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Alastair J.L. Blanshard

Alastair J.L. Blanshard

Alastair J.L. Blanshard has held positions at Merton College, Oxford, the University of Reading, and the University of Sydney. He is currently the Paul Eliadis Professor of Classics and Ancient History at the University of Queensland. His area of research interest is the ancient Greek world and its legacy. He is the author of Hercules: A heroic life (2005) translated into Italian, German, and Dutch, Sex: Vice and love from antiquity to modernity (2010), Classics on Screen: Ancient Greece and Rome on film (2011), and The Classical World: All that matters (2015).

Alastair Blanshard reviews ‘Homer and His Iliad’ by Robin Lane Fox and ‘The Iliad’ by Homer, translated by Emily Wilson

March 2024, no. 462 22 February 2024
Fans of the Iliad have been well served recently. Late last year saw the arrival of a new translation by Emily Wilson, whose earlier translation of the Odyssey (2018) was greeted with near universal acclaim, and it was joined by a new book about Homer and the composition of the Iliad by one of the leading scholars of Greek history, Robin Lane Fox. Both works encourage us to rethink our connections ... (read more)

Alastair Blanshard reviews 'The Cambridge Companion to Ancient Rhetoric', edited by Erik Gunderson

February 2010, no. 318 07 October 2022
Towards the end of the fourth century BCE, the Athenian orator Hyperides found himself in a difficult predicament. His client, the notorious courtesan Phryne, was on trial for her life. Facing accusations of lewd impiety, should she be convicted, death almost certainly would follow. The case was going badly. The jurors were refusing to listen to his pleas. Their minds were made up. They couldn’t ... (read more)

Alastair J.L. Blanshard reviews 'Twelve Caesars: Images of power from the ancient world to the modern' by Mary Beard

January–February 2022, no. 439 20 December 2021
We know exactly when the first image of a Roman emperor arrived in Australia. It came as part of the goods on board the ill-fated Batavia, which ran aground off the west coast of Australia on 4 June 1629. This shipwreck went down in infamy following the mutiny of a group of the survivors and the subsequent murder of, at least, 110 men, women, and children. Eventually, the survivors were rescued an ... (read more)

Alastair Blanshard reviews 'The Spartans' by Andrew J. Bayliss

September 2020, no. 424 24 August 2020
When the Abbé Michel Fourmont travelled to Sparta in the 1730s, he thought he was going to make his fortune and academic reputation. The depths of Ottoman Greece were largely unknown territory to European travellers at this time. What fabulous discoveries lay in store for him, wondered the Abbé. What treasures had been left behind by this one of the greatest powers that the Greek world had ever ... (read more)

Alastair Blanshard reviews 'Long Live Latin: The pleasures of a useless language' by Nicola Gardini and 'Vox Populi: Everything you wanted to know about the classical world but were afraid to ask' by Peter Jones

May 2020, no. 421 28 April 2020
What is the value of useless knowledge? One of the by-products of the rise of artificial intelligence is that the realm of what one really needs to know to function in society is ever shrinking. Wikipedia makes learning facts completely redundant. Pub trivia competitions now seem a fundamentally anachronistic form of entertainment, like watching a jousting tournament in the age of artillery. One c ... (read more)