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Herakles, the antisocial hero

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City Library

253 Flinders Lane

Melbourne, VIC 3000

Australia

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Presented by Amy C. Smith (University of Reading, UK)

Like most Greek heroes, Herakles had adventures in foreign lands, where he was oppressed as stranger, outlaw and even victim. But when he found himself under the knife in Egypt, our hero turned the tables and massacred his royal host before escaping. This mythic tale of xenoktonia (deliberate sacrifice of a foreigner, here to appease the god) is best known in literature, but this talk analyses this episode of Herakles behaving badly with a study of its rare appearance in ancient art—replete with brutality, cowardice, comedy and ethnic stereotyping—on a large fifth century BCE Athenian vase attributed to the Pan Painter.

Amy C. Smith

Professor Amy C. Smith, Professor of Classical Archaeology at the University of Reading (UK), where she is also Curator of the Ure Museum of Classical Archaeology, earned her PhD at Yale University. She is an expert in ancient Greek art, especially vase painting; the iconography of gender, religion and politics; the history and use of museum collections; and digital humanities. She has written Polis & Personification and many articles, co-authored catalogues of antiquities in the Ure Museum, and co-edited The Gods of Small Things and Brill’s Companion to Aphrodite.

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City Library

253 Flinders Lane

Melbourne, VIC 3000

Australia

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