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The Parthenon is one of the world’s most iconic buildings. Today it symbolises Greece. In the fifth-century BC it was the proud embodiment of the power not only of Athens’ empire, but of the politicians who had commissioned it, the artists who had created it and the citizens who had fought to build the society which it would come to represent. Built on the Acropolis in the aftermath of the devastating Persian invasion (480-479 BC), the Parthenon was part temple to Athene, part war memorial, part treasure trove of some of the most outstanding art of its age.
In this talk, David Stuttard tells the dramatic story of the conception and creation of the Parthenon. Setting it against a turbulent historical background and rooting it firmly in the real and mythological landscape of Athens, he considers the Parthenon’s place in the social and religious world of ancient Greece, revealing it as a defiant symbol of the birth of imperial order from the chaos of defeat.
Populated by some of Athens’ most memorable characters and richly illustrated with evocative site photography, details from the Parthenon sculptures and other related artworks, the talk explores the Parthenon as the spiritual heart of a network of commanding buildings, used by Pericles and his successors to promote the power of Athens as the leader of the Greek world.
David Stuttard took an MA in Classics from St. Andrews University, where he remained to work on a PhD. He subsequently taught Classics for eleven years in Edinburgh, St. Andrews and York.
David is the author of numerous books on the classical world, including Parthenon: Power and Politics on the Acropolis (British Museum Press, 2013); Power Games: Ritual and Rivalry at the Greek Olympics (BMP, 2012), and Looking at Lysistrata (Duckworth, 2010). With Sam Moorhead, he has written The Romans Who Shaped Britain (Thames and Hudson, 2012); AD 410, The Year that Shook Rome (BMP, 2010), and 31 BC, Antony, Cleopatra and the Fall of Egypt (BMP, 2012). David’s A History of Ancient Greece in 50 Lives will be published by Thames and Hudson in 2014.
In 1993, David founded the theatre company, Actors of Dionysus (aod), which tours regularly throughout the UK, and for which he has directed his own translations and adaptations of Greek drama. His work has been heard on BBC Radio, his translation of Aeschylus’ Agamemnon was adopted as an Open University set text, and his scripts have been performed throughout the world. His Trojan Trilogy was premiered at The British Museum in 2007, and he has recently been working with actors such as Jane Asher, Tom Conti, Fenella Fielding and Simon Russell Beale.
Current World Archaeology has written of him: ‘David Stuttard is a classicist well-known for translating and directing Greek plays. His career represents an admirable commitment to popularising classical culture and making it accessible to new non-specialist audiences’.
Follow @davidstuttard on Twitter.
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