The passions, erotic rituals and romances of ancient Greece and Rome will be explored in a public talk by Dr Marguerite Johnson at Newcastle Museum to celebrate Valentine’s Day on 14 February.

A senior lecturer in classics at the University of Newcastle, Dr Marguerite Johnson will share her fascination with the ancient world and years of academic research in her talk on Love and Lust in the Ancient World.

“Some people might think Valentine’s Day is a modern invention but there is a theory that Valentine’s Day has its origins in the mysterious Roman fertility festival called the Lupercalia. The love – and lust – lives of the ancients were just asand complicated as modern ones today. My talk will cover falling in love, courtship, weddings and married life for the ancients in a fun evening at the Museum,” Dr Johnson said.

Museum Deputy Director Julie Baird said the Museum was delighted to host Love and Lust in the Ancient World as the first in a series of public talks throughout the year.

“Newcastle Museum and the University of Newcastle are both important centres of learning in the Hunter. It’s wonderful to collaborate and share Marguerite’s expert knowledge with the broader community by hosting her at the Museum,” Ms Baird said.

Love and Lust in the Ancient World will be held at Newcastle Museum from 5.30 – 7.00pm on Thursday, 14 February. Tickets are $10 per person (includes a glass of wine). Bookings are essential on 4974 1400.

Dr Marguerite Johnson is Senior Lecturer in Classics at The University of Newcastle. Among her books are Sexuality in Greek and Roman Society and Literature: A Sourcebook (containing ancient writings on love, romance and eroticism) and Sappho (an analysis of the famous female love poet of ancient Greece).