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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Egypt, Mesopotamia, and the (Pointless) Search for the Origins of Christian Monasticism
Monday, 27 March 2017
4:30 PM
Columba Stewart, Institute for Advanced Study
Scheide Caldwell House Room 103, Princeton University
Sponsored by: Committee for the Study of Late Antiquity, Princeton University


Egypt, Mesopotamia, and the (Pointless) Search for the Origins of Christian Monasticism
Monday, 27 March 2017
4:30 PM
Columbia Stewart, Saint John’s University
Scheide Caldwell House Room 103, Princeton University
Sponsored by: Committee for the Study of Late Antiquity, Princeton University


Reassessing the Ptolemaic settlement policies: Another look at the 'poleis'
Monday, 27 March 2017
5:00 PM
Christelle Fischer-Bovet, University of Southern California
Silver Center for Arts and Science Room 503, New York University
Sponsored by: Department of Classics, New York University


Looking for Early Composite Sugyot
Tuesday, 28 March 2017
4:30 PM
Robert Brody, Hebrew University
Scheide Caldwell House Room 203, Princeton University
Robert Brody is professor emeritus of Talmud at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Best known for his work on the literature of the Babylonian Geonim, he has also published extensively on Mishnah and Tosefta as well as issues concerning the Babylonian Talmud and the textual history and editing of rabbinic literature. He is currently engaged in writing a commentary on tractate Ketubbot of the Babylonian Talmud.
Sponsored by: Committee for the Study of Late Antiquity, Princeton University


Identifying people in Hellenistic and Early Roman Egypt: A comparative perspective?
Tuesday, 28 March 2017
5:00 PM
Christelle Fischer-Bovet, University of Southern California
Italian Academy Fifth Floor Conference Room, Columbia University
Hellenistic rulers and the Roman government were already exposed to the issue of identifying people for juridical and fiscal purposes. The systems that were used in Egypt at both periods have been variously interpreted and often contrasted. By looking at legal and fiscal documents preserved on papyri, this paper explores how official categories of persons allowed both states to single out groups that were particularly valuable to the state formation process and whose loyalty was essential. It suggests that both systems are more similar than usually thought and that the Roman system in Egypt can be understood as a systematization of developments already occurring in the last century of Ptolemaic rule. However, in contrast to the early period Ptolemaic, this systematization did not create new elites, but rather maintained the privileges of most of the same families.
Sponsored by: Center for the Ancient Mediterranean, Columbia


New Term Excavations at Kültepe: The First International Trade Center in Anatolia
Tuesday, 28 March 2017
6:00 PM
Fikri Kulakoglu, Ankara University
ISAW Lecture Hall, NYC
The recent findings and the information from Kültepe over the last decade will be presented in this talk. Kültepe or the capital city of the ancient Kanesh Kingdom consists of a 21-meter high mound, mostly occupied by official and religious monumental buildings including palaces and temples, and a lower town settlement known as the “karum of Kaneš”. The mound exhibits a long cultural sequence of 18 building levels from the Early Bronze Age until the late Roman period, whereas the lower town contains four well-defined levels. Excavations at Kültepe directed for more than half a century by T. Özgüç and K. Emre have provided great contributions not only to the history of Anatolia but also to the ancient Near East. More than 22,000 cuneiform tablets unearthed in the merchants’ houses located in the lower city (karum) and in the mound revealed the social, political and economic life of the 19th and 18th centuries BC in central Anatolia and Upper Mesopotamia. These tablets, found in private archives, written in an Old Assyrian dialect, give an exceptional insight into a sophisticated market economy, representing one of the best-documented historical cases of ancient far distance trade in the world. As a result of this trade, the people of Kültepe have produced high-quality objects of art made of metal, clay, ivory, bone, faience and semi-precious stones. First term excavations have also provided important information about the development of the Early Bronze Age cultures that prepared this period and valuable clues about the relations between Kültepe and Anatolia with its neighbors. The new term multi-disciplinary excavations at Kültepe, which started in 2006, have also continued to provide important data that shed light not only on the archaeology, history and social developments in central Anatolia but also the earlier relations with Mesopotamia and Syria. Moreover, recent studies also provide information on why and how Kültepe was abandoned at the end of the Colonial Age and why Hittite culture, rooted in Kültepe, developed in Bo─čazköy instead of Kültepe.
Sponsored by: Institute for the Study of the Ancient World


Aspects of Literacy and Orality among Medieval Jews and Their Neighbors
Wednesday, 29 March 2017
4:30 PM
Robert Brody, Hebrew University
1879 Hall Religion Department Lounge, Princeton University
Robert Brody is professor emeritus of Talmud at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Best known for his work on the literature of the Babylonian Geonim, he has also published extensively on Mishnah and Tosefta as well as issues concerning the Babylonian Talmud and the textual history and editing of rabbinic literature. He is currently engaged in writing a commentary on tractate Ketubbot of the Babylonian Talmud.
Sponsored by: Committee for the Study of Late Antiquity, Princeton University


Egyptian versus Greek in Late Antique Egypt: The Struggle of Coptic for an Official Status
Wednesday, 29 March 2017
6:00 PM
Jean-Luc Fournet, College de France
ISAW Lecture Hall, NYC
Rostovtzeff Lecture Series, Lecture Two Registration is required at isaw.nyu.edu/rsvp This lecture will outline several possible reasons for the late development of official Coptic. Possible reasons include the nature of the language itself, the prestige enjoyed by the Greek language, the milieu of Coptic’s creation, and the longstanding distrust of the Greek-speaking State towards the legal use of Egyptian.
Sponsored by: Institute for the Study of the Ancient World


Jewish Culture and the Legacy of the Classical World
Wednesday, 29 March 2017
7:00 PM
Center for Jewish History , 15 West 16th Street, NYC
Welcome Remarks: Amanda Weiss (Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem), Jacob Wisse (Yeshiva University Museum), Alex Jassen (NYU) Presenters: Dan Bahat (Former Chief Archaeologist for the Jerusalem Region), Steven Fine (Yeshiva University), and Lawrence Schiffman (NYU) Moderator: Annette Yoshiko Reed (University of Pennsylvania) Tickets Required: https://www.nycharities.org/events/EventLevels.aspx?etid=9612
Sponsored by: Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies, NYU, American Friends of the Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem, Yeshiva University Museum


Did the Romans Have a Future?
Thursday, 30 March 2017
4:30 PM
Brent Shaw, Princeton University
Cohen Hall Room 402, University of Pennsylvania
The investigation offers no real answers, but asks many questions. Given the exigencies of the future needs of the Roman state in areas as diverse as army supply, the massing of currency, and arrangements for the settlement of legal claims, what sort of future was it for which the managers of the empire made provision? Were their concepts of futurity available to them in areas other than the computation of time? And what were some of the pragmatic effects of their ideas of the future?
Sponsored by: Department of Classical Studies, University of Pennsylvania


American and Muslim Worlds, ca. 1500–1900
Thursday, 30 March 2017
5:00 PM
http://www.mceas.org/americanandmuslimworlds/ Long before the age of twentieth-century geopolitics, the American and Muslim worlds informed, interacted, perplexed, inspired, confounded, and imagined each other in ways far more numerous than is frequently thought. Whether through the sale of American commodities in Central Asia, Ottoman consuls in Washington, orientalist themes in American fiction, the uprisings of enslaved Muslims in Brazil, or the travels of American missionaries to the Middle East there was no shortage of opportunities for Muslims and the inhabitants of the Americas to meet, interact, and shape one another from an early period. The McNeil Center has very limited seating capacity, so it has asked people to sign up in advance if they want to attend.
Sponsored by: McNeil Center for Early American Studies, Penn Libraries


An overlooked chapter in the history of Egyptology: W.E.B. Du Bois, Marcus Garvey
Thursday, 30 March 2017
6:15 PM
Vanessa Davies, University of California at Berkeley
Penn Museum Classroom 2, University of Pennsylvania
This talk looks at the understanding of ancient Egyptian culture in the works of three prominent black writers of the early 20th century. W.E.B. Du Bois and Marcus Garvey both incorporated a vision of ancient Egyptian culture into their writings. Attacking a common theory of their day, they used ancient Egyptian culture to argue for the humanity of black people, and they marshalled the evidence of Egypt’s glorious past to inspire black people in the Americas with feelings of hope and self-worth. They also engaged with the contemporary work of prominent archaeologists, a fact that has been lost in most histories of Egyptology. Pauline Hopkins’ novel Of One Blood places the reality of the racial discrimination and the racial “passing” of her day against the backdrop of ancient Egypt. The drama that plays out in the lives of her contemporary American characters is set against the backdrop of an ancient city which the characters encounter still thriving on the site of Meroë in what is today the Sudan. Hopkins uses her fictional world to address contemporary social realities. Like Du Bois, she advocates for the education of black Americans, and like Garvey, she constructs an African safe haven for her novel’s protagonist. Understanding these three writers’ treatments of ancient Egypt gives us a richer perspective on the history of the discipline of Egyptology.
Sponsored by: Archaeological Institute of America


The Black Queen of Sheba: The Circulation of an African Idea
Thursday, 30 March 2017
7:00 PM
Wendy Belcher, Princeton University
Cohen Hall Second Floor Lounge, University of Pennsylvania
Prof. Wendy Laura Belcher is an associate professor of medieval, early modern, and modern African literature with a joint appointment in the Princeton University departments of Comparative Literature and African American Studies. Her publications include Abyssinia's Samuel Johnson: Ethiopian Thought in the Making of an English Author (Oxford University Press, 2012) and The Life and Struggles of Our Mother Walatta Petros: A Seventeenth-Century African Biography of an Ethiopian Woman (Princeton University Press, 2015). Her current research project, The Black Queen of Sheba: The Global History of an African Idea, is about how medieval Ethiopians wrote an entire book about the biblical figures of Solomon and Sheba, in 1322, and how this story circulated around the world, influencing art and literature in Europe and the Americas for centuries, and even becoming the founding text of a new religion, the Rastafari. There are no pre-circulated readings for this talk. As usual, the talk will be held from 7pm-9pm in the Second Floor Lounge of Cohen Hall, and those who wish to join us for dinner before should meet at 6pm in the Lounge to walk over together to Houston Hall, or just find us in the food court at Houston thereafter.
Sponsored by: Philadelphia Seminar on Christian Origins


Roman Gordion: Rediscovering a Lost Military Base
Friday, 31 March 2017
12:00 PM
Andrew Goldman, Gonzaga University
Penn Museum Classroom 2, University of Pennsylvania
Sponsored by: Graduate Group in Art and Archaeology of the Mediterranean World, University of Pennsylvania


Tiberius from Myth to History
Friday, 31 March 2017
4:30 PM
Edward Champlin, Princeton University
Rhys Carpenter Library Room B21, Bryn Mawr College
Sponsored by: Department of Greek, Latin and Classical Studies, Bryn Mawr College


The Berlin Painter and His World
Saturday, 1 April 2017
9:30 AM
McCormick Hall Room 101, Princeton University
http://www.princeton.edu/visualresources/berlin-painter/schedule/
Sponsored by: Department of Art and Archaeology, Princeton University, Princeton University Art Museum


Pausanias' Thebes: City of Quotations
Monday, 3 April 2017
4:00 PM
Greta Hawes, Australian National University and Center for Hellenic Studies
Anderson Hall Room 821, Temple University
Sponsored by: Department of Greek and Roman Classics, Temple University


Rhyme’s Reason: Translating the Qur’an’s (Most) Important Features
Monday, 3 April 2017
5:00 PM
Shawkat M. Toorawa, Yale University
Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Room 241, University of Pennsylvania
2017 Trehan Lecture in Islamic Studies
Sponsored by: Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, University of Pennsylvania


Endangered Archaeology in the Middle East and North Africa
Tuesday, 4 April 2017
12:30 PM
Robert Bewley, University of Oxford
Penn Museum Room 345, University of Pennsylvania
The archaeological heritage of the Middle East and North Africa is of huge global significance. It includes very large, and often unrecorded landscapes, with significant prehistoric, classical period and historic sites, including twentieth century sites. The Endangered Archaeology in the Middle East and North Africa (EAMENA) project is discovering and recording archaeological sites and assessing threats to these sites, using satellite imagery and aerial photographs. This lecture will present the approach, initial results and future strategies for the project. An open-access web-based information system is being designed to allow basic information about each site to be easily accessible for anyone interested in preserving archaeological sites in the region. The biggest threats to these archaeological sites are agricultural activities, road and dam building, conflict zones, looting and the huge increase in village, town and urban expansion, as a result of the quickly rising populations. http://www.pennchc.org/page/Bewley2017
Sponsored by: Penn Cultural Heritage Center


New Frontiers in the Protection of Cultural Heritage
Tuesday, 4 April 2017
5:00 PM
Penn Museum Harrison Auditorium, University of Pennsylvania
Keynote Panel Registration Required: https://www.penn.museum/calendar/eventdetail/555/preservation-of-art-and-culture-in-times-of-war-public-keynote-panel-new-frontiers-in-the-protection-of-cultural-heritage Recent legal conventions have given the effort to preserve cultural property new tools and new vigor. At the same time, attacks on cultural property—led by non-state actors and motivated by religious intolerance, national chauvinism, or greed—have become fiercer, with some insurgent groups attempting to obliterate places of national importance in an effort to re-write cultural history. Taking into account the perspectives of art, archaeology, history, law, and the military, how must preservation efforts change in response to armed conflict in the 21st century? Dr. Richard Leventhal, Director of the Penn Museum’s Penn Center for Cultural Heritage, moderates a wide-ranging discussion with panelists: Karima Bennoune, Professor of International Law, University of California-Davis School of Law and United Nations Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights; Derek Gillman, Distinguished Teaching Professor, Westphal College of Media Arts & Design, Drexel University, and Former Executive Director and President, Barnes Foundation; Sir Richard Goldstone, former judge, Appellate Division, Supreme Court of South Africa; Irina Bokova, Director-General, UNESCO; and Shamila Batohi, Senior Legal Advisor to the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court.
Sponsored by: Penn Cultural Heritage Center


Constructing Sacred Space: A Career Celebration for Robert Ousterhout
Friday, 7 April 2017
3:00 PM
Penn Museum Widener Lecture Hall, University of Pennsylvania
http://www.sas.upenn.edu/arthistory/events/constructing-sacred-space-career-celebration-robert-ousterhout
Sponsored by: Department of the History of Art, University of Pennsylvania


Violence and Mercy on the Ancient Frontier
Friday, 21 April 2017
4:00 PM
Noel Lenski, Yale University
Weaver Building Room 102, Penn State University
Sponsored by: Department of Classics & Ancient Mediterranean Studies, Penn State