So was it all about love letters?

On Saturday 26 October, 40 members and guests of the Friends of the Abbey Museum sat down in the Abbey Hall to a delicious lunch, beautifully presented by the Museum Catering Team.  The lunch is an annual event in the FOTAM calendar and, in accordance with tradition was followed by a talk given by an invited guest speaker.

This year, our guest speaker was Dr Caillan Davenport, a lecturer in Roman History at the University of Queensland.  His topic, the Letters of Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius caught the attention of all his listeners. Dr Davenport used the correspondence between the young Marcus Aurelius and his tutor Cornelius Fronto to illustrate the more intimate details of life in Rome at that time than is found in most history books.


This was no dry old history lesson about the philosophy of a Roman Emperor, but a lively discussion based on private correspondence which was not originally written for publication.  After filling in the background of the finding of the letters and of the two correspondents, Dr Davenport fascinated his listeners with the information available from reading the letters.  They bring to life a young man full of reverence for his teacher, but having issues with some of the assignments he was set.  The talk added depth to our understanding of not only the characters and their times, but their relationship with each other and their families. The audience interest in the talk generated a lively question and answer session which was enjoyed by both Dr Davenport and his listeners. A great afternoon.

Libby Gladwin

The Friends of the Abbey Museum regularly hold events and talks. More information on how to join the Friends of the Abbey Museum