Professor Alastair Blanshard
BA (Hons) UQ, MA UQ, PhD Cambridge.
As a child, Professor Alastair Blanshard remembers being fascinated by the Greek myths he learned at school, and his career path was seemingly set in stone during a family holiday in Greece when he was 14.
“I was just bowled over by the beauty of the architecture, particularly the Parthenon which still seems like the most beautiful building in the world to me,” Professor Blanshard said.
Now, in his position as the Paul Eliadis Chair of Classics and Ancient History at UQ, Professor Blanshard raises the profile of ancient history studies through his research and teaching, and inspires others to dedicate themselves to the same field of study.
Professor Blanshard’s position was made possible through a generous donation from Dr Paul Eliadis, a senior clinical haematologist and oncologist and UQ alumnus, with a passion for his Greek heritage, art, and history.
Professor Blanshard, who earned a Master of Arts from UQ in 1996, and a PhD from The University of Cambridge in 1999, is an internationally recognised leader in the field of classical tradition.
His research interests include Greek cultural history, Greek rhetoric and law, epigraphy, ancient sexuality, and the role that the Classical past plays in the history of ideas.
“I am really interested in the impact of the classical world on the modern in real ways - the ways in which the classics influence political debates and the ways in which classics can speak to us today,” Professor Blanshard said.
“Why do our banks look like Greek temples? Why do we sculpt our bodies to look like a Greek statue? Why is the script in which we write called Times New Roman? From our notions of beauty to where we do our banking, so much is classical in origin and often we don't even realise it.”
Professor Blanshard said the real impact of this research comes in helping us to understand ourselves.
“That is absolutely crucial to understanding where we came from, and also to make explicit what is often implicit in the furniture of our minds,” he said.
UQ is the only university in Queensland to offer courses in the history, archaeology, culture, language, and literature of Ancient Greece and Rome. The Paul Eliadis Chair of Classics and Ancient History will allows these important areas to be taught for generations to come.
The Classics and Ancient History program is enriched by the growing collections, research and public engagement at the RD Milns Antiquities Museum.
If you are passionate about preserving our history and ensuring students can continue to learn from and avoid the mistakes of the past, please consider supporting Classics at UQ buy making a donation today.