Greek and Roman Warfare in Terry Pratchett’s 'Discworld' (Dr Juliette Harrisson, Newman University)

5:00pm - 6:00pm / Tuesday 12th March 2019 / Venue: Seminar Room 10, Rendall Building
Type: Seminar / Category: Department / Series: Classics and Ancient History Seminar Series
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This paper will discuss the reception of Greek and Roman warfare in Terry Pratchett's 'Discworld' series of comic fantasy novels. Pratchett, like the writers of many films and television series, displays an interest in mythology from ancient Greece, but history from ancient Rome. In 'Pyramids and Eric', stories of the Trojan War are re-told as amusing side-notes, focusing on literary plays on meaning and humorous deconstruction of the myth. However, the more serious treatments of war in the later books 'Jingo' and 'Monstrous Regiment', while influenced in some ways by Alexander the Great, draw primarily on Roman history. "Roman" military general Tacticus is represented as more practical and more aware of the reality of war than his later counterparts, and is simultaneously both a guiding figure to admire and a figure of revulsion, thanks to his enthusiasm for war. This paper will examine why Pratchett found Rome so useful as an inspiration for a hardened military general, and how his reception of Roman warfare differs to that of Greece.