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Classics & Classical Studies

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The Roman Republic rested on a paradox, in which men of the elite were expected to distinguish themselves and win glory, but not overstep certain bounds of self-sacrifice to the common good. Rome was a “contest culture,” in which the tension between the ideal of service to the Republic conflicted with ambitious individuals who subverted that ideal by vying for control of the state. I examine Julius Caesar’s own account of his march on Rome in 49 BC; the history written by Sallust of the Catilinarian conspiracy, a plot hatched by a disillusioned and disenfranchised failed politician in 63 BC; and the story of Coriolanus, an Roman general of the 5th-century BC who marched on Rome because of a perceived personal insult. Each of these three accounts features a Roman aristocrat reacting to a public conflict and perversely making that public, political issue into a private conflict.

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Margaret Clark
Researcher

Christopher Star
Sponsor &  Assistant Professor of Classics

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This Fall marks another step in the cooperation between the Department of Classics and the Theatre Program, as they collaborate on a series of events this year that center on Euripides’ Hecuba. First produced in the 420s BCE, when Athens was at war, this tragedy is set in the harsh aftermath of the fall of Troy in the mythical past. Showing the plight of the captured women and their courage in the face of the worst suffering, Euripides weaves a gripping tale of greed, murder, political manipulation, and revenge. What do students think today of this play and genre of theater, its relevance and place in both cultural and theater history? How are Hecuba’s themes being discussed in a modern classroom from two different disciplinary angles? How do those different lenses bring to light new inferences on an ancient form?

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