Classics Summer School 2015

The Classics Summer School is a chance for anyone to learn a little more about the ancient world by taking some informal courses over the summer. Classes are small, relaxed and fun, and anyone is welcome to take part. Participants typically include the general public, high school teachers, secondary/tertiary students and many others. Classes take place at the University of Melbourne, using university facilities and academic staff.

Four courses are on offer this year:

A discount applies for anyone taking all classes.

Download the Summer School 2015 brochure (270kb pdf)


All classes will take place in either Cussonia Court Room 2, Old Quadrangle or Theatre B, Old Arts on the Parkville Campus, except for one session of An Introduction to Classical Mythology.

The first class for every subject will be in Theatre B, Old Arts.

Registration form

Further information

For further information please contact:

Dr Chris Gribbin

The School of Historical and Philosophical Studies
John Medley (Building 191)
The University of Melbourne, VIC 3010
Phone: +61 3 8344 5142


Augustus: His Life and Legacy

Unknown. “Augustus Bevilacqua”. Bust of the emperor with the Civic Crown, period of his reign at the Glyptothek Munichonference graphicswith Dr Christopher Gribbin

2014 marks 2,000 years since the death of Augustus, Rome's first emperor and one of the most significant figures in European history. Born in a time when the Roman state was failing, he raised an army at the age of 18 and had become the most powerful man in the Mediterranean world by the age of 31. He ruled the Roman Empire almost unchallenged for a further 44 years, introducing many reforms and establishing a new political structure that would last for centuries. This course examines this remarkable man and his legacy and looks at how and why he ruled Rome the way he did.

Session 1: Before Augustus - The Crises of Republican Rome

Session 2: The Rise of Augustus, 44-23 BC

Session 3: Managing an Empire

Session 4: Towards Totalitarianism - Using Religion, Changing Morals and Augustan Propaganda

Session 5: Rebuilding Rome - From Brick to Marble


  • 5 x 1 hour sessions
  • 5-9 January 2015
  • 9.30-10.30 am each day
  • $135 full, $110 concession


How to Argue Like Socrates

Socrateswith Dr Christopher Gribbin

This course will develop your ability to argue effectively. Based on the techniques of Socrates, one of the greatest arguers of all time, this course mixes theory and practice. We'll look at passages from Plato's dialogues to understand what questions to ask and what mistakes people often make, and we'll put the principles into practice with in-class dialogues. Socratic method is a powerful tool for learning about other people and yourself, for getting at the reasons for disagreements and even teaching and persuading others. Readings will be provided.

Session 1: The Theory Behind Socratic Argument

Session 2: Definition - Why it's Important and How to Get it Right

Session 3: How to Find Contradictions

Session 4: Being Constructive - Using Socratic Argument to Persuade People

Session 5: Bringing it All Together


  • 5 x 1.5 hour sessions
  • 5-9 January 2015
  • 11.00 am – 12.30 pm each day
  • $155 full, $125 concession


Cities of the Greek and Roman World

Parthenon from the southwith Dr Christopher Gribbin

This course looks at the architecture and art of the Greek and Roman world by exploring a number of the most famous and fascinating archaeological sites. Ideal for people wanting to understand the development of architecture and art from Classical Greece to Christian Rome, for people wanting to know a bit more about life in antiquity or for the armchair traveller.

Session 1: Athens at the Height of its Power and Glory

Session 2: The Hellenistic Cities of Asia Minor - Miletus, Pergamum and Priene

Session 3: The Beauty of Pompeii

Session 4: The Ostentation of Rome in the 1st Century AD

Session 5: Christian Rome and Beyond


  • 5 x 1 hour sessions
  • 5-9 January 2015
  • 1.30-2.30 pm each day
  • $135 full, $110 concession


An Introduction to Classical Mythology

Unknown. "A satyr, a griffin and an Arimaspus. Attic red-figure calyx-krater, from Eretria" between circa 375 and circa 350 BCwith Dr Christopher Gribbin

This course will explore the most important and interesting myths of the Greeks and Romans, such as the Trojan War, Oedipus, Hercules, Orpheus, the Minotaur and the many Greek gods. Designed for people wanting to broaden their knowledge and understanding of these myths which have inspired much of Western art, literature and thought.

Includes one session at Melbourne's Hellenic Museum, with a private viewing of the new collection from Greece's Benaki Museum.

Session 1: In the Beginning … the Creation of the Universe and the Older Generations of Gods

Session 2: The Younger Gods – Apollo, Dionysus, Athena, Artemis, Hermes, Persephone and More

Session 3: The Questing Heroes – including Hercules, Theseus, Oedipus and Orpheus

Session 4: (at the Hellenic Museum): The Use of Myth in Ancient Greece

Session 5: At the End … the Trojan War and its Aftermath


  • 5 x 2 hour sessions
  • 5-9 January 2015
  • 3.00-5.00 pm each day
  • $175 full, $145 concession