Classical Antiquity once again a hot topic
The theme for this year’s Week of the Classics (19 to 27 March) is war in Classical Antiquity. Leiden Classics scholars are organising various activities, including the popular Know-Your-Classics Pub Quiz.
Classics on the rise
This week was created to revive the once waning interest in the historical period known as Antiquity (700 BC to 476 AD), but according to Leiden Classics scholars Casper de Jonge and Hugo Koning this dip in interest is now clearly over. ‘The week now meets a very real need: people are extremely interested in Classical Antiquity; grammar schools are once again popular, and there is a lot of interest in classical literature and archaeological excavations,’ says De Jonge.
Koning: ‘This may sound a bit heavy, but this increase in interest may have something to do with a new longing for our own history and a reaffirmation of our Western identity in this troubled world.’ The Classics and Ancient Civilizations programme is consequentlu not under threat. Leiden is a leader in the field and the number of first-year students in the Classics and Ancient Civilizations programme has been stable over the last few years at around thirty students.
Koning and De Jonge are responsible for putting together the Know-Your-Classics Pub Quiz to be held on 19 March in the Temple Hall of the National Museum of Antiquities (RMO). The quiz, an initiative of the magazine Lampas, has grown into a real event for lovers of Classical Antiquity. Students, researchers and lecturers in Classics from all over the country have signed up for this fifth edition of the quiz. They will be asked eighty questions on Greek and Latin, and on interesting facts about Antiquity. The quiz master is former Professor Fik Meijer, the man who recently presented his excuses to the Mayor of Rome on behalf of Dutch students following damage caused by hooligans. The quiz is already sold out; there is now only room for spectators.
Week of the Classics Programme
In the Week of the Classics, a number of activities are being organised at the RMO and in other places throughout the Netherlands. A selection from the Leiden programme:
Lecture: The Quest for Carthage
On Thursday 19 March, RMO curator and Extraordinary Professor at Leiden University Ruurd Halbertsma will be giving a lecture on the quest of Dutchman Émile Humbert for the remains of the destroyed Punic city of Carthage. Time: 15.00 - 16.00 hrs.
Final Classics Olympiads
The final of the Classics Olympiads will take place on Saturday 21 March. The Olympiads are a translation contest in Latin and Greek for school pupils and adults. They are organised by the Dutch Classical Association ( Nederlands Klassiek Verbond) and the Association of Classical Teachers in the Netherlands ( Vereniging Classici Nederland). Koning and De Jonge are both on the jury. Time: 13.00 - 17.00 hrs.
Re-enactment: Romans on the Rapenburg
On Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 March, a living history group will be setting up their military camp in the Temple Hall of the RMO. They will be re-enacting a Roman Legion from the first century BC, and as Roman citizens will be answering questions about their professions. In the same weekend, ‘speed tours’ will also be given of the museum. Time: 10.00 - 17.00 hrs.
Panel Evening: War journalism – In Antiquity and today
On Tuesday 24 March, a panel night will be held with experts in Classical Historiography and modern war reporters. Among others, the famous war reporter Arnold Karskens will discuss with Leiden Classics experts Christopher Pieper and Frits Naerebout the difficulties of war reporting, both in former times and today. Time: 20.00 - 22.00 hrs.
(16 March 2015)
The Week of the Classics 2015 is organised by the National Museum of Antiquities (RMO) and Tresoar, in collaboration with the Allard Pierson Museum, Athenaeum Bookstore and the Dutch Classical Association (NVV).