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Webchat with Mary Beard, Tuesday 9 October 12.30-1.30pm

(136 Posts)
PatrickMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 04-Oct-12 11:34:39

Hi everyone,

We are delighted to welcome the inimitable Mary Beard to Mumsnet for a live webchat on Tuesday 9 October between 12.30-1.30pm.

Mary Beard (who needs no introduction to many of you, we're sure!) is a Professor of Classics at Newnham College, Cambridge, and the classics editor of the TLS. Her books include the acclaimed and best-selling Pompeii, The Roman Triumph, The Parthenon (in the Wonders of the World series of which she is general editor) and It’s A Don’s Life. She is the winner of the Wolfson Prize for History for Pompeii (Profile, 2008), writes a highly successful blog for The Times and recently presented a wonderful BBC TV series on the Romans.

Alongside fellow Classicist Emily Pillinger, Mary will be contributing to a lively 2-day Roman History course as part of the Mumsnet Academy, on 13-14 October at Faber and Faber, London. This is a fantastic opportunity to meet Mary while brushing up on the history of a society that, in many ways, shapes the way we live today. No previous knowledge of Roman History required. Sign up here.

Put 9 October in your diary or if you can't join us live, post a question to Mary in advance.

TunipTheVegemal Tue 09-Oct-12 17:20:52

Just scroll down the thread, they're highlighted in yellow.

zamantha Tue 09-Oct-12 17:16:18

I'm being dim I know - but where do I find Mary beard's answers?

TunipTheVegemal Tue 09-Oct-12 16:48:34

Here you are puellae, I've started a Lapsed Classicists thread here

MardyBra Tue 09-Oct-12 16:08:37

I missed the webchat (was working) but thanks for answering my question.

JumpJockey Tue 09-Oct-12 15:42:01

Thanks very much Mary! I shall make sure I have a packet of garibaldi about my person so I can slip you one next time you're in my building, like a secret handshake grin

TheCunningStunt Tue 09-Oct-12 14:36:10


vesela Tue 09-Oct-12 14:04:01

Have enjoyed following this - thanks to Mary and to the people who asked interesting questions. Waving at other lapsed classicists - maybe we should start a thread (in the History Club section? or Books?) where we can post links to poems, photos, philosophy etc. to share in odd moments.

Interesting to hear about Mary's early encounter with the Elgin Marbles. For me it was the feeling of immediacy on reading Catullus (aged older than 5, obv!) that led me to do Classics. This is why I'm not so keen on the Horrible Histories - I worry that they present history to children in too cartoon-y a way and they don't then get that same thrill of direct contact that you get from photos or the real thing. HH makes it all too removed. That might be just me, though - I didn't like retellings of Greek myths when I was little, either (but ended up doing the Homer paper!)

ScaryBOOAlot Tue 09-Oct-12 14:02:03

Completely agree, Issy!!

Issy Tue 09-Oct-12 13:53:40

"A mumsnet weekend, child free, reading classics and drinking wine - now that would be awesome."

Wouldn't it just. If Mnet Academy don't want to do it, perhaps we should suggest it to Friends of Classics?

BettySuarez Tue 09-Oct-12 13:46:02

Darn it - missed you! Will try to not stalk you on Saturday grin

BettySuarez Tue 09-Oct-12 13:45:09

Hello Mary, looking forward to meeting you on Saturday.

One very quick question if I could squeeze this in - what are your views on the Elgin Marbles? Do you think that they should be returned to Athens?

WingDefence Tue 09-Oct-12 13:40:19

Thank you so much Mary! Looking forward to the lapse-classicists MN Academy course already wink

TunipTheVegemal Tue 09-Oct-12 13:40:02

Thank you very much Mary, nice to see you here again! thanks

ScaryBOOAlot Tue 09-Oct-12 13:39:29

A mumsnet weekend, child free, reading classics and drinking wine - now that would be awesome.

Thank you so much Mary!

PatrickMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 09-Oct-12 13:39:28

Mary, thank you for taking the time to answer all our questions! Looking forward to seeing you this weekend at the Roman History course.

freerangelady Tue 09-Oct-12 13:38:50

Huge thanks to Mary for answering all these questions - I've found it really interesting and am looking forwards even more to this weekend now!

I'm also a bit overexcited that you may read a book little ol me recommended!

Thanks again.

marybeard Tue 09-Oct-12 13:38:36

Thanks everyone... really enjoyed that. Sorry if I couldnt get to every question (though I THINK we covered all topics).

If you want more, we have a MN Academy weekend on Roman History in London. Check out the website. It will be a ball.. (a pilum, I mean)

marybeard Tue 09-Oct-12 13:35:08


Salve Mary

I'd like to second Nasturtium Salad's question. I'm another Classics graduate (graduated from Oxford in '87!) who has fallen firmly off the wagon. I think I'd struggle now with the Cambridge Latin Course: Caecilius est where?!

Perhaps a week-long or weekend summer school for Lapsed Classicists. There's probably enough of us now in lucrative employment (yes you can get a good job after a Classics degree) that the course could make a profit.

:thinks wistfully about a child-free/work-free week reading Virgil:

That is great .. ask the MN Academy. Think it could be great actually!

marybeard Tue 09-Oct-12 13:33:17


Hi Mary, just wanted you to know how much I enjoyed your series on the Romans.
My question - what's your favourite Roman site?

I have a great soft spot for Wroxeter in UK (partly sentimental, I dug there).. and otherwise has to be Pompeii

BoffinMum Tue 09-Oct-12 13:32:52

Thank you, Mary, for coming on and being such fun. grin

marybeard Tue 09-Oct-12 13:31:24


Salve Mary,

I'm a former student of yours and loved my time at Newnham- it shaped who I am and how I think. Thanks for all you did. smile However, ten(ish) years on, busy juggling work and a young family, I can't remember much of the actual Latin, Greek, history and philosophy I learnt then, let alone find time to argue out the questions that enthused us all then. blush

Any tips for me and others in a similar position on how to revive the interest (of the sort that can be fitted into commuting time and other small corners of the day)? Or should we just give up and wait until the kids are older? confused

Gratias tibi ago.

Hi and Salve...
It does come back very quickly... I would kick start it with a session such as we did at Cheltenham Literary festival on Sunday...we did i hour reading some Juvenal. And we (same team, me, Peter Stothard and Llew Morgan) will be doing a London hour next yeat at the British Museum reading a bit of Virgil.

If you inject an hour like that, then go back to a Loeb.. and see if you find what interests again.. and explore all tose byways you didnt get to

PatrickMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 09-Oct-12 13:30:48

Last question for Mary please...

TunipTheVegemal Tue 09-Oct-12 13:30:30

' formicae (that I think is the Latin for Garibaldi).'

You mean the Romans thought of them as squashed ant biscuits instead of squashed fly biscuits?

BoffinMum Tue 09-Oct-12 13:30:28

thanks is what I meant to type in the other post

BoffinMum Tue 09-Oct-12 13:29:58

Falernian sounds jolly nice. grin

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