The Chalcenterics

Gian Piero Milani (2017) speaks about Antinous, the lover of Emperor Hadrian -  - Photo: © Alice Poletto (Wolfson, 2017)

This has been another successful year for the Chalcenterics. We have enjoyed a range of talks and social activities.

There were seven speakers throughout the year:

  • Professor Rhiannon Ash (St Hugh’s, 1993), a tutor in Classics at Merton; Dr Anna Clark, who completed her DPhil at Merton and is now a tutor at Christ Church;
  • Joshua Baldwin (2009), an ex- Mertonian who studied Classical Archaeology and Ancient History and is now Lead Games Designer at Coldwood;
  • Gian Piero Milani (2017), one of our DPhil students in Classical Archaeology;
  • Dr Jonathan Prag (Corpus Christi, 1994), an Ancient History tutor at Merton;
  • Professor David Kovacs, an Emeritus Professor from the University of Virginia in America; and
  • Dr Guy Westwood (Balliol, 2004), who was a tutor in Ancient Greek at the College before becoming a lecturer at Birmingham University.

Topics ranged from poisons and poisoners in ancient Rome (Rhiannon Ash) to translating history into modern media (Joshua Baldwin) to excavating Chalcenterics the ancient site of Halaesa in Sicily (Jonathan Prag). All talks were well attended, with audiences of between 17 and 35. I was pleased to see that, as well as Mertonians, many students and academics from other colleges supported our society by attending the talks. I would like to thank the speakers for giving up their time to share with us their interesting and detailed work and research. All the talks were brilliant, and it is because of each of these speakers that the society has continued to thrive.

In terms of social events, the Subject Tea started the year, where we welcomed those who were joining Merton’s Classics department with tea, cakes and biscuits. This was followed by lunch at St Aldates Tavern later in Michaelmas, which was an opportunity for undergraduates to socialise and to discuss work in a more relaxed environment. It was a lovely afternoon, and so we organised another pub lunch in Trinity. However, the main event of the year was our annual Black Tie Dinner in Hilary, which was attended by 30 people. The evening consisted of a drinks reception in the New Common Room, dining in the Savile Room and socialising in the College Bar afterwards. The Hall staff, as always, provided delicious food, and the atmosphere was friendly and lively. Finally, in Trinity, we held our annual garden party on the Chestnut Lawn. Fortunately, the weather remained dry and sunny, and we enjoyed prosecco and picnic food to celebrate the end of the year.

I am very grateful to everyone who has attended this year’s events, and I hope that you have enjoyed them as much as I have valued being President of this society and working with Merton’s Classics department. We are extremely lucky to have such a welcoming Classics community with caring, friendly and dedicated students and tutors. Unfortunately, we say goodbye this year to our finalist, Amelia Elwin (2014), but we wish her all the very best in the future. We look forward to welcoming the new students to Merton in October. I am sure that my successor, Milo Reynolds (2016), will do an excellent job of supporting the freshers, and that the Chalcenterics will thrive under him next year. I wish him every success.

Tamsin Morton (2015)
Chalcenterics President 2017-18