The Manchester and District Classical Association’s Fourth Annual Whitehead Lecture will be held in the Geoffrey Manton Building at Manchester Metropolitcan University, on Wednesday 30 January 2019, 17:30. The public lecture (open to schoolchildren and the public as well as academics at all levels) may be of interest to Digital Classicists…
Our speaker this year is Professor Helen King (The Open University), on the topic of:
‘Does the Evidence Really Say That? Doing Ancient History in the Internet Age’
The internet has changed how we do history of any kind. Primary sources are readily available to anyone with an interest in finding them, and more secondary material is available every day. But how do we evaluate the reliability of the evidence we find, and – even more importantly – how can we ensure that those with a general interest in ancient history have access to good materials? I’ve recently finished writing a book on how the internet does the ancient world, with special reference to Hippocrates. As part of this, I’ve engaged with some entirely fictional claims about the ‘Father of Medicine’ which now circulate widely, including the claims that he was the first to describe hysteria, and that he was imprisoned for twenty years for challenging the establishment. I suggest that, in some ways, there’s nothing new here: people have always told the stories they like and have played fast and loose with the evidence. But, in other ways, things have changed: access to bad history is now more widespread than ever.