CONF: Ancient Fallacies

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Ancient Fallacies

Durham, 21-23 September 2011

Department of Classics and Ancient History, Ritson Room

An international conference organised by Dr Luca Castagnoli and Dr Valentina Di Lascio, with the sponsorship of the Leverhulme Trust and the Department of Classics and Ancient History of Durham University.

Greek philosophers ‘invented’ the discipline known as ‘logic’, the study and classification of valid forms of argument and inference (the ‘invention’ is usually attributed to Aristotle, but less systematic reflections on logical issues can be traced back at least to Plato). Since its beginning and throughout antiquity, this inquiry remained intimately connected to the investigation, diagnosis and classification of forms of argument that are invalid or otherwise unsound, and especially of those forms of argument which, despite their invalidity, somehow appear to be valid and thus can easily induce in error. To be able to spot and unmask ‘fallacies’ in someone else’s argument was particularly crucial in a context in which philosophy itself had an intrinsic dialectical nature, and fallacy was often used consciously or ‘sophistically’ to win the debate or put one’s rival into a corner. The conference will investigate ancient theories of fallacies and sophisms, practices and examples of fallacious argumentation, and philosophical attitudes towards them.

Provisional Programme

21 September

9.00-9.30 Welcome, Registration and Coffee

9.30-9.45 Introduction

9.45-10.45 P. Crivelli (Oxford) – Plato, Meno 87c11-89a7: the Interweaving of Arguments

10.45-11.45 M. M. McCabe (KCL) – First chop your logos … – Ambiguity in Plato’s Euthydemus

11.45-12.00 Coffee break

12.00-13.00 M. Burnyeat (Cambridge) – The exchange between Socrates and Polemarchus in Plato’s Republic I

13.00-15.00 Lunch Break

15.00-16.00 N. Denyer (Cambridge) – Megarics, Dialecticians, and the Use of Fallacy

16.00-16.30 Coffee break

16.30-17.30 P. Horky (Durham) – Fallacies in Inquiry (Historia)

17.30-18.30 L.-A. Dorion (Montreal) – Can the dialectician use sophisms? The case of Socrates and that of Aristotle

19.30 Dinner

22 September

9.15-10.15 C. Rapp (Munich) – ‘Aristotle on sound and deceptive sign arguments’

10.15-10.45 Coffee break

10.|45-11.45 A. Schiaparelli (Oxford) – Fallacies in Aristotle’s Topics VI

11.45-12.45 P. Fait (Padova) – The Third Man Argument in Aristotle’s Sophistical Refutations 22

12.45-15.15 Lunch break / Cathedral tour

15.15-16.15 P. S. Hasper (Munich) – Understanding Aristotle’s Theory of Fallacy

16.15-16.30 Coffee break

16.30-17.30 J.-B. Gourinat (Paris) – The Place of Fallacies in Stoic Dialectic

17.30-18.30 W. Cavini (Bologna) – The ΟΥΤΙΣ Fallacy

19.30 Dinner

23 September

9.15-10.15 L. Castagnoli & E. V. Di Lascio (Durham) – Different Approaches to Fallacy in Antiquity

10.15-10.45 Coffee break

10.45-11.45 S. Ebbesen (Copenhagen) – Aristotle’s Sophistical Refutations in the Medieval Tradition

11.45-12.45 A. M. Mora (Copenhagen) – Meaning and Equivocation in the 13th century

12.45 Conclusion and buffet lunch

To register for the conference please fill and send the registration form at by 10 September 2011.

For more information about the conference please contact the organisers, Dr Luca Castagnoli (luca.castagnoli AT and Dr Valentina Di Lascio (e.v.di-lascio AT

CONF: Encountering the Divine

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University of Reading, 1st-3rd September 2011


Final Deadline: Friday August 19th 2011

How and why did mortal men and women relate to their gods – and their gods to them? Ancient men and women exhibited a strong desire to get close to their gods and forge relationships with them. Scholarship, however, has not always found it easy to take that desire for contact seriously: traditionally, we have privileged a functionalist approach to ancient worshippers and their rituals, focusing in particular on how religion offers men the opportunity to interact competitively and politically with other men. The aim of this interdisciplinary conference is to conceptualise the relationships ancient men and women sought with their gods and the language that we use to describe them with greater sophistication. By placing the focus on the mortal-divine relationship itself, we foreground the points of direct contact to explore how the divine encounter itself negotiated and constructed the gods in the ancient imagination. We bring together 28 international speakers to navigate a divine topography spanning Greece and Rome, and ranging from Olympian deities through to deified emperors, in order to interrogate how and why ancient men and women interacted with their gods.

More information is available on our webpage (including downloadable booking forms, with accommodation details):

Alternatively, please contact Dr. Susanne Turner (susanne.turner AT or Alastair Harden (a.f.harden AT

Conference fee: £60/£30 reduced (includes lunches, refreshments and drinks reception). Day rates also available.

Thanks to the generous support of the Classical Association and Hellenic Society (SPHS), we will have limited bursaries available. Please contact Alastair Harden (a.f.harden AT for details on how to apply.



9.00 Coffee and Registration

9.30 Welcome

9.45 PANEL 1: LITERARY RELATIONS (Chair: Emma Aston)

9.45 KELLY SHANNON (Oxford) "Divinity, Flattery and Maiestas: Tacitus on the Deification of Augustus"

10.15 BOBBY XINYUE (UCL) "Deus Praesens: The Divinity of Augustus and Ludi Saeculares"

10.45 RICHARD FLETCHER (Ohio State) "Bona Cupido: Virgil’s deus and Apuleius’ daemon"

11.15 Discussion

11.45 PANEL 2: RELIGIOUS LANDSCAPES (Chair: Georgia Petridou)

11.45 PETRA SCHIERL (Basel) "Pastoral Encounters with the Divine"

12.15 MARIA PRETZLER (Swansea) "Aristides and Asclepius: How to Create Your Own Sacred Landscape"

12.45 Discussion

1.15 Lunch


2.00 NICOLETTE PAVLIDES (Edinburgh) "Interactions Between Mortals and Heroes in Classical Sparta"

2.30 DIANA BURTON (Victoria University of Wellington) "Worshipping Hades: Myth, Cult and


3.00 EMMA STAFFORD (Leeds) "Encountering Indignation: The Worshipper’s Experience of Nemesis"

3.30 Discussion

4.00 Coffee

4.30 PANEL 4: HYMN AND PRAYER (Chair: Ian Rutherford)

4.30 ALEXANDER HALL (Wisconsin-Madison) "Begin (or Rule) my song: Gods and Literature in the Homeric Hymns"

5.00 JACOB MACKEY (Stanford) "The Folk Theology of Roman Prayer: Pragmatics and Cognition"

5.30 ANNETTE TEFFETELLER (Concordia) "Calling the Gods: Performative and Descriptive Contexts of

Klesis and Praxis in Greece and Anatolia"

6.00 Discussion

6.30 Drinks


8.30 Coffee

9.00 PANEL 5: GODS ON POTS (Chair: Alastair Harden)

9.00 AMY SMITH (Reading) "Divine Reflexivity in the Oeuvre of the Pan Painter"

9.30 TYLER JO SMITH (Virginia) "Ex Cathedra: Divine Images and Ritual Messages on Greek Vases"

10.00 GEORG GERLEIGNER (Cambridge) "Addressing the Gods: The Evidence of Attic Vase Inscriptions"

10.30 Discussion

11.00 Coffee

11.30 PANEL 6: RELIGIOUS VISUALITY (Chair: Susanne Turner)

11.30 JULIA KINDT (Sydney) "The Sex Appeal of the Inorganic: Seeing, Touching, and Knowing the

Divine during the Second Sophisitic"

12.00 MELISSA HAYNES (Temple) "How to Make a God: Sculptors, Cult Statues and the Limitless

Possiblities of Phantasia"

12.30 GEORGIA PETRIDOU (Humboldt) "Sacred Sights and Healing Vision in Eleusis"

1.00 Discussion

1.30 Lunch

2.30 PANEL 7: ANIMALS AND THE SACRED (Chair: Jack Lennon)

2.30 EMMA ASTON (Reading) "Hybridism and Visualisation of the Divine in Classical Greece"

3.00 CLAUDIA GRECO (University of Cyprus) "’Immortal and Born from Immortals’: Men and Holy

Animals in Ancient Greek Literature"

3.30 DIANA RODRIGUEZ PEREZ (Universidad de León/Universidad Autónoma de Madrid) "The Snake

as a Mediator Between Gods and Men in Ancient Greece: The Cases of Asclepius and Zeus


4.00 Discussion

4.30 Coffee

5.00 PANEL 8: VOTIVE RELATIONS (Chair: Amy Smith)

5.00 EVA STEHLE (Maryland) "The Ninnion Plaque"

5.30 TRISTIAN HUSBY (City University, New York) "Non-Greeks Bearing Gifts: Non-Greek Votive

Offerings at Delphi in the Archaic Period"

6.00 SUSANNE TURNER (Reading) “Epiphanic Viewings: Sculpting the Gods and Their Worshippers on

Attic Votive Reliefs”

6.30 Discussion


8.30 Coffee

9.00 PANEL 9: BLOOD AND SACRIFICE (Chair: Annette Teffeteller)

9.00 JACK LENNON (Nottingham) "Bad Blood: Pollution as Communication in the Pax Deorum"

9.30 SARAH HITCH (Bristol) "Food for the Gods? Perceptions of a Greek Cultural Paradox"

10.00 Discussion

10.30 PANEL 10: DIVINE HONOURS (Chair: Bobby Xinyue)

10.30 ZSUZSANNA VARHELYI (Boston) "Encountering Divine Charisma: Gods, Men and Women in

Imperial Religion"

11.00 LYNETTE MITCHELL (Exeter) "Like Gods Among Men: Heroic Rulers in Archaic and Classical Greece"

11.30 IVANA PETROVIC (Durham) "Hellenistic Rulers and Divine Honours"

12.00 Discussion

12.30 Concluding Remarks

Maryport Update

When last we mentioned Maryport, they had just begun the dig … now that I’m digging into past email myself, we can share the results of that dig … a few weeks late (sorry!). From the News & Star:

A series of dramatic discoveries made at Camp Farm in Maryport will rewrite the history books.

Experts originally believed that a unique cache of 17 altars, discovered in 1870, were buried as part of a religious ritual.

But this year’s excavations have debunked this age-old myth and proved beyond doubt that the they were re-used as part of the foundation of a huge building, possibly a temple.

Post-holes unearthed on the site indicate the presence of a massive timber building supported by thick pillars that would have made today’s telephone poles look puny.

Professor Ian Haynes, excavation director, said: “We can say we have basically destroyed the myth that’s been running for decades and that’s gratifying.

“What we have is a huge building on the most conspicuous point in Maryport where no building was suspected to be. This is very important in the history of Roman Maryport.”

Conclusions made about sites across the Roman Empire will now have be reevaluated and revised in light of what has been discovered at Maryport.

The structure is believed to have been part of a vast religious building but it is still too early to hazard a guess at its dimensions.

This last discovery is the culmination of a series of exciting finds including a boundary ditch encircling most of the site, a piece of stone scrollwork and two altar fragments. One of the fragments, found last week, is definitely part of one of the altars housed in the nearby museum.

Peter Greggains, chairman of the Senhouse Roman Museum Trust, thanked volunteers, tenant farmers, Hadrian’s Wall Heritage, staff and trustees of museum and Newcastle University for their support and hard work.

He also thanked the fire and rescue service for dousing the site with water to make excavations easier.

The dig was commissioned by the Senhouse Museum Trust which has contributed £50,000 towards the cost of the fieldwork.

Prof Haynes and Mr Wilmott will give a lecture on the excavation tonight at 7pm at the museum.

A six-week Roman Festival, a celebration of all things Roman, and the Festival of British Archaeology also start today

Nigel Mills, world heritage and access director for Hadrian’s Wall Heritage said that he hoped this would only be the first part of a rolling programme of excavations at the internationally important site.

“This shows there is so much to discover here and justified the ongoing programme of excavations here and demonstrates the whole value of the project.”

He also urged people to register their support the for the £10.7 million Roman visitor attraction.

The plans have submitted by Hadrian’s Wall Heritage, which owns Camp Farm, and can be viewed on Allerdale council’s website.

As the dig was just getting under way, the News & Star had a brief report on the altar fragments mentioned above: Important Roman altar stone unearthed at Cumbrian dig

… and it’s clear that the dig will likely contribute to plans for a Roman heritage centre in Maryport (brought up just as the dig was commencing): Maryport’s Roman past is a key to its future | Times & Star

Shatner and West: Alexander and Cleander?

You have to read this one from the LA Times … here’s the incipit (we’ll ignore the toga mention):

Capt. Kirk and Bruce Wayne together – and in togas?

Yes, before they took on their iconic roles on “Star Trek” and “Batman,” actors William Shatner and Adam West worked together on a buddy project called “Alexander the Great” that never aired – maybe no show was big enough to hold those outsized on-screen personas.

“It was so long ago,” Shatner said of the fizzled project, which started life as a 1964 television pilot but was shelved before it reached the air. “It was great fun to make. It was a pilot that was monumental for ABC just before I went and did ‘Star Trek.’ And I was deeply, deeply, horrendously disappointed when this series didn’t sell and then the following year or so I started work on ‘Star Trek.’”

The pilot depicted the Battle of Issus with a then-unknown Shatner as Alexander leading his Macedonian army in triumph and less-than-famous West as his compatriot, Cleander, who enjoyed a good party as much as a good fight.

“Bill was a very good Alexander and as the general Cleander I was the wine, women and song, Errol Flynn kind of guy,” West said. “However, just between us, it turned out to be one of the worst scripts I have ever read and it was one of the worst things I’ve ever done. We had wonderful people involved like John Cassavetes and Joseph Cotten and Simon Oakland in the cast.”

Shatner said he had high hopes that the show would find an audience for its spirit of adventure – it was made just eight years after Richard Burton’s big-screen turn in writer-director-producer Robert Rossen’s “Alexander the Great” – but it was destined to occupy a far different place in pop culture.

“Every piece of entertainment is made with the idea that it will be terrific but then it hits the public and then that’s when you find out if it’s really good or not,” said Shatner, whose current pursuits include the just-premiered documentary “The Captains,” an upcoming album called “Seeking Major Tom” and an October book titled “The Shatner Rules.”

“Alexander the Great” did make a comeback of sorts – it was aired as a television movie in 1968 to capitalize on the surge in fame by both Shatner and West, who was a sensation as the star of the campy “Batman” series that aired from January 1966 to March 1968.

… the article goes on a bit, but more importantly, contains some clips which appear to be the movie version (?) …

Circumundique: August 1-3

In case you missed them:

CONF: Simonides Lyricus

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The Cambridge Faculty of Classics are happy to announce the conference Simonides Lyricus, which will be held with the generous support of the British Academy from Thursday 8th September to Saturday, 10th September 2011 at the Classics Faculty (Sidgwick Avenue, Cambridge). The conference will bring together ten of the foremost scholars of Simonides and early Greek lyric, to discuss questions of the poet’s life and oeuvre, his place in the culture of his times, his relationship to his poetic predecessors and his genres, and especially the problems of editing and attributing fragmentary lyric poetry. Papers will be forty minutes long, with time for discussion after. The conference will begin on Thursday afternoon, and continue until a little after noon on Saturday.

Thursday, 8th September, 1 o’clock
Arrival, registration, opening address.
Andrew Ford (Princeton): ‘Sophos kai Theios: Simonides’ Poetic Wisdom’
David Sider (New York University), ‘Simonides Lyricus, Epigrammaticus, Elegiacus’
Orlando Poltera (Fribourg University): ‘Simonides: a kind of Janus? Biographical tradition and Poetical Reality’

A welcome reception will be held in the Cast Gallery (the Faculty of Classics) in the evening from 6:30.

Friday, 9th September, 9 o’clock
Richard Rawles (Nottingham University): ‘Thus Homer and Stesichorus Sang to the Peoples: Simonides and his Sources’
Ian Rutherford (Reading): ‘Simonides’ kateuchai
Giambattista D’Alessio (KCL): ‘Dancing with the Dogs: Mimesis and the Hyporcheme in Pind. fr. *107 a-b S-M = Simonides fr. 205 Poltera’.
Kathryn Morgan (UCLA): ‘Princes and Generals: Simonides and the Diplomacy of Victory’.
Richard Hunter (Cambridge): ‘Clever About Verses? Plato and the Scopas Ode (542 PMG = 260 Poltera)’.

A conference dinner will be held in the evening.

Saturday, 10th September, 9 o’clock
Ettore Cingano (Ca’ Foscari University, Venice) and Dirk Obbink (Oxford), ‘New Fragments of Simonides from Oxyrhynchus’
Giuseppe Ucciardello (University of Messina): ‘More Simonides Among the Fragmenta Adespota? The Case of P. Strasbourg inv. gr. 1406-1409 and fr. 1005 PMG’
Summing-up and closing discussion

The conference is open to anyone who is interested in attending (those from outside Cambridge will be asked to pay a participation fee). The conference dinner is also open to anyone who would like to attend.Those interested in attending the conference and the dinner should write to the organisers, Lucia Prauscello (lp306 AT or Peter Agocs (pa301 AT, by August 15th, so that we can get an idea of numbers.

CFP: Desiring Statues: Statuary, Sexuality and History

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Desiring Statues: Statuary, Sexuality and History Conference

University of Exeter, 27th April 2012

Keynote Speakers

Dr Stefano-Maria Evangelista (University of Oxford)
Dr Ian Jenkins (British Museum)

Statuary has offered a privileged site for the articulation of sexual
experience and ideas, and the formation of sexual knowledge. From
prehistoric phallic stones, mythological representations of statues and
sculptors, e.g. Medusa or Pygmalion, to the Romantic aesthetics and erotics
of statuary and the recurrent references to sculpture in nineteenth- and
twentieth-century sexology and other new debates on sexuality, the discourse
of the statue intersects with constructions of gender, sex and sexuality in
multiple ways.

As historical objects, statues give insight into changing perceptions of the
sexed body and its representation; they tell stories of ownership and
appropriation of sexualities across diverse cultural locations and
historical moments. As an imaginary site, statues can serve to trouble the
distinction between subject and object, reality and unreality, presence and
absence, and present and past, thereby offering rich possibilities for
thinking about the relation between individual and communal identities,
sexuality and the past.

This interdisciplinary conference seeks to investigate how statues
facilitate this interplay of sexuality and history. It explores the numerous
different ways in which statues – as historical and/or imagined artefacts –
allow us to think about the past and its relation to sex, gender and sexuality.

The conference brings together contributors from a wide variety of
disciplines, including history, gender and sexuality studies, literary and
cultural studies, art history, classics, archaeology and philosophy.
Contributions from postgraduate research students are very welcome.

Papers should explore how statuary intersects with questions of sexuality
and gender, and temporality, specifically history. Possible topics include,
but are not limited to:

• Uses of Statuary in Sexual Science
• Statues in Colonial and Postcolonial Contexts
• Representations of Statues and Sculptors (in Literature, Visual
Arts, New Media)
• Sculptures and the Construction of Gender, Racial and National Identity
• Use of Statuary in Sexual Reform Movements
• Psychoanalytic Uses of Statuary
• Statues, Gender and Sexuality in Myths, Legends and Their Adaptations
• Sculpture and Figurations of Desire
• Statuary Representations of the Gendered Body
• Reception Histories of Individual Statues

The conference is organised by Dr Jana Funke (j.funke AT and
Jennifer Grove (jeg208 AT as part of the interdisciplinary Sexual
History, Sexual Knowledge project, funded by the Wellcome Trust, and led by
Drs Kate Fisher and Rebecca Langlands.

Please send 300-500 words abstracts to j.funke AT and
jeg208 AT The deadline for abstract submissions is 1st October 2011.

Whither Masada Siege Timber?

Masada Roman Ramp
Image via Wikipedia

From a University of Haifa press release:

The Roman Legion that lay siege on Masada some 2,000 years ago was forced to use timber from other areas in the land of Israel for its weapons and encampments, and was not able to use local wood as earlier studies have proposed. This has been revealed in a new study conducted at the University of Haifa, refuting earlier suggestions that described the Judean Desert area as more humid in the times of the Second Temple.

Despite all the historic and archaeological evidence that has been revealed about the Roman siege on Masada, scholars are at difference over the large quantities of timber and firewood that were required for the Jewish fortress defenders on the mountain and for the Roman besiegers. A previous study by researchers from the Weizmann Institute of wooden remains found on the siege rampart showed that they originated from a more humid habitat, and assuming that the timber was local, claimed that this was proof of the Judean region being more humid some 2,000 years ago. The University of Haifa researchers maintain that the wood originated in a more humid region: not from the local habitat but brought from a more humid region to the foot of Masada by the well-organized Roman military supply unit.

The new study, conducted by Prof. Simcha Lev-Yadun of the University of Haifa’s Department of Biology and Environment at the University of Haifa-Oranim, Prof. Mina Weinstein-Evron of the Zinman Institute of Archaeology at the University of Haifa, and D. S. Lucas, a student from Ohio University, included botanic, archaeological and cultural examination and modeling to verify by means of comparison to parallel traditional societies, the uses of timber and firewood from the beginning of settlement at Masada, some 220 years before the siege, and until its fall.

First, the researchers examined the amount of wood that exists today in the Judean Desert and in the wadi deltas in the vicinity of Masada, and thereby were able to estimate the amount and types of wood that the desert could supply. Next, they calculated the amount of timber and firewood that would have been needed for the inhabitants of Masada, from 150 BCE, when it was a small fortress, through the Herodian period, when the fortress as we know it was constructed, and up to the siege, which ended in 73 CE. According to the researchers, in those times, timber was mostly used for construction, heating and cooking. Based on accepted evaluations of wood consumption for these purposes in traditional societies, on the conservatively estimated number of Masada inhabitants in each time period, the harsh climatic conditions in the desert and Masada’s topography, the researchers were able to conclude that by the time the Romans arrived at Masada and began their siege (73 CE), the entire area was void of timber and firewood, due to 2,220 years of massive exploitation of the immediate environment up to that point. The Romans would have had no choice but to import wood from other areas for their weapon machinery, ramparts and basic living requirements.

The researchers were able to construct a model of the Roman Legion’s timber utilization in various siege scenarios, and concluded that even if the Masada area had more than its normal availability of wood, it still would not have been sufficient for the Romans’ needs, so that in any event, they would have been forced to ensure a continuous supply of wood. As such, the researchers explained, the earlier claim that the region of Masada was more humid some 2,000 years ago, was in all probability not well established.

… on the machinery/weapons side of things, the Romans probably made use of equipment from the siege of Jerusalem, no?