University of Canterbury Classics Department

This is the official page for the Department of Classics at the University of Canterbury. In the UC Classics dept.

For past, present and future students, staff and all those interested in the Classical World. In covering the languages, literature, ideas, history and art of ancient Greece and Rome, Classics is a truly wide-ranging, holistic discipline. Students of Classics come into contact with these profoundly sophisticated and influential cultures that confronted issues relevant to us today: political system

Operating as usual

Photos from Teece Museum of Classical Antiquities's post 25/06/2024

Coffee and Classics has now extended its repertoire to include Bovril (without selling out to product placement)...


Congratulations to all our graduands who will be collecting their degrees this week and becoming ... Graduates of UC! This is a great achievement and one you and the people around you - your genos, gens, whānau - should be immensely proud of! Whether you're staying with us or moving on, the Classics Dept. at UC wishes you all the best as you continue on the Cursus Honorum. EUGE!

Greek Mythology 101: Why Myth Matters 18/03/2024

A talk to be given by Associate-Professor Patrick O'Sullivan that might be of interest...

Greek Mythology 101: Why Myth Matters Thu 28 Mar, 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm [NZDT]: Even after 3000 years ancient Greek myths still have the capacity to captivate us. In the great epics of Homer, in the tragedies of ancient Athens, in art and architecture, we encounter the brilliant


Congratulations to Georgia Adcock-Bramley and Antonio Sidonio, who were the winner and runner up of the John Barsby Essay prize offered by the Australasian Society for Classical Studies. Both received a warm round of applause when this was announced at the ASCS Conference in Melbourne last week.

Both Georgia and Antonio submitted essays that they wrote for CLAS332: The Hellenistic World and the Coming of Rome. Georgia received AU $700 and Antonio received AU $300.

For other students: not only is this essay prize awarded each year, the Classics Department also awards the L G Pocock prize ($300) to the best essay on an historical topic, and two Alabaster Scholarships, each worth $2500, for the best students in undergraduate Greek and Latin language courses.

Last year our Pockcock prize winners were Georgia Adcock-Bramley and Mary Kirk-Anderson. The Alabaster scholarships went to Lance Pearce and Isobel France.

EUGE to all our prize-winners!

Perspectives on Death – Patrick O’Sullivan: Death and its afterlives in ancient Greek imaginings 30/01/2024

An invited seminar given by one of our number: ‘Death and its Afterlives in Ancient Greek Imaginings’, Perspectives on Death; The Axel and Margaret Ax:son Johnson Foundation for Public Benefit, Engelsberg, Sweden; October 13.

Perspectives on Death – Patrick O’Sullivan: Death and its afterlives in ancient Greek imaginings During this seminar, we explore how perceptions of death have manifested in various cultures and how these perceptions have evolved over time. We begin with ...


Can anyone top Pindar's mighty description in his 1st Pythian Ode from 470 BC of Etna in full flight (even better in the original Greek)?

"But all those whom Zeus has not loved are stunned with terror when they perceive the cry of the Pierian Muses, over the earth and the unfathomable sea, [15] especially he who lies in horrible Tartarus, the enemy of the gods, Typho the hundred-headed. Once the Cilician cave of many names reared him, but now in fact the sea-girt cliffs above Kyme, and Sicily too, weigh down his shaggy chest. And a pillar, reaching to heaven, holds him fast, [20] snowy Etna, nurse of bitter frost all year;

from her recesses erupt the purest streams of unapproachable fire. In daytime rivers pour forth a fiery stream of smoke, while in the darkness the crimson rolling flame hurls rocks down to the deep bed of the ocean with a crashing roar. That monster sends upward the most terrifying fountains of fire; a wonderful portent to see, and a wonder to hear about especially from those present, such a creature is bound within the black-leaved peaks of Etna and beneath the plain, and his bed, scraping his entire back, goads him as he lies on it."


Attention all lovers of Greek Myth and things Classical!

CLAS 103 will be making its way down to Ōtautahi early next month (7th-9th September, 7pm).

Here is a link to the show tickets for students:
The tickets are $19 for students, but NASDA students are able to get $5 standby tickets, which may be extended to classics students too.


Good luck to all our students as we head into the exam period, and congratulations for getting through semester 1. It's important to have some down time during all the swotting up, so don't overdo it. Remember, even the Romans had a sense of fun - as this recent archaeological discovery proves (and who knew until now that the world's first bouncy castle was in fact a bouncy amphitheatre?)...


Is this how bunnies and eggs first got conflated at the return of the northern Spring - in a mosaic (possibly) dating from the time of Hadrian showing a rabbit driving a chariot pulled by ducks (or geese)??? And is this, in fact, the first known depiction of the Easter Bunny doing the rounds, distributing eggs at this time of year...? Whatever the reality behind this image, Happy Easter hols to all!

I hope you all have a great Easter weekend! 🐰🪺

Here is a RABBIT CHARIOTEER, apparently from Hadrian’s villa in Tivoli, held in the Louvre - catalogued as ‘dubious’, but still an excellent image.

Photos from Teece Museum of Classical Antiquities's post 15/03/2023

Yes, kleos aphthiton really does exist and was attained not least by the Classoc Committee who orgainsed a splendid quiz/agon that went right down to the wire...! EUGE!

Photos from University of Canterbury Classics Department's post 03/02/2023

Fantastic few days at the ASCS44 Conference this week - thank you to all who attended, presented papers and to our keynote speaker, Kate Cook.

Sapientia potentia est! 🎉

Australasian Society for Classical Studies UCArts University of Canterbury The Arts Centre Te Matatiki Toi Ora


There's still time to register interest and get your posters in for the ASCS44 Poster Competition!

The possibilities are endless with the only criterion for the poster being an aspect of the history of Classics at UC.
Register interest by Tuesday 24 Jan, 5pm (NZDT):
Electronic posters due Thursday 26 Jan, 5pm (NZDT)
Physical posters due Wednesday 1 Feb, 10:30am (NZDT)

First prize NZ$250.00
Second prize NZ$150.00
Third prize NZ$100.00

More info here:


Coming up soon in January, the Australasian Society for Classical Studies (ASCS) Conference is being hosted by the UC Department of Classics. Running from 31 January to 3 February 2023, the conference is being held right here at the historic Arts Centre.

Themes for the conference include games / gaming and the ancient world, gender and classics, new approaches to artefacts, classical collections and exhibitions, and post colonial readings in classical reception. The conference will also be a fabulous way to celebrate UC's 150th anniversary.

Check out the full conference programme on line and register to attend. Day pass options are available.


Yeah, what he said...

This New Year message is over 1900 years old. It is part of the remarkable archive of writing tablets (thin pieces of wood written on with ink, similar to a postcard) which have been uncovered at Roman Vindolanda.

The fragment is of a letter from Hostilius Flavianus to Flavius Cerialis the Commanding Officer of the IX Cohort of Batavians who were stationed at Vindolanda in about AD 97-105. He wishes Cerialis "a fortunate and happy New Year".

We share that very same ancient wish with you all again today and would like to thank you for your support in 2022. We look forward to sharing our news, activities and of course the excitement from both the Vindolanda excavations and Magna excavations with you in 2023.

Photos from University of Canterbury Classics Department's post 21/12/2022

Who needs mistletoe and holly when you can have ivy leaves and grape clusters... Looks like Dionysos' little helpers (satyrs? maenads?) have been busy spreading some festive cheer in the Arts Centre - a splendid way to see out 2022! I suspect Marcus Aurelius would approve, too...

Merry Xmas! Io Saturnalia! And all best for the upcoming hols!

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