Over recent years there has been a gradual renewal of interest in the events that led to the fall of the Roman Republic and the establishment of the Principate. This interest has involved not only the traditional study of the course of events, but also the literary representations of this political and socio-economic revolution. There has been a fundamental re-evaluation of the literary production of Vergil and his contemporaries, the rediscovery of Caesar as both author and statesman, and a new appreciation of the evidence offered by Appian.
An international workshop will take place in Margherita di Savoia on 21-23 September 2012. Situated upon the Adriatic coastline of Puglia, the venue offers the chance to consider and discuss the events that happened 2,000 years ago as they were reflected by the ancients themselves. At this very spot large armies continuously crossed, or attempted to cross, from the Italian peninsula to Greece or vice versa. Three days of round-table discussions will be accompanied by public gatherings in the evening and excursions to nearby archaeological sites. The workshop will involve scholars specialising in Classics and Ancient History and aims to appeal to relatively young scholars and be internationally representative.
Key-note speakers will include Kathryn Welch (Sydney), Ida Östenberg (Gothenburg), Jonathan Price (Tel Aviv), Christopher Smith (Rome), and Anton Powell (Swansea).
It is to be expected that many participants will be younger, emerging scholars. Colleagues are invited to submit an abstract of 300-400 words and a one-page CV by 31 March 2012.
Any ancient literary or visual representation of the Roman civil wars of the 40s and 30s BCE is welcome.
Some suggestions of topics to consider are the following:
- The Civil Wars in Latin and Greek poetry, as a theme and in implicit allusions
- Representation of battle-scenes across genres and media
- Employment of special images and unique vocabulary in descriptions of the Civil Wars
- The Civil Wars in the world of Greek Imperial authors
- Analogies between the transitional period from Republic to Principate and other periods in Greek and Roman history
From the announcements mail out of the ASCS Hon Sec. Bruce Marshall, comes this call for papers.
South Italy, Sicily and the Mediterranean: Cultural Interactions Conference
The conference will be held at the Museo Italiano in Carlton, Melbourne between 17th and 21st July, 2012.
Hosted by the Centre for Greek Studies and the A.D. Trendall Research Centre for Ancient Mediterranean Studies at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia, this conference will focus on the movement of people and interactions of culture in the region of Southern Italy and Sicily from antiquity until the present. This inter-disciplinary conference seeks to foster critical analysis of geographical and chronological interconnections between Southern Italy, Sicily and the Mediterranean. Consideration of cultural interaction, population movements, and changing religious and philosophical ideas over a period of approximately 3000 years will prompt scholarly discussion around continuity and change over time in this region of the Mediterranean.
Abstracts of 300 words are being sought from academics and graduate students. Abstracts should be sent to Sarah Midford at firstname.lastname@example.org before 6th February 2012. Papers will be programmed into 30 minute timeslots and should be no longer than 20 minutes.
South Italy, Sicily and the Mediterranean: Cultural Interactions Conference, Melbourne 17-21st July 2012: http://www.latrobe.edu.au/humanities/about/events/cultural-interactions-conference/
From the CLASSICISTS mailing list:
September 6th – 8th, 2012, University of Glasgow, UK: ‘The Legacy of the Roman Republican Senate’
Republican Rome has been a powerful and contested constitutional model in the western political tradition. But the Senate is a relatively neglected element in the model. This symposium, supported financially by the British Academy, will explore the roles that the Senate has played in the development of politics, political culture and constitutional theory since the end of the Roman Republic.
Papers on any aspect of the use, abuse and analysis of the Republican Senate from the Roman Empire onwards are welcome. Particular areas of interest may include the role of the Republican Senate in early modern and modern political theory; the emergence of distinctive thinking regarding two-chamber legislatures and the extent to which these reflected awareness of Roman precedents; reference to Roman ideals in the responses to both the American and the French Revolutions; the use in these Revolutions of visual symbolism derived from the Roman Senate; and the development of new vernacular vocabularies to re-evaluate and apply political concepts derived from the classical Latin of the Roman Senate.
Keynote speakers include Dean Hammer (Franklin and Marshall College), Thomas Munck (University of Glasgow), Carl Richard (University of Louisiana at Lafayette) and Matthew Roller (Johns Hopkins University).
Abstracts (350 words max) for 30 minute papers should be sent to the organiser, Catherine Steel (email@example.com) by March 31st 2012.
This has been reported quite widely in recent days, usually concentrating on the negative comparison with the modern USA (e.g. see the HuffPo link at the bottom). I’m not really qualified to comment on the methodology to determined the income distribution of the Roman empire as outlined below. However despite being a socialist, and grievously upset about the situation of the so-called “one percent” in modern society, I can’t really believe that Rome had less economic equality than any modern OECD nation. Rome was a pretty unequal place and wedded to a pretty snobby class system (despite that, some former slaves were able to become quite rich – and some senatorial families had to be given money by Augustus to meet his newly increased property qualifications for the Senate, e.g. see Suetonius Augustus 41). And I’m not quite sure a full distinction is being made here between income and asset valuations. But, I guess this is possible; maybe the on-going ‘financialistion’ of the entire economy since the 1980s (the one that created the sub-prime crisis) has resulted in these massive concentrations of wealth in a way that just was not possible in ancient Rome.
To determine the size of the Roman economy and the distribution of income, historians Walter Schiedel and Steven Friesen pored over papyri ledgers, previous scholarly estimates, imperial edicts, and Biblical passages. Their target was the state of the economy when the empire was at its population zenith, around 150 C.E. Schiedel and Friesen estimate that the top 1 percent of Roman society controlled 16 percent of the wealth, less than half of what America’s top 1 percent control.
(Via Huffington Post.)
WARNING: POLITICS AND RELIGION
There has been a lot of virtual ink spilt over the few days about Christopher Hitchens’ death. Much mourning of this supposed great warrior for atheist reason. However, much of that overlooks his articulation of a disgusting, triumphant, political ideology – namely, his obscene cheering for the Iraq war and his absolute support for the Bush/Cheney criminal gang, and the implications that his atheism has within the particularly repulsive world view that he held.
I thought Guy Rundle in Crikey put it best when he linked the atheist book (of “sociological interest” at best) to Hitchens’ support for the ultra-right-wing project of ever-escalating genocide against the bogey man of “Islamofascism”. Any level of body count was justified in Hitchens’ reasoning. The fact that the “post political” crowd cheered on his atheist ranting while completely ignoring the human and social implications of his actual political ideology shows up the paucity of depth in the approach of that particular project. At the mourning of him from that sector has deeply alienated me from their project. My atheism is simply not the central core of my political ideology. I’m not siding with fascism and fascists, especially lapsed Trotskites, just because some of them might be atheists! Like the hard Catholic Right of the ALP or the Protestant loonies of the conservative factions, Hitch shows that to make the issue of religion (for or against) a core part of one’s political articulation leads to the worst possible political ideologies.
From the CLASSICISTS mailing list.
BODIES OF EVIDENCE: RE-DEFINING APPROACHES TO THE ANATOMICAL VOTIVE
A conference to be held at the British School at Rome, 5th June 2012
Organised by: Dr Jane Draycott (BSR, University of Nottingham), Dr Emma-
Jayne Graham (University of Leicester)
From Pharaonic Egypt to Roman Italy and from Classical Greece to the
Byzantine world, anatomical votives have performed a continuous, if poorly
understood, role in ritual and votive practice. Modern scholarship has
categorised as ‘anatomical’ a range of ex-votos, made largely but not
exclusively from terracotta, which depict parts of the body. These arms,
legs, eyes, fingers, hands, feet, uteri, genitals, internal organs and
other recognisable parts of the internal and external body have attracted
much attention from scholars exploring both past religion and health
alike. Nevertheless, the category of ‘anatomical offering’ remains
noticeably ill-defined and remains to be integrated fully into the study
of ritual, artefacts and the body. This conference will ask how we should
define and interpret the ‘anatomical’ votive. Is a veiled portrait plaque
an anatomical votive? Is a foot or a hand a distinct anatomical votive if
it was constructed in such a way as to allow it to be connected to another
part of the body? Indeed, to what extent can we consider a model of the
whole body an anatomical votive if it was used to request general healing
of a non-specific illness? Whilst feet and ears appear to fall easily into
this class should we perhaps also consider other offerings, such as
statuettes of the entire body and swaddled babies from a similar
perspective? This workshop will bring together scholars working upon the
anatomical offering in its broadest sense from across prehistoric, ancient
and medieval contexts in order to explore and refine our understanding of
this phenomenon. What were anatomical votives for, what did they represent
to those who dedicated, encountered or made them, and what factors
influenced the selection of a particular item? In particular we will be
concerned with what these offerings reveal, not only about past religious
and medical contexts and practices, but also about identity, society,
politics and concepts or constructions of the human body.
We invite papers which address these issues from the standpoint of
archaeology, ancient history, classics and history of medicine, as well as
medieval history and welcome contributions focused upon Italic, Greek,
Near Eastern, Egyptian and other European or Mediterranean contexts.
Topics may include but are not limited to:
- What is an anatomical votive? Are whole bodies anatomical or only
fragments? Can they also be a work of art, an ornament, a keepsake or a
substitute for something else? How might the anatomical be conceived as an
item with multiple levels of meaning?
- The fragmentation, reconstitution or realignment of the body: the
anatomical offering as a proxy for the body or its constituent parts;
miniaturisation; the intact body as an anatomical votive; (re)creating a
body from individual pieces; the relationship between concepts of the body
as expressed by anatomical offerings and the treatment of the component
parts of the cult statue, other representations of the human or divine
form, or the living body.
- Standard forms and individuality: evidence for individualism or artistic
embellishment and its consequences; the process of commissioning an ex-
voto and the potential for customisation; the anatomical votive as a work
of art as well as a religious/medical object; the role of the manufacturer.
- Change through time and space: developing attitudes, practices and
medical concerns; can we treat objects recovered from diverse cultural and
historical contexts as a standard an expression of the same phenomenon?
- Medicine, pathology and retrospective diagnosis: distinguishing between
concerns for general health and specific complaints; when did scholars
begin to use these items to facilitate diagnosis and how has that
influenced academic discourse on the subject and the definition of this
category of object?
- The anatomical offering and the divine: connections with specific
deities; defining the sanctuary through its votives; when is a healing
sanctuary a healing sanctuary and not simply a shrine? How do more nuanced
interpretations of ‘anatomical’ affect these issues?
- The interpretation of discrete collections of material: deposits that
contain restricted forms of anatomical offering; the juxtaposition of
terracotta and metal ex-votos in discrete contexts.
- Reception of the anatomical votive: the impact of modern academic
discourse on their classification and interpretation; have scholars been
too focused on the detail of the traditional anatomical offering at the
expense of the broader picture? Links with the development of other areas
of study such as magic, gender, women, medicine; discovery, publication
Diverse methodologies are encouraged, although proposals should be written
to appeal to a wide range of disciplines.
Dr Ralph Jackson (British Museum)
Prof. Olivier de Cazanove (Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne)
Dr. Jessica Hughes (Open University)
Papers should be of 20 minutes’ length, and should not have been
previously published or delivered at a major conference. Abstracts of
approximately 250 words should be submitted by Monday 13th February.
Successful contributions may be considered for publication in a peer-
reviewed conference volume.
Jane Draycott (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Emma-Jayne Graham (email@example.com)
From CLASSICISTS mailing list:
Pluralising the Past: Truth, Belief and Fictionality in Tragedy and
Celtic Conference in Classics, Bordeaux,
5-8 September, 2012
We would like to invite papers (40 minutes in length) for the above panel at
the 2012 Celtic Conference in Classics. Abstracts (max. 300 words) of proposed
papers should be sent to the panel convenors (details below) by 5pm on Monday,
6 February 2012
SUMMARY OF PANEL
The Greek historiographers repeatedly stress the importance of truth to
history, but they believe in myth, distort facts for nationalistic or
moralising purposes, and omit events which we consider crucial to a truthful
account of the past. Greek tragedy, meanwhile, creates versions of a shared
past that are often sharply at variance with one another. It has often been
suggested that historiography is a branch of rhetoric and that a truthful
account of the past is impossible, while Greek tragedy has often been co-
opted as a paradigm of storytelling and fictionality, but did the producers or
consumers of history and tragedy believe these stories? Work on fictionality in
recent decades has drawn on more relaxed notions of truth, coming out of modal
logic, but the problematic status of Greek myth has often been elided,
particularly in relation to tragedy. This panel investigates the hypothesis of
a pluralistic concept of truth, one where different versions of the same
historical event can all be true, and explores the consequences for our
understanding of culture, Greek or otherwise. This panel invites papers from a
range of theoretical perspectives that discuss truth, belief and fictionality
in relation to individual historians or tragedians, or more generally in
either or both of the genres.
Lisa Irene Hau and Ian Ruffell, University of Glasgow
Emily Baragwanath, University of North Carolina;
Catherine Darbo-Peschanski, École des hautes études en sciences sociales;
Matthew Fox, University of Glasgow;
Nicholas Wiater, University of St. Andrews;
Matthew Wright, University of Exeter.
ABOUT THE CELTIC CONFERENCE IN CLASSICS
The Celtic Conference in has taken place biennially at different
universities in Scotland, Wales, Ireland, and France since 2000 under the
leadership of its founder, Anton Powell. The conference has a good publication
record, and we are intending to collect the papers from the Pluralising the
Past panel into a publishable volume. The complete panel will consist of 15-16
speakers and will run in parallel with 9 panels on other topics at the
Caractacus: An Interdisciplinary Symposium
Sunday 18th March 2012, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Victoria Rooms, University of Bristol
Sir Edward Elgar’s 1898 cantata Caractacus explores patriotism and imperialism through historical re-imagining of early British resistance to the Roman empire.
Two Bristol University Institutes, the Centre for the History of Music in Britain, the Empire and the Commonwealth, and the Institute for Greece, Rome and the Classical Tradition, have collaborated to produce this symposium on Caractacus from antiquity to the nineteenth century, and beyond. The speakers (listed below) will deliver papers from a range of perspectives – archaeology, art history, classics, history, music and reception – to promote interdisciplinary discussion on the uses of the past for both aesthetic and ideological purposes.
The symposium will follow a performance of the cantata by the University Choral Society and Symphony Orchestra on the previous evening: tickets cost £10-15 (details below). The Sunday symposium will incorporate a question and answer session with the conductor, John Pickard. Caractacus, a substantial full-length work is rarely performed, and has never before been discussed in such an interdisciplinary forum. It will appeal to researchers working in Music, Classical Reception, and Colonialism, and to anyone interested in choral performance, history, and the British and Roman Empires.
Attendance at the symposium is free. Tea and coffee is included, but those attending will have to arrange and pay for their own lunch. Two postgraduate bursaries will be available to enable students from other universities to attend this event. Students wishing to apply for these should send a short outline of their research interests, and a reference from their supervisor, to Ellen O’Gorman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Booking for the symposium is available at
Professor Tim Barringer (Paul Mellon Professor of the History of Art, Yale University):
“An English Hero: Paradoxes of Nation and Empire in Elgar’s Caractacus”
Professor Stephen Banfield (Stanley Hugh Badock Professor of Music, University of Bristol):
“Caractacus in music before Elgar: reflections of the first British empire?”
Professor Richard Hingley (Professor of Archaeology, University of Durham):
“Caractacus as a historical and archaeological figure”
Dr. Ellen O’Gorman (Senior Lecturer in Classics, University of Bristol):
“Caractacus and barbarian character in Latin literature”
Professor Julian Rushton (Emeritus Professor of Music, University of Leeds):
“Making Elgar’s Caractacus”
Saturday 17 March, 7.30pm
Bristol University Choral Society and Symphony Orchestra
Conductor: John Pickard
Marianne Cotterill (Soprano)
Luke Price (Tenor)
Niall Hoskin (Baritone)
Stephen Foulkes (Baritone)
Elgar: Caractacus, Op.35
Concert generously supported by Elgar in Performance and The Elgar Society (Great Western Branch)
Balcony £15 (concessions £10)
Stalls £10 (concessions £7)
Earthenware and terra cotta (Latin terra cocta ‘cooked earth’) are too rough for when the vicar comes for tea. That’s the time to bring out the fine translucent ceramics. Porcelain fits the bill, refined, delicate and civilised as it is. No earth in its etymology, just French porcelaine from Italian porcellana, the name of the Venus shell, the cowrie, its polished surface the very model of chinaware’s smooth perfection.
But porcellana owes its origin to Latin porcellus, diminutive of porcus, a pig. Now it’s easy to see where pork comes from or how a porcupine is a spiny pig (porcus + spina), but porcelain and pigs?
Stop reading at this point if you are embarrassed by explicit reference to matters sexual. Instead you could look up porcus 2 in OLD which coyly says ‘(see quot.)’, omitting a translation.
An excellent written tour of ancient Roman toilets found around Italy (Pompeii, Herculaneum, Rome, Ostia).
When you visit sites of ancient Roman civilization, it’s hard to know where to look first: Temples, markets, brothels and baths all draw the eye and the imagination. But if you really want to know what it was like to live in ancient Rome, you may want to consider the humble toilet.
(Via Oregon Live.)
P.S. The author’s byline reads:
After writing a creative nonfiction master’s thesis about Portland sewage, Lisa Ekman wanted to know more about toilets: their forms, their functions, and their origins. Lisa blogs about sewage and other subjects at www.lisaekman.com.