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We are what we ate: correlates and consequences of variation in diet, growth and development from infancy through adolescence
Monday, 23 January 2017
12:00 PM
Melanie Martin, Yale University
Penn Museum Room 345, University of Pennsylvania
Biological Anthropology Job Talk, 1 of 4 Developmental processes influence health across the life course. Environmental and genetic factors interacting during one phase may shape biological pathways that subsequently affect metabolic, immune, and reproductive function at later stages. For humans, vast ecological and cultural diversity further influences variation in these processes. Examination of the diverse conditions affecting growth and development is therefore fundamental to understanding health risks and resilience within and across populations. I present research from two South American indigenous populations examining diversity in diet, growth, and development during infancy and adolescence. From my work with the Tsimane of Bolivia, I demonstrate that mothers primarily respond to perceived infant energy demands in transitioning from exclusive to mixed-breastfeeding. Shorter exclusive breastfeeding durations are not associated with poorer infant nutritional status, suggesting that early complementary feeding in this population may supplement without supplanting breastfeeding. I also examine pubertal developmental among the Qom of Argentina. Qom girls exhibit accelerated onset of linear growth velocity and menarche as compared to other Latin American indigenous populations. Marked infant adiposity and greater stature, energy-rich diets, and low levels of physical activity in childhood may favor relatively earlier onset or rapid progression of puberty in this population.
Sponsored by: Department of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania


Prometheus and Progress
Thursday, 26 January 2017
4:30 PM
Joshua H. Billings, Princeton University
Cohen Hall Room 402, University of Pennsylvania
The paper examines the myth of Prometheus in relation to the “idea of progress” in classical Greek culture. Narratives of cultural development have often been thought to play a significant role in fifth-century thought, and intellectual and literary historiography have seen the story of Prometheus as a key document of such conceptions. The paper critically examines the evidence for such an idea of progress in fifth-century culture as a whole, and uses the depiction of Prometheus in the Prometheus Bound, Plato’s Protagoras, and Aristophanes’ Birds to outline an alternative way of understanding the ideas surrounding him. Rather than articulating a (diachronic) story of progress or development, Prometheus is fundamentally a figure for thinking through (synchronic) questions of human power and autonomy in relation to divinity. Stories of Prometheus in the classical period manifest an anthropological tendency that, the paper argues, becomes central to fifth-century intellectual culture.
Sponsored by: Department of Classical Studies, University of Pennsylvania


Nine Sloughs: Profiling the Climate History of the Yuan and Ming Dynasties
Thursday, 26 January 2017
5:00 PM
Timothy Brooks, University of British Colombia
Stiteler Hall B26, University of Pennsylvania
We are all familiar and conscious about climate change in today's world, but few of us have considered the impact of climate, particularly climate change, on periods in history. In this guest lecture event, Professor Brook addresses this issue, in what he sees as a pressing need among China historians--a stronger model of climate change and its impact on state and society during the imperial period.
Sponsored by: Penn Humanities Colloquium


The Yemeni Zaydi Manuscript Tradition 13th -20th Century
Thursday, 26 January 2017
5:30 PM
Sabine Schmidtke, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton
Fisher-Bennett Hall Room 231, University of Pennsylvania
The Zaydī community is a branch of Shīʿī Islam that has flourished mainly in two regions, namely the mountainous Northern Highlands of Yemen and the Caspian regions of Northern Iran. The two Zaydī states that were established in Yemen and Northern Iran constituted separate political and cultural entities. During the 10th and 11th centuries the Zaydīs of Yemen became increasingly isolated from their coreligionists in Iran as a result of their geographical remoteness and political isolation . The situation changed radically in the early 12th century, when a rapprochement between the two Zaydī communities began that eventually resulted in their political unification which was accompanied by a transfer of knowledge from Northern Iran to Yemen that comprised nearly the entire literary and religious legacy of Caspian Zaydism. Most of this legacy is preserved until today in the private and public libraries of Yemen as well as in the various European collections of manuscripts of Yemeni provenance. During the reign of al-Manṣūr, the knowledge transfer to Yemen reached its peak. The Imam founded a library in Ẓafār, his town of residence, for which he had a wealth of books copied by a team of scholars and scribes. In 1929 the rich holdings of his library, which continued to grow under his successors, were transferred from Ẓafār to the newly founded al-Khizāna al-Mutawakkiliyya in Ṣanʿāʾ. The library, which is housed even today in the complex of the Great Mosque of Ṣanʿāʾ, is also known as al-Maktaba al-Sharqiyya (since 1984: Maktabat al-Awqāf). The presentation will discuss some of the codicological features of the manuscripts that were produced for the library of Imam al-Mansur.
Sponsored by: Middle East Center, University of Pennsylvania


Reliable Instruments or Roman Fashion Statements?
Thursday, 26 January 2017
6:00 PM
Richard Talbert, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
ISAW ISAW Lecture Hall,
This lecture considers one type of Roman sundial represented in the exhibition that has not been sufficiently appreciated from geographical, cultural, and social perspectives. These are the miniature bronze instruments fitted with adjustable rings to accommodate the changes of latitude liable to occur during long journeys – from Britain to Spain, say, or Alexandria to Rome. For rapid reference, these sundials incorporate a list of as many as 30 or more names and latitudes of cities or regions chosen by the maker or owner. Comparison of the latitude data with modern calculations reveals that it is by no means always correct. So these instruments could not be relied on to tell the time accurately. This lecture explores the possibility that often they were valued not so much for practical use, but rather as prestige objects which advertised the owner’s supposed scientific awareness, as well as enviable mastery of time and space. In any case, each set of names offers insight into an individual’s ‘mental map’. The names also proclaim Rome’s imperial sway worldwide, and affirm its citizens’ prized freedom of movement. These sundials are ancient forerunners of today’s luxury Swiss watches that offer eye-catching proof of their purchasers’ wealth, sophistication, and cosmopolitanism. Registration is required at isaw.nyu.edu/rsvp
Sponsored by: Institute for the Study of the Ancient World


From Hortus to Hayr: The Connections between Classical and Early Islamic Gardens
Friday, 27 January 2017
11:00 AM
Elizabeth Macaulay-Lewis, CUNY, The Graduate Center
Italian Academy Level 5 Conference Room, Columbia University
The continuity between the visual and material culture of the classical and the early Islamic worlds is well established. The Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem and the Great Mosque in Damascus were decorated with stunning mosaics that drew upon the traditions of late antiquity. Scholars have yet to fully consider the relationship between classical and early Islamic gardens. The charbagh (quadripartite) garden, defined as the quintessential Islamic garden, was once thought to be an ancient Persian design; however, a recent reconsideration of the evidence at Pasargadae has demonstrated that this was not the case. Therefore, it is an opportune moment to examine the connections between ancient and early Islamic gardens. The mosaics in the courtyard of the Great Mosque in Damascus contained architecture and landscapes that evoked the architectural traditions of Alexandria and second style Roman wall paintings. While the landscapes in the Great Mosque of the Damascus have been interpreted either as representations of the local landscape and the Barada River or of Paradise, the other evidence for early Islamic gardens and landscapes has yet to be explored in depth. Using the mosaics of the Great Mosque as a starting point, this talk examines the evidence for continuity and transformation between the gardens and landscapes of classical antiquity and those of the early Islamic world in Syro-Palestine and Iberia. Several of the folios from some of the earliest known Qur’ans, discovered in the roof of the Great Mosque in Sana’a, Yemen, include representations of mosque architecture. Three folios also depict plants and trees. I consider how these Qur’anic landscapes relate to the landscapes in the Great Mosque of Damascus and to those appearing in the floor mosaics of late antique churches. The second part of this talk focuses on the archaeological evidence for early Islamic gardens and landscapes. The so-called “Desert Castles” of the Umayyad period (661–750 CE) are an important source of evidence for understanding the conceptualization and construction of early Islamic gardens and bounded landscapes. Specifically, this paper considers the hayrs, or the bounded hunting parks, that were associated with many of the 8th-century Umayyad caliphal residences, including Khirbat al-Mafjar, Qasr al-Hayr al-Gharbi (West), and Rusafa. For the “Desert Castles,” where we lack any trace of enclosed gardens, the artistic representations of hunting scenes (e.g. Qusayr ‘Amra) inform us about the importance of hunting as an expression of kingship. The gardens of Islamic Iberia, where there was a long and well-developed tradition of Roman and late antique villa and domestic gardens, is also important for understanding the debt of the early Islamic garden and villa to the villa and garden traditions of the ancient Mediterranean. Recent scholarship on the munya, the early Islamic villa, has demonstrated that the munyas and their gardens and cultivated enclosures were an important aspect of the Iberian landscape during the transition from late antiquity to the early Medieval period. The presence of courtyard gardens in the 10th-century palatial city of Madinat al-Zahra (outside Cordoba) and in other cites is also examined. The concepts of the villa urbana and the villa rustica have been used by James Dickie to interpret the gardens of Islamic Spain, especially those of the Madinat al-Zahra, and those of the Alhambra palace in Granada. This paper reassesses the use of Roman concepts to interpret the gardens of Islamic Iberia and the legacy of Roman gardens in these important Islamic gardens.
Sponsored by: Center for the Ancient Mediterranean, Columbia


1177 BC: The Year Civilization Collapsed
Friday, 27 January 2017
12:00 PM
Eric Cline, George Washington University
Penn Museum Classroom 2, University of Pennsylvania
Sponsored by: Graduate Group in Art and Archaeology of the Mediterranean World, University of Pennsylvania


Res Publica as Spectatorship: Sacred and Civic Rome in 'Historical Relief'
Friday, 27 January 2017
3:30 PM
Ann Kuttner, University of Pennsylvania
Jaffe Building Room 113, University of Pennsylvania
Sponsored by: Department of the History of Art, University of Pennsylvania


Bellicose Things: The Inner Lives of Byzantine Warfare Implements
Friday, 27 January 2017
4:30 PM
Roland Betancourt, University of California, Irvine
Rhys Carpenter Library Room B21, Bryn Mawr College
Sponsored by: Department of Greek, Latin and Classical Studies, Bryn Mawr College


Circulation of Coin in East Asia, 1650–1800
Tuesday, 31 January 2017
4:30 PM
Hyun Jae Yoo, Seoul National University
Stiteler Hall B26, University of Pennsylvania
There were a variety of currencies in premodern society, but coins were widely used due to their intrinsic values in the metal itself. However, a large-scale national plan was needed since the material supply was insufficient and the cost of production was high. In this process, the coin distribution methods served various functions. From this perspective, this study examines the differences in management tactics, according to the needs of the nation, among East Asian countries in the premodern era. In particular, the paper focuses on the cost of coins among East Asian countries which had similar socioeconomic backgrounds, and explores how the intentions of the governments were reflected on coin making process and what efforts they made to secure profits on minting. This paper highlights the backgrounds and reasons why East Asian countries, particularly Korea, distributed coins under government control.
Sponsored by: James Joo-Jin Kim Program in Korean Studies, University of Pennsylvania


Brahmins, Monks and Their Astral Lore: The Origin, Development and Transmission of Greco-Indian Astral Science in South Asia and Beyond
Tuesday, 31 January 2017
6:00 PM
Bill M. Mak, ISAW Visiting Research Scholar
ISAW ISAW Lecture Hall,
Described by the Indian scholar and Sanskritist P. V. Kane as “a problem not satisfactorily solved,” the introduction of a new form of astral science in India during the early centuries of the first millennium C.E. which resembles its Greco-Babylonian counterpart has been a heated topic in Indian historiography and history of science between Indian and Western scholars. Subsequent to the meticulous comparative analysis of David Pingree and his 1978 publication of a critical edition of the Yavanajātaka (“Genethliacal astrology of the Greeks”) dated to the second century C.E., a great number of questions concerning the origin and evolution of Greco-Indian astral science were clarified. However, with the recent discovery of new manuscripts and other materials, the issues appear to be far from being settled and some of Pingree’s widely accepted assertions now require serious reconsideration. As it turns out, this Greco-Indian astral lore which impacted not only the South Indian subcontinent, but reached as far as Japan and Southeast Asia, was far more than just a local adaptation of a foreign science; it was part of a bigger picture of the circulation of knowledge in pre-modern Eurasia and a testimony of the ongoing negotiation and acculturation of ideas as cultures and traditions came into close contact with each other.
Sponsored by: Institute for the Study of the Ancient World


Pharaoh Alexander the Great: The Egyptian Background of the Alexander Romance
Saturday, 11 February 2017
3:30 PM
Jacco Dielman, UCLA
Penn Museum Classroom 2, University of Pennsylvania
The Alexander Romance is an ancient popular narrative about the conquests and legendary exploits of Alexander the Great (356-323 BCE). Likely composed from various sources in Greek in Alexandria in the Roman period, it was translated throughout Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages into Latin, Armenian, Coptic, Syriac, Arabic, Persian, Ge’ez, and other languages, and expanded with every new recension. According to this tale, Alexander was not the son of King Phillip of Macedon (382-336 BCE), but of Pharaoh Nectanebo II (360-342 BC), the last native pharaoh of Egypt. This preposterous claim is obviously unfounded, but not fully without historical merit. A careful analysis of the motifs of this birth-legend against the background of indigenous Egyptian literature of the Persian, Hellenistic, and Roman periods shows that the birth-legend is likely the product of a careful negotiation about political legitimacy and cultural authenticity between Egyptian elites and their new Greek rulers following Alexander’s conquest of Egypt in 332 BCE.
Sponsored by: American Research Center in Egypt, Pennsylvania Chapter


New Light on Old Papal Rome: Recent Finds from the Archive of the Boncompagni Ludovisi
Monday, 13 February 2017
4:00 PM
Corey Brennan, Rutgers University
Anderson Hall Room 821, Temple University
The focus of this talk is an exciting new (2010) discovery of archival material that sheds unexpected light on centuries of Boncompagni Ludovisi family history, including the pontificates of Popes Gregory XIII Boncompagni (1572-1585, who introduced the Gregorian calendar) and Gregory XV Ludovisi (1621-1623, who canonized the first Jesuit saints), and the development of the famed Villa Ludovisi on the Pincio hill in Rome. The family’s Villa Ludovisi, an enormous private enclave within the walls of Rome with a large and significant collection of ancient sculpture and Greek and Roman inscriptions, was for two and a half centuries a “must see” stop on the Grand Tour. It attracted as visitors Winckelmann, Goethe, Stendhal, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Henry James—to name just a few of those who have left their detailed written impressions. However in 1885 the greater part of the Villa was redeveloped to form the luxurious business and residential district centered around Rome’s Via Veneto. The main palace of the Boncompagni Ludovisi has since become the headquarters of the US Embassy in Rome. However the family’s secondary palace of the Casino Aurora—with its unique oil-on-plaster ceiling by Caravaggio and large frescoed rooms by Guercino—remains wholly intact today as the private residence of the family’s head, Prince Nicolo’ and his wife Rita Boncompagni Ludovisi. In August 2013 and September 2014 Brennan coordinated the first comprehensive videography of the Villa grounds and its spectacular interior spaces, footage that also is featured in his wide-ranging lecture.
Sponsored by: Department of Greek and Roman Classics, Temple University


Lost Monuments of Fourth-Century Constantinople
Thursday, 16 February 2017
4:30 PM
John Matthews,
East Pyne Room 010, Princeton University
Sponsored by: Committee for the Study of Late Antiquity


Rationalities of Regulating Conflicts in Classical Athens
Friday, 17 February 2017
4:00 PM
Werner Riess, Hamburg University
Weaver Building Room 102, Penn State University
Sponsored by: Department of Classics & Ancient Mediterranean Studies, Penn State