Latest Event Updates

‘Re-voicing Classics: an Evening of Poetry’ Review

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On Wednesday 30th March, the Canada Room at Queen’s hosted ‘Re-voicing Classics. An Evening of Poetry’. The evening began with an expression of the special debt owed to Michael Longley who for many years has seen the ancient mind so vital in our own world. This sense of the beauty and passions of antiquity followed in a series of readings from Erin Halliday, Ross Thompson, Manuela Moser and Stephen Sexton, who included work by Caitlin Newby. Each also shared with the audience their inspiration from the great poets and Classical myths.

So it was that Ovid’s wonder at nature’s fecundity and Sappho’s meditation on the enfolding nature of love were joined by evocations of the dismaying fall of Icarus in the loss of Russian cosmonauts and the imagining of Orpheus as a burned-out aging rock-star. The unique agility of poets writing in the North of Ireland in conveying the powerful emotions of the ancient mind while seeing the same elegies, tragedies, epic struggles and sensualities around us all was evident in the work of the readers who are set to carry on a great poetic tradition. It was difficult not to sense the shade of Louis MacNeice as somehow present, delighting with us all at so many ‘things being various.’ And wonderful to have the Classical tradition, literally, at the heart of Queen’s again!

John Curran


You can check out our Gallery for more photos from ‘Re-voicing Classics: an Evening of Poetry’ Gallery

And for an extra special treat, head over to our Blog to read one of the classically-inspired poems, re-voiced and presented at our evening of poetry – Ross Thompson’s Selene

Ross Thompson’s Selene

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Following the success of our evening of poetry ‘Re-voicing Classics’ which took place in the splendid surroundings of Queen’s University’s Canada Room, The Classical Association in Northern Ireland is very proud to present one of the poems that those in attendance had the pleasure of hearing.

From the pen of the award-winning Ross Thompson and based on the divine personification of the Moon from Greek Mythology, here is Selene.



Marie-Lan Nguyen (2006)




They found her lying in the hare’s corner,

taking the long sleep in the tall, damp grass.

Gossamer shawl drawn over her shoulders.

Cardigan buttons gleaming like cut glass.


The locket which housed two blonde baby curls

frozen tight to a freckle on her breast.

One foot was bare and straight. The other whirled

towards a pink slingback that came to rest

at the gnarled root of a weeping willow.


Who could tell which wrong path and which deep wounds

led her to lay down upon this pillow,

this bruised lawn, beneath such a bitter moon.


Still, they draped coats across her silver skin

though they knew that the cold came from within.

Ross Thompson

Ross Thompson


Endymion and Selene, by Sebastiano Ricci (1713), Chiswick House, England

Greek Tragedy and Epic For Schools

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Greek Tragedy and Epic For Schools

The Classical Association in Northern Ireland and The Open University are delighted to present two lectures on Greek Tragedy and Epic for 6th form students of Classics, Classical Studies and English Literature

Friday 15th April

The Peter Froggatt Centre, room 02/017

Queen’s University, Belfast

 1.15 – 2.00: ‘Greek tragedy and the manipulation of myth’ (Dr Laura Swift)

 2.15 – 3.00: ‘The Homeric hero’ (Dr William Allan)





Dr Laura Swift (The Open University)

A Classics graduate of the University of Oxford, Dr Swift’s research interests lie in Greek tragedy, in particular on the relationship between the tragic chorus and other types of choral song performed in Greek society.

bill allan_0

Dr William Allan (University College, Oxford)

Originally from Fife, Dr Allan studied Classics at Edinburgh and taught at Harvard before moving to the University of Oxford. He is particularly interested in archaic and classical Greek tragedy and epic.

If you are interested in having some of your students attend this event, please, do not hesitate to get in touch with us through any of our contacts


‘Keeping up Appearances: Roman Emperors on Display’ Review

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Capture‘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

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.

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 the 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.

Dr Peter Crawford

‘Ancient Rome in a Digital Age’ Review

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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

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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CAI Summer School 2015

14th-15th August 2015

 Drama in the Greek and Roman World

Renehan Hall

Old Campus, St Patricks’s College

Maynooth University, Dublin

Prof. Fiona MacIntosh (Oxford)

‘Euripides our Contemporary: Dialogues between Shakespeare and the Greeks.’

‘The Rediscovery of Greek Tragedy in the Nineteenth Century.’


 Dr Eoghan Moloney (NUIM) – ‘Courts, kings, and all theatrical things.’


Prof. Michael Lloyd (UCD) – ‘Characterisation in Sophocles.’


Betthany Flanders (TCD) – ‘What makes a “real” Medea? And how to know if you’ve found one…’


SUNDAY 16TH AUGUST – Trip to Belvedere House & Guided Tour