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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“In the evening, I am a Nabīṭ [an Aramaic speaker]… In the morning, I am an Arab.” Multilingualism in the Middle East and Syro-Arabic Contact Before the Abbasids”
Monday, 18 September 2017
12:00 PM
George Kiraz, Institute for Advanced Study
Jones Hall 202, Princeton University
Brown Bag Lunch Series 2017-2018
Sponsored by: Department of Near Eastern Studies, Princeton University


Architectural Conservation in Egypt’s Western Desert (The Amheida Project)
Monday, 18 September 2017
6:00 PM
Nicholas Warner, American University in Cairo
ISAW ISAW Lecture Hall, New York University
Architectural conservation and presentation work at the site of Amheida in the Dakhla Oasis, supported by ISAW, began in 2007 and has focused on mud-brick structures of the late-Roman period. The work has also included the creation of a full-scale replica of a house with outstanding painted decoration that belonged to a member of the town council named Serenos. This structure was designed to serve as the site’s visitor center, and its construction provided many insights into the processes required to fabricate such a building. The new House of Serenos was opened earlier this year. This lecture is the first occasion in America that the architectural conservation of Amheida has been described and placed in context.
Sponsored by: Institute for the Study of the Ancient World


The Scribal Mind: Textual Criticism in Antiquity (Day 1)
Thursday, 21 September 2017
11:45 AM
Conference organized by Emily Cole, ISAW Visiting Assistant Professor
ISAW ISAW Lecture Hall, New York University
The intellectual exercise of textual criticism is far from a modern invention. Without the regularity provided by printing, there were constantly different texts in circulation, and it was up to learned individuals to figure out how to make sense of them. While no manual on the assembly and editing of ancient manuscripts existed in ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, or China, scribes diligently worked through copies of the Egyptian Book of the Dead, Sumerian Incantations, or Buddhist manuscripts, and noted variants as they went along. It is the intention of this conference to draw out the details concerning how those scribes produced a text tradition, added commentary to new editions or marginalia to old ones, and what these practices might say about the culture in which the scribes were working. In three related panels, conference participants in various fields of study will consider the conception, process, and culture of textual criticism in the ancient world with the intention of better understanding the place of scribal communities in antiquity. Panel 1: The Practice of Ancient Textual Criticism September 21, 2017 11:45am-4:30pm "Imprimatur before the Printing Press" Theo van den Hout (University of Chicago) "‘Old-style writing’ vs. ‘The Script of Antiquity’: The Ordinary and Extraordinary Interpretations of the Han-period guwen 古文 Discoveries" Adam Smith (University of Pennsylvania) "Galen: Text Production and Authority" Claire Bubb (ISAW, NYU) "Monastic Oracles: The Ritualized Function of the Psalms in a Coptic Liturgical Manuscript from the White Monastery" Stephen Davis (Yale University) Respondent: Martin Kern (Princeton University) Registration is required at isaw.nyu.edu/rsvp Please note that separate registration is required for Day 1 (September 21st), Keynote Lecture (September 21st), and Day 2 (September 22nd).
Sponsored by: Institute for the Study of the Ancient World


Was Virgil Reading the Bible? Original Sin and an Astonishing Acrostic in the Orpheus and Eurydice
Thursday, 21 September 2017
4:30 PM
Julia Hejduk, Baylor University
Cohen Hall 402, University of Pennsylvania
The ancient Roman poet Virgil (70-19 BC), best known as the author of the Aeneid, holds a unique position in the Western tradition: because his fourth Eclogue was thought to prophesy the birth of Christ, he formed a bridge between Christianity and the Greek and Roman classical tradition. Modernity has generally played down the Eclogue’s messianic strains and rejected the idea of Virgil as a pagan prophet. But Virgil’s middle work, the Georgics, provides a crucial clue about his relationship to the Hebrew scriptures. In the haunting story of Orpheus and Eurydice near the poem’s end, a newly-discovered acrostic, ISAIA AIT (“Isaiah says”), suggests that the Jewish grand narrative was integral to Virgil’s poetic imagination—and that Dante’s association of Eurydice, Virgil, and Eve in his Purgatorio is not an anachronism, but a brilliant insight. Moreover, Virgil’s epic successors, Ovid (43 BC-AD 17) and Lucan (AD 39-65), respond to and “correct” Virgil’s acrostics on religious themes with (newly-discovered) multi-word acrostics of their own. Lucan may even be alluding to Christianity, nearly fifty years before the earliest pagan sources to refer to the dangerous new cult by name.
Sponsored by: Department of Classical Studies, University of Pennsylvania


Blackface and Drag in Early Roman Comedy
Thursday, 21 September 2017
4:30 PM
Amy Richlin, UCLA
McCormick Hall 106, Princeton University
Sponsored by: Department of Classics at Princeton University


The Art of Compilation
Thursday, 21 September 2017
6:00 PM
Karel van der Toorn, University of Amsterdam
ISAW ISAW Lecture Hall, New York University
Keynote Lecture The Scribal Mind: Textual Criticism in Antiquity Conference organized by Emily Cole (ISAW Visiting Assistant Professor) Compilation is among the higher arts of the scribal profession, open only to scholar scribes in positions of prestige and authority. The classics of the East Mediterranean world are compilations. They consist of narratives (e.g., Gilgamesh, Genesis), oracles (e.g., the “Book of Balaam,” Neo-Assyrian oracle collections, prophetic books of the Hebrew Bible), ritual songs (e.g. Book of Psalms, Papyrus Amherst 63), or other types of literary material. Compilation provided a natural context for revision and textual criticism. This paper explores examples of scribal interventions in the context of compilation by looking at Gilgamesh, the prophetical books, and the Aramaic papyrus in Demotic script (pAmherst 63). Registration is required at isaw.nyu.edu/rsvp Please note that separate registration is required for Day 1 (September 21st), Keynote Lecture (September 21st), and Day 2 (September 22nd).
Sponsored by: Institute for the Study of the Ancient World


Fear, honour and profit? Rethinking the ‘balance sheet’ of Empire
Thursday, 21 September 2017
7:30 PM
Polly Low, University of Manchester
Columbia University Faculty House , Columbia University
Seminar in Classical Civilization Abstract: “In this paper (which is part of a larger project on the nature of empire in the classical Greek world) I revisit a question famously explored by Moses Finley: how should we draw up the ‘balance sheet’ of empire? That is: how did imperial powers profit from their rule, and how far were these profits made at the expense of their subjects? I explore how far the answers which Finley proposed need to be revised in the light of new evidence and new theoretical approaches to the ancient economy; and I also consider the extent to which the economic strategies vary between the different imperial (or quasi-imperial) systems visible in this period.”
Sponsored by: Department of Classics, Columbia University


Religion and State in Classical Greece and Rome
Friday, 22 September 2017
9:00 AM
Conference,
Chancellor Green 103, Princeton University
The statue of Athena Promachos, “first in battle,” stands high on the Acropolis with gleaming spear, urging the Athenians to “victory without evil” (Eumenides). In Rome, home, by the early 3rd century BCE, to a temple for the goddess Victoria, the ritual declaration of war by the fetiales ensured that divine right was on the Roman side. Religion—a term whose applicability to the Greco-Roman world is the subject of ongoing debate—operated at every level of Classical state mechanisms and social control: from the sources of law, to the possible sacrosanctity of officials responsible for promulgating the law (basileus, emperor, ephor, tribune), to the hierarchies of individuals and groups. See department website for details: https://classics.princeton.edu/events/upcoming/conference
Sponsored by: Department of Classics at Princeton University


The Scribal Mind: Textual Criticism in Antiquity (Day 2)
Friday, 22 September 2017
9:30 AM
Conference organized by Emily Cole, ISAW Visiting Assistant Professor
ISAW ISAW Lecture Hall, New York University
Panel 2: The Culture of Ancient Textual Criticism September 22, 2017 9:30am-12:30pm "Come Together: Collection Tablets and Scribal Composition" Jay Crisostomo (University of Michigan) "Copyists, Compilers, and Commentators: Constructing the Statutes and Ordinances of the Second Year and the Book of Submitted Doubtful Cases" Anthony Barbieri-Low (University of California, Santa Barbara) "The Fidelity of Slaves: Servility, Forensics, and the Reproduction of Text at Rome" Joseph Howley (Columbia University) Respondent: Daniel Fleming (NYU) Panel 3: Ancient Textual Criticism in Society September 22, 2017 1:30pm-5:00pm "Who Cares about Textual Criticism (in New Kingdom Egypt)?" Niv Allon (Metropolitan Museum of Art) "The Shifting Spaces of the Text: Multimodality and Paratext at Kuntillet ‘Ajrud and Ketef Hinnom" Alice Mandell (University of Wisconsin-Madison) "Scribal Minds and Scribal Acts: Textual Production and Religious Practices in South Asia" Jason Neelis (Wilfred Laurier University) Respondent: Jacco Dieleman (University of California, Los Angeles) Registration is required at isaw.nyu.edu/rsvp Please note that separate registration is required for Day 1 (September 21st), Keynote Lecture (September 21st), and Day 2 (September 22nd).
Sponsored by: Institute for the Study of the Ancient World


The Role of Cultural Heritage in Contemporary Diplomacy
Friday, 22 September 2017
12:00 PM
Andrew Cohen, State Department
Penn Museum Nevil Classroom, University of Pennsylvania
Sponsored by: Art and Archaeology of the Mediterranean World


The Arrow of Desire, the Bridle of Love: Some Mythological Reflexes of Greek Erotic Magic and Their Background
Friday, 22 September 2017
4:30 PM
Laura Massetti, University of Cologne
Rhys Carpenter Library B21, Bryn Mawr College
Sponsored by: Department of Greek, Latin and Classical Studies, Bryn Mawr College