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Two-Part VUW Public Lecture: Romans and Rugby

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  • Wed 7 Sep ’11, 5:30pm – 8:00pm


Rutherford House, 23 Lambton Quay, Wellington


All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • Free Admission

Victoria University of Wellington invites you to a free two-part public lecture to be presented by Associate Professor Matthew Trundle from the School of Classics and Associate Professor Marc Wilson from the School of Psychology.

Gladiators, Bread and Circuses: Mass Entertainment in the Roman World

This lecture explores the dynamics of mass entertainment in the ancient Roman world with a specific focus on the lure of the arena and gladiators. As Rome grew and the power of Roman elites grew with it, the shows put on for the urban poor became more elaborate and bloodier. Competition amongst the elites led to no expense spared, leading to ever increasing expectations amongst the mob that watched the spectacles of death. Gladiators were the ultimate outsiders, unmentionable (infamia) slaves, yet central to Roman identity – their blood cured epilepsy; their touch brought fertility. Feared and loved simultaneously, they were icons of an urban civilisation: the Roman Empire.

Matthew Trundle worked on inscriptions at several sites on the Greek mainland before coming to New Zealand. He is currently an Associate Professor in Classics, Greek and Latin at Victoria University.

“Blame the ref!” – a Psychological Primer on Rugby

“We do love our rugby. That’s great when the All Blacks are wining (like between Rugby World Cups), but when they lose… In this presentation Marc Wilson will talk briefly about what rugby means to us as New Zealanders, introduce you to BiRGing and CORFING, shine the psychological light of tall poppy syndrome research on our rugby success stories, ask if Richie McCaw really is the victim of unfair refereeing, and speculate on the effects of the World Cup result – will All Black success win National the election, and will a loss mean the economy crashes? He will also provide some therapeutic suggestions for how to deal with it if (shudder!) we don’t win.”

Marc Wilson’s research focuses on applying social psychological theory to important issues. He is a highly-regarded researcher and teaching practitioner and the recipient of both a National Tertiary Teaching Award and Victoria’s Tertiary Teaching Excellence Award.

Held in Rutherford House Lecture Theatre 1

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