The world is in a state of upheaval at the moment, and we’re all looking for things to make us feel less anxious. Maybe Classics can help.
Today’s interview is with Klara Hegedus
Is there a source from the ancient world that you find yourself coming back to when you want to feel better?
Thinking of the Forum, in Rome, always makes me smile. I’ve only ever visited it in summer, so for me, the memory is of the warmth of the sun, the sight of so much history, the smell of the warm air, and the excitement that there is so much to learn about it.
When did you first fall in love with Rome?
I first visited Rome on a family holiday nearly 3 years ago and was instantly captivated by it.
Can you tell me a bit about the Forum and its context?
The Forum was the site of so much Roman political and religious history. Temples, the Senate, the site of Julius Caesar’s cremation, the houses on the Palatine, the Imperial Fora, Nero’s House, all are there or close by. Yes, most are ruins and many are replacements but the sense of history is incredible.
What is it about the Forum that appeals to you most?
There is a sense of being close to the people and events of Rome. Figures like Cicero, Caesar and Augustus would have walked along the Via Sacra as we can now. We can see sites of imperial power such as the Arch of Titus and the Colosseum but protected by time from the more terrible elements of their existence. As I have always visited with family, the place is to me, one of fun exploration, which will then be followed by Aperol for the adults and Diet Coke for the kids in the nearby restaurant which we have made it a family tradition to visit.
And finally… what do you do, outside of Classics, to cheer yourself up?
At the moment, I am enjoying sitting with my family, eating popcorn and watching a TV programme together. We are currently watching The Mandalorian but Star Trek Discovery, The Young Sheldon and The Big Bang Theory are also favourites.
When the kids are asleep, we are enjoying watching The Thick of It and remembering how fabulously awful Malcolm Tucker was, whilst drinking an Aperol and remembering that all this will pass and one day we will be able to visit Italy once again.
Klara is a very mature student, studying for an MA at the OU and learning Latin, before hopefully starting a further MA in Classics & Ancient History at Reading in September. Her first love is Rome but she is currently fascinated by studying the work of Heinrich Schliemann and seeing how archaeology has developed over the last 150 years, and is happy to bore anyone to tears by discussing this topic at length…