In this week’s podcast, Alice and Nicolas talk with Dr Thomas Biggs, a lecturer in Latin at the School of Classics at St Andrews, about Roman representations of war, from the beginnings of Latin literature in the third century BCE to the imperial period and beyond. They particularly discuss the impact of Rome's Punic Wars on Roman storytelling habits. Tom is the leading expert on the reception of the First Punic War in antiquity and how it influenced the ways in which the Romans thought about and visualised war more generally. His book Poetics of the First Punic War was published in 2020.
The First Punic War was the first large-scale, overseas war of the Romans and in many ways laid the foundations for Rome’s vast empire. From the beginning, this major conflict prompted authors - many of whom were war veterans themselves, and many displaced to Rome due to conflict - to innovate with their writing. Drawing on present experiences as well as traditional Greek models of writing about war (Homer), they used poetry and drama to conceptualise the nature and impact of this biggest military conflict yet and, in the process, created Latin literature!
Among other topics, we discuss:
We hope you enjoy the episode!
Tom has put together a blog containing some excerpts of the texts he talks about. You can find out more about his work on his website at the University of St Andrews.
For a version of our podcast with close captions, please use this link.
For more information about the Visualising War project, individuals and their projects, access to resources and more, please have a look on the University of St Andrews Visualising War website.
Music composed by Jonathan Young
Sound mixing by Zofia Guertin