2 – 4 February 2024

The Future of The Past

Highlights Announced

Welcome to Classics Now, an exciting new cultural festival online, in Dublin and beyond.

Dive into the art, literature and ideas of the Ancient Greeks and Romans as interpreted and reimagined by outstanding artists today.

Following the success of our third festival in 2023, our fourth weekend will showcase the current burst of exploration and re-engagement with Classics and the ancient world. Artists, writers and thinkers, international and Irish, are taking Classics as a lens to examine our contemporary cultural and political preoccupations and challenges..

Our three-day programme in February will present a series of inviting encounters including performances and readings, both online and live, in public spaces - art galleries and cultural centres - with a number of events aimed at second and third-level students. In discussions, interviews, film screenings, musical theatre performances and exhibitions, you will see and hear from artists who are working in different genres and art forms, in thought-provoking and imaginative ways.

Come and join the new Renaissance.

Twitter/ Instagram @ClassicsNowFest

At a Glance: first Programme Highlights

The ClassicsNow weekend will feature live and online events with exciting writers and artists using the ancient past as a way to reflect on our world today.

Booking opens in January

Author Colin Murphy presents the Invasion of Melos

The Invasion of Melos

When is invasion or conquest justified? Are there laws of war? Who will hold belligerents to account? The invasion of the island of Melos by the Athenian empire in 416 BC brought these questions to the fore, as we know from the Greek historian, Thucydides. He analysed the arguments in his influential History of the Peloponnesian War, the 27-year war between Athens and Sparta. Join us for a rehearsed reading of Colin Murphy’s new adaptation of the Melian Dialogue. The short performance will be followed by a panel discussion of the 2,500-year history of the ‘realist’ school of foreign policy, chaired by journalist Sarah Carey. Presented with Conall Morrison and Once Off Productions.
Council Chamber, City Hall, Dublin. Saturday February 3rd, 12 noon.
Click here to book

Panel discussion on Who Owns Antiquities

Who owns Antiquities?

Join us for a discussion of one of the major cultural issues of our time: the restitution of cultural artefacts. Museums everywhere are reconsidering objects in their collections, with some returning pieces to their countries of origin. What are the arguments for the return of cultural artefacts to their homelands as a way of righting past wrongs, especially in the light of colonialism, slavery and racism? The Parthenon Marbles Dispute by Alexander Herman, Director of the Institute of Art & Law, UK, investigates new ways to resolve this and the many similar disputes around the world. Joined by Dr Éimear O’Connor, National Museum of Ireland; chair Dr Emily Mark-FitzGerald, UCD, and Prof Christine Morris, Trinity College Dublin. In partnership with the Classics Department, Trinity College Dublin.
Trinity Long Room Hub. Friday February 2nd, 3pm
Booking opens on January 19th
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Artifacts from the Classical Museum in UCD

Classical Museum: Tour and Drawing Workshop

Join Museum Curator Dr Joanna Day for a guided tour of the Classical Museum, University College Dublin, the largest collection of Classical antiquities on display in Ireland. To take a closer look at these objects, we invite you to respond creatively through your own artwork in a drawing workshop with artist Genevieve Harden. (No previous art experience required. Materials provided.)
Friday February 2nd. Tour, 11-11.45 am; workshop,12 noon-1.30 pm.
Booking here →

Book guided tour only →

UCD Classical Museum logo
Why Cicero Matters and its author Vittorio Buffachi with Kathy Sheridan

A dialogue with Cicero

Why Cicero Matters, by Vittorio Bufacchi explores the political philosophy of the influential Roman politician, lawyer and author (106-43 BC) and asks if it may help us think through our concerns today. Cicero’s ideas about the ideal political state, the best forms of government and the rights of citizens were shaped by the violent upheaval he witnessed in the final years of the Roman Republic. Join Vittorio Bufacchi and Irish Times columnist, Kathy Sheridan. In partnership with the Istituto Italiano di Cultura, Dublin. Free; ticketed.
Saturday February 3rd, 6pm
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Dido and Aeneas mosaic

Dido: head and heart

The doomed love affair between Aeneas the Trojan hero and Dido Queen of Carthage inspired Henry Purcell’s 17th Century opera, Dido & Aeneas, which captures the intensity and tragedy of the lovers’ story, as described in Virgil’s Aeneid. Join us to discover the many facets of the fascinating Dido, in a selection of readings and arias including Purcell’s famous Dido’s Lament (‘When I am laid in earth’) performed by the superb Irish mezzo soprano, Sharon Carty. Dublin City Gallery: The Hugh Lane.
Please note that this event has been cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances. We hope to reschedule it.
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Journey to Italy with Ingrid Bergman, and Pompeii excavations

Love and death: Rossellini’s Journey to Italy

With its poetic meditation on ruins and ancient art, Roberto Rossellini’s mysterious Journey to Italy (Viaggio in Italia, 1953) juxtaposes past and present, through haunting images from the archaeological excavations at Roman Pompeii. Starring Ingrid Bergman and George Sanders as an unhappy couple visiting Naples and discovering an enlarged view of life and afterlife.
Irish Film Institute, Dublin.
Sunday February 4th, 4pm
Book here:

Trojans by Phillip Connaughton
Image: Luca Truffarelli


from Company Philip Connaughton

Ground-breaking dance from one of Ireland’s leading choreographers in this thrilling interpretation of Virgil’s epic poem, The Aeneid, performed to an exhilarating electronic score. It explores themes both timeless and contemporary including war, migration, displacement and identity, through dance and movement. This intimate, unplugged version will be presented in association with Once Off Productions and Dance Ireland.
Dance House, Friday February 2nd, 7pm
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Emily Wilson's Iliad, Emily Wilson Portrait and Charlotte Higgins portrait

Emily Wilson’s Iliad

the Art of Translation

Emily Wilson’s bestselling translation of Homer’s Odyssey brought the ancient poem to new audiences. Now this renowned author and scholar joins us from the University of Pennsylvania to discuss her approach to translating Homer’s epic account of the Trojan War, The Iliad, a poem of life and death, fury and grief. Interviewed by classicist Charlotte Higgins, the Guardian’s Chief Culture Writer. Online event; no booking required.
Saturday February 3rd, 8pm

300,000 kisses: tales of queer Love from the Ancient World, Fiona Benson portrait, and Seán Hewitt portrait with Luke Edward Hall

Conversations About Love

Fiona Benson and Seán Hewitt

Poet and memoirist Seán Hewitt’s 300,000 Kisses: Tales of Queer Love from the Ancient World is an anthology of love stories mined from Classical texts, including graffiti. Forward Prize-winner, Fiona Benson, author of the dazzlingly original collections Vertigo and Ghost and Ephemeron, joins him in conversation about desire in all its forms, chaired by arts journalist, Paula Shields. Presented in association with Poetry Ireland. Kevin Barry Room, National Concert Hall. Saturday February 3rd, 3pm
Click here to book

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Festival Partners

Literature IrelandInstituto Italiano di Cultura DublinoThe Classical Teachers Association of IrelandThe Classical Association of IrelandThe Classical Association of Northern IrelandAdvocating Classics EducationIrish Institute of Hellenic Studies at AthensMaynooth UniversityTrinity College DublinInstituto Italiano di Cultura Dublino

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