Ancients Behaving Badly: Conference Report

Ancients Behaving Badly: Conference Report

This week’s post is by Sofia Bianchi Mancini, one of our postgraduate research students in Classics at UWTSD Lampeter.


My name is Sofia Bianchi Mancini, I am in my final year of MRes in the department of Classics. My research focuses on an explanation of how shame could have been used as a manipulative technique in Attic orators such as Lysias, Demosthenes and Aeschines. My research embraces different disciplines such as Anthropology, Philosophy and Sociology.

On the 19th of November 2016, I was delighted to attend the fourth annual Universities in Wales Institute of Classics and Ancient History (UWICAH) Postgraduate Conference held at the University of Swansea. This year’s theme was: ‘ancients behaving badly’. This event offered postgraduates, who are currently studying at various Universities of the UK, an opportunity to present papers, which discussed the portrayal of unmoral and unethical behaviour in ancient times both in literary texts and iconographical representations. The conference further gathered together papers that discussed the bad conduct of the ancients in Greece and Rome and, across the centuries.

I had the opportunity to present a paper, which focused on the explanation of honour, shame and outrage in Demosthenes’ Against Conon. Since such an oration will be one of the speeches that I will analyse in my MRes dissertation, the conference speech allowed me to collect my ideas and gather important suggestions and advices made by other students and lecturers. The conference itself also served as an important opportunity to exchange information about the ancient world that may be always useful in future. I also found particularly useful the session held by Dr. Evelien Brake on Postgraduate CV building. It was a great opportunity to receive some tips in how to build an academic CV.

With my conference paper, I hope to have proved how we can give a new approach to the study of the Demosthenic oration Against Conon. This paper was a challenge since we are not in possession of modern scholarship that can help us with the analysis of the speech under the social values of honour and shame.

I would like to thank the conference’s organiser Alex Ferron who worked really hard to host the event at the University of Swansea and all those who attended the conference. I would also like to thank Alex Ferron for giving me and Chris Fleming advices on how to organise the fifth annual UWICAH’s meeting, which will be my and Chris Fleming’s pleasure to hold next year in Lampeter.

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