Every week the Center for Ancient Studies sends a list of events related to the ancient world in the Philadelphia area to interested members.

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A Difficult Time: Archaeology and Modernity
Monday, 23 February 2015
12:00 PM
Alfredo González-Reubel, National Research Council of Spain
Penn Museum 345, University of Pennsylvania
Sponsored by: Center for Ancient Studies, Department of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania


Isis at a Roman Wedding: Ritual and Ethnicity in Ovid’s Metamorphoses 9
Monday, 23 February 2015
4:00 PM
Vassiliki Panoussi, College of William and Mary
Anderson Hall 542 , Temple University


The Maqāmāt of al-Hamadhānī: Manuscripts, Collection, and Early History
Monday, 23 February 2015
5:00 PM
Bilal Orfali, Ohio State University
Van Pelt Library 241 (Class of '55 Seminar Room), University of Pennsylvania


The Aleppo Codex and Other Cases
Monday, 23 February 2015
5:00 PM
Noah Gerber, Hebrew University
Fisher-Bennett Hall 244, University of Pennsylvania
Sponsored by: The Jewish Studies Program , Department of History, University of Pennsylvania, Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, University of Pennsylvania, Department of Religious Studies, University of Pennsylvania, Middle East Center, University of Pennsylvania


Horace’s hymn to Bacchus (Odes 2.19): poetics and politics
Thursday, 26 February 2015
4:30 PM
Stephen Harrison, Oxford University
Cohen Hall 402, University of Pennsylvania
This paper considers Odes 2.19 in which Horace represents himself as encountering Bacchus in the wild teaching carmina to Nymphs and Satyrs. It argues as follows: in Odes 2.19 Bacchus can be seen as the inspiration for Horatian lyric; the god can also be viewed as a parallel in his conquest and divine nature for one of Horace’s key poetic subjects, Augustus. Further, Odes 2.19’s description of Bacchus’ wide-ranging actions and deeds suggest the range of topics covered by the lyric poet Horace himself, including the self-conscious incorporation of material from another genre associated with this god – Attic tragedy. Thus the Horace/Bacchus parallel, that between matching poet and patron god of poetry, sits in interesting tension with the Bacchus/Augustus parallel, that between divine conqueror and the mortal victor and ruler who is ultimately destined for the status of a god.


Sumerian Art and the Modernist Avant-Garde
Thursday, 26 February 2015
6:00 PM
Zainab Bahrani, Columbia University
ISAW ISAW Lecture Hall, 15 East 84th St. New York, NY
RSVP Required: http://isaw.nyu.edu/events/sumerian-art NOTICE: Admission to the ISAW Lecture Hall closes 5 minutes prior to the scheduled start time. --Reception to follow.


SEMINAR ON GREEK AND ROMAN ART AND ARCHITECTURE: The Shield of the Athena Parthenos: A New Reconstruction
Thursday, 26 February 2015
6:00 PM
Jennifer Neils, Case Western Reserve University
Institute of Fine Arts Lecture Hall, 1 East 78th St. New York, NY
This lecture is free and open to the public, but an RSVP is required. http://www.nyu.edu/gsas/dept/fineart/events/index.htm Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis.


Recovering Helen: The Invention of the Female Nude by Zeuxis of Herakleia, c. 430 BC.
Thursday, 26 February 2015
6:15 PM
Robert Sutton, Archaeological Institute of America
Penn Museum Classroom 2, University of Pennsylvania
Study of 150 naked female bathers painted on Athenian pottery shows the sudden reappraisal of the theme associated with the well-known 'kneeling bather,' used on vases to illustrate brides, nymphs, and goddesses. This transformation likely reflects Zeuxis' famous painting of Helen. Versions at Athens and Croton are known through ancient texts, including the anecdote of the models recounted by Cicero and Pliny that had a major impact on later western art. Zeuxis thus established the female nude as respectable subject twice: first in antiquity through his painted image reflected in various popular arts, and later simply as a concept. A few images may not be suitable for younger viewers.


Psyche amongst the Victorians: An Aspect of Apuleian Reception
Friday, 27 February 2015
4:30 PM
Stephen Harrison, Corpus Christi College, University of Oxford
Carpenter Library B21, Bryn Mawr College
This paper considers Odes 2.19 in which Horace represents himself as encountering Bacchus in the wild teaching carmina to Nymphs and Satyrs. It argues as follows: in Odes 2.19 Bacchus can be seen as the inspiration for Horatian lyric; the god can also be viewed as a parallel in his conquest and divine nature for one of Horace’s key poetic subjects, Augustus. Further, Odes 2.19’s description of Bacchus’ wide-ranging actions and deeds suggest the range of topics covered by the lyric poet Horace himself, including the self-conscious incorporation of material from another genre associated with this god – Attic tragedy. Thus the Horace/Bacchus parallel, that between matching poet and patron god of poetry, sits in interesting tension with the Bacchus/Augustus parallel, that between divine conqueror and the mortal victor and ruler who is ultimately destined for the status of a god.


Development and Disintegration of Maya Political Systems in Response to Climate Change
Saturday, 28 February 2015
1:30 PM
Douglas Kennett, Penn State University
Penn Museum , University of Pennsylvania
The role of climate change in the development and demise of Classic Maya civilization, AD 300 to 1000, remains controversial because of the absence of well-dated climate and archaeological sequences. In this lecture, Dr. Douglas J. Kennett, Professor of Environmental Archaeology in the Department of Anthropology, Penn State University, presents a precisely dated subannual climate record for the past 2,000 years from Yok Balum Cave, Belize. From comparison of this record with historical events compiled from well-dated stone monuments, he proposes that anomalously high rainfall favored unprecedented population expansion and the proliferation of political centers between AD 440 and 660. This was followed by a drying trend between AD 660 and 1000 that triggered the balkanization of polities, increased warfare, and the asynchronous disintegration of polities, followed by population collapse in the context of an extended drought between AD 1000 and 1100. Presented by the Pre-Columbian Society at the Penn Museum. Free admission.


All the World's a Stage: Contemplatio Mundi in Early Roman Theater
Tuesday, 3 March 2015
4:30 PM
Robert Germany, Haverford College
East Pyne 010, Princeton University


The Lighthouse at Alexandria: The Pharos in the land of the Pharaoh
Wednesday, 4 March 2015
6:00 PM
Jennifer Houser Wegner, Penn Museum
Penn Museum , University of Pennsylvania
Founded by Alexander the Great in 332 BCE, the city of Alexandria grew to become one of the most important cities in the ancient world. Alexandria was a hub of intellectual, commercial, political and religious activity, and its Mediterranean harbors were bustling centers of activity. The Lighthouse at Alexandria, or the Pharos, marked the entry into the harbor from the sea. The Pharos was constructed on the orders of the early Ptolemaic kings around 280 BCE. For most of its history, this remarkable building was one of the tallest man-made structures on earth. Writers as varied as Julius Caesar and the Arab traveler Abou Haggag Youssef Ibn Mohammed el-Balawi el-Andaloussias, describe this illuminated tower whose image also appears on coinage and mosaics. After a series of earthquakes damaged the tower, it was finally destroyed in the 14th century CE, having served as an iconic image of the city of Alexandria for almost 1500 years. Recent underwater excavations by French archaeologists have identified remains of the original structure in Alexandria's eastern harbor. This talk will consider the history of the lighthouse, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Lecture with advance payment $5 General Admission $2 Penn Museum Members $10 At-the-door


Rematerializing the book in the Roman Empire
Thursday, 5 March 2015
4:30 PM
Joseph Howley, Columbia University
Cohen Hall 402, University of Pennsylvania
Perhaps the most famous physical book in Latin literature is the libellus offered to Nepos by Catullus in the first lines of the poem that opens his Carmina. Such instances of literary materiality—the description of books as physical objects within the diegetic frame of a literary work—constitute the main body of literary evidence for the study of the ancient book. Poets imagining their own books (and those of other poets) have thus been allowed to write much of our ancient history of the book. But there are realms beyond poetry: this paper proposes a new model of Latin materiality to account for the variety of ways books appear in prose literature from the Roman empire. This “prose materiality” sheds light on new realms of the ancient experience of the book: imagined by Greek and Roman imperial writers as media of knowledge and authority, books prove to be disruptive, destabilizing and highly-charged presences in ways that echo but also far surpass the libelli of the Latin poets. Produced from togas, pulled from shelves, or offered for sale, Roman books are invested with powerful qualities of attraction and discomfort. Described and imagined in terms not just of their content but of the quality and circumstances of their production, their material dimensions, and the institutional and social structures that collect and provide access to them, books are made, by prose authors, into symbols of the fundamental forces and concerns of elite, literate Roman society.


Monsters and Vision in the Preclassical Mediterranean: The Case of Orientalizing Cauldrons
Friday, 6 March 2015
12:00 PM
Nassos Papalexandrou, University of Texas at Austin
Penn Museum Classroom 2, University of Pennsylvania


A Conference on Archaeomusicology: Representations of Musicians in the Coroplastic Art of the Ancient World: Iconography, Ritual Contexts and Functions
Saturday, 7 March 2015
NYU Institute of Fine Arts Lecture Hall, 1 East 78th St. New York NY
Terracottas figurines with representations of musicians are a privileged field of investigation in understanding the importance of music in both its production and performative contexts. Figurines of male and female musicians are emblematic of the close link between musical practice and the sacred and ritual spheres. They contribute not only to the reconstruction of what music and the production of music meant for ancient societies, but also provide information concerning the relationship of performance to the deities, and about which musical instruments were best suited to the particulars of diverse ritual occasions, including sacred and funerary contexts. The analysis of terracotta figurines will take into account the presence and characteristics of different musical instruments, gestures, positions, and the clothing of both male and female musicians. The goal is to understand the status of the musicians and to interpret their musical and symbolic significance. Additionally, the terracottas will be analyzed in relation to the development of musical culture and their wider historical and social context. These topics will be addressed through contributions by scholars working in various fields: archaeology, art history, musicology, history of religion, and anthropology. The organizing committee includes: Angela Bellia, Università di Bologna - New York University Claude Calame, École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales de Paris Barbara Kowalzig, New York University Clemente Marconi, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University Donatella Restani, Università di Bologna Jaimee Uhlenbrock, Association for Coroplastic Studies More info: http://www.nyu.edu/gsas/dept/fineart/events/archeomusicology.htm


The Death of Caesar and the Facts Behind the Legend
Saturday, 7 March 2015
2:00 PM
Barry Strauss, Cornell University
Penn Museum , University of Pennsylvania
Gladiators, Cleopatra, King Herod, a murder orchestrated with military precision, a forgotten conspirator who held the key to the plot, soldiers willing to be bought by the highest bidder, barbarians, cutthroats, and a political wife who was the brains behind Mark Antony's "Friends, Romans, Countrymen" speech: none of these are found in Shakespeare yet they are all part of the real story of history's most famous assassination. Historian and classicist Barry Strauss, the Bryce and Edith M. Bowmar Professor of Humanistic Studies at Cornell and author of the new book, The Death of Caesar (Simon & Schuster), offers a new and unexpected look at one of history's pivotal events. Free with Museum admission.


Pilgrimage, Materiality, and Phenomenology: To Chaco Canyon and Beyond
Monday, 23 March 2015
12:00 PM
Ruth van Dyke, Binghamton University
Penn Museum 345, University of Pennsylvania
Sponsored by: Center for Ancient Studies, Department of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania