PhD Masterclass: Dr Valentina Arena

Monday 12 December, 6 – 8pm, Dreyfus Room

Dr. Valentina Arena from University College London will be delivering the next doctoral masterclass on the dangers of extrapolating too many conclusions from too few sources, based on her work on the fall of the Roman Republic.

Classicists have long worked with the challenge of reconstructing the past from a very small number of vivid and powerful sources. This fuels exceedingly close reading of these texts, and a great deal of debate as to how representative their authors are, and how reliable they are. In extrapolating from such sources historians face a minefield of logical fallacies. All historians – even those working in the modern era – should be aware of these challenges. Dr Arena will unpack how she goes about analysing classical sources, and the limits of what can be recovered.

We look forward to seeing you there. Please register your intention to attend with Jack Watling at

This is the second in of a series of doctoral masterclasses for Birkbeck’s HCA students. For the full programme, see:

Image: Joseph Abel, Socrates teaching his disciples. c 1807

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