Power in Antiquity: A Conversation with Professor Mary Beard for school students

Exclusive lecture for school students
Friday 8 March: Join us for the unique opportunity to hear world famous classicist Dame Mary Beard in conversation specifically for school students studying History and Classical Languages.

Please note, this event is now at capacity.

Join us at the University of Sydney for a unique opportunity to hear world famous classicist Dame Mary Beard in conversation held specifically for school students in relation their studies.

Dame Mary will be in conversation with the University of Sydney’s Professor of Classics, Julia Kindt. Students will also be given an opportunity to ask questions of Dame Mary about her life in the Classics.

Topics covered in the student conversation have syllabus links and will include:

  • Why is it important for the modern world to know about the classical past?
  • From politics to popular culture, what are legacies of the classical world that exist today?
  • What is the role of a museum in understanding the ancient world the 21st century?
  • How may one pursue a career in classics, ancient history and archaeology?
  • New thoughts on the Roman emperors.
  • Why Pompeii is such a significant site.
  • Her favourite stories from ancient Greece and Rome.
  • Women in the classical past, and the modern women who study the past.
  • What lessons about power and leadership we can learn from the ancients.
  • Some personal stories from Dame Mary’s remarkable life in the past.

Following the conversation, students are invited to visit the Chau Chak Wing Museum at the University of Sydney to view archaeological evidence from the ancient Mediterranean world as well as other exhibitions of history, art, science and culture. Students will be given floor talks and self-guided activities to explore the museum collections.

This event is perfect for students of Stage 6 Ancient History, Stage 6 History Extension, Stage 6 Classical Languages and History 7-10.

Professor Beard is appearing at the University of Sydney in arrangement with the Sydney Opera House, where she will be appearing on 10 March as part of the 'All About Women' Festival.

More information:

9:30am: Student arrival

10-11am: Dame Mary Beard in conversation with Professor Julia Kindt

11am: Morning tea

11:30am-1pm: Talks and student self-guided tours in the Chau Chak Wing Museum

1pm: Lunch and depart

All meals are self-catered, but various food venues near the Chau Chak Wing Museum will be opened for student purchases.

Please note, all programming following the lecture is optional.

Described as ‘Britian’s best-known classicist’, Dame Mary was Professor of Classics at the University of Cambridge, and also a public intellectual. She has hosted innumerable BBC and international television series, many screened in Australia, and author of the long-standing blog A Don’s Life. Her best-selling books on the ancient world include 'The Parthenon' (2002), 'The Colosseum' (2005), 'Pompeii: The Life of a Roman Town' (2008), 'SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome' (2015), 'Women & Power: A Manifesto' (2017), 'Twelve Ceasars: Images of Power from the Ancient World to the Modern' (2021) and 'Emperor of Rome: Ruling the Ancient Roman World' (2023). She serves as a trustee of the British Museum and a passionate advocate for learning from the ancient Classical world.

As she said, “what interests me is the idea that classics is actually quite democratic. It isn’t only the upper-class subject it’s often thought to be. Every generation enjoys rediscovering it.”

Mary Beard is Professor Emerita of Classics at Cambridge, and the classics editor of the TLS. She has worldwide academic acclaim. Her previous books include the bestselling, Wolfson Prize-winning 'Pompeii', 'Confronting the Classics', 'SPQR', 'Women & Power', 'Twelve Caesars' and most recently 'Emperor of Rome'. She has made numerous television series and her books have been published in over thirty languages.

Julia Kindt is Professor of Ancient History, ARC Future Fellow (2018-22), and elected fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities. She is a contributor to 'TLS', 'The Australian Book Review', 'Meanjin', 'The Conversation' and other magazines. The first woman appointed full professor in Classics and Ancient History at Sydney University she is a historian of ancient Greece with a broad interest in the social, cultural, and intellectual history of the ancient world, in particular in the history of ideas, religion, historiography, classical receptions, and the environmental humanities. Her latest book, 'The Trojan Horse and Other Stories. Ten Ancient Creatures that Make Us Human' has just been published by Cambridge University Press earlier this year.

Header image: Mary Beard. Photo by Robin Cormack