Dr Rosie Wyles stands up for comic costume

Kent Lecturer in Classical History and Literature, Dr Rosie Wyles (@RosieWyles) was asked to provide expert knowledge as a contributor to the Radio 4 episode one of the series “Natalie Haynes Stands up for the Classics” aired on 11 April at 4pm.

In the first episode of the second series of this popular broadcast the acclaimed comedian and classicist Haynes gives the case for the brilliance of Aristophanes, the ancient comic playwright.

Introducing Dr Wyles, Haynes quipped “Rosie Wyles, you quite literally, and I hardly ever get to say this accurately, wrote the book on costume in Greeks plays!”

Dr Wyles offered insight into the cost and significance of costumes in ancient comedy. She also discussed the differences in funding and participation in the 5th-century Athenian drama festivals. Astonishingly the festival could cost the city and its citizens as much as a tenth of the amount spent on its navy for a year. This contribution was informed by her research. She drew on her existing monograph Costume in Greek Tragedy (Bloomsbury 2011). She also showcased some of her new research, due to be published next year, on the role of costume and transformation in Wasps, one of Aristophanes’ most political comedies.

Dr Wyles said “I was delighted to be asked to be part of this series. I admire Natalie Haynes’ work as a comedian, writer, and leading advocate of the Classics, immensely. The broadcast chimes in well with my own commitment to highlighting the relevance of Classics in the 21st-century. It was also great to work with a producer, Mary Ward-Lowery, who was so enthusiastic about Classics”

The programme is accessible on on the BBC Radio 4 website for the next 23 days, click here.

Student trips: Rome, Athens, and the final frontier

Stuart Lidbetter (the guy with the purple t-shirt in the video below, the illustrious president of the student society ‘Kent Classics and Archaeology Society’ a.k.a. KCAS) reports on classics-inspired student trips: “In April 2015 the Kent Classics and Archaeology Society took 16 students to the ancient city of Rome. This was the society’s first trip in its current incarnation and everyone had a great time! The trip was so popular it inspired the society to go on three trips this year as they were clearly one of the most attractive aspects of the society. This, after much debate on where to go, lead to a return to Rome in January 2016, where Professor Ray Laurence accompanied us and took us round the city. Rome in turn will be followed by a trip to the city of Athens in March 2016, assisted by another Kent lecturer Dr Evangelos Kyriakidis. Finally we will be heading to the Rhine on the advice of Dr Patty Baker to explore the ruins of the old Roman frontier!”

You can also read more about the Rome 2016 trip here.

Underwater archaeology

In the run up to the British Museum’s extraordinary new exhibtion,  ‘Sunken Cities’,  on the underwater cities discovered off the coast of Egypt, Dr Csaba La’da (Reader in Ancient History, Papyrology, and Egyptology) offers insights into the extraordinary underwater discoveries that have been made from ancient shipwrecks; find out more by listening to the two podcasts below:

Shipwrecks 1 (featuring 22 shipwrecks & how the ships were identified)

Shipwrecks 2 (featuring discussion of the Antikythera mechanism)


Student school visit

It was such an honour to be asked to talk in front of 64 year 5 children at St Mary’s Academy in Folkestone. All of the children were very attentive and they all seemed very eager to learn more about Greek mythology and its importance to Greek society. They all had some really interesting questions for me which showed just how much they had actually listened at taken on board the things that I taught them. The myths that they were most interested in were ‘The Labours of Hercules’ and ‘Theseus and the Minotaur’ and for both of them, I had a variety of activities lined up, including a re-enactment of ‘Theseus and the Minotaur’ with all of the children standing up to be the labyrinth and one child being Theseus and another being the Minotaur. I also did a variation of Chinese Whispers with them to explain the concept of Oral Tradition, which they seemed to enjoy. I left the school with a new love for mythology and a confirmation that a career in classics is definitely what I want to do.

Autumn 2015 Research Seminars

The Department has a lively programme of research seminars running through Autumn and Spring. Talks this term range from medieval manuscripts to Roman streets with speakers from Helsinki, Brazil and Massachusetts! You can find out full details of speakers, topics and the venue for Autumn 2015 by clicking the link to the flyer. There’s tea, coffee, and biscuits served, so why not come along?

A15 CLAS Research Seminar Flyer