25 January 2013 - An Evening With The Gods
For one night only, the Ashmolean will be transformed into Mount Olympus. Encounter the Classical world of myths and legends like never before at the country's oldest public museum.
Odysseus' Sailors - Interactive theatre sketches
As you wander round the Ashmolean you may come across some of Odysseus' sailors struggling to find their way home. Listen to them, for they have stories to tell of their adventures with some of the legendary figures of Greek mythology. The Temple Company.
Hades Inferno Bar - Interactive theatre sketches in the Ashmolean's vaulted café
Join Hades, the King of the Dead, in the darkest recesses of the Ashmolean but be warned: there are spirits lurking who are not used to the sight of the living. A soundscape and the spirits combine to bring Hades' Underworld to life.
Ptolemy's Rhapsodes and Amoebaean singers - Storytelling
Try out the life of the Greek poets at the court of the pharaoh of Alexandria: take turns in telling a story, inspired by artefacts from ancient Greece and Rome, under the vigilant eye of the pharaoh's priests.
Roman Pantomime - Theatrical performances
Listen out for the sounding of a gong and gather at any point in the Ashmolean's Atrium to watch a Roman Pantomime. This reconstruction of Roman tragoedia saltata, a form of mythological ballet based on the story of Erisychthon from Ovid's Metamorphoses.
Keep an ear out for the Greek choruses of the Underworld. Bringing together a selection of traditional Greek music, including the Sikilos Epitaph (the only complete musical piece of Ancient Greek music from around 200 BC to around AD 100).
The ancient tradition of Greek dancing has, primarily, held a social function bringing the community together at key points of the year and at key points in the lives of individuals and families. Dancers will appear from the Underworld to dance in celebration of Hades' rulership over the cosmos.
Roman Food Facts - Quiz
Test your own knowledge, and quiz your friends on our light-hearted Roman Food Facts. Anyone for a quince ... disguised as a sea urchin? Or perhaps you'd prefer some pork carved into the shape of a song bird?
Persian and Greek Language Workshops
Join linguists from the court of Alexandria, listen to a brief introduction to the history of the Persian and Greek languages from a member of the University of Oxford Faculty of Linguistics, and learn to write your name in Persian or Greek.
Roman Board Games
Most games of chance were forbidden by Roman law, and were punishable with a fine fixed at four times the value of any stakes. Despite this most caponulae and popinae (inns and eating houses) encouraged clandestine gaming in their back premises. Throw a tesserae and try your hand in the Ashmolean!
Experience the thrill of being a gladiator: meet gladiators from Britannia battle re-enactment society and try on gladiatorial armour, learn about life entertaining audiences and the violent confrontations experienced by the socially marginalized, and segregated Gladiators of the Roman Republic and Roman Empire.
Never again will you find yourself in knots fretting over how to tie a toga. Get your robe on and receive instructions from the University of Oxford's Classics Society toga experts. The Romans didn't use safety pins, and neither will you!
Ticketed Performances and Activities
The Judgement of Paris - Operetta
The god Mercury descends from the sky with the golden apple of Discord and asks the shepherd, Paris, to award it to whichever of the three goddesses - Juno, Pallas and Venus - he finds most worthy.
This operetta, by William Congreve and John Eccles, is performed by students from across the University of Oxford under the direction of Isaac Louth, from Oriel College.
The Latin Play -Theatrical excerpts from Plautus' Miles Gloriosus
Braggarts, plotters, and courtesans abound as the Oxford Classical Drama Society (OCDS) present an abridged production of Miles Gloriosus, a farce by the Roman comic playwright Plautus. Performed in Latin, with English subtitles. OCDS is chiefly renowned for putting on the Oxford Greek Play every three years; tonight's production marks the debut of Latin in the society's repertoire.
In the Ancient World the Gods are always around the corner. Purchase a specially commissioned classical comic, and set off on a journey of epic proportions. If you reunite Zeus with his thunderbolt and complete the comic, you'll receive a prize in the Money Gallery.
Please be aware that the comic is advised for participants 16 years and older &endash; story and art by Alex Markoulakis.
A cocktail in the Hades Inferno Bar in vaulted café or climb from the fiery bowels of The Underworld through the Land of the Living up to the furthest reaches of Mount Olympus, the highest mountain in Greece and legendary home of the Gods where civilised society awaits the weary traveller in the Elysium Rooftop Bar that boasts heavenly views over the ruckus of the Forum below.
Click on an image to see an enlarged version.