There are two talks in this session:

Fourth-Century Athens at War: The Reform of the Conscription of Hoplites for Campaigns - Chloe Thomas

The prevailing belief is that Athens underwent a substantial decline after the Peloponnesian war, with this decline having a clear military dimension. Nonetheless, the fourth century saw Athenian democracy engage in wide-ranging reforms of its armed forces. One of the first of these reforms concerned the method of conscripting hoplites for campaigns. The old system, which dated back at least to the 480s BC, used conscription-lists, which were drawn up for each campaign on the basis of information that was held in the demes of Attica. There was one conscription-list for each of the ten Cleisthenic tribes. After these lists were posted in public, conscripted hoplites could ask for exemptions from service on the campaign from the generals. Probably in the 370s, the Athenian introduced a new system of conscription. Now, upon turning 18 years of age, hoplites were placed on a public roster of those who were of the same age. Now conscription for a campaign consisted of different age-classes being called up for service. This paper will analyse the key reasons for this major change in the conscription of hoplites in the fourth century. It will carefully compare the old and the new systems of conscription, and consider whether or not the new system was successful.

Tying One On: An Archaeological Re-examination of Pliny’s Attitude toward ‘Medical Amulets’ - Dr Yvette Hunt

Pliny describes his Natural History as a collation of 20,000 noteworthy facts, many of which we only know today because of his text. This curation provides the modern reader with a ‘cabinet of wonders’ of the mind; while we cannot literally view this collection like we can those of the world’s museums, Pliny’s work has preserved ancient cultural practices which would otherwise be lost. Among these, Pliny records the creation and use of 254 medical amulets. These kinds of amulets rarely show up in archaeological contexts, since once a medical amulet, often made of organic materials, had done its job, it would have been discarded. I posit that this means that Pliny’s description of these amulets are individual examples of intangible heritage. Looking at the medical amulets included in the Natural History like this led me to consider the text a little like a museum collection/archaeological site, and therefore to the use of frameworks typically employed to analyse material culture from the past in order to look at these amulets. This seminar outlines how I took such an approach and what I could glean from creating and interrogating a dataset of medical amulets from Pliny to look for potential trends. It is similar to how archaeological sites are recorded, but looking at what these data might tell us of Pliny’s work rather than the culture which created an archaelogical site. 

About Classics and Ancient History Seminars

All research seminars begin at 4 pm on Friday (with the exception of special Friends of Antiquity events). 

They will take place simultaneously in person and online.

The in-person venue is room E302 of the Forgan-Smith Building (building no. 1) on the St-Lucia campus of the University of Queensland.

Please contact Associate Professor David Pritchard or for the zoom link. 

For further information please contact the Seminar Convenor Associate Professor David M. Pritchard ( or +61 401 955 160).



Please contact David Pritchard at for the zoom link.
E302, Forgan Smith Building (1), UQ St Lucia