Gordon Chadwick: Peace and Public Discourse in Classical Athens

Peace and democracy have long been closely linked in Western thought, so much so that Democratic Peace Theory, which posits that democratic states never fight one-another and only rarely wage war against other regimes, has become dominant in contemporary international relations and political science. However, recent scholarship on classical Athens – the most highly developed democracy of the pre-modern era – has proven that Athenian society and politics were deeply bellicose and militaristic. My research aims to account for this discrepancy by examining the topic of peace in classical Athenian public discourse in order to clarify how the Athenians thought about and discussed peace and its relationship to their democracy. My seminar will provide an introduction to the political theory which I will integrate and challenge in my thesis, and will present the preliminary findings of my research investigating themes of peace in one prominent genre of Athenian public discourse: the funeral oration. 

Aidan Ready: Julius Caesar and the 'Egyptian Question'

The Roman political landscape of the 1st Century BC was marked by controversy both at home and abroad. One of the most consistently contentious matters of foreign policy centred on how the Republic was to approach the matter of Egypt. Dubbed the ‘Egyptian Question’, modern scholars have often considered the role and influence of Pompey in the controversy. However, the approach of Julius Caesar, who would later establish a unique relationship between himself and the Ptolemaic kingdom during the Civil War, remains relatively undefined. This paper will consider Caesar’s involvement in the Egyptian Question from 65 BC to 54 BC with consideration to both his contemporaries and his future involvement in the Ptolemaic Kingdom. It will be argued that Julius Caesar’s involvement in the debate over the Egyptian Question was wholly unremarkable. From the debate over the reforms of P. Servilius Rullus in 63 to the controversy surrounding Ptolemy XII Auletes in the 50s, Caesar’s behaviour and attitudes seem to have been consistent with the common desire to exploit Egypt for political and financial gain. There is no indication that Caesar attempted to establish the unique patron-client relationship that would later emerge between himself and Cleopatra VII.

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