Last week, the Lawrence University classics department hosted the now traditional “Classics Week” where, according to Ottilia Buerger Professor of Classical Studies and Associate Professor of Classics Randall McNeil, “It is our chance to celebrate all things Greco-Roman.” And it was quite a celebration indeed. With five events packed into just four days, all spearheaded by two Lawrence professors, McNeil and Assistant Professor of Classics Adriana Brook.
On Monday in the Warch Campus Center, five professors from five different disciplines gave short, mini lectures on different topics related to Greece, Rome and the East. These ranged from talking about a Persian god’s cult in Roman Britain to how the Japanese of Edo Japan perceived the Roman Empire. On Tuesday, the classics department and Student Organization for University Planning (SOUP) hosted a play reading of the Greek tragedy “Medea,” a brutal story where in every scene different audience members played Medea’s part to show her progression over time. On Wednesday, McNeil gave a talk on his own current research into the Roman poet Horace and the perception of time.
Finally, to round the week out, two events were held on Thursday. The first of these events was the traditional Ancient Coin Petting Zoo. Here, ten coins from the Ottilia Buerger Coin Collection were showcased depicting the change of portraiture across antiquity. This year, the Zoo drew a record number with 48 people coming to check it out.
Finally, on Thursday night, Classics Week was wrapped up with Greco-Roman themed board games and cookie decorating in Gaming House. This event included chances to slaughter your professors in the gladiatorial arena and to demonstrate your ability to decorate a cookie to make it look like a hoplite shield.
While the classics department is small, with just two professors and a half dozen students, it stands strong and is able to make quite an impact every year on campus and continues to raise awareness about an often overlooked field.