Brendan Burke (Associate Professor, Department of Greek & Roman Studies, University of Victoria), “Myths of Wealth in the Ancient World: Ex Oriente Lux”
Many foreigners, according to Greek sources, had a reputation for astronomical wealth: Priam, Midas, Croesus, Maussolos are just a few. Legends surrounding these individuals were a great source of fascination. What is often surprising to modern audiences, however, is that most of these figures from Greek and Roman legend were powerful, historical rulers. It is also often assumed that incredible wealth was in some ways corrupting or debilitating to those who held it. This lecture examines these stories and looks at the archaeological evidence for such fabulous wealth in order to distinguish myth from history.