UCL News


The reception of ancient Rome

24 November 2005

UCL's Professor Maria Wyke (UCL Greek and Latin) has co-edited a major new publication on the human body in the ancient city of Rome, and its subsequent reception.

'Roman Bodies - Antiquity to the Eighteenth Century' investigates the body in politics, art, religion and medicine. The book has been edited with Professor Andrew Hopkins, formerly the Assistant Director of the British School at Rome.

Professor Wyke said: "It concerns not the familiar idealising images of the body in ancient art, but bodies disabled, tortured, dissected, and interred. It covers such specific issues about the history of the Roman body as circumcision and decapitation, martyrdom, the relics of saints, the sacred body of the pope, the dissection of criminals, and detailed representations of the heart of Jesus.'

On 26 November 2005, Professor Wyke will present a talk entitled 'Cinema and History' as part of the 'Ancient Rome and the Cinema' event at the British Museum. The study day includes talks from four leading experts in the reception of ancient Rome in popular culture, and concludes with a screening of 'Gladiator'.

Professor Wyke's research interests include the reception of ancient Rome, especially in popular culture. She won a Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship to investigate the reception of Julius Caesar in western culture and is now preparing this work for publication as 'Caesar: A Life in Western Culture', to be published in 2006.

Having recently joined UCL, Professor Wyke is currently in the preliminary stages of establishing an MA in Roman Studies to include courses on the reception of ancient Rome in later cultures and in diverse contexts and media. She is therefore keen to establish contact with departments who have an interest in this area, such as in the later uses of classical architecture and art, literature, politics, philosophy, gender & sexuality, religion, and medicine. She said: "This is a great opportunity to generate an interdisciplinary MA and develop new pathways to postdoctoral research. So I would be very interested to hear from departments who have any relevant activities for a programme of this nature."