This paper investigates contentious uses of the ancient past for the sake of present power in three different spheres and in various media. First, in the sphere of religion, the speaker aims to look briefly at the narratives of two recent films, The Passion of the Christ (2004) and Agora (2009). Next, in respect of politics in the USA, using speeches and writings of the past two decades, he will survey references to Julius Caesar, as autocrat and as democrat, in support of vastly differing political agendas. Finally, in connection with the politics of race, he will note the power of contemporary arguments about the African racial characteristics of Cleopatra and Hannibal. Ancient History remains important for checking the constantly evolving narratives of non-historians.
* Due to unforeseen circumstances, Dr Taraporewalla's talk, Curious Curiae: Representations of the Roman Senate House in Film, has been rescheduled for the 14th of September.
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