Current Programme

We are very excited to launch our brand new programme for 2019-20!

All of our lectures take place on Thursday evenings from 6.15pm (talk 7-8pm, with a short Q&A afterwards) at AKS Lytham, Clifton Drive South, Lytham St Annes, Lancashire, FY8 1DT. Tickets do not normally need to be pre-booked and are available on the door for £5 (free to members). We look forward to welcoming you to the LSA Classical Association.

LSA CA Lecture Programme 2019-20


‘How to Manage Your Slaves By Marcus Sidonius Falx’ 

With Dr Jerry Toner

Thursday 19th September 

Many of our lectures have focused on those who wielded power and influence in the classical world – the emperors, the poets, scientists and artists. Dr Jerry Toner, an author and fellow at Cambridge University, will serve up Roman life from a different vantage point, by providing us with a guide on slavery in Roman times.

He promises to reveal everything a Roman would need to know to maintain his or her status as master in his or her own home. Slavery was completely accepted in the structure of Roman life.  In fact, even the early Christians would have felt no moral qualms in owning slaves. In his book on the subject Dr Toner uses the intermediary of a fictional Roman nobleman, Marcus Sidonius Falx, to introduce us to various aspects of ordinary or ‘below stairs’ Roman life.

His research has explored Roman cultural history in its non-elitist forms.  As well as How to Manage your Slaves, Dr Toner has written on leisure with Popular Culture in Ancient Rome in which he also examines the way in which mental health issues were expressed in a different way to those in the modern world and, in 2014, he published The Day Commodus Killed a Rhino: understanding the Roman games.

Other books include Homer’s Turk: How Classics Shaped Ideas of the East, which shows how historians and travel writers have used classical sources to help create various images of Islam and the Orient. Roman Disasters covers the impact of disasters, from floods and fires to warfare and famine, on Roman life and culture. Such is the popularity of Dr Toner’s books, that there have been 31 translations into 15 different languages  – so far.

In recent years, he has published a satirical Roman self-help book with the title Release Your Inner Roman, and he is currently working on his Grand Tour of the Roman Empire. As well as being a successful author, Dr Toner is the Director of Studies in Classics at Churchill College, Cambridge, and an affiliated lecturer in the Classics Faculty.



‘Caesar’s wife must be above suspicion’: how do we picture the empresses of Rome?

Dame Professor Mary Beard (2pm and 4:15pm)

Saturday 9th November

We are extremely proud and honoured to be hosting the national Classical Association’s Presidential Address, delivered by Dame Professor Mary Beard on 9th November 2019.

Professor Beard is a well-loved tutor at Newnham College Cambridge, an excellent writer, a gifted historian, a presenter, an editor, a blogger, a twitter personality and a Dame. Since the branch started, Mary has been a great supporter of our work, writing a recommendation, sending signed books and following us on social media, and we are so delighted that after all these years she is able to come and see us all in person!

A Fellow of the British Academy and the Society of Antiquaries for the past ten years, she has been the President of the Classical Association for the last year and a half and has been at the forefront of the public’s perception of Classics for the last two decades. Pre-eminent in her field and within the public domain for her ‘learned but accessible’ style, she began as the first female fellow in the Cambridge classics faculty and has encountered misogyny and trolling in her time, gaining fans alongside enemies. Comments by AA Gill about her appearance led to a well publicised debate about the role of older women in the media and on screen and she has spoken much about the place of classics in the modern world, and her own role in it – saying, ‘the point is not what I look like, but what I do… the right to be unpopular is important – that’s what academic freedom is about’.

Professor Beard’s PhD was based on Roman Religion and Cicero but she has branched out into a myriad topics, from the Parthenon to the Roman Triumph to Laughter in Ancient Rome. She has written and presented several television documentaries, enthusing a whole new generation with Pompeii: Life and Death in a Roman Town, as well as Meet the Romans, Caligula, Empire without limits, Julius Caesar Revealed and Women in Power which became a bestseller in book form in 2017 and most recently two of the nine part series Civilisations for BBC. She has featured regularly on A Point of View on Radio 4, appeared on Question Time, and she now presents Front Row Late for BBC Arts.

In her academic work and her career, she has combined the traditional with the transgressive, just as the Romans did, and it has been said of her that: “in public, in private and in her academic writing she is sceptical, wary of consensus, the kind of person who will turn any question back on itself and examine it from an unexpected angle” so we are excited to see what Professor Beard will tell us in her Presidential Address entitled “Caesar’s wife must be above suspicion”: how do we picture the empresses of Rome? We are delighted that the lecture will be delivered twice to ensure that 400 local students can attend as well as our members. There will be a delegation from the national CA as well as our own President in attendance so it promises to be a fabulous day.



‘Pompeii and Herculaneum: Life in the Backstreets’

Professor Andrew Wallace-Hadrill

Thursday 21st November

Professor Wallace-Hadrill is an eminent British ancient historian and classical archaeologist who is Professor of Roman Studies and Director of Research in the Faculty of Classics at Cambridge. He was Director of the British School at Rome for fourteen years and Master of Sidney Sussex College, from 2009 to 2013, when he stood down from the position to concentrate his efforts on the Herculaneum Conservation Project.  He was awarded an OBE in 2002 for services to Anglo-Italian cultural relations, and elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 2010.

In 2004, in an interview on the Australian television programme 60 Minutes, he aired his opinion about the neglect of the archaeological site of Pompeii and was consequently described as an “angry archaeologist” when he argued that the conservation issues that need to be acted upon urgently at Pompeii are being neglected and that the site is suffering from a “second death”. Regarding the deterioration of Pompeii, he contends, “Man is wreaking a damage far greater than Vesuvius. The moment of Pompeii’s destruction was also the moment of its preservation. The public needs to understand that unless constant efforts are taken to arrest the decay, the site will, within decades crumble to nothing.” His love and concern for both Pompeii and Herculaneum is obvious to all.

Professor Wallace-Hadrill has made three well-reviewed documentary programmes for BBC and is particularly well known for The Other Pompeii: Life and Death in Herculaneum, and the two-parter, Building the Ancient City: Athens and Rome, which showed how the building of Athens and Rome paralleled the development of democracy in those two cultures. Daisy Wyatt of The Independent said of it: “An exuberant Wallace-Hadrill made the…documentary watchable thanks to his passion for the subject. It was hard to feel anything but warmth for the antithesis of the typical Oxbridge academic presenter.”

That sounds like our type of presenter and we are absolutely delighted to welcome Professor Wallace-Hadrill to Lytham St Annes for what we know will be a fascinating, insightful and entertaining lecture.



‘Walking with the Gods: the Religious Life of the Ancient Greeks’

Professor Michael Scott 

Thursday 9th January 

After our traditional Christmas break we come to the new year of 2020 and we are delighted to announce that our inspiring President, Professor Michael Scott has confirmed he will be returning to the Association for his annual Presidential lecture and celebration.

As well as being a Professor in Classics and Ancient History at the University of Warwick, Michael is now a National Teaching Fellow and Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy; a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society; an Honorary Citizen of Delphi, Greece; a Trustee of Classics for All; the author of several books on the ancient Mediterranean world as well as ancient Global History; and he has written and presented a wide range of TV and Radio documentaries, some of which, of course, he has talked to us about in his excellent previous lectures. And let’s not forget that this year he was re-created as a Lego figure in honour of his contribution to Classics!

Michael will be with us on 9th November to support us when we have the honour and responsibility of welcoming Professor Beard to the Association and hosting her Presidential Address. He will then return in January and in his lecture to the Association, Michael will talk to us about the role of religion in Ancient Greece. He has sent us the following summary:

‘The Greeks did not have a word for religion, and yet the gods were all around them and involved in everything they did. This lecture will look at the ways in which the Greeks conceived of their relationship to the divine, as well as the plethora of ways in which they interacted with them as they built their lives, cities and calendars around them.’

We can’t wait to hear Michael’s views on this fascinating topic when he delivers his 2020 Presidential Lecture to us all on 9th January.



POSTPONED    ‘From Myth to Fiction: Women in Ancient Greece’  POSTPONED

Dr Emily Hauser

Dr Hauser’s lecture has been replaced by

       The Trojan War: Myth or History? 

            with Dr Michael Wood which is for MEMBERS ONLY and is SOLD OUT


[Dr Emily Hauser is an academic, author of historical fiction and a lecturer in Classics and Ancient History at the University of Exeter, and is passionate about recovering the lost stories of the women of the ancient world. An award-winning classicist and the author of the acclaimed Golden Apple trilogy, retelling the stories of the women of Greek myth, Dr Hauser studied at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, where she received a double first with distinction and won multiple awards including the University of Cambridge Chancellor’s Medal. She went to the United States as a Fulbright Scholar at Harvard from 2010-2011, and received her PhD in Classics from Yale in 2017 where she is also a Junior Fellow. Her research focuses on women in antiquity, gender studies, Greek and Latin poetry, and the theory and practice of classical reception, particularly in contemporary fiction.

Dr Hauser writes historical fiction and conducts research into the lives of the women of ancient Greece and Rome, finding their hidden stories—from decoding graffiti scribbled on a wall in the buried city of Pompeii, to retelling the tales of the women of the Trojan War.  She passionately believes that these are tales that need to be told, and that they can bring to life a history that is more relevant than ever.

Her first novel, For the Most Beautiful, a retelling of the Trojan War, was published by Penguin Random House in 2016 in the UK and internationally, and was followed by For the Winner in 2017 and For the Immortal published last year. She has been featured on BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour and in The Guardian alongside Natalie Haynes, and her debut novel For the Most Beautiful was listed in the “28 Best Books for Summer” in The Telegraph.

In her talk for the Association, Emily will take us back to some of the oldest stories of Greek myth – the Trojan War, the voyage of Jason and the Argonauts, the labours of Hercules, among others – and ask what happens when we look at them from the point of view of the women. Revealing a new side to the stories of legendary women from Helen of Troy to Medea, she takes a new look at the history behind the myths to uncover the “real” women of Bronze Age Greece. What did Helen really look like? Where did Jason voyage to capture the Golden Fleece – and who was the woman who went with him? Did the Amazons really cut off one of their breasts to fight in battle? And who was the Amazon queen with whom Achilles fell in love – and, according to some sources, had a child?

Bringing myth and history together, Emily will explore what historical fiction can do for us in re-imagining the stories and the voices of the women of ancient Greek myth. Bringing both her expertise as an academic and her creative voice as an author, this will be an account of ancient women that spans thousands of years, and examines some of the oldest and best-loved Greek myths through new eyes – we can’t wait to hear this fascinating lecture on the 6th of February next year.]

LSA CA Classics Competition Grand Final 

Judged by Professor Edith Hall and Dr Arlene Holmes-Henderson

Saturday 7th March (2pm)

We are delighted to announce our honoured judges for the 2020 Classics Competition as Professor Edith Hall, renowned professor in Classics at King’s College London, and Dr Arlene Holmes-Henderson, also of KCL and the recipient of fellowships in Australia, New Zealand and the USA. Together they are the dynamic duo behind Advocating Classics Education, a UK-wide project aiming to extend qualifications in Classical subjects across the secondary sector and we are very privileged to have their expertise and enthusiasm as we aim to encourage students from all areas to practise their research and public speaking skills as they learn more about the ancient world.

Details of how to enter and get involved in the Competition will be released on our Classics Competition page in due course.



‘Turning Art Into History – The Case of Classical Athens’

Professor Robin Osborne

Thursday 19th March 

In March, we are extremely excited to welcome a man who is widely considered the authority on Athenian art and Greek history – a Professor of Ancient History at the University of Cambridge and a fellow of the British Academy. His seminal work Archaic and Classical Greek Art is a favourite amongst students and his lectures have a cult following… we will be joined on Thursday 19th March 2020 by the fabulous Professor Robin Osborne.

Professor Osborne was an undergraduate and graduate student at King’s College Cambridge, where he is now a Fellow and Professor of Ancient History. Prior to this he was a fellow at Magdalen and Corpus Christi in Oxford, and has published prolifically on topics as disparate as Athenian law, ancient festivals, centaurs, prostitutes, heroic nakedness, hoards, sanctuaries, Homer, poverty, drunkenness at the symposium, play and ritual, and Athenian democracy.

Almost as expansive as his knowledge is his experience in the teaching and academic world, as a PhD supervisor (including of our very own president Michael Scott), as a contributor to important publications, as president of the SPHS, and of the Classical Association in 2012-3, editor of academic journals such as the American Journal of Archaeology and also Omnibus, the CA’s own journal published termly for younger students of the classical world featuring interesting articles by many of our previous speakers such as Edith Hall, Gail Trimble and Felix Budelmann.

Professor Osborne is currently engaged in two exciting projects, updating our knowledge and sources for Greek Historical Inscriptions from the late archaic period and on the great project being undertaken by Paul Cartledge to collate interdisciplinary histories of archaic cities in the Greek world. He has also been recently announced as the recipient of the 2019 Runciman Award, a £9000 prize shared with Paul Kosmin, for his latest book the Transformation of Athens, Painted pottery and the creation of classical Greece in which he examines the thousands of surviving Athenian red-figure pots painted in the 5th century BC and describes the changing depictions of soldiers and athletes, drinking parties and religious occasions, sexual relations, and scenes of daily life. He shows that it was not changes in each activity that determined how the world was shown, but changes in values and aesthetics, and it is on this topic that he will talk to us next March in Turning Art into History – the Case of Classical Athens.



‘Pattern and Chaos in the Labyrinth’ 

Charlotte Higgins

Thursday 23rd April 

For our final lecture we will be welcoming a writer and journalist who will be familiar to readers of The Guardian newspaper – Charlotte Higgins.

After studying Classics at Balliol College Oxford,  Charlotte’s first job in journalism was working for Vogue magazine.  She then joined The Guardian , for whom she has worked in various guises for the last twenty years as Classical Music Editor, Chief Arts correspondent and currently as Chief Culture writer.

In 2009 she published Latin Love Lessons, a collection of the sensuous writings of the Roman poets on the art of love and in the following year,  It’s All Greek To Me, a book on how Ancient Greece has shaped our world. In 2013 she wrote Under Another Sky recounting her journeys through Britain in search of its Roman past.

Shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize, it is the captivating and haunting exploration of the remnants of an empire. What does Roman Britain mean to us now? How were its physical remains rediscovered and made sense of? How has it been reimagined, in story and song and verse? Under Another Sky beautifully illustrates that although the Romans might be long gone from Modern Britain, their legacy is ever present.

Next Charlotte stepped behind the polished doors of Broadcasting House to write about that unique British institution, the BBC. Entitled This New Noise: The Extraordinary Birth and Troubled Life of the BBC, she traced its origins and asked questions such as What does the BBC mean to us now?  What are the threats to its continued existence? Is it worth fighting for? Her most recent publication was BBC Radio 4’s Book of the Week last August and it is this book that is the inspiration for her lecture next April. Its title is Red Thread: On Mazes and Labyrinths. 

The tale of how the hero Theseus killed the Minotaur, finding his way out of the labyrinth using Ariadne’s ball of red thread, is one of the most intriguing myths. Charlotte will track the origins of the story of the labyrinth in the poems of Homer, Catullus, Virgil and Ovid, and follow the idea of the labyrinth through the Cretan excavations of Sir Arthur Evans, the mysterious turf labyrinths of Northern Europe, the church labyrinths of medieval French cathedrals and the hedge mazes of Renaissance gardens. Along the way, she’ll trace the labyrinthine ideas of writers from Dante to George Eliot, and of artists from Titian to Picasso.

She will be asking what it is to be lost, what it is to find one’s way, and what it is to travel the confusing and circuitous path of a lived life. Her lecture ‘Pattern and Chaos in The Labyrinth…’ will lead us on an unpredictable and intriguing journey, full of unexpected connections and surprising pleasures – an exciting end to our sixth season on 23rd April 2020.



We look forward to welcoming you to the Association next year – why not follow us on social media and become a part of our classics community by joining the largest branch of the CA in the UK!