Claiming the classical: The Greco-Roman world in contemporary political discourse

Naoíse Mac Sweeney*, Chiara Bonacchi, Samuel Agbamu, Rosa Andújar, Michael Okyere Asante, Juliana Bastos Marques, Gwladys Bernard

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Amidst the shifting political discourses of the twenty-first century, Greco-Roman or ‘classical’ antiquity has emerged as a recurring theme. From North American white supremacists adopting Spartan ‘lambda’ symbols to the Chinese government’s discussion of the ‘Tacitus trap’; and from the Latin names given to EU immigration policies to the satirical critique of authority in South Africa, references to the Greco-Roman world are currently made by actors from across the political spectrum and in many different parts of the world. While excellent research has been done on individual examples, the full picture remains largely obscure. Why does classical antiquity still appeal to so many politicians and activists in the twenty-first century? Does the classical world have the same political associations across national and/or continental borders? And how are the classics used differently in different political contexts?
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jun 2019


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