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2020 marks the 2,500th anniversary of the Battle of Thermopylae and the death of King Leonidas, an event that was memorialised in Sparta during the yearly Leonidea festival in Roman times. Now, it is celebrated with an issue of 735,000 commemorative €2 coins. Viewed as a heroic battle, the story of Thermopylae has inspired creative responses as varied as David's Leonidas at Thermopylae (1814), Cavafy's Thermopylae (1901), and Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed Odyssey (2018). There has always been a great deal of myth-making when it comes to Thermopylae. Yet many of these myths are actively malicious, or have been appropriated for malicious ends. From the use of 'MOLON LABE' and Lambda-emblazoned shields by contemporary extremist groups, to the use of Sparta as a form of legitimisation for Nazi ideologies, we might ask, can or should the teaching of Thermopylae (covered by many core undergraduate modules) be separated from these issues? Representations of Thermopylae in art, literature, and modern media, and the appropriations of Thermopylae by extremist groups have all historically been underrepresented in studies of the reception of the Thermopylae and Leonidas. This conference seeks to mark the 2,500th anniversary of the Battle of Thermopylae by critiquing the cultural constructs of Thermopylae across a range of modern, historical, and ancient societies.
ORGANIZADOR/ORGANIZER/ORGANIZZATORE: Emma Aston; Paul Cartledge; Lynn Fotheringham; Chrysanthi Gallou; Katherine Harloe; Stephen Hodkinson; James Lloyd; Helen Roche; Naoíse Mac Sweeney
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