Presenter: Elicia Penman (Mid-candidature review)

This paper will examine the origins of two Medieval legends, the life of a saint and the story of Beowulf and his dragon, in the hero tales of Greek mythology. Good triumphing over evil and order dominating chaos are just two of the themes found in Medieval literature, and are the foundations upon which the dragon-slaying legends are built. These legends, however, were not a new construct of the Medieval Period. Instead they have their origins in the established hero tales of Greek mythology. Apollo and Python, Herakles and the Hydra, Zeus and Typhon are but three examples of gods or heroes battling monsters of serpentine form and nature that would later become the dragons that knights and saints of Medieval literature defeat. Whilst the creatures’ form changed in the development from Greek myth to Medieval legend, and the hero transformed from divine gods and heroes into mortal knights and saints, the basic structure of these tales remained unchanged.

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