Although its origin is controversial, amicitia was one of the most significant instruments of Roman foreign relations. Several scholars have supported the idea that amicitia was the outcome of a previous international treaty, which aimed at guaranteeing military neutrality. However, the sources do not provide a clear view of how friendship was categorised within the legal system of the Romans. The historical cases of friendship that Rome had with Rhodes, Attalus I and Antiochus III, show that, already in the mid-Republic amicitia was an independent instrument to regulate foreign relations. In order to exist, friendship did not need to be connected to a previous treaty. Nonetheless, amicitia was characterised by juridical instability. The legal stability of foreign relations was the reason why the Romans ratified friendship by means of a specific category of treaty, namely foedus amicitiae causa. As a consequence, when it was connected to a foedus, amicitia provided content to the inter-community agreement. Nevertheless, the fact that a previous amicitia could be the background of a following foedus did not exclude the chance that a foedus could be made to create amicitia as well.

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