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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Giving to the Gods: Votive Offerings and Magic at Roman Sardis in Turkey
Sunday, 19 February 2017
2:00 PM
Jane DeRose Evans, Temple University
Penn Museum Classroom 2, University of Pennsylvania
Since the beginning of coinage in the west, people have given their gold, silver and bronze coins to the gods. At Roman Sardis, ancient capital of the Lydian king Croesus, legendary for his wealth, two archaeological deposits give us insight into some of these practices: one contains coins that the worshiper made certain only the gods could use; the second worshiper manipulated coins to appeal to the gods of the mountains and the storms. Both deposits give us insight into the blurry line between standard religious practices and magical practices, as well as helping us to understand the political and economic fortunes of the city. Lecture will be followed by an optional gallery tour of Magic in the Ancient World led by exhibition curators Robert Ousterhout and Grant Frame. Sardis has been excavated by American archaeologists in collaboration with Turkish authorities since 1910. The current campaign was initiated in 1958 by George Hanfmann of Harvard University, followed by Crawford H. Greenewalt, jr., and continues under Prof. Nicholas Cahill. For full details see www.sardisexpedition.org/en/essays/about-sardis-expedition
Sponsored by: Archaeological Institute of America


Race and Place: the Japanese American Internment and Public Culture
Monday, 20 February 2017
12:00 PM
Stephanie Takaragawa, Chapman University
Penn Museum Room 345, University of Pennsylvania
This paper analyzes the history of the representation of Japanese-Americans to unpack issues of race and its shifting boundaries in contemporary American culture. Utilizing the discourse around the Japanese-American internment from WWII to the present, this paper looks at the political, economic and cultural implications of the mass incarceration of one racial group in the past, and its implications on public culture today.
Sponsored by: Department of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania


Documents and Institutions in the Late Ancient and Medieval Worlds: A Workshop
Monday, 20 February 2017
12:30 PM
Frist, Geniza Lab Room 220, Princeton University
Please email oruganti@princeton.edu to RSVP February 20, 2017 12:30 pm–5:30 pm February 21, 2017 9:30 pm–5:30 pm
Sponsored by: Department of Near Eastern Studies, Princeton


Premodern Arabic Biographical Collections: A Digital Approach
Monday, 20 February 2017
4:00 PM
Maxim Romanov, Computer Science Institute
Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Class of 1955 Conference Room (241), University of Pennsylvania
Digital Humanities Job Talk
Sponsored by: Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, University of Pennsylvania


The Transformation of the East Asian Maritime World in the 16th-17th Centuries
Monday, 20 February 2017
5:00 PM
Richard von Glahn, UCLA
Stiteler Hall Room B26, University of Pennsylvania
In the mid-sixteenth century three new developments fundamentally reshaped the international economy of East Asia: the rapid growth of China's domestic economy, spurring commercialization and intensifying the demand for silver as a monetary medium; the arrival of the Portuguese and the formation of a global economy linking Asia, Europe, and Spain's colonial empire in the Americas; and the emergence of "port polity" emporia that derived their economic strength and political independence from maritime trade rather than agrarian produce and revenues. These developments had profound repercussions for trade networks, merchant communities, and commodity production, and also for political power and cultural exchange. The powerful lure of trade undermined the Ming tributary trade system, leading to the abrogation of the maritime trade embargo in 1567. Rapid growth in East Asian maritime trade—lubricated by the flow of Japanese and American silver to China—fostered the development of new institutional mechanisms for conducting international trade. Port polities such as Ryukyu in the Okinawan archipelago, the Nguyen regime in central Vietnam, the tomo daimyo in Kyushu, and the Zheng thalassocracy in coastal China sprang up to seize economic and political advantage from these changed circumstances—and (for a time, at least) offered an alternative to the Chinese model of the bureaucratically-ruled agrarian empire. Penn Humanities Colloquium
Sponsored by: Center for East Asian Studies, University of Pennsylvania


An Emotional Anthology of Style: Glasgow Hunterian MS V.8.14.
Monday, 20 February 2017
5:15 PM
Rita Copeland, University of Pennsylvania
Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Class of 1978 Pavilion Kislak Center, University of Pennsylvania
How did medieval teaching identify the “literary” or “literature” as a particular quality to be achieved and imitated? What was the role of style in defining the realm of the “literary”? I will address these questions through a material context: a modest anthology from the thirteenth century, MS Glasgow, Hunterian, MS V.8.15. This teaching collection, devoted to rhetorical manuals and poems that illustrate rhetorical technique, expresses its interests in terms quite different from what we associate with better known and prestigious poetic anthologies such as the Codex Buranus as well as other teaching collections. The Glasgow anthology reveals its motives in terms that are at once material and metaliterary. It represents itself as a material witness to a period of innovataive teaching, and it signals a moment at which medieval rhetoric recognizes itself as the instrument for theorizing literary style as the engine of emotion.
Sponsored by: Workshop in the History of Material Texts, Penn


Modeling embodied experience in the Peripatetic Mechanica
Monday, 20 February 2017
6:00 PM
Courtney Roby, Cornell University
Hamilton Hall Room 503, Columbia University
The Peripatetic text typically called Mechanica or Mechanical Problems was long attributed to Aristotle, though confidence in his authorship later dwindled and it is usually now more cautiously attributed to a later member of the Peripatetic school. The Mechanica is framed for the most part as a series of questions about mechanical principles and devices, ranging from the fundamental and abstract (as when the author asks why the lever allows small forces to move large weights) to the particular and applied (as when he asks why beds are typically built with a certain form factor). These are answered with reference to geometrical analogues, diagrams, real-world observables and thought-experiments, often composites of results about simpler systems explored elsewhere in the work. Because so many of the scenarios described in the Mechanica are located in a “real world” context of lived experience rather than an abstract world of idealized objects, the author is often compelled to confront the gulf between experience and ideal. Rather than reducing mechanical systems down to parameters that can be reproducibly measured only on exquisitely specialized laboratory equipment, the author asks questions prompted by everyday observations about the world he and his notional reader actually live in. This world is populated by sailors, laborers, and merchants; it is filled with a host of interesting objects ranging from ships at sea to the frame of the human body. These objects are radically more complex than the classical mechanician’s pendulum just by virtue of existing in a mundane context rather than a laboratory, so that the author must develop a whole range of strategies for representing them in the text and explaining their behavior. The explanatory models used in the Mechanica are framed as narratives that enable the reader to participate in mental-model construction in several different ways. The use of lettered diagrams throughout enables a conceptual shift into geometry’s domain of rigorous proofs even on complex systems. Many of the text’s acts of mental modeling are guided by deliberately including vivid real-world details alongside their geometrical “skeletons,” even invoking the tacit knowledge of embodied experience. Problems in this vein ask the reader to imagine quotidian activities like standing up from a sitting position as well as (mercifully) less common experiences like having a tooth yanked out with a forceps. Bodily scenarios like this offer the reader a kinesthetically vivid understanding of leverage, invoking his intuitive, experientially-derived memory of the power a given force can exert. The combination of abstraction and universality on the one hand, and the vivid memory of lived bodily experience on the other, make these passages compelling thought-experiments. The author balances the complexity of embodied experience with a model of the body reduced down to the elements most essential for understanding the rich variety of phenomena he investigates.
Sponsored by: Department of Classics, Columbia


Greek in the Shell: Manuscripts, the Machine, and the Born-digital
Tuesday, 21 February 2017
5:00 PM
James Brusuelas, Oxford University
Stiteler Hall Room B26, University of Pennsylvania
The talk will cover Dr. Brusuelas' work with Greek fragments as a Classicist and the digital approaches employed in both the Ancient Lives and Proteus projects, as well as preview some very recent collaborative work regarding advanced imaging and 3D modelling of Herculaneum fragments.
Sponsored by: Department of Classical Studies, University of Pennsylvania, School of Arts and Sciences, University of Pennsylvania


Fantastical Space and Heroic Journeys in Mesopotamian Literature
Tuesday, 21 February 2017
6:00 PM
Gina Konstantopoulos, ISAW Visiting Assistant Professor
ISAW ISAW Lecture Hall, NYC
Sumerian literary texts from the Old Babylonian period (ca. 1800 BCE) are often stories with larger-than-life protagonists, featuring warriors, heroes, and kings – and occasionally individuals who manage to be all three at once. While many texts, such as those concerning the warrior Gilgamesh, are centered around a climatic battle or other martial events, they also incorporate a journey into the structure of the narrative. These journeys, a common feature of both literary texts and royal inscriptions, allow the narrative to transition to a more fantastical setting, and thus better accommodate the expanded heroic actions of the narrative. The distant and faraway nature of these spaces, however, is more complicated, as the more fantastical depictions of these locations must also exist within the framework of the real interactions that are also depicted within the cuneiform record. Thus, while the Cedar Forest may have existed as a set piece for the combat between Gilgamesh, Enkidu, and the monstrous Huwawa, that literary battle is forced to overlap with facts of trade and military conquest. In this case, this tension is centered on the region's eponymous cedars, used in the building of temples and which Gilgamesh, as well as the more historical kings of Mesopotamia, campaigned or traveled to possess. In other locations, we see a similar intersection between the literary use of distant lands and their more historical realities.
Sponsored by: Institute for the Study of the Ancient World


Translating the Odyssey: AGAIN?
Thursday, 23 February 2017
4:30 PM
Emily Wilson, University of Pennsylvania
Cohen Hall Room 402, University of Pennsylvania
I will discuss my work in producing a new verse translation with introduction of the Odyssey, forthcoming from Norton (November 2017). The obvious question about any new translation of an already-much-translated and hyper-canonical text is, ‘Why do we need another one?’ My talk will focus on the ways that my version of the poem is different from other available English translations, in both formal and interpretative ways. I will include discussion of translation theory, and of the methodological and practical challenges involved in recreating this archaic text for twenty-first century readers.
Sponsored by: Department of Classical Studies, University of Pennsylvania


Lighting the Great Mosque of Cordoba: A Digital Reconstruction of Vision and Memory for 10th century CE Interiors
Thursday, 23 February 2017
5:30 PM
Renata Holod, University of Pennsylvania
Tuttleman Hall Room 105, Temple University
Intersecting polylobed arcades of Andalusia, whether in structural actuality or as ornamental designs, have been taken as geometric exercises within the setting of Umayyad and Taifa period productions, or later as markers of superior ‘Moorish’ craftsmanship on Iberian or Moroccan soil. Yet, the roots for the genesis of these arcades and patterns may lie in an entirely different sector of experience. This paper proposes a different source for the genesis of these constructions, a source located within the experience, cognitive recall and the arts of memory. Preparatory work for the study has been carried out and published with the Digital Media Design group of the School of Engineering, UPenn: (http://repository.upenn.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1629&context=cis_papers). A subsequent iteration of this exploration with expanded and corrected results was developed through the UPENN School of Design. The version presented in this lecture is a further refinement on these results.
Sponsored by: Tyler School of Art, Temple University


Recontextualizing Nilotic Scenes: Interactive Landscapes in the Garden of the Casa dell’Efebo, Pompeii
Friday, 24 February 2017
11:00 AM
Caitlin Barrett, Cornell University
Italian Academy , Columbia University
Despite long-standing scholarly interest in Roman “Aegyptiaca,” much work remains to be done to contextualize Egyptian or Egyptian-style material culture found in domestic settings. This need is especially pressing for “Nilotic scenes,” or wall paintings and mosaics depicting the Nile. While previous studies have identified general areas in ancient houses where such imagery was common, many questions remain open concerning the relationships between these Egyptian landscapes and their surrounding architectural installations, decorative ensembles, and artifactual assemblages. This talk employs the frescoes from the garden triclinium of the Casa dell’Efebo, Pompeii, as a case study in the recontextualization of “Nilotica.” In contrast to older interpretations emphasizing Isis cult or anti-Egyptian stereotypes, a contextual analysis of this garden installation suggests new possibilities. Even as the Egyptian landscapes introduce a seemingly exotic element into domestic space, other aspects of the garden setting familiarize and domesticate the imagery. Simultaneously far away and familiar, the imagined landscapes of the garden transform domestic space into a microcosm ofoikoumene and encourage viewers to engage in multiple possible ways with changing constructions of imperial, local, and cultural identities.
Sponsored by: Center for the Ancient Mediterranean


The Futures of Medieval Historiography
Friday, 24 February 2017
2:00 PM
Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Kislak Center, University of Pennsylvania
Website: https://www.english.upenn.edu/conferences/futures-medieval-historiography
Sponsored by: Department of English, University of Pennsylvania


The Deviant Daughters of Miletus: Foundation Myths in Ionia
Friday, 24 February 2017
4:30 PM
Naoise Mac Sweeney, University of Leicester, UK
Rhys Carpenter Library Room B21, Bryn Mawr College
Sponsored by: Department of Greek, Latin and Classical Studies, Bryn Mawr College


CAS Graduate Student Conference: Alcohol in the Ancient World (2/24–2/25)
Friday, 24 February 2017
6:00 PM
Penn Museum Rainey Auditorium (2/24); Widener Lecture Hall (2/25), University of Pennsylvania
http://www.sas.upenn.edu/ancient/grad-conf.html
Sponsored by: Center for Ancient Studies, Penn Museum, GAPSA


Cosmos, East and West: Astral Sciences in South and East Asia and Their Interaction with the Greco-Roman World
Monday, 27 February 2017
9:30 AM
ISAW ISAW Lecture Hall, NYC
http://isaw.nyu.edu/events/cosmos-east-west Registration is required at isaw.nyu.edu/rsvp
Sponsored by: Institute for the Study of the Ancient World


Time and Cosmos in Greco-Roman Astrology
Monday, 27 February 2017
6:00 PM
Stephan Heilen, University of Osnabrück
ISAW ISAW Lecture Hall, NYC
Registration is required at isaw.nyu.edu/rsvp This lecture will consist of a brief introduction to the historical development and the main characteristics of Greco-Roman astrology, to be followed by a survey of the theoretical and practical importance of accurate time-measurement in the practice of horoscopy and other astrological applications. The practice of horoscopy will be illustrated with references to the relevant objects in the exhibition, which brings together the most representative collection ever of the material remains of Greco-Roman astrology. Additional pictures of a few objects that couldn’t be included in the exhibition will round off the survey. While this lecture will focus on individual birth horoscopes, other forms of horoscopy (elections, interrogations and medical astrology) as well as astrological time-rulership will also be addressed.
Sponsored by: Institute for the Study of the Ancient World


Creating a Narrative of the Kushan Empire
Wednesday, 1 March 2017
4:30 PM
Xinru Liu, The College of New Jersey
Perry World House Global Policy Lab, University of Pennsylvania
Sponsored by: South Asia Center, University of Pennsylvania


Gathering Aesop: Demetrius of Phalerum and the First Collection of Aesop's Fables
Monday, 6 March 2017
4:00 PM
Jeremy Lefkowitz, Swarthmore College
Anderson Hall Room 821, Temple University
Sponsored by: Department of Greek and Roman Classics, Temple University


Cognitive Geometries: Using Diagrams in the Middle Ages
Monday, 20 March 2017
5:30 PM
Mary J. Carruthers, New York University
Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Kislak Center, University of Pennsylvania
2017 A.S.W. Rosenbach Lectures in Bibliography Monday, March 20, 2017: "Geometry and the Topics of Invention" Tuesday, March 21, 2017: "The Shapes of Creativity 1: Trees, Towers, Buildings" Thursday, March 23, 2017: "The Shapes of Creativity 2: Hands, Spheres, Cubits" http://www.library.upenn.edu/exhibits/lectures/rosenbachs.html
Sponsored by: Penn Libraries