Literary descriptions of the underworld present it as a realm full of contradictions. They prove to be problematical, when they are analysed as real physical phenomena that conform to the laws of physics, time and space. Any attempt to map the underworld as real thus quickly becomes futile. But this does not mean that the underworld is illogical or incongruous. This seminar offers an alternative methodology for surveying underworld topography that emphasises its metaphysical nature. Using as a case-study Homer’s grove of Persephone, it demonstrates how particular geographical features draw upon connotative associations and intertextual allusions in order to describe imagined metaphysical ‘realities’ rather than actual physical ones.

About Classics and Ancient History Seminars

Event details

  • The seminars take place at 4pm, in the Michie Building (09), Room 536
  • Seminars are also on Zoom. Send an email to Duncan Keenan-Jones ( for the link.
  • Upcoming seminars can be found here.
  • Please be aware that we are still operating under Covid-19 regulations during public events. Masks are no longer required at UQ locations - however, UQ strongly encourages mask wearing when physical distancing is not possible. UQ strongly encourages all campus attendees to be up to date with vaccinations. And finally, those who are feeling unwell, have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the previous 7 days or have been in close contact with a confirmed case in the last 7 days, are asked not to attend this seminar.
  • For those attending in person, if you would like to join us for drinks and/or dinner afterwards at UQ’s St. Lucy's from 5:15 pm, please RSVP by email to Duncan Keenan-Jones ( by 9am on the day of the seminar.
  • Please also contact Duncan Keenan-Jones should you have questions about the event.

The Friends of Antiquity, an alumni organisation of the University, runs its own series of public lectures, which take place on Sunday afternoons. The Friends’ program for can be found at