Department of Greek & Latin

Housman Lecture 2013

Professor Eric Csapo

'The Dionysian Parade and the Poetics of Plenitude'

Wednesday 20 February 2013 from 6 to 7pm

Scholarship has paid a lot of attention to the Athenian Dionysia in the Classical period, but almost all has gone to the festival’s lyric and dramatic competitions, very little to the Dionysian Parade (the Pompe). The standard handbook, Pickard-Cambridge’s The Dramatic Festivals of Athens gives it little more than two pages. The last two works written on the Pompe in English make something of a virtue of this lack of interest, supposing it was rather a dull affair. I will argue quite the opposite: that it was riotous, creative and colourful. One of its main themes was abundance and plenitude, particularly in the time of the empire. It displayed food, wealth and Athens’ exuberant cultural creativity (the Parade was arguably the most intensely choral event in all of Greece). The lecture will describe the Parade and attempt to contextualise it within the economic, political, religious and cultural life of Athens.


Perspehone by Rossetti

The UCL Department of Greek and Latin regularly hosts a public lecture named in honour of its most celebrated professor (and poet) A. E. Housman and delivered by a scholar of international distinction. Our guest speaker this year is Professor Eric Csapo, a specialist in ancient drama, and Greek drama in particular. He is Professor of Greek at the University of Sydney.

The lecture will take place in the Anatomy Gavin de Beer Lecture Theatre (entrance on Gower Street), and will be followed by reception in the newly refurbished Flaxman Gallery.

Admission is free and all are welcome.


A. E. Housman was a professor in the Department of Greek & Latin at UCL from 1892 until 1911, during which period he produced some of his most important scholarly work (including his edition of Juvenal and the first volume of his Manilius) and published his first and best known collection of poetry, ‘A Shropshire Lad’ (1896). Housman’s continuing reputation as a scholar and a poet is reflected in Tom Stoppard’s 1997 play The Invention of Love, which includes a dramatisation of AEH’s election to the chair of Latin in London.

Past speakers in the UCL Housman lecture series include Professors Pat Easterling (2005), Christopher Pelling (2007), Alessandro Barchiesi (2009) and Stephen Hinds (2012).  Additionally in November 2009, UCL celebrated the 150th anniversary of the birth of AEH with an evening of talks. David Butterfield, Stephen Harrison, Peter Howarth and Norman Vance spoke about Housman’s life, scholarship, poetry and place in Victorian culture.