This week on Two Friends Talk History, I was joined by expert in the field of Roman history and Classics public engagement powerhouse, Dr Alex Imrie. Dr Imrie’s doctoral thesis concerned the Constitutio Antoniniana (Antonine Constitution), the edict of mass enfranchisement promulgated by the infamously violent emperor Caracalla, and is a self-described Dio nerd. Dr Imrie is a Tutor in Classics at the University of Edinburgh and the National Outreach Co-ordinator for the Classical Association of Scotland. The CAS has been spearheading free and accessible learning for true beginners to the topic of Classics, and Dr Imrie brings together talented and interesting new scholars to share their experience and time with the public.
Last year, Dr Imrie and I collaborated on a seminar hosted by the Classical Association of Scotland called, Artistic Responses to Antiquity. We organised this event to host discussions from several artists based in the UK who worked in various mediums to create art inspired by the ancient world. Presenters included Dr Briana King (University of St Andrews), myself, Zofia Guertin (PhD Candidate – University of St Andrews) @ZofiaAstrid, Dr Maria Haley (University of Leeds/University of Manchester) @marianuncsum, and Flora Kirk (MA, University of Durham) @flaroh. The diversity of backgrounds and approaches was really exciting to see. The seminar opened with a discussion of ancient styles and techniques in art, then on to Classical Reception and its ongoing relevance to the modern world. As Dr Imrie and I discuss in the podcast, the final session of the seminar involved thirty or so scholars, interested members of the public, and even some wee ones! The turn out was fabulous, and the art that our attendees created in session three was really fun.
Several months ago, we reconnected to record an episode of TFTH, and dive into the tumultuous history of the Severan dynasty. Admittedly, I was not as familiar with the political and military side of their reign, and it was fascinating to hear about the game of whack-a-mole among generals that eventually led to Septimius Severus taking control of the Empire from 193-211 CE.
Our conversation follows the ups and downs of the imperial familial relationships, particularly the crucial turning points between Caracalla and Geta who were also very keen to exterminate one another. Dr Imrie brings humour and humanity to Caracalla and his family, an emperor that is typically lumped into the ‘bad emperor’ category, and offers a more nuanced reading of these individuals. It was a joy to record, and I hope you take a listen!
If you would like to hear more from Dr Imrie, please don’t hesitate to get in touch via Twitter @AlexImrie23 or edinburgh.academia.edu/AlexImrie. In the interview, we discuss his publication on Caracalla’s supposed use of the Macedonian phalanx, which you can read more about HERE.
To find out more about the CAS and register for upcoming 2023 programmes, please check out their website: https://cas.wp.st-andrews.ac.uk/. The upcoming seminars include Greek, Latin and Egyptian Hieroglyphics taught online.
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