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

The zoom link for the online seminars will remain unchanged for the whole semester, and will be emailed to our mailing list for events in Classics and Ancient History. To receive the zoom link and future event updates, please email admin-hapi@uq.edu.au.

Enquiries about the seminars may be made to Associate Professor David Pritchard.

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