Rumble Lecture 2024: Prof Michael Squire

  • March 19, 2024 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
  • Bush House 8th Floor

    KCL Strand Campus, 30 Aldwych
    London, London WC2B 4BG
Ticket Price Free This event is now over

The Eye of the Mirror: Sight and Subjectivity in Classical Greek Art

This lecture takes its cue from a particular type of ancient Greek object: a folding ‘case-‘ or ‘box-mirror’ (‘Klappspiegel’ in German). Over 300 such mirrors survive, mostly dating from the early fourth to mid-third centuries BC. They consist of two circular bronze parts, joined together with a hinge. Within was a disk, polished on one side; the outer layer formed a protective case around it, usually decorated in relief.


Classical archaeologists have classified Classical Greek box-mirrors. But they’ve been less interested in how these objects embody larger philosophical debates about vision, perception and replication. Starting with one particular example, the lecture demonstrates the deeply self-reflexive way that box-mirrors could interrogate the production of mimetic imagery – especially the dynamic relationship between three-dimensional outer relief and inner reflective surface. As a corpus, Classical box-mirrors materialise thinking about what it means to see. But their speculations also reflect a profound transformation in sight and subjectivity, in turn pivotal to the entire subsequent western tradition of theorising and making images: they hold up a mirror to the interplay between object viewed and viewing subject.


Prof. Michael Squire is Laurence Professor of Classical Archaeology and Senior Research Fellow at Trinity College, Cambridge. From 2011 to 2022 he taught in the Department of Classics at King’s College London. His research interests include Graeco-Roman art and its reception, the interaction between ancient literary and visual cultures and the history of western aesthetics (especially in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Germany). He was elected Fellow of the British Academy in 2022.


Date & Time

Tue, Mar 19, 2024 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Venue Details

Bush House 8th Floor

KCL Strand Campus, 30 Aldwych
London, London WC2B 4BG Bush House 8th Floor
Centre for Hellenic Studies

The Centre for Hellenic Studies at King's College London is a unique grouping of academics in different disciplines and departments, with interests and expertise covering more than three millennia, from Aegean prehistory to the history, language, literature and culture of Greece, Cyprus and the worldwide Greek diaspora today.

Our work and our international prestige are supported by a distinguished International Advisory Board, with external members from the USA and Greece as well as the UK. The Centre's members participate in research projects funded by such prestigious bodies as the European Research Council (ERC) and the Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC). Many of our projects have attracted generous sponsorship from leading Greek and Cypriot charitable foundations, including A.G. Leventis, Stavros Niarchos and Alexander S. Onassis.

Founded in 1989, the Centre is committed to promoting knowledge and understanding of Greek history, language, and culture of all periods, and in particular the fostering of research with a comparative focus, whether cross-cultural or exploring the diachronic spectrum of Hellenism itself.

In close partnership with the Department of Classics (ranked 1st in the UK in the 2021 Research Excellence Framework) the Centre builds upon the expertise of a membership drawn from a range of departments and central services across the Faculties of Arts & Humanities and Social Sciences & Public Policy, and from the neighbouring Courtauld Institute of Art. Visiting Fellows and Visiting Professors are also affiliated to the Centre for periods of between six months and three years.

The director of the Centre is Gonda Van Steen. For a full list of members please email