The Fidelity of Fides: Authenticity in the Classical World

  • Photos from our graduate student conference, The Fidelity of Fides, will be posted online shortly. Stay tuned!

Graduate Student Conference

October 13-14, 2017
University of Toronto, Department of Classics

View the program.  

Keynote Speakers:
James Porter (University of California, Berkeley)
Erik Gunderson (University of Toronto)

ἴδμεν ψεύδεα πολλὰ λέγειν ἐτύμοισιν ὁοῖα,
ἴδμεν δ’, εὖτ’ ἐθέλωμεν, ἀληθέα γηρύσασθαι.
(Hes. Theog. 27-28)

Qualis artifex pereo!
(Suet. Ner. 49.1)

The question of authenticity – that is, fidelity to the truth, in whatever form it takes – remained at the forefront of Greek and Roman minds. Ancient authors since the time of Homer lingered over the question of whether something or someone accurately reflected what was “true,” and we see the ripples of this problem in the minds of ancient historiographers, orators, playwrights, poets, and even in surviving inscriptions and papyri. Notions of truth defined individual and collective identities, served political ends, and shaped philosophical outlooks in the Graeco-Roman world. Likewise, questions of authenticity remain rooted in our minds today as we examine the material and literary culture of the past: are the artifacts we have accurate representations of the classical world? Do the texts present the world as it was, or in an idealized fashion? Can there be any accurate representation, in words or material, of the truth? To what extent was truth even important at all in the ancient world? Our conference aims to investigate the ways in which ancient peoples grappled with the issues of authenticity, and how we too today deal with the issue of “truth” and “authenticity” when dealing with the fragmented written and material evidence which survives from the ancient world.

All are welcome to attend this free event. Please RSVP at

2017 Graduate Student Conference Committee

  • Adam Barker
  • Drew Davis
  • Chiara Graf
  • Jesse Hill
  • Emelen Leonard