Heffers Classics Forum 2014

Last weekend, Exeter Classics Society took a party of eight students on their first little trip of the year to the Heffers Classics Forum in Cambridge. The day was filled with a wide variety of inspiring and enlightening talks from speakers whose research interests ranged from Delphi to Atheism in the Ancient World.  ( Follow this link for more information on the speakers this year http://heffersclassics.wordpress.com/heffers-classics-forum-2014/) Here are the of some of the attendees:


Francesca Wyllie, excited to have finally arrived!

“Aside from the magical sights of Cambridge’s colleges at night, it is foremost the intellectual excitement of the trip that stands out. It is the collection of enthusiastic Classicists that makes the subject come alive! Professor Whitmarsh gave a fascinating explanation of the value of Tatius, based on the explorative nature of Leucippe and Clytophon. The Classics “balloon” debate explored the relative importance of different Classical authors as to who would be jettisoned from a failing air balloon! The invasion of East Ukraine by Russia was explained by Professor Cameron as a reconquest of the heartland of the Russian Orthodox Church- a part of the Orthodox church that has its roots in Constantinople. Natalie Hayes was explaining soap opera writers in a fix resort to Classical plays as models, or even as a first source of inspiration, using that rich tradition. The thoroughly friendly characters of the academics encouraged us to think one day that could be any one of us delivering that lecture…”

Barnaby Smith, 1st Year Classics, 1st Year SSLC Representative


“The event was a really fantastic and really interesting. Being able to meet some of my favourite classicists and historians like Averil Cameron and Adrian Goldsworthy was really delightful. I really enjoyed their lectures and in particular Harry Sidebottom who gave a very interesting talk on how to use Greek Novels as a way to understand how the Greeks understood warfare. This is a really great event and I would love to attend it again if it is possible!”

Raymond Ngoh, 2nd Year History and Ancient History (Year Abroad)


Exeter Classics loving life on the front row...

Exeter Classics loving life on the front row…


“For me, Tom Holland was the highlight. He spoke with such passion and enthusiasm, combining acute analysis with childhood anecdotes. He achieved the near impossible – making me want to read Herodotus again.”

Toby Gladwin, 2nd Year Ancient History, Classics Society Social Secretary


“I really enjoyed the opportunity to listen to so many world-class lecturers in a single day. The atmosphere was electric. As a keen public speaker, I was fascinated to compare their different styles and interaction with the audience. As a classicist, I learnt so much and was inspired to read around the varied topics covered. One particular highlight was when a lecturer complemented me on my eyebrows, and then proceeded to sign my book!”

Jack West-Sherring, 2nd Year Ancient History, Classics Society Department Liaison Officer

Francesca and Elaine meeting Caroline Lawrence!

Francesca and Elaine meeting Caroline Lawrence!

“It is indeed very difficult to describe such a grandiose event in just a few lines. How charming it was to see so many well-renowned scholars engaging in such amazing lectures. How almost divine they were in their inspired speeches, yet so human in their witty humour and lovely manners. Not to mention their great book promotion skills: “My children have to go to college too!” was Edith Hall’s recurring plea in her hilarious intervention, which she had wrote, I swear, on a clean tissue about five minutes before taking the floor. This is, in my opinion, the great merit of the Forum, the intimate relationship between lecturers and their audience, this tacit agreement between lovers of Classics, gathered together as a fellowship to share their common passion for the ancient world.

If I had to choose a favourite lecture, I would sure be in serious trouble. I felt very honoured by Philip Hardie’s reference to many illustrious compatriots of mine, such as Jacopo Sannazaro, Dante Alighieri and Marco Gerolamo Vida, when talking about Virgil and Christianity. I was enchanted by Tim Whitmarsh’s enthusiasm about Achilles Tatius’s innovative conception of the Greek novel in the debate about the greatest literary figure from the Classical world. However, I believe that the lecture which moved me the most was Christopher Pelling and Maria Wyke’s presentation of their Twelve Classical Voices. Ancient ideas for modern times. The title itself says it all, because it summarises what I think is the dream of every aspiring Classics scholar: being able to find new interesting subjects for modern thinking through the enquiry of the past. Maria Wyke’s quotation of the Horatian aphorism ‘non omnis moriar’ as a hope that there is life for us in literature was for me the most beautiful moment of the whole day.”

Davide Scarpignato, 1st Year Classics


Elaine, Toby, and Francesca meeting Dr Michael Scott and Dr Adrian Goldsworthy!



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