POSTPONED: Prof. Tony Spawforth, ‘The Family of Herodes Atticus and the Spartan Contest of Endurance’ – British School at Athens

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This lecture has been postponed due to unavoidable personal reasons.


BSA Friends’ Lecture Series

Prof. Tony Spawforth, ‘The Family of Herodes Atticus and the Spartan Contest of Endurance’

Abstract: This talk introduces the Sparta of Roman times, before focusing on a new Greek inscription from Sparta published last year by Georgios Steinhauer. The talk argues that this inscription records acclamations shouted at competitors by spectators at the Contest of Endurance. This bloody spectacle formed the high point of the “Lycurgan’ training of Roman Sparta’s juvenile males. It was renowned, indeed notorious, in both halves of the Roman Empire. The talk goes on to identify the first in this list of competitors, ‘Herodes son of Hipparchus’, as the Roman senator and suffect consul in AD 133, Tiberius Claudius Atticus Herodes, the father of the famous Herodes Atticus; evidently this young  Athenian from a grandee family had competed in the Contest of Endurance during his—already known—term in the Spartan training. The talk briefly considers the implications of this new finding for values and attitudes in the topmost tier of Roman society in the High Empire.

Bio: Tony Spawforth is emeritus professor of ancient history at Newcastle University. He first joined the Classics department there in 1982, arriving from three years as assistant director of the BSA. Roman Sparta was the subject of his Birmingham PhD. This later became one half of a book coauthored with Paul Cartledge, Hellenistic and Roman Sparta (2nd ed. 2002). He is a former Member of the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton. He has published 13 books. These include the 3rd and 4th editions of the Oxford Classical Dictionary, coedited with Simon Hornblower and Esther Eidinow (1996; 2012). His last but one book, The Story of Greece and Rome, with Yale University Press (pb 2020), has been translated into six languages, including Modern Greek and Chinese. His new book, out in March 2023 and also with Yale, is called What the Greeks Did for Us.

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When: 4 April @ 7:00 pm EEST
Where: – –