Cinema has been fascinated with the ancient world and with Roman history in particular ever since it emerged as a new technology more than one hundred years ago. Within a few months of the first public shows of moving images held in 1896, Nero was brought onto the screen trying out poisons on his slaves, and hundreds more films were made thereafter. The vast majority remain largely forgotten although they still survive in archives across the world. Yet the persistence of ancient Rome in early cinema compels us to ask: why did so modern a medium have so strong an interest in antiquity right from its start? What did ancient Rome do for cinema? And what did cinema do for ancient Rome?
Tue., March 10, Screening of Gli Ultimi Giorni di Pompei (MI Theater, 7PM)
Wed., March 11, Antiquity and Modernity (Keene Theater, 4PM)
Fri., March 13, France 1890s to 1910s: Aesthetics (Aud D, Angell Hall, 4PM)
Mon., March 16, Italy 1910s: National Consciousness (Keene Theater, 4PM)
Wed., March 18, America 1910s to 1920s: Morality and Subversion (Keene Theater, 4PM)
Maria Wyke is Professor of Latin at University College London. She has written extensively on Roman love poetry and ancient gender and sexuality, on the reception of Julius Caesar in Western culture (Caesar: A Life in Western Culture, 2007; Caesar in the USA, 2012), and on ancient Rome in cinema (Projecting the Past: Ancient Rome, Cinema and History, 1997; ed., with P. Michelakis, The Ancient World in Silent Cinema, 2013). Most recently she has co-authored with Christopher Pelling a short work that explores why classical literature still has relevance today, Twelve Voices from Greece and Rome: Ancient Ideas for Modern Times (2014).
Maria Wyke, University College, London