Inaugural Lecture - Professor Hans Van Wees (History)

24 October 2012

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27 November 2012

UCL Gustave Tuck Lecture Theatre, Wilkins Building UCL - 6.30pm

Professor Hans Van Wees (Department of History) 

Hans van Wees studied ancient history at the University of Amsterdam, completed a PhD at the University of Leiden and for several years held a Lectureship at Cardiff, but has spent most of his academic life since 1984 associated in one way or another with the Department of History at UCL. He became a permanent Lecturer here in 1995 and received a personal Chair in 2006. Among his major publications are Greek Warfare: myths and realities (2004) and the Cambridge History of Greek and Roman Warfare (2007). He co-edited A Companion to Archaic Greece (2009), and the social, economic and cultural history of archaic Greece is the focus of his current research and most recent publications.


Title: Luxury, austerity and equality in ancient Greece

What do the Spartan diet, Athenian fashion, and the theories of Pythagoras have in common? Studies of ancient Greece usually treat them as quite unrelated, but this lecture will show that each in its own way contributed to the development of a new culture of ‘austerity’ across the Greek world in the decades around 500 BC. This trend was a reaction against increasing conspicuous consumption by the rich. Self-imposed austerity in the lifestyles of the elite contributed to a more egalitarian climate which for some time created relative stability in the turbulent Greek world, and in some places paved the way for democracy.

Eventbrite - Prof Hans van Wees Inaugural Lecture, Grote Professor of Ancient History