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Classical Association of Scotland Conference: The Ethics of Reading in Hellenistic and Early Imperia

Like Polybius, ancient authors often conceived of writing and reading as an activity with serious moral and ethical implications.

Important aspects of this process and its larger social-cultural context have already been well understood: the relationship between rhetorical training and the formation of character which is so prominent in Isocrates (e.g., Too 1995) and his admirer, Dionysius of Halicarnassus (e.g, Hidber 1996; Wiater 2011); the importance of speeches as carefully crafted representations of the speaker’s character (e.g., Gunderson 2003; Gleason 1995); the significance of exempla as guidelines for the readers’ own attitudes and behaviour, both in historiography and oratory (e.g., Rutherford 1994; Pownall 2004), and the philosophical conceptions of self-hood and character that have often influenced authors’ believes about character and (self-)representation (e.g., Gill 1996, 2006).

This conference aims to contribute to this lively debate and further elucidate the intersections of reading/ writing and ethics and morals in ancient thought. In particular, we hope to explore new aspects to the question by shifting the focus of the debate from the authors and their strategies of self-representation to the different ways in which texts of various genres involve the readers into ethical and moral issues.

FECHA/DATE/DATA: 18-19/06/201503-04-05-06-07-08/07/2015

LUGAR/LOCATION/LUOGO: School of Classics, University of Saint Andrews (Saint Andrews, Scotland)


INFO: web - Nicolas Wiater ( - Margaret Goudie (




14.00: Meeting at the School of Classics, S11

14.15-14.45: Nicolas Wiater: Introduction

14.45-15.30: Mirko Canevaro (Edinburgh): ‘Pistis and the Ethos of the Polis: the Moral Foundations of an Economy of Honours, in Athens and Beyond’

15.30-16.00: Coffee

16.00-16.45: Ben Gray (Edinburgh): ‘Polis and Cosmopolis in Later Hellenistic Literature and Epigraphy’

16.45-17.30: Elke Close (Edinburgh): ‘Polybius on the Achaean League: Ethics in both Local and Federal Politics’

Dinner at Local Restaurant


10.00-10.45: Nicolas Wiater (St Andrews): Truth and Character in Polybius’ Histories

10.45-11.30: Lisa Hau (Glasgow): ‘Tragic History or Moralising through Pathos? Horror and pity in Diodorus Siculus’

11.30-12.00: Coffee

12.00-12.45: Raphaëla Dubreuil (Edinburgh): ‘Between Greece and Rome: Cicero’s Historionic Politics’

12.45-14.00: Lunch

14.15-15.00: Catherine Steel (Glasgow): ‘The Best Roman Orators You’ve Never Heard of? Fannius, Duronius and Other Relative Unknowns’

15.00-15.45: Alex Long (St Andrews): ‘Human and Non-human Mortality in Lucretius’

15.45-16.15: Coffee

16.15-17.00: Christa Gray (Glasgow): ‘Reading and teaching the Republican Orators: from Quintilian to Jerome’

Concluding Discussion

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