Presenter: Catherine Smallcombe (Thesis review seminar)

Venus’ ability to bestow martial favour was the subject of intense political competition in the Late Republic. Sulla, Pompey, and Caesar had all fought for her patronage, with each man seeking to outdo his predecessor’s claim to the goddess’ favour. The Civil War between Caesar and Pompey became an important turning-point in this competition, with Caesar emerging victorious as the unquestionable recipient of Venus’ patronage. The longstanding ancestral connection between Venus and the Julii played an important role in Caesar’s eventual control over the goddess’ martial attributes. His well-advertised ‘descent’ from the goddess had surpassed any competing claims to her favour. Caesar’s construction of the Forum Iulium and the Temple of Venus Genetrix was designed to broadcast this ancestral connection on an unprecedented public scale, however Venus’ martial attributes were not ignored in this complex. Ultimately, the Forum Iulium and its Temple of Venus Genetrix functioned as a permanent reminder of Caesar’s power and position in the state as the result of the goddess’ patronage.

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