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Before Gallipoli There Was Homer: The New Trojan War of 1915

5:30pm on Friday 26 March

Times shown are in GMT (UTC +0) up to the 27th March. For events on or after 28th March times are in BST (UTC +1).

The famous Gallipoli Campaign of 1915 was fought almost within sight of the ruins of Schliemann’s Troy. Many classically trained and idealistic Edwardian youths like Rupert Brooke (Rugby and King’s, Cambridge) and Patrick Shaw-Stewart (Eton, Balliol and All Souls, Oxford) found themselves in the Hood Battalion of the Royal Naval Division, heading for the Dardanelles (the ancient Hellespont) to take part in a campaign which might help to restore Hellenism to Ottoman Constantinople. Drawing from the poems and letters of these two well-known literary figures as well as from those of fellow scholar-soldiers who took part in the campaign such as A.W. St Clair Tisdall VC (Bedford School and Trinity, Cambridge), Charles Lister (Eton and Balliol) and G.W. Claye (the Perse School, Cambridge), this lecture aims to bring to life the initial excitement over the chance to prove one’s manhood on the Plains of Troy followed by the disappointments and frustrations of a doomed military campaign. It will also examine the patriotic ideals and class-superiority of a closely-knit cultural and social elite as well as the unfailing common belief in the supremacy of a classical education made tragically relevant by a modern military campaign waged so close to its original roots.

Prof Samuel N.C. Lieu is a Trustee of the Ancient India and Iran Trust. He is the current President of the International Union of Academies and a Bye Fellow of Robinson College, Cambridge. He is also Emeritus Inaugural Distinguished Professor of Ancient History and Classical Studies at Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia. He was previously Professor of Ancient History and Classical Studies at Warwick University.

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Additional Information

Age: All Ages
Timing: Available on Demand
Theme: Explore
Image copyright: Photo: Sam Lieu

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