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Gresham College: Prof. Edith Hall – Ancient Greece in Film,Opera and the Arts: #3/3 – Slave Stories: Aesop and Walter Crane


A good  lecture on a very interesting topic

About this series

Few academic subjects have influenced the history of the world as much as ancient Greek history and culture, yet today few people enjoy opportunities to study this important area.

This series of lectures by Professor Edith Hall (King’s College London) will cover ancient Greek history by looking at depictions of key events and themes in film, opera and the arts.


About this lecture

In 1887 the influential arts-and-crafts book illustrator Walter Crane published The Baby’s Own Aesop, bringing the homespun wisdom of ancient Greek peasants to a new generation of children. This lecture uses these fables to tackle the least attractive feature of ancient Greece – institutionalised slavery. Beneath the semi-legendary figure of Aesop himself, a barbarian sold to a Greek slave-owner in the 6th century BCE, lie tens of thousands of his real-life equivalents.

The lecture asks how the ancient fables address power relations in a slave society. Were they primarily stories for and by slaves, or did they serve ruling-class interests?

Professor Edith Hall

Professor Edith Hall is Visiting Gresham Professor in Classics. She is a British scholar of classics, specialising in Ancient Greek Literature and cultural history. She is also Professor in the Department of Classics and Centre for Hellenic Studies at Kings College London.

From 2017-2018, she is also an Arts and Humanities Research Council Leadership Fellow on her project to widen access to classical subjects in state schools – it can be found here:

She has published twenty-five books on ancient Greek and Roman culture and its influence on modernity, including Inventing the Barbarian (1989), The Return of Ulysses (2008), Greek Tragedy: Suffering under the Sun (2010) and Introducing the Ancient Greeks (2014). She co-founded and remains Consultant Director of the Archive of Performances of Greek and Roman Drama at Oxford and is Chairman of the Gilbert Murray Trust.

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