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Thursday, 7 March 2019, 1:00PM - 2:00PM
Barnard's Inn Hall

The Greatest Speech of all Time: Pericles' Funeral Oration

Professor Edith Hall

In 431 BCE the Athenian statesman Pericles delivered one of the most influential speeches of all time, his Epitaphios or Funeral Oration. The occasion was at the funeral of the first Athenian soldiers to lose their lives in the Peloponnesian War. This lecture examines the history of this beautiful site, the momentous occasion on which Pericles spoke, and the ways in which his speech, recorded by the historian Thucydides who was present at its delivery, has informed subsequent epoch-making orations from Lincoln at Gettysburg to Kennedy and Obama.

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Professor Hall is Visiting Gresham Professor in Classics. She is a British scholar of classics, specialising in Ancient Greek Literature and cultural history. She is also Professor in the Department of Classics and Centre for Hellenic Studies at Kings College London.

From 2017-2018, she is also an Arts and Humanities Research Council Leadership Fellow on her project to widen access to classical subjects in state schools - it can be found here: http://aceclassics.org.uk/.

She has published twenty-five books on ancient Greek and Roman culture and its influence on modernity, including Inventing the Barbarian (1989), The Return of Ulysses (2008), Greek Tragedy: Suffering under the Sun (2010) and Introducing the Ancient Greeks (2014). She co-founded and remains Consultant Director of the Archive of Performances of Greek and Roman Drama at Oxford and is Chairman of the Gilbert Murray Trust.

Professor Hall's lecture series are as follows:

2020/21 Great Thinkers

2019/20 Science in Ancient Greece

2018/19 Scenes from Classical Athenian Life

2017/18 Ancient Greece in Film, Opera and the Arts

All lectures by the Visiting Gresham Professor of Classics can be accessed here.

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