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Dr Icks’ Emperors on Display

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To an audience that had braved the elements and dodged the traffic, the Classical Association in Northern Ireland was proud to present Dr Martijn Icks and his talk ‘Keeping Up Appearances’: Roman Emperors on Display in the Bell Theatre at Queen’s University, Belfast on 3rd December 2015.

Starting with the holy invisibility of the Forbidden City of Ming China and the hyper-visibility of today’s leaders, Dr Icks took those in attendance on a journey through the public portrait of the Roman Emperors of the principate.

Through coins, statues, busts and monuments, the seemingly omnipresent emperors sought and were indeed demanded to be a living, honourable embodiment of the Roman Empire; those who failed in that embodiment were to be ridiculed, to be infames.

That journey took in, but was not limited to the affable, “all things to all men” Augustus; the too private Tiberius, opening himself to accusations of the worst levels of vice; the limping, stuttering Claudius hidden away by his family and then over-indulgent in blood sports; the embarrassing but dangerous spectacle that was Nero; the triumphant Titus and Trajan; the invisible Big Brother Domitian and the bookish Marcus Aurelius, ridiculed for not being seen to enjoy the games, instead attending to work.

Having forewarned that this subject was far larger than 50 mins would allow, Dr Icks finished up by teasing the listeners with a brief look at where the imperial portrait went from these embarrassing spectacles, conquering imperators, paranoid tyrants and “first among equals” of the principate – the aloof Lord and master chosen by the gods and then God and the increasingly invisible Byzantines, wrapped up in ceremony within their own version of the Forbidden City.

Clearly, this is a subject that has much more to be investigated.

Perhaps there will be a ‘Keeping Up Appearances’ Part 2 and 3? Over a few winter drinks afterwards, the audience certainly seemed to think so.

Peter Crawford

‘Keeping Up Appearances’

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‘Keeping up Appearances: Roman Emperors on Display’

Dr Martijn Icks (QUB)

Thursday 3rd December 2015, 6.45 p.m. (followed by winter drinks)

The Bell Lecture Theatre, Physics Building, Queen’s University, Belfast

PayPal Up and Running

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We are happy to announce that our PayPal account is now up and running, allowing you to subscribe or even donate to the Classical Association in Northern Ireland.

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As we are a not-for-profit organisation, CANI needs the support of subscribers to fund and even expand our annual programme of events. The various membership options can be found under the Membership/Subscriptions tab above.

In return for your generosity, we will continue to provide top quality academic talks such as the recent presentation by Daniëlle Slootjes on ‘Ancient Rome on the Digital Age’, to interact with schools and the public as a whole around Northern Ireland promoting the study and stories of the Classical World and to bring more light hearted forms of entertainment such as the showing of films with a classical theme.

Thanking you in advance,

CANI

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Dr Slootjes’ Digital Rome

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3rd November 2015

The Classical Association in Northern Ireland

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Ancient Rome in a Digital Age

Dr Daniëlle Slootjes

How 3D reconstructions and simulations are valuable for the historical study of crowd behaviour in Ancient Rome

Tuesday 3 November, 6.45 pm
Queen’s University, Lanyon Building, Canada Room

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At this week’s first official CANI event of the 2015-2016 programme, Dr Daniëlle Slootjes of the University of Nijmegen (The Netherlands) spoke about “Ancient Rome in a Digital Age”. More and more, archaeologists are collaborating with computer experts to make three-dimensional digital reconstructions of ancient buildings or even complete cities, including Rome itself. Dr Slootjes, who is interested in crowd behaviour and crowd control in premodern cities such as Rome, Constantinople, Paris and London, explored how these 3D reconstructions may be combined with evidence from our literary sources to produce valuable insights. In particular, she wants to examine how ancient crowds moved at particular mass events, such as the triumphal entry of a victorious emperor or games in the Colosseum. The lecture was followed by a lively Q & A session. All in all, it seems the Classical Association in Northern Ireland is off to a good start!

Martijn Icks (QUB)

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