You and Ure Museum, and your plenary sessions – Classical Association Annual Conference 2013 at Reading

Post No 5 – Classical Association Annual Conference 2013 at Reading
You are Ure Museum, and your plenary sessions

Throughout this week we are bringing you information on Classical Association’s annual conference. Tomorrow we bring you interviews with the organniser of the conference, David Carter, and an attendee of the conference, Sam Hayes. Today, we tell you a little bit about your plenary speakers and the Ure Museum.

i) Gavin Brooks, Pro-Vice-Chancellor to the University of Reading

Professor Gavin Brooks is Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Teaching and Learning) at the University of Reading; Brooks will open the Classical Association conference and welcome delegates on behalf of the University of Reading on Wednesday at 6pm.

Professor Brooks is a biologist and pharmacologist who research in cardiovascular matter. Brooks served as the founding heard of the Reading School of Pharmacy.

ii) Alan Sommerstein, University of Nottinham

Professor Alan Sommerstein will be the first academic to give a plenary lecture in the conference, on Wednesday after 6pm (preceded by the Pro-Vice-Chancellor’s welcome, see above).

Professor Sommerstein work mainly with Greek drama. He has translated many plays, the process of translation no doubt influencing the content of this lecture, “Thoughts of a serial translator”. Many translations and editions of Aristophanes and Aeschylus, amongst others, bear the name Sommerstein in the front cover. Indeed, such a long list makes the books he wrote that to call him a serial writer or translator would be no exaggeration.

You can read Professor Sommerstein’s blog on ancient drama here:

iii) Tom Holland, author and historian

For most people the name Tom Holland needs no introduction. One only hopes that the 3Bs bar hosting “an evening with Tom Holland” will be sufficiently large to accomodate all the delegates.

Tom Holland, a graduate of Cambridge, is probably most known for his meticulous yet very readable work Rubicon, charting (as the subtitle writes) The Triumph and Tragedy of Roman Republic. This magnum opus was unlike, for example, Gibbons in that it is more accessible for non-Classicists, but is as meticulously research and serves a better introduction (in my opinion) to the end of republic period than any other text. As a text to study, a reader would also be able to get a good amount of information from the text.

Holland continued writing works of ancient history, his pen moving east to write Persian Fire then forward in time for Millenium: The End of the World and the Forging of Christendum. His new book, In the Shadow of the Sword, charts the fall of the Persian and Roman power and the rise of Islam. It courted controversy among some scholars on Islam and Classics, though it also received postive review from other quarters. Holland has a translation of Herodotus to be published this year.

Holland is a thoughful and interesting frequent Tuitor (or, in Italian, Twitterato) and you can find him here: @holland_tom. His website is here:

iv) Charlotte Roueché, Kings College London

Professor Charlotte Roueché will give the plenary lecture on Thursday 4:45pm entitled “Back to the future? Rediscovering Classics in a digital world”.

Professor Roueché had an exciting career. A graduate of Newham College, Cambridge, she has lived in various places both as a researcher and in her three year stint as a civil servant. Roueché is a Hellenist with a focus on the Byzantine period and she holds a fellowship in Kings College London. Roueché also has an interest in using digital as a medium for Classics teaching and research; her experience in this field is likely to inform this lecture.

Professor Roueché has been working to make inscriptions availble. You can some fruits of her work, in the form of inscriptions from Aphrodisias, here:

v) Robin Osborne, Kings College Cambridge

Professor Robin Osborne is a well-known and much respected Hellenist. As the current president of the Classical Association Osborne will present his address to the delegates on Friday at 4:45pm. The presentation bears the title “Filling the gaps”.

Osborne’s works on Greek history and society is rather extensive. Many ancient historians and Classicists would have used the Routledge sourcebook Greece in the making, 1200-479 BCOsborne’s interest, however, spread across the East Mediterranean and the Black Sea. Osborne has also served as the president of the Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies.

vi) Ure Museum

The Ure Museum is situated within the HumSS Building on Whiteknights Campus, very near the Palmer Building. In a departure from its normal opening hour, the Museum will be opened throughout the conference. There is also an excursion option which is a guided tour of the campus and the Ure Museum. There are no admission charges.

The Museum houses one of the largest collection of ceramics in the UK. The collection includes material from the Greek and Greco-Roman civilisations of the Mediterranean, most notably Greek and Etruscan ceramics and terracottas. Other exhibits include prehistoric pottery, metal and stone artifacts of Greek and Roman dates, and a collection of Egyptian antiquities, ranging from the Pre-dynastic to the Roman period.

The Museum is named after Professor Percy Ure and his wife Anne Ure (refer to the post on the Department: Professor Ure served as the first professor of the Classics Department and began the collection of artefacts, while Anne Ure was its long-time curator.

The website for the museum is:


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