Hercules is the hero of choice when different periods choose to (re-)examine what constitutes heroism. “Afterlife” is a direct translation of the German term nachleben which is used to describe what is otherwise called “reception” – in other words, appears in later times and other places than the original one.

Listen to Emma Stafford, “The Afterlife of a Hero” 

See the PowerPoint: Afterlife of a Hero Powerpoint

Read the Handout: Afterlife of a hero handout (pdf)

November 2011 

Prof Malcolm Heath on ancient and modern attitudes to literature in a 45-minute talk for Ilkley’s  Café Humanité. Prof Heath examines claims about the value and effects of fiction in the ancient and modern worlds in a talk which reveals Plato as a pessimistic idealist, Aristotle as an optimistic pragmatist and Keith Oatley as a closet Platonist. Listen out for the four stories told and a brilliant illustrative analysis of Winnie the Pooh.

Listen to Malcolm Heath, “Plato, Aristotle and the Psychology of Fiction”  (45 mins, MP3)

April 2012

Prof Malcolm Heath on ancient astronomy in a 45-minute talk for the Bradford Astronomical Society. Prof Heath examines what motivated the Greeks when thinking about the heavens – a distinctly human activity – and how Ptolemy rose to enduring prominence in the Byzantine period. The talk includes news of a codex in Leeds University’s Brotherton Library’s Special Collections. For those who attended his Classics in our Lunchtimes talk at Leeds City Museum in February, the eels make a brief reappearance to illustrate Greek scientific method.

Listen to “Greek Astronomy, Ptolemy, and the Leeds Almagest” (45mins, MP3)

View  Greek Astronomy, Ptolemy, and the Leeds Almagest PowerPoint

May 2012

Drs Elizabeth Pender and Emma Stafford on the ancient Olympics and contemporary academic values, a Special Guest Lecture at the Institute of Classical Studies, University of London on 8th May, as part of the ICS lecture programme for London 2012

The Guest Lecture traced an ancient Greek analogy from the dialogues of Plato between excellence in Ancient Greek Olympic sports and in dialectical engagement and used this to reflect on the distinction between celebrating the elite and being elitist in judging sporting and academic excellence today.

The Olympics/academia analogy, illustrated through ancient textual and visual evidence, shed interesting light on various contemporary values on the pursuit of excellence, with the question of wealth-elitism being an acute concern for contemporary academia in the UK, as a new generation of students prepares to pay increased tuition fees of £9,000 from September 2012. The event is now listed as one of the Institute’s ‘Highlights of the Year’.

Listen to “Celebrating the Elite or just Elitism? The ancient Olympics and contemporary academic values” 

View ICS Olympics handout

View Olympics talk May 2012 PowerPoint as pdf

September 2012

Dr Eleanor OKell on the origin and influence of Harryhausen’s Cyclops in the first of two – very well received – classical talks for Leeds Bettakultcha.

The talk (5 minutes) is available as streamed video from the Bettakultcha website titled “Eleanor Okell on the Cyclops“, but the PowerPoint slides – vaguely visible in the background – are only available here. This talk was based on research done for the Animating Antiquity conference at the National Media Museum, Bradford, organised by Steve Green and Penny Goodman in honour of the Ray Harryhausen collection’s arrival (November 2011). The Conference proceedings will be available as a special issue of the Classical Receptions Journal in due course.

Download the “Harryhausen’s Cyclos is the Daddy” PowerPoint (slides advance automatically every fifteen seconds once you click when the OK is given to start in the video)

Watch the talk

Read the Feedback…

Tim Mc Connell (Undergraduate Research and Leadership Scholar) on finding Justice in Leeds in the  second of two – exceedingly well-received and entertaining talk – classical talks at Leeds Bettakultcha.

The talk (5 minutes) is available as streamed video from the Bettakultcha website titled “Tim McConnell – Justice in Leeds”, but the PowerPoint slides – vaguely visible in the background – will only be available. The talk was based on research into the location and presentation of the personification of Justice from the ancient world to today, including Leeds in the 1900s.

If you’d like to meet Justice in person and find out more about Tim’s research come to the Ancient Worlds Gallery of Leeds City Museum during Light Night on October 5th 2012 to Classical Stories Live in Leeds.

Due to technical difficulties with file conversion (converting from pptx to ppt has distorted all the images!) the PowerPoint is not yet available but will be posted here exclusively soon

Watch the talk on the Bettakultcha website

Read the Feedback…

November 2012

Dr Eleanor OKell on the data that supports the widely-held view that Euripides’ Trojan Women is the world’s greatest anti-war play is the third speaker of the very first International MetaBettakultcha. The MetaBettakultcha Show: Episode 1 was streamed live and can also be found as a video on YouTube (43minutes: this talk 5minutes, 3rd speaker). This talk was based on research done prior to the Glasgow Classical Association conference (2009: “Euripides’ Trojan Women as political drama: what’s too close for comfort?”) and current research undertaken for the Legacies of War project. If you have any examples that you wish to share, please see the original post notification.

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  7. Hello would you mind sharing which blog platform you’re using? I’m going to
    start my own blog in the near future but I’m having a hard time selecting between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal. The reason I ask is because your design and style seems different then most blogs and I’m looking for something unique.
    P.S Sorry for being off-topic but I had to ask!

    • Using WordPress (key is in the title!) and one of their themes – Titan (seemed appropriately classical and was very uncluttered in lay-out, which suited me as I wanted to KISS – Keep It Simple Stupid – because I’m relatively new to blogging and wanted to be able to have pictures and sound files and a tag cloud). More information on Titan available at

  8. Yes, it’s easiest to find the talks by topic from the word cloud (below right). If you click on what interests you you should find past talks (to listen to online) and upcoming talks (if any meet your criteria in the next month or in any with a longer advertising lead time).

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