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History Seminar

Cambridge Ancient History Research Seminar Michaelmas 2020

Seminars take place on Mondays at 17:15 virtually via Zoom. 


The ancient history research seminar this term will operate online, on the theme of oracles in the Greek and Roman worlds. Consulting oracles was one of the ways people and states in antiquity dealt with stress and uncertainty, danger and decision making in relation to the present and future, so it seems an appropriate subject for this time, and the seminar will try to make the most of the online format. There will be preparatory reading of relevant oracular texts, literary and epigraphic, for each session, the speaker will briefly introduce the material and its significance, the main debates surrounding it, followed by full discussion of all the issues raised, all the questions and ideas prompted by the reading.



12 October                   Introductory Session: All graduate students

19 October                   Robin Osborne: ‘Epigraphy and oracles’

26 October                   Rebecca Flemming: ‘The plague oracles of Apollo at Claros’

2 November                 Tatiana Bur: ‘Consulting Trophonius’

9 November                 Franco Basso: ‘Herodotean Oracles’

16 November               Lea Niccolai: ‘Christians on pagan oracles’

23 November               John Patterson: ‘The fortune of lots: Fortuna Primigenia at  Praeneste’

30 November               Renaud Gagné: ‘Plutarch and the oracles’


Readings and zoom links for each seminar will be available on the moodle site ‘Ancient History Seminar’.

Organised by Dr Rebecca Flemming and Prof. Robin Osborne




27-29 June 2021

Athens: Economy & Democracy Conference (in honour of P. Millett)

Faculty of Classics and Downing College, Cambridge

Organisers: Daniel Jew (National University of Singapore), Sitta von Reden (Freiburg), Robin Osborne (Cambridge)  

This conference marks the retirement of Paul Millett, one of the most prominent of Finley’s students in economic history. We seek to focus on the city illuminated by Paul’s work: to attempt to understand the operation of the Athenian economy in detail, and to investigate its relationship to the structures, institutions and practices of democracy.

Planned lines of inquiry include women, work and leisure; religion and the economy; archaeology and democracy; slavery; behavioural economics; costs of living; lending and borrowing; trade and markets; luxury goods; wealth distribution; and property and aristocratic power.

Speakers: Claire Taylor (Wisconsin-Madison), Emily Greenwood (Yale), Emily Mackil (Berkeley), Jon Hesk (St Andrews), Jonathan Hall (Chicago), Mark Lawall (Manitoba), Moritz Hinsch (Humboldt), Noémie Villacèque (Reims), Paulin Ismard (Panthéon-Sorbonne), Ralph Anderson (St Andrews).

All welcome. If you wish to attend, please contact Daniel Jew ( 


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