Ancient History

Ancient History

About Andrew A. MartinAndrew A. Martin

Andrew Martin’s practice bridges the international corporate and dispute resolution fields and focuses on commercial litigation and arbitration, insolvency and corporate reconstruction.

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I recently completed my Master of Arts in Classics and Ancient History at Newcastle University. It has been a long-held ambition that I was delighted (and thankful) to have had the opportunity to fulfil.

It was a rewarding experience in very many ways, and gave me the chance to learn and develop a different set of skills. The course was well run and diverse, and the teaching staff at The School of History, Classics and Archaeology are excellent.

The change to on-line learning in March added an unexpected challenge, and luckily did not spoil the overall experience. But I have great sympathy for the undergraduates who started this September who have not yet been able to get the benefits of face to face teaching (and socialising) that are so vital. I applaud the teaching staff who have moved heaven and earth to deliver the best experience possible in difficult circumstances. Let’s hope the restrictions will ease soon and a different approach can be taken to regulate safe teaching for university students, who seem to be getting an unfair share of blame for the rise in Covid-19 infections.

On the course, I succumbed to a natural tendency to stay in a legal orientation with Demosthenes, Lysias, Hadrian’s rescripts and the Senatus Consultum de Pisone patre; but I also expanded my horizons to study the role of the loom in Greek epic poetry and art, and the impact of the deification of imperial Roman women in the cult of the Roman Emperors. Hadrian’s Wall and the Antonine Wall are on my doorstep, and so I did a module on the border regions of the Roman Empire. And I discovered the unexpected mystery and intrigue of the poetry and art of late antiquity.

Even after a couple of thousand years of study, surprising ground-breaking revelations are still being made, and well-established thinking is constantly being reconsidered and re-evaluated.

Ancient history is alive and expresses itself all around us, hidden in plain sight, often just beneath the surface of “modern” life. It inspires perspective.

Leonidas was my age when he led the Spartans and the defensive Greek army of auxiliaries against Xerxes the Great.

Some work of noble note, may yet be done….