Teresa Morgan is Professor of Graeco-Roman History at the University of Oxford, and Nancy Bissell Turpin Fellow and Tutor at Oriel College. She will deliver the ASCS Keynote Lecture on Tuesday 5 February.
Teresa discovered Homer’s Iliad and Plato’s Republic when she was nine or ten years of age. Jumping at the chance to learn Latin and Greek at school, she was soon reading the works of Horace, Cicero, Euripides, and Plato in their original form.
“It was gripping!” she says.
“In other lessons we were taking dictation or learning to order coffee in French. In Greek and Latin we were arguing about whether Antigone was in the right and whether Herodotus or Thucydides was the better historian.
Teresa went on to study classics at Cambridge and theology at Oxford, as well as violin and viola at the Royal Academy of Music.
For Teresa, the classical world is uniquely rich and stimulating.
“The material we study was created by people who looked at their world and themselves in some of the most interesting ways that human beings have ever looked at anything.
“Some of what they created was among the greatest art, the most profound and provocative thought, that the world has ever seen. Greek and Roman experiments in living and thinking – in politics and social organisation, religion and morality – are still hugely influential today.
“Spending time with this world makes us think about our own world and ourselves like nothing else.”
At the ASCS conference, Teresa will talk about the moment when the modern idea of religious buildings as powerful, numinous and spiritually transformative came into being.
“This is a story of how ideas grow within religious traditions and in dialogue between them, how the way people interact with spaces and places can change radically over time, and why it matters.”
She’s looking forward to visiting Armidale for the first time.