The 2013 A.D. Trendall Lecture

6.00 – 8.00pm Monday 29th July
State Library of Victoria, Seminar Room 1
Presented by Chris Mackie

Thucydides Epic - The Sicilian Expedition

thucydides-chris-mackie-trendall-lectureIn 415 BC, in the middle of the Peloponnesian War, the Athenians launched an expedition to gain control of Sicily. This disastrous venture - known as the Sicilian Expedition - ended in the catastrophic defeat of the Athenians and their navy at Syracuse in 413 BC. The Athenians suffered enormous losses; those who survived were imprisoned in the limestone quarries at Syracuse, where they died or were sold into slavery.

The events in Sicily are recounted in poignant detail by Thucydides in books 6 and 7 of his History of the Peloponnesian War, and in a manner which recalls the epics of Homer.

How influenced was Thucydides by Homer? Despite his criticisms of Homer and the poets, did Thucydides draw upon the great epic poems of ancient Greece - especially the Iliad and the Odyssey - when recounting the events of his own time?

No preparation is necessary, but if you would like to (re)visit Thucydides and Homer in advance of the lecture the translations by Rex Warner (Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War, Penguin) and Richmond Lattimore (The Iliad of Homer (Chicago) and The Odyssey of Homer (New York)) are recommended and should be available through good libraries or booksellers. Alternatively, you can read a summary of the Sicilian Expedition.

Course Code - TL09 Cost: $30 (full)/ $25 (discount)

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Light refreshments will be served after this lecture. If you have any inquiries please contact Jennifer Ellis via email at: or contact the A.D. Trendall Centre on 9479 2845.