Oedipus and the Sphinx.
The sword of Damocles.
The Brazen Bull, used by Phalaris, the tyrant, to execute criminals.
  • Sunday July 4, 2010
  • 2:00pm: Tyrants and Tyrannicides
  • Venue: 139, Goddard Building (building 8), The University of Queensland, St Lucia

Non-members are welcome. A donation of $10 per person includes entry in the lucky door prize and afternoon tea.

Tyrants and Tyrannicides

Greece is rightly celebrated as the birthplace of democracy. Less worthy of celebration is the contribution that it has made to the history of tyranny. Greece produced far more tyrannies than it did democracies, and it celebrated these tyrannies in art and literature.

This lecture examines the history of tyranny in Greece. In particular it examines the role that tyrants played in the popular imagination. From doomed Oedipus to the outrageous despotism of the court of Dionysius I of Syracuse, the lives and activities of tyrants fascinated Greek audiences.

If you have ever wanted to know the story behind the expression the 'sword of Damocles' or have heard of the 'golden calf', but not the 'brazen bull', then this lecture is for you.

The lecture will be followed by the 2010 Betty Fletcher Travelling Scholarship award announcement.