6th May 2017, New College of the Humanities, London.
Dr Michael Scott’s History Masterclass on The Gritty Realities of Ancient Greece was a jam-packed, fascinating foray into the crucible of our civilization. We learnt how to identify real and fake Greek statues, considered the position of women in ancient Greek society, and discussed the original Olympics. We recreated a symposium – a drinking party, in which, traditionally, men reclined around the room, on low beds, propping themselves up on one arm. A few brave volunteers attempted to drink from a kylix – a low, flat bowl – which they held with one hand, whilst reclining on the other: spillages were common for the first-timer, though some proved that their years of university drinking had not been all in vain. We examined the iconography of ancient Greek pottery, including graphic scenes of drunkenness and abandon, often involving satyrs. And we discovered why ancient Greek men are depicted with very small penises (or phalloi, to be technical), with Aristophanes promising those who listened to his just discourse that they would have ‘a rippling chest’ radiant skin, broad shoulders, a wee tongue, a grand rump, and a petite dick’.