Elite male youths in classical Athens played a myriad of games from dicing and board games to cockfighting. Such games, and their associations with gambling, were viewed as both instructive to a youth’s development and as avenues through which the vices of youth could fester and grow. Cockfights and battle-style board games could instil valuable civic and military virtues. Games with dice were one of the few ways a young man could display his blessings of fortune. They also provided him with the opportunity to hone his strategic thinking – a critical skill for a class of youth who would become the stratēgoi (generals) of the Athenian military. However, games with associations to gambling raised concerns that reckless young men were squandering their patrimony. Games could become distractions from other virtuous pursuits, such as education and athletics. It was also feared that young men were at risk of unleashing their base emotions when engrossed in such pursuits. The result of these views was a culture that valued games as didactic tools yet rebuked those who transgressed the strictly defined rules of play.

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 (d.keenanjones@uq.edu.au) 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 (d.keenanjones@uq.edu.au) 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 https://alumni.uq.edu.au/friends-of-antiquity