CONF: Ancient Philosophy Conference

Seen on the Classicists list:

Myth and Literature in Ancient Philosophy
Faculty of Classics,
University of Cambridge
15-16 April 2011

For more details or to register please visit the conference website.


Friday, 15 April

1330-1500 Keynote: Prof Catherine Osborne (University of East Anglia), ‘Literary Genres and Judgements of Taste: Aristotle on Empedocles and Plato on Science and Mythology’

1500-1515 BREAK

1515-1630 Laetitia Monteils-Laeng (University of Caen), ‘Destiny and Responsibility: What is Left for Human Freedom in the Myth of Er?’
with comments by Carol Atack (Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge)

1630-1745 Claire Kirwin (Magdalen College, Oxford), ‘Plato’s Cave and Nietzsche’s Workshop’
with comments by Matthew Duncombe (Peterhouse, Cambridge)

1745-1800 BREAK

1800-1915 Chiara Ferella (University of Pisa), ‘The Proem of Empedocles’ Physika: Towards a New Reconstruction’
with comments by Ben Harriman (Magdalene College, Cambridge)

1930 DINNER (informal)

Saturday, 16 April

0930-1000 COFFEE

1000-1115 Eliska Luhanova (Charles University, Prague and Paris I, Pantheon-Sorbonne), ‘Blessed Life without Philosophy: Plato and Hesiod on the Prehistory of Man and World’
with comments by Christina Hoenig (Clare Hall, Cambridge)

1115-1230 Emma Park (University College, Oxford), ‘Between Epicurus and Plato: Lucretius’ Soul-Vessel Image and its Philosophical Consequences’
with comments by Dhananjay Jagannathan (St. John’s College, Cambridge)

1230-1400 LUNCH for registered participants

1400-1515 Vanessa de Harven (University of California, Berkeley), ‘Everything is Something: How the Stoics Countenance Creatures of Mythology’
with comments by Tamer Nawar (Queens’ College, Cambridge)

1515-1545 BREAK

1545-1715 Keynote: Dr Kurt Lampe (Bristol University), ‘Stoic Theology, Mythology, and Masochism in Cornutus and Musonius Rufus’

CONF: New Discoveries in Greek Epigraphy

Seen on the Classicists list:

The British Epigraphy Society Spring Colloquium: ‘New Discoveries in Greek Epigraphy’
Saturday 7 May 2011, Samuel Alexander Building, University of Manchester
10.30 -11 am: Coffee and Registration
11 am-12 noon: P. Thonemann (Wadham, Oxford), ‘Monumenta Asiae Minoris Antiqua XI: New Monuments from Roman Asia Minor?’
12 noon -1 p.m.: C. Mueller (Reims), ‘Clarian epiphanies: a new decree of the Ionian koinon’
1 p.m. -2.30: Lunch
2.30-3 p.m.: Short reports
3 p.m. -4 p.m.: N. Papazarkadas (Berkeley), ‘A New Decree from Hellenistic Athens’
4 p.m. -5 p.m.: A. Matthaiou (Athens), ‘Three new Attic inscriptions’
5 p.m: Drinks
The meeting will take place in the south wing of Samuel Alexander Building, University of Manchester (number 67 on the Campus Map; access is via the South Entrance on Spa St). Coffee and registration will take place in room S.2.1 (Second Floor, South Wing); the meeting itself will be held in room S.2.9.
For maps and directions to the University, see Further information about the city (including advice on accommodation) can be found at
Colloquium fees
Registration (including tea, coffee, and the sandwich lunch): £10.00 (BES, AIEGL members and student non-members), £5.00 (BES student members), £20.00 (non-members).
Registration without lunch: £7.50 (BES, AIEGL members and student non-members), £2.50 (student members), £17.50 (non-members).
To reserve a place at the colloquium and a sandwich lunch, please contact Polly Low by email (polly.low AT by Friday 15th April at the latest, including details of any dietary requirements. Please note that you will be signed in for the lunch unless you say that you do not want this. Please pay all fees due on the day (in cash, or cheque payable to ‘British Epigraphy Society’).
For more information about the British Epigraphy Society (including details of how to join the Society), see

What James Pfundstein is Up To

I’ve known James Pfundstein for years on the Classics list and didn’t know he did this sort of thing … from the BG News:

Professor James Pfundstein not only lectures on the classics to University students, but he also finds time to be a writer.

“Well, let’s say I have to [write], so I sneak it in somehow,” Pfundstein said. “Frequently at the end of the day, I should be going to bed but I stay up a few minutes longer and then it’s like three hours after midnight.”

Pfundstein said that writing and lecturing can even overlap in some aspects.

“I thought they were completely separate, because I would write about classics during the day, and talk about classics and myths and stuff like that, and then I’d go home and write these Morlock stories,” Pfundstein said. “The thing is though, that fantasy is really a type of mythology, or mythology is a type of fantasy. So I constantly find myself using mythological elements in my novels, and I also find myself using stories in my teaching.”

Pfundstein has written three books and multiple short stories, most under the pseudonym James Enge.

“What Enge means is narrow, that is, not wide,” Pfundstein said. “The reason I picked it is because some people who write fantasy complain about how confining the genre is, and how they don’t want to be typed as a genre author, but I write the genre because I like the genre. That’s why I picked Enge, but mostly it’s just because it’s short and people can spell it.”

Pfundstein has been writing since he was eight years old, he said. He started writing when he discovered that books were written by people.

“Tolkien has this introduction where he talks about how he wrote the book and why he wrote the book, and at that point I realized, ‘oh people write books,’ and after I got done with “Lord of the Rings” I thought I would do my own fantasy epic, five volumes, of which I got like 10 pages written,” Pfundstein said. “But at that point, my course was set, and I was always writing something on the side.”

Pfundstein tried several times to get his work published, but it seemed there wasn’t a market for the genre he was writing. Pfundstein writes sword and sorcery books. Sword and sorcery is a sub-genre of fantasy some may call the “dark side.”

There wasn’t a market for sword and sorcery until 2005, when a new adventure fantasy magazine came out, and his first short story was published.

In 2008, Pfundstein got an agent, and within two weeks had a contract to write two books for Pyr, a publisher of science fiction and fantasy.

“I actually sat on it for several months without reading it,” Lou Anders, Editorial Director for Pyr, said. “I started reading it, and it was fantastic. I couldn’t put it down from the first page, so I read it over the weekend and I made an offer the next week.”

Pfundstein has written three books with Pyr, all within the fantasy genre, that follow the story of a character named Morlock Ambrosius, a 400-year-old who lives in an imaginary world, Pfundstein said.

“[Morlock] is really beaten up. He’s a magical maker of great skill, he’s a warrior who’s extremely dangerous, but he’s been disappointed by life,” Pfundstein said.

Philip Peek, a professor of classics at the University, is reading Pfundstein’s book, “The Blood of Ambrose,” with his son.

“I think it’s terrific. I’m reading it to my middle son who’s eleven years old. We like to read at bedtime with our kids, and he is a huge reader of fantasy,” Peek said. “He loves the whole fantasy genre, and so I get the added pleasure of enjoying the book myself and reading it to him, and he’s thoroughly enjoying it.”

Pfundstein is working on a historical novel and another Morlock story as well. His books can be purchased on or at Barnes and Noble stores.


This Day in Ancient History: ante diem ix kalendas apriles

ante diem ix kalendas apriles

  • Festival of Mars (day 24)
  • Quando Rex Comitavit Fas — a somewhat obscure entry in the Roman calendar which seems to hearken back to the days of the monarchy. A plausible explanation connects this with the fact that this was one of the days when the ancient Comitia Calata would ‘witness’ wills, and so other legal matters could not take place until the king had dismissed the comitia.
  • Happy blogday to Jim Davila’s Paleojudaica