Department of Greek & Latin


Ancient and Modern Narratives of the Greco-Persian Wars

1 July 2022

The UCL department of Greek and Latin is pleased to announce the conference entitled ‘Ancient and Modern Narratives of the Greco-Persian Wars’. Papers concerning perception and reception of primary sources relating to the Greco-Persian Wars are welcomed (28th-29th July).


For the Greeks who formed the alliance against Xerxes, the climax of the Persian Wars was a real-life epic. Its heroes were glorified in songs that showed gods fighting on their side and invoked the Trojan War. The story immediately turned into a battleground as states and individuals staked their claim to greater glory and importance than the rest.

To get from this cluster of self-serving legends to a reliable narrative of events was always an uphill struggle – and rarely a welcome one. We hope to explore the development of the history of the Persian Wars as people through the centuries read and redefined it. What place did it have in their understanding of history, politics, culture? What variations in emphasis and message do we find, especially when we look beyond the perspectives of classically educated Europeans? How do we explain the modern western divergence between a relatively uncritical image of Greek heroism in popular culture, and a fiercely critical and revisionist approach in academic scholarship?

The talks discuss this topic from a broad range of perspectives. The first day of the conference will cover the Greek sources concerning the topic, and the second the non-Greek sources.

Due to the pandemic, the speakers and audience can join virtually (via Zoom) or in-person at UCL.

Organised by Mateen Arghandehpour (UCL) and Roel Konijnendijk (Edinburgh University).

Register here.