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Are You Corrupt?

Exploring the abuse of intricate social relationships in Ancient Greece and Rome.

This animation is about intricate social relationships in Ancient Greece and Rome, and how their abuse could directly affect a citizen’s public standing. 

Good behaviour and integrity were vital for the cohesion of these societies, and writers such as Theophrastus (4th century BCE) and Martial (1st century CE) loved to poke gentle fun at people who didn't conform. Gifts, favours, and acts of reciprocity were, and still are, fundamental in daily interactions but what happens when a person exploits them for their own selfish gain? These examples from antiquity remind us that corruption is not just about those with power and money.

The film is based on research by Shushma Malik & Marta Garcia Morcillo from the School of Humanities at the University of Roehampton. Their Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) / German Research Council (DFG) collaborative research project, Twisted Transfers: Discursive Constructions of Corruption in Ancient Greece and Rome, explores how Greek and Roman societies described and responded to different types of transfers that take place in society, and how their interpretations help us to understand human interactions today.

Animation by David Torre.

A Calling the Shots production for the Arts and Humanities Research Council, supported by BBC Arts Culture in Quarantine.

Release date:

6 minutes