Workshops and Other Events

If you would like to be added to our email list, to receive automatic notification of forthcoming events associated with the project, please contact Neville Morley.

Monday 25th-Tuesday 26th November 2013

The Most Politic Historiographer: Thucydides in Modern Western Culture

Clifton Hill House, Bristol

Thucydides has been, at least since the nineteenth century, one of the most-cited and most influential classical thinkers. His work has inspired not only ancient historians and classicists, but historians of all periods, political theorists, international relations specialists, soldiers and military educators, and novelists, all of whom have found it a source of deep insight into the nature and experience of war and of how one should study this. This is the final research colloquium of the AHRC-funded project on Thucydides: reception, reinterpretation and influence, drawing together different themes in his modern reception with papers from a range of international experts and from members of the project team.

Monday 25th November


Coffee, introductions, welcome

10.30 – 12.30

Neville Morley (Bristol): The Idea of Thucydides in Western Culture

Liz Sawyer (Oxford):  From contemporary relevance to eternal truth: Thucydides and the Great Books movement from the 1960s to today

Discussant: Emily Greenwood (Yale)


Christian Thauer (FU Berlin / U. Of Washington): Re-approaching Thucydides? An Intellectual History Perspective

Seth Jaffe (Toronto): Reflections on the Straussian Thucydides

Discussant: Neville Morley (Bristol)

4.30 – 6.30

Edith Foster (Ashland University): Narrating Battles: Thucydides and Ernst Jünger

Andreas Stradis (Bristol): Thucydides and Vietnam: A Vehicle for Ethical Professional Military Education

Discussant: Christian Wendt (FU Berlin)

Tuesday 26th November


Ben Earley (Bristol): The Spirit of Athens: Thucydides as a theorist of maritime empire

Aleka Lianeri (Thessaloniki): On Historical Time and Method: Thucydides’ contemporary history in nineteenth-century Britain

Discussant: Katherine Harloe (Reading)


Geoffrey Hawthorn (Cambridge): Who does Thucydides please?

Discussant: Neville Morley (Bristol)

Attendance is free, but numbers are strictly limited, and places must be reserved in advance: please contact Neville Morley on n.d.g.morley(at) by 15th November.

Sunday 10th November 2013

Might is Right? Ancient and Modern Debates (InsideArts)

Foyles, 6 Quakers Friars, Cabot Circus, 1pm.

“We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality.”  So claimed an aide of George W. Bush in 2004, but it’s an idea that dates back to 5th century BC Greece and the historian Thucydides – one of the most-quoted ancient writers in debates about contemporary affairs, including on such topics as the invasion of Iraq and post-9/11 US foreign policy. This public event, part of the annual InsideArts and Thinking Futures festivals of ideas, draws on the work of the Bristol Thucydides project over the last four years. There will be a staging of an adaptation of the Melian Dialogue, the famous passage in Thucydides' work where he explores different approaches to justice and interest in inter-state relations, by members of StudioSpace, the student drama society; this will be followed by a discussion between scholars working on different aspects of the topic (Torsten Michel and Christopher Brooke from Politics and Neville Morley and Ellen O'Gorman from Classics & Ancient History), and plenty of opportunity for questions from the audience.

Attendance is free, but we do ask you to reserve a place in advance: go to /arts/festival/programme/2013/1.html. If you have any queries, please contact Neville Morley (n.d.g.morley(at)

Friday 7th - Saturday 8th December 2012

Legacy of Greek Political Thought Network: Research Workshop 2012

The Cabot Room, The Hawthorns, Woodland Road, Bristol

The Legacy of Greek Political Thought Network is an international group of scholars, drawn from the fields of Classics, Political Theory and the History of Ideas, interested in the continuing influence of classical Greek political ideas and theories in the modern world.  This will be its second annual research workshop, bringing together members of the network and other scholars to discuss key issues in this field of study.

Friday 7th December: 11.00 - 17.00

Christian Wendt (Freie Universität Berlin): ‘Herodotus as the father of political realism?’

Ben Earley (Bristol): ‘From Colonialism to Imperialism: Thucydides in the American War of Independence’

Paul Rahe (Hillsdale College): ‘Can a Republic Be Established on an Extended Territory? The Classical experience, the ruminations of Montesquieu, and the practical challenge faced by the American Founders’

Carol Atack (Cambridge): ‘Technocracy Ancient and Modern’

Ryan Balot (Toronto): ‘Civic Trust and Democratic Leadership, from Thucydides to the Present’

Saturday 8th December: 10.00 - 13.00

Chris Brooke (Bristol) ‘Eighteenth-century Carthage’

Helen Roche (Cambridge): ‘“Recreating a shared Graeco-German Aryan heritage”: the ideal of Greek education for citizenship in National Socialist pedagogy’

Round table on the Legacy of Sparta: Steve Hodkinson (Nottingham) will introduce his recent papers on ‘Sparta and Nazi Germany'’ and ‘Sparta and the Soviet Union’ (precirculated), with responses from Helen Roche and Neville Morley, followed by general discussion.

Note that at 5 pm on Saturday, Paul Rahe will also be giving a public lecture organised by the Bristol Institute for Greece, Rome and the Classical Tradition on ‘Constitutionalism Ancient, Modern, and American’. Tress Lecture Theatre, Social Sciences, 13 Priory Road, Bristol. 

Thursday 28th – Friday 29th June 2012

Thucydides our Contemporary?

A major international conference on the reception and influence of Thucydides in the modern world.

Thucydides claimed that his account of the Peloponnesian War would be ‘a possession for ever’, valued by posterity more than by his contemporaries.  The history of his text's reception since the Renaissance has proved him entirely correct; not only has his work continued to be read, by historians, political thinkers, philosophers, international relations theorists and many others, but Thucydides himself has been seen as ever more prescient and modern.  This international conference, part of the work of the AHRC-funded research project on ‘Thucydides: reception, reinterpretation and influence’, will explore the way his work has shaped ideas about how to understand the world, and his continuing role as an authority on history, politics and war.

Keynote Speakers: Clifford Orwin (Toronto); Arlene Saxonhouse (Michigan)

Public Lecture (Friday 29th June): Hunter R. Rawlings III, President of the Association of American Universities: “A Possession for All Time: why and how Thucydides matters so much”.

Key Themes: Translation and Education; History and Historiography; International Relations; Politics and Political Theory

Confirmed Speakers: Greg Crane, Jon Hesk, Edward Keene, Christine Lee, Aleka Lianeri, Gerry Mara, Jeremy Mynott, Claudia Rammelt, Liz Sawyer, Oliver Schelske, James Sullivan, Thom Workman.

Friday 20th - Sunday 22nd April 2012

Christine Lee and Neville Morley participate in a workshop organised by the Freie Universitaet Berlin: Between Anarchy and Order: Herrschaftskonzeptionen in Thukydides.

Saturday 14th April 2012

Neville Morley and Ben Earley speak on the modern reception of Thucydides at the European Social Science History Conference in Glasgow.

Wednesday 26th October 2011, Bristol

Translating Thucydides

Every translation is an interpretation and a form of cultural exchange; embedded and entangled in structures of power and discourses of identity, constantly negotiating between past and present, local and global, and similarity and difference, domestication and alienation.  The ways in which texts from other cultures are ‘received’ by modern readers is a vital issue in a pluralist and increasingly globalised world.  The aim of this series of interdisciplinary workshops is to analyse the underlying dynamics of the process by exploring issues of cultural identity in the translation of texts and in the reception and appropriation of translated material.

Thucydides’ Greek is notoriously difficult, as a result of his often convoluted and ambiguous sentence construction and his love of neologisms and words not found elsewhere in extant Greek literature.  Indeed, the question has been raised whether Thucydides is unique among classical authors in being interpreted so often on the basis of mistranslation, and how far his influence may be attributed to the scope which his Greek allows to the literary imagination of his translators.  To understand the history of his reception, the process of translation itself has to be one focus of attention; the ways in which words and phrases are rendered into different languages reveals the translator’s conception of the historian and his work in relation to contemporary events and/or currents of thought, as well as shaping the later reception of the work by readers without Greek.  By focusing on the reception of Thucydides in early modern England and France – Claude de Seyssel’s 1527 French translation from the Latin, Thomas Nicolls’ 1550 English version of Seyssel, and above all Thomas Hobbes’ important and influential translation of 1629 – this workshop will draw out wider issues in the dynamics of translation, reception and appropriation.

Neville Morley (Bristol): ‘Translating Thucydides’

Ben Earley (Bristol): ‘A French/Latin Thucydides: de Seyssel’s translation in context’

Luca Iori (Parma): ‘Thucydides’ Reception in England (XVIth-XVIIth Centuries): Thomas Hobbes’ Eight Bookes of the Peloponnesian Warre’

Kinch Hoekstra (Berkeley): ‘Thomas Hobbes’ Translation of Thucydides’

2.00-5.30, Reception Room, 43 Woodland Road, Bristol.

The workshops are funded by BIRTHA, the Bristol Institute for Research in the Humanities and Arts, with support from the Institute for Greece, Rome and the Classical Tradition. They are organised in conjunction with the AHRC-funded research projects on Thucydides: reception, reintepretation and influence (Bristol) and Charlemagne in England (Bristol and Reading).

Sunday 4th September 2011, Seattle

Thucydides, our Father: A Conversation on the Politics of the History

Washington State Convention Center (Room tbc), Seattle, WA, 10.00-2.00 (followed by a late lunch).

Speakers include: Timothy Ruback (Smith College), Thom Workman (New Brunswick) and John Zumbrunnen (UW-Madison)

This workshop will bring together political theorists, political scientists, and scholars of international relations to reflect on the significance of Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War.  Together, we aim to explore what this text has meant to modern political thinkers, how it has shaped political inquiry, and why we should continue to attend to Thucydides.  The conversation, though open-ended, will consider Thucydides as a founder and father figure as well as the hazards of reading the History.    

We gratefully acknowledge the support of the AHRC and thank APSA for arranging a meeting space.

Friday 18th March 2011, 2 Gower Street, London

Christine Lee will be one of the speakers at Eight Years in Babylon: Classics and the Iraq War Eight Years On, a conference organised by The Centre for the Reception of Greece and Rome at Royal Holloway College, University of London.

Saturday 5th March 2011, University of Bristol

Project Workshop: Philology and Education

This is the second in the series of workshops bringing together members of the project, contributors to the Handbook to the Reception of Thucydides and other interested people to discuss different aspects of the subject. This workshop follows on from the one in Washington DC in September, focusing on the history of philological study on and translation of Thucydides, the place of Thucydides in systems of education, and the implications of this for the reception of his text in other disciplines. Leading the discussion will be Marianne Pade (Aarhus), Lorna Hardwick (Open University), Stefan Kipf (Humboldt) and Liz Lucas (Oxford), with further contributions from members of the project. An introductory discussion paper will be circulated to participants in advance.

Venue: First Floor Seminar Room, Arts Faculty Graduate School, 7 Woodland Road. The workshop will start at 11.00 (coffee from 10.30) and finish at 4.00.

Wednesday 26th January 2011, University of Reading

Neville Morley and Christine Lee will be reprising their papers on Thucydides' History: a text for hard times at the Classics Research Seminar at Reading, in conjunction with the newly-established network on the Legacy of Greek Political Thought.

Saturday 4th December 2010, University of Bristol

Project Workshop: ‘Philology and Education’

Unfortunately this workshop has had to be postponed, because of the unavailability of a number of participants. It will be rearranged for the first half of 2011; further details will appear hear in due course.

Tuesday 19th October 2010, 4.10 pm, LR1, Arts Faculty, University of Bristol

Department of Classics & Ancient History Research Seminar

Neville Morley and Christine Lee will reprise their papers from the APSA conference, as the basis for a broader discussion of the reception of Thucydides in political thought. All welcome: an opportunity to meet members of the project (including the new PhD students on the project), including wine reception afterwards.

5th September 2010, Washington DC

Project workshop: ‘Scholarship, Translation and Criticism’

This research workshop will focus on the history of the philological and historical study of Thucydides’ text in different national traditions, including translations and commentaries, and the implications of this for the way his work has been interpreted in modern political theory and historiography. Contributing to the discussion will be Giovanna Ceserani (Stanford), Emily Greenwood (Yale) and Jeffrey Rusten (Cornell), all leading scholars on Thucydides and his reception. A position paper, outlining key themes and issues for debate, will be circulated in advance. 

4th September 2010, APSA Conference, Washington DC

Neville Morley and Christine Lee will be participating in a panel entitled Thucydides’ History: a text for hard times at the American Political Science Association Conference.

Rachel Templar (U. Of South Carolina): ‘The Politics of Colonization in Thucydides and Aristophanes’

Neville Morley (Bristol): ‘Theorising Crisis: readings of the stasis at Corcyra’

Christine Lee (Bristol): ‘Thucydides in Times of War: holding the History up as a mirror’

Joel Alden Schlosser (Carleton College): ‘Hopeful Democracy: reading Thucydides’ realism against the grain’

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