More Evidence of the Caracalla – Geta ‘Damnatio Memoriae’

Found this one lurking in the bottom of my mailbox because I had vain hopes it might get some coverage in the major English speaking press, what with it being about damnatio memoriae and all that … here’s the basic story from the Bucharest Herald:

An inscription carved in stone, proving the political conflict between Roman emperors Geta and Caracalla, and how the latter tried to erase the former’s name from history, was discovered in the town of Alba Iulia, Mediafax reports.

The stone was found by archeologists from the local museum, during digs in the ruins of the building that served as HQ to the officers of the 13th Legion Gemina, located in present-day park Custozza, the head of the National Unity Museum of Alba Iulia, Gabriel Rustoiu announced.

On the stone inscription, the name of co-emperor Geta, actually Publius Septimius Geta, was erased by Emperor Caracalla – “Marcus Aurelius Antoninus” – his brother.

The two sons of Emperor Septimius Severus jointly ruled the Roman Empire after their father’s death in 211 AD, but the same year Caracalla kills Geta and orders his name to be erased from all records.

“Political disputes in the Roman Empire often ended with the death of an opponent… An even tougher sentence, in Romans’ eyes, was the so-called «damnatio memoriae», erasing one’s name from history,” Gabriel Rustoiu explains.

The Alba Iulia fortress was built at the beginning of the 18th Century (between 1714 and 1738), on the ruins of a Roman fort and of a medieval citadel.

What was really difficult for this one was finding a photo of the stone … there seems to be plenty of coverage, but very little with the actual stone in the photo. Citynews.ro comes through, however:

… here is the best one of the lot … there are three others at the original page … the line that has been erased can be clearly discerned:

… looking at the photos, just in case you’re wondering, the stone seems to be dated to March/April of 206 A.D. when Albinus and Aemilianus were consuls —  that’s the “PRILES ALBINO [E]T AEM” in the last capitalized line.

Around the Blogosphere:

A Late Antique Woodstock?

Nice coverage of the second ’round’ of the the Classics Renewed conference at Brown last week:

For a dead language, Latin showed an awful lot of life at last week’s “Classics Renewed” conference on the poetry and prose of late antiquity. The conference, which ran from Thursday to Saturday, brought 19 speakers from four continents to the Annmary Brown Memorial.

Brown played host to the second of two parts of the conference, which began at Rice University in March. At the close of the discussion, conference organizers Scott McGill of Rice University and Joseph Pucci, associate professor of classics, associate professor of comparative literature and lecturer in the Program in Medieval Studies, said they may turn the conference’s lectures into a book.

The majority of attendees were classicists, though graduate and undergraduate students also attended.

Robin McGill GS said the conference offered an exciting venue for sharing ideas with other scholars. Other attendees said the novelty of the topic made it particularly interesting.

The relevance of the topic to contemporary society and the expansion of the field came up frequently in discussion.

As speaker Mark Vessey of the University of British Columbia put it, “20 or 30 years ago, you had to be a bit odd to get into late antiquity.”

Recently, late antiquity’s role as a bridge between the classical period and the early middle ages — between classics and Christianity — has elevated its importance in academic scholarship. Because it represents a period of transition, late Latin poetry is more disjointed than the staid genres of classical poetry that precede it. At times, it is also both sexually and socio-politically explicit — in one lecture, James Uden of Boston University explored parallels between late Latin poetry and 20th century Beat poetry.

Several conference participants stressed a particular sexiness to the works discussed, jokingly commenting that the paintings of nude women gracing the walls of the Annmary Brown Memorial would make good cover images for the proposed book based on the conference. Because late Latin authors hailed from a combination of Christian, pagan and secular backgrounds, their works offer unique perspectives on the relationships between individuals and lovers, as well as individuals and God.

Scott McGill — whose book on the concept of plagiarism in ancient Rome and its implications for contemporary society will come out next year — referred to the conference as a “Late Antique Woodstock.”

He said late antiquity has traditionally been overlooked in this country.

Conference participants stressed that late Latin antiquity is a new field, which, as Vessey put it, “is only just beginning to be measured out.”

The conference proved that centuries later, ancient material can continue to deliver fresh insight. “Latin isn’t dead,” Pucci said, “It’s not spoken, but it isn’t dead. Any language that can allow you access to a culture isn’t dead.”

Why Study Ancient History?

Michael Helfeld puts an interesting spin  on things in a Southern New Hampshire University press release:

It was 7 p.m. on a quiet autumn evening, when I received a call from my alma mater asking me for a donation. When I told the young lady that I had graduated with a degree in Classics, she was perplexed: “Classical music?” she asked. “No”, I replied, “Greco-Roman history.” “Ah, ok, that must be interesting stuff!” she said, and of course, I concurred.

Nowadays, I try to use the expression “ancient history” as a way to refer to my field, but it too often meets with perplexed responses. My friends and family don’t see any practicality in what I study, and yet I see it day after day in the events that transpire around me.

As a history instructor, I relish the fact that in Renaissance Italy (ca. 1350-1550 CE) humanists were often employed in matters of state; their historical research was considered indispensable. And what were scholars like Francesco Petrarch and Lorenzo Valla studying but ancient Greece and Rome? Studying antiquity provides us with the ability to understand our fast-paced world. As Socrates once said, “the unexamined life is not worth living.” That’s why I want to offer two examples of how knowledge of the ancient past helped me understand the present.

Sometimes a Statue Isn’t Just a Statue
It was the fall of 2009 in Montreal, when Dawson College announced that it was going to repair the famous Notre Dame De La Garde statue on their roof. The college used to belong to the Congregation of Notre Dame, and it had once formed an intricate part of Quebec’s Catholic landscape. Religion is a hot button issue in the province. When Dawson made this announcement, a debate ensued about the statue’s return. One Montrealer remarked that as “a non-Catholic, non-believer,” he “was not alone in feeling utterly repudiated and excluded by the government’s urgent reaffirmation of the link between church and state.” But why all the fuss about a statue?

The whole affair reminded me of a story found in the Mishnah, a Jewish legal text written around 200 CE. It tells us that a Rabbi was bathing in the (Roman) “bathhouse of Aphrodite,” when an observer asked him how it was that a Jew could be relaxing in front of pagan statuary. After all, the 10 Commandments state that only Yahweh could be worshipped. The Rabbi explained that the statues of Aphrodite were not consecrated images imbued with religious power, but mere decorations. How else could one explain bathers relieving themselves in front of them?

This example of cultural interaction in the Roman Empire allowed me to think constructively about a modern debate; I could see how people saw Dawson’s statue not as mere decoration, but as an active symbol of faith. I found myself better equipped to engage my fellow citizens over a thorny issue.

Rome, Byzantium, Immigration and Community
My second example comes from an experience I had while writing this article. I was listening to NPR on my way home from work. Gary Leitzell, the mayor of Dayton, OH, was being interviewed on the “Here and Now” program about his city’s immigration policy. In the context of a stalled economy and the passing of a controversial bill by the State of Arizona, illegal immigration has become a major issue. Dayton had just approved the “Welcome Dayton Immigrant-Friendly City Plan,” designed to promote citizenship and economic development.

To my surprise, there were two references to ancient history in the interview! Firstly, while defending his city’s decision, he referred to Rome’s legal distinctions between citizens and foreigners. Then, he mentioned that ancient Byzantium (Istanbul) had outlasted Rome because it “was more international in its acceptance of trade and people.” Leitzell was trying to show how Dayton could grow demographically and economically by welcoming foreign workers and businesses.

A grounding in ancient history would allow the listener to understand and even critique Leitzell’s use of the past and his city’s position. I found myself able to do just this, and to know I could engage in dialogue with the mayor of Dayton and anyone else interested in building good, just, and sustainable communities.

In Conclusion
Today, antiquity only seems to be popular when mystery is involved: the enigmatic Dead Sea Scrolls speak about the apocalypse, battling angels, and the war between darkness and light. The Scrolls were recently digitized, and they have received over a million hits in just one week! And yet, the value of history does not only reside in its ability to stir our imaginations. The experiences, travails, and wisdom of our ancestors can serve us in a more pragmatic way: they can help us understand a present laced with nuance and permeated with detail. And this means that ancient history is not merely “ancient history.”

Flooding in the Circus Maximus, Colosseum, Etc.

The Telegraph seems to be one of the only newspapers mentioning this … the salient excerpts:

Severe flooding led to tourists being shut out of the 2,000-year-old Roman amphitheatre as well as the nearby Roman Forum and Palatine Hill, and the ancient Roman port of Ostia, west of the capital.

The Colosseum was particularly badly affected, with water pouring into the underground tunnels and galleries where gladiators and wild animals once waited before being hoisted into the ancient arena on wooden lifts for staged fights.

At one point the tunnels, which were only recently opened to the public, were submerged to a depth of 15ft, officials said.

The severity of the flooding of the amphitheatre was “unheard of and extraordinary”, said Francesco Giro, a senior heritage official.

He said it evoked the ancient Roman practise of inundating the Colosseum with water in order to stage mock naval battles between gladiators and slaves.

“Following the exceptional weather that hit the capital, the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, the Palatine, the Baths of Caracalla and the excavations at Ostia are closed to the public,” Rome’s archeological department said in a statement.

It was not clear when the sites, which attract millions of visitors a year, would be reopened. Engineers carried out checks to make sure none of the structures had been seriously weakened.

The torrential rain also brought down two large pine trees on the Appian Way, the ancient Roman road, lined with mausoleums and catacombs, which led from the imperial capital to the Adriatic coast.

[...]

The Circus Maximus, where Roman chariots once raced, was so extensively flooded that a man was photographed paddling a kayak across it.

UPDATE (a few minutes later): tip o’ the pileus to @scotartt on Twitter for pointing me to Martin Conde’s set of photos of the flooding: Rome, Flooded – Torrential Rainstorm – Roman and the Imperial Forums, Coloseum Valley and the Circus Maximus Underwater. Dott.ssa Astrid D’Eredita` / Fotos: Claudio Valletti / La Repubblica.it

Circumundique ~ 10/21/11

A couple days’ worth … some appear to have disappeared amidst computer problems at school and IOS5 installation nuttiness:

CONF: Animating Antiquity – Harryhausen and the Classical Tradition

Seen on the Classicists list:

ANIMATING ANTIQUITY: HARRYHAUSEN AND THE CLASSICAL TRADITION

Wednesday 9th November 2011, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

National Media Museum, Bradford, BD1 1NQ

Co-organised by Steve Green and Penny Goodman (Leeds)

The conference takes a ‘Janus-like’ approach to the relationship between Ray Harryhausen’s films and the classical world of myth by exploring not only the influence of the ancient world on Harryhausen but also the ways in which Harryhausen in his turn has shaped popular imaginings of the classical world in more recent times and media.

Further details about the event, in terms of speakers, paper abstracts and conference schedule, are available from a dedicated website: http://enduringcreatures.blogspot.com/.

We are now inviting delegates to book a place at this conference by using the University of Leeds online payment service. You can access this by going to store.leeds.ac.uk and then choosing ‘Product Catalogue’, followed by ‘Faculty of Arts’ and then ‘Classics Harryhausen Conference’. The direct link seems to be:
http://store.leeds.ac.uk/browse/extra_info.asp?compid=1&catid=345&modid=1&prodid=2438&deptid=26&prodvarid=0

If anyone has any further questions, please feel free to contact either Steve Green (s.j.green AT leeds.ac.uk) or Penny Goodman (p.j.goodman AT leeds.ac.uk)

CFP: Masks, Echoes, Shadows colloquium

Seen on the Classicists list:

CALL FOR PAPERS
Masks, Echoes, Shadows: Locating Classical Receptions in the Cinema
29 May 2012, Institute of Classical Studies, London

Cinema’s fascination with the classical past can take many forms. In recent years, scholarly and popular attention has mostly been directed at films that recreate and reconstruct the narratives of ancient history and mythology, such as Gladiator and Clash of the Titans. Alongside these high-profile titles, though, are a wide range of other films whose relationship to antiquity may be much more intangible and ephemeral. Whether identifying Homeric references in O Brother, Where art Thou? or Mike Leigh’s Naked, assessing Star Wars’ debt to Roman history, or examining the recurrence of the Oedipus story in the cinema, there are a multitude of ways in which shadows of the past can be detected, classical motifs can be masked and unmasked, and echoes of ancient texts or events can reverberate. Recent publications by scholars such as Martin Winkler and Simon Goldhill have advanced this area of classical reception studies, but the underlying theoretical issues require further attention.

For example:

· What is at stake in making such connections? How far can we go in claiming a relationship between a film and a classical text, or idea?

· Whose reading bears the most authority, and how far can the relationship between ancient and modern be stretched before it becomes implausible or irrelevant?

· How do such propositions intersect with existing frameworks for classical reception study?

This one-day colloquium therefore aims to bring together scholars and students of classics and film in order to discuss new research in this area. We welcome proposals for 20-minute papers on classical connections (broadly conceived) in any films which are, by and large, not set in antiquity (whether a historical or mythical ancient world) and which are not readily understood as adaptations of ancient texts (although a key area of debate will be the questioning of what constitutes an adaptation); we would expect all contributors to engage with the theoretical implications of their chosen case studies.

300 word abstracts should be submitted to both colloquium organisers by Friday December 16, 2011.

Organisers:

Anastasia Bakogianni, Open University (a.bakogianni AT open.ac.uk)

and

Joanna Paul, Open University (Joanna.Paul AT open.ac.uk)

CFP: APA Panel on ‘Campanian Cultures’, Jan 2013

Seen on the Classicists list:

APA 144th Annual Meeting: 3-6 January 2013, Seattle, WA
Campanian Cultures: Poetics, Location and Identity
Panel Organizers: Ian Fielding (Warwick); Carole Newlands (UC-Boulder)

The region of Campania was an important point of intersection between the cultures of antiquity. As the center of the Greek colonial presence in mainland Italy, Campania later became a focus for Roman interest in Hellenistic culture. For educated individuals like Cicero, Seneca and Pliny the Younger, the region was associated with artistic and intellectual pursuits, but also with the pursuit of luxury and excess. The history of Campania’s relationship with Rome has been traced in e.g. D’Arms 1970, Frederiksen 1984, Lomas 1993 and Leiwo 1994. The purpose of this panel is to prompt new inquiries into Campania’s distinctive multicultural identity.

With the wealth of textual and material evidence from ancient Campania, this panel will allow specialists from across a broad disciplinary spectrum to examine the interaction of different forms of cultural practice in the development of local identity. Papers might seek (1) to situate literary representations of Campania within their social and historical contexts, or (2) to consider how those representations were themselves influential in cultivating the region’s identity.

Significant issues to be considered include, for (1): how distinct were the individual towns and cities within Campania, and what kind of relationships existed between them? For instance, the strong sense of Greekness maintained in Naples has been shown to have an important bearing on the poetry of Statius, a native of the city. But is it possible to account for cultural variations between texts from Naples and texts from the surrounding area? For (2): how can the literary representations of specific loci within Campania be seen to figure the local and trans-local (Greek, Roman, Oscan) aspects of the region’s identity? Virgil, for example, depicts places such as Cumae and Lake Avernus in terms of the Greek literary tradition, and his association with the Bay of Naples continued to attract poetic imitators, such as Silius Italicus.

Contributors are invited to consider not only Campania’s development before and during the Roman period, but also its reception in later traditions of antiquity. In the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, long after the decline of its material resources, the area around Baiae retained much of the cultural significance it had held in the classical period. Through an examination of Campania’s varied cultural legacy, this panel aims to further our appreciation of its importance for the history of classical literature.

Abstracts must be received in the APA office by February 1, 2012. Please send an anonymous abstract as a PDF attachment to apameetings AT sas.upenn.edu. Be sure to mention the title of the panel and provide complete contact information and any AV requests in the body of your email. All submissions will be reviewed anonymously. You will be notified of our decision by March 1, 2012.

CFP: Tyrannical Government and the People

Seen on the Classicists list:

CALL FOR PAPERS: TYRANNICAL GOVERNMENT AND THE PEOPLE

A panel to be held at the Seventh Celtic Classics Conference, with, and at,
L’Université de Bordeaux III and the Ausonius Institute, Bordeaux, 5th-8th
September 2012.

Confirmed speakers include: James McGlew (Rutgers), Ivan Jordovic
(University of Novi Sad), Greg Anderson (Ohio State University), Claudia de
Oliveira-Gomes (Université François-Rabelais, Tours), Efrem Zambon (Venice).

Cruel oppressors or popular heroes? Distant figureheads or approachable
rulers? Exploitative regimes or protectors of the masses? The relationship
between tyrannical rulers and the people has been a topic of contention
among ancient and modern historians alike. This panel will consider rulers
and regimes from archaic Greece to imperial Rome, and across the
Mediterranean, to explore the interdependence between tyrannical and
autocratic rulers and the people, and the ways in which their interactions
influenced political forms and institutions.

Please submit proposals for 40-minute papers, including a title and an
abstract of no more than 250 words, by 15th January 2012; submissions from
postgraduate students are also welcome. The languages of the conference are
English and French, and submissions are invited in either language.

Proposals (and all queries) should be sent to Dr Sian Lewis
(sl50 AT st-andrews.ac.uk), School of Classics, University of St Andrews, St
Andrews, Fife, United Kingdom, KY16 9AL.

CFP: The Long Reach of Antiquity

Seen on the Classicists list:

CALL FOR PAPERS

The Long Reach of Antiquity

April 27-28, 2012

Columbia University

Keynote Speakers:

Prof. Leonard Barkan (Princeton University, Comparative Literature)
Prof. Joseph Farrell (University of Pennsylvania, Classics)

This conference addresses the legacy of Greece and Rome in the
literary arts from Classical Antiquity to Early Modernity. Graduate
students and post-doctoral fellows in Departments of Classics,
Comparative Literature, Italian, French, Spanish, German, English, and
Philosophy, among others, are invited to submit abstracts of up to 250
words for papers of approximately twenty minutes to
reachofantiquity AT columbia.edu by November 1, 2011. Abstracts should be
formatted as either Word or PDF documents and should include
departmental and institutional affiliation.

CFP: Crowned Victor: Competition and Games in the Ancient World

Seen on the Classics list:

Crowned Victor: Competition and Games in the Ancient World
4th Annual Center for Ancient Studies Graduate Conference
University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
Friday, March 2 to Saturday, March 3, 2012
Submission Deadline: January 7, 2012

The graduate students of the University of Pennsylvania seek abstracts
for the fourth annual Center for Ancient Studies graduate student
conference. This conference aims to explore the theme of competition
in the ancient world. Competition was a key component of many aspects
of life in the ancient world and was found in areas people in the 21st
century might not expect. We plan to focus on the role of competition
and its associations with society at large, be it in the form of games
or sports, interactions between members of a community, rivalries
between communities, or the way culture and literature channeled
competition. Our goal in presenting this conference will be to compare
how competition manifested itself in the disparate societies of the
ancient world and highlight similarities across cultures.
The conference invites papers on topics involving competition such as
(but, of course, not limited to):

Conspicuous consumption and status competition
Games as education
Competition as a structural force in society
Political competition
Ancient theories of competition
Competition and literature
Ideologies of competition
Sports and diplomacy
Place of athletes in the community

Submissions are welcome from graduate students working on ancient
topics in such fields as: Ancient History, Anthropology, Archaeology,
Art History, East Asian Studies, Classics, Egyptology, Linguistics,
Middle Eastern Studies, Near Eastern Studies, Pre-Columbian Studies,
Religious Studies, and South Asian Studies.

If you are interested in presenting a paper, please submit a 250-word
abstract for a 15 minute talk by January 7, 2012 including your
contact information (including name, institution, and e-mail) to
Arthur T. Jones at ancient AT sas.upenn.edu. Speakers will be notified of
the status of their submissions by January 15, 2012.

CFP: Penn-Leiden Colloquium VII – Valuing Antiquity in Antiquity

Seen on various lists:

Penn-Leiden Colloquia on Ancient Values VII
CALL FOR PAPERS

The topic of the seventh colloquium, to be held at the University of Leiden, the Netherlands, June
15-16, 2012, will be:

Valuing Antiquity in Antiquity

The ‘classical tradition’ is no invention of modernity. Already in ancient Greece and Rome, the
privileging of the ancient over the present and future played an integral role in social and cultural
discourses of every period. In this colloquium we want to examine this temporal organization of value
and the mechanisms by which it was produced and sustained—in other words, ancient valuations of
antiquity as expressions of lived value-systems. How did specific Greek and Roman communities use
notions of antiquity to define themselves or others? What models from the past proved most
acceptable or desirable (or not) for political practice or for self-fashioning? What groups were the
main agents, or audiences, of such discourses on the value of antiquity, and what were their priorities
and their motivations? What were the differences between Roman and Greek approaches, or between
antiquarianism, genealogy, classicism, nostalgia, canonization and their opposites? How did temporal
systems for ascribing value intersect with the organization of space, the production of narrative, or the
espousal and application of aesthetic criteria?

For the seventh Penn-Leiden colloquium, we invite abstracts for papers (30 minutes) that address ‘the
past in the past’ along these lines. We hope to bring together researchers in all areas of classical
studies, including literature, philosophy, linguistics, history, and visual and material culture, and hope
to discover the significant points of intersection and difference between these areas of focus.

Selected papers will be considered for publication by Brill Publishers. Those interested in presenting a
paper are requested to submit a 1-page abstract, by email (preferable) or regular mail, by Friday
November 18th, 2011.

CFP: South Italy, Sicily and the Mediterranean: Cultural Interactions

Seen on the Classicists list:

Call for Papers: "South Italy, Sicily and the Mediterranean: Cultural Interactions"
17th ‐ 21st July 2012, Melbourne, Australia

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. The conference will run from 17th to the 21st July 2012. The program will include exhibitions at the Hellenic Museum and the Museo Italiano of ancient Greek vases from Southern Italy and Sicily as well as other pieces from the collection of the Trendall Research Centre. It will also include a tour of the world-class resources held at the A.D. Trendall Research Centre at La Trobe University. The inter-disciplinary nature of this conference seeks to foster critical analysis of geographical and chronological interconnections in Southern Italy and Sicily. It is intended that consideration of cultural interaction, population movements, and changing religious and philosophical ideas over a period of approximately 3000 years will prompt scholarly discussion of continuity and change over time in this region of the Mediterranean.

Confirmed Keynote Speakers:
Professor David Abulafia, Professorial Fellow of Gonville and Caius College and Professor of Mediterranean History at Cambridge University.
Professor Roger Wilson, Professor of the Archaeology of the Roman Empire and Director of the Centre for the Study of Ancient Sicily at the University of British Columbia.
Associate Professor Mia Fuller, Associate Professor of Italian Studies at the University of California, Berkely.

Please submit abstracts no longer than 300 words to Sarah Midford at s.midford AT latrobe.edu.au before 6th February 2012. Papers will be programmed into 30-minute time slots and should be no longer than 20-minutes. 10-minutes will be scheduled for questions.

Papers that focus on the region of Southern Italy and Sicily are invited from any discipline and postgraduates are most welcome to present.

For more information go to:
http://www.latrobe.edu.au/humanities/about/events/cultural-interactions-conference

CFP: Ancients and Moderns: 81st Anglo-American Conference of Historians

Seen on the Classicists list:

Ancients and Moderns: 81st Anglo-American Conference of Historians

5-6 July 2012
Senate House, London

With the Olympics upon us in the UK it seems an appropriate moment to think more broadly about the ways in which the classical world resonates in our own times, and how successive epochs of modernity since the Renaissance have situated themselves in relation to the various ancient civilisations. From political theory to aesthetics, across the arts of war and of peace, to concepts of education, family, gender, race and slavery, it is hard to think of a facet of the last millennium which has not been informed by the ancient past and through a range of media, including painting, poetry, film and the built environment. The Institute’s 81st Anglo-American conference seeks to represent the full extent of work on classical receptions, welcoming not only those scholars who work on Roman, Greek and Judaeo-Christian legacies and influences, but also historians of the ancient kingdoms and empires of Asia and pre-Colombian America. Our plenary lecturers include: Paul Cartledge (Cambridge), Constanze Güthenke (Princeton), Mark Lewis (Stanford), Sanjay Subrahmanyam (UCLA) and David Womersley (Oxford).

Proposals for individual papers, panels (of up to three papers and a session chair) and roundtables are invited. Please send a half-page abstract to the Events Officer, Institute of Historical Research at AncientsandModerns AT lon.ac.uk by 1 December 2011. Acceptance of proposals will be confirmed by 31st December and the full conference programme published at the end of January. Registrations open on 1 March 2012. Further information on the conference can be found at www.history.ac.uk/aach12.

On behalf of the 2012 Anglo-American Conference Programme Committee:
Hugh Bowden, King’s College, London
Catherine Edwards, Birkbeck College, London
Mike Edwards, Institute of Classical Studies
Rosemary Sweet, University of Leicester
Miles Taylor, Institute of Historical Research
Giorgios Varouxakis, Queen Mary University of London

JOB: Classical Languages Pedagogy @ UGa (tenure track)

Seen on the Classics list:

The DEPARTMENT OF CLASSICS at the UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA is seeking to appoint a tenure-track Assistant Professor in Classics, with special interest in the pedagogy of classical languages.

We seek a broadly-trained classicist who, in addition to supervising the elementary Latin program, canteach across the classics curriculum at all levels, including courses in translation. The teaching load is six courses over two semesters: two of the courses are in pedagogy. The successful candidate will be expected to conduct independent research and publish on pedagogy and student engagement and to participate fully in departmental activities.

The Ph.D. in Classics or any related field is required at the time of appointment (1 August 2012).

Interested candidates should send a letter of application and a complete dossier, including CV, a writing sample (maximum 40 pages), and three letters of reference by email to classrch AT uga.edu. All documents should be in PDF format if possible.

Candidates who cannot apply by email may post hard copy materials to:

Chair, Classics Search Committee
Department of Classics
Park Hall
University of Georgia
Athens, GA 30602-6203
USA

Applications received by November 15th are assured of consideration (receipt of email or postmark for regular or express mail); however, dossiers will be accepted until the position is filled. Preliminary interviews of selected candidates will be conducted at the APA/AIA meeting in Philadelphia in January.

The University of Georgia is located in Athens, Georgia, about an hour and a half northeast of Atlanta.

The Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, its many units, and the University of Georgia are committed to increasing the diversity of its faculty and students, and sustaining a work and learning environment that is inclusive. Woman, minorities and people with disabilities are encouraged to apply. The University is an EEO/AA institution.

CFP:From the Inside Looking Out

Seen on the Classicists list:

Call for Papers

From the Inside Looking Out: Alterity and Creating the Other in Ancient History

The 1st Annual Graduate Conference in Ancient History of the Joint Collaborative
Programme in Ancient Greek and Roman History (University of Toronto and York
University=ColPAH)

April 27-28, 2012

Keynote Speaker: Sara Forsdyke, University of Michigan

The historical record is full of places, people, and practices characterized as
strange or somehow different from the predominant cultural groups of any given
time. Most often these reputations are created by those within the mainstream
as they attempt to articulate how these outsider groups are distinctive from
themselves. This conference will focus on how the identities of such groups are
created, communicated, and disseminated to become something that is considered
strange, alien or in some way peculiar. How did people in the ancient world
perceive people, places and practices that were "strange" to them? How are
these perceptions manifested and transmitted in the historical record? Finally,
since the creation of such identities affects our own modern perception of these
"others", what lasting effects and prejudices do these portrayals engender in
the treatment of such marginalized groups within contemporary scholarship?

We welcome and encourage submissions from all areas and aspects of ancient
history, including but not limited to history of religion, material culture,
social history, anthropology, iconography and historiography. Interested
graduate students and post-doctoral fellows are invited to submit titled
abstracts of up to 250 words for papers of approximately 15-20 minutes in
length to colpah AT gmail.com before December 1, 2011. For more information on the
Joint Collaborative Programme in Ancient Greek and Roman History please visit
http://www.yorku.ca/gradhist/collaborative/.

Etruscan Childbirth Image Followup

I swear I’d looked for coverage of this find at SMU’s site the other day, but it wouldn’t come up and we posted a related item from the Open University (Etruscan Depiction of Childbirth ). In any event, the SMU press release gives a few more useful details:

An archaeological excavation at Poggio Colla, the site of a 2,700-year-old Etruscan settlement in Italy’s Mugello Valley, has turned up a surprising and unique find: two images of a woman giving birth to a child.

Researchers from the Mugello Valley Archaeological Project, which oversees the Poggio Colla excavation site some 20 miles northeast of Florence, discovered the images on a small fragment from a ceramic vessel that is more than 2,600 years old.

The images show the head and shoulders of a baby emerging from a mother represented with her knees raised and her face shown in profile, one arm raised, and a long ponytail running down her back.

The excavation is a project of Southern Methodist University, Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Penn., and the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, in collaboration with The Open University in Milton Keynes, England.

The identification of the scene was made by Phil Perkins, an authority on Etruscan bucchero and professor of archaeology at The Open University.

“We were astounded to see this intimate scene; it must be the earliest representation of childbirth in Western art,” said Perkins. “Etruscan women are usually represented feasting or participating in rituals, or they are goddesses. Now we have to solve the mystery of who she is and who her child is.”

The Etruscans were the first settlers of Italy, long before the Roman Empire. They built the first cities, were a conduit for the introduction of Greek culture to the Romans, and were known for their art, agriculture, fine metalworking and commerce. They occupied Italy for the first millennium B.C., but were conquered by the Romans and eventually became absorbed into their empire.

“The birth scene is extraordinary, but what is also fascinating is what this image might mean on elite pottery at a sanctuary,” said Greg Warden, professor and associate dean for academic affairs at the Meadows School of the Arts at SMU and a director of the Mugello Valley Archaeological Project.

“Might it have some connection to the cult,” Warden said, “to the kind of worship that went on at the hilltop sanctuary of Poggio Colla?”

The fragment was excavated by William Nutt, who is a graduate student in anthropology at the University of Texas at Arlington and who is legally blind. Nutt was participating in the Poggio Colla Field School, which has operated for six weeks every summer since 1995.

Under the supervision of faculty from U.S. institutions and graduate students in classical archaeology and anthropology, the field school has trained approximately 20 students each year, from more than 70 American and European universities, in the theory and practice of archaeological research. Through excavation and scholarship, these students have played an integral role in understanding the Etruscan occupation of the Mugello Valley.

“I was very grateful to be accepted to the summer program at Poggio Colla — it was my first archaeological dig,” said Nutt, who is attending UTA under a National Science Foundation fellowship.

“I found the artifact at the beginning of my second week there. It was quite dirty, and we weren’t sure what it was until it was cleaned at the onsite lab and identified by Perkins,” Nutt said. “It was thrilling to find out that it was so significant. To make a discovery like that, which provides important new information about a culture we know so little about, is exactly what makes archaeology and anthropology so appealing.”

The ceramic fragment is less than 1-3/4 x 1-1/4 inches (4 x 3 cm), from a vessel made of bucchero. Bucchero is a fine, black ceramic material, embellished with stamped and incised decorations, used to make eating and drinking vessels for Etruscan elites.

Typically, stamped designs range from abstract geometric motifs to exotic and mythical animals. There are no known Greek or Roman representations of the moment of birth shown as clearly as the Poggio Colla example until more than 500 years later. The fragment dates to about 600 B.C.E. (Before the Common Era).

Because the site at Poggio Colla has produced numerous votive deposits, scholars are certain that for some part of its history it was a sacred spot to a divinity or divinities.

The abundance of weaving tools and a stunning deposit of gold jewelry discovered earlier have already suggested to some scholars that the patron divinity may have been female; the discovery of the childbirth scene, because of its uniqueness, adds another piece of evidence to the theory.

“This is a most exciting discovery,” said Larissa Bonfante, professor emerita of classics at New York University and a world-renowned expert on the ancient Etruscans. “It shows an image of a type so far unknown in Etruscan context and gives us plenty to think about as we try to understand its religious significance.”

A paper about the find will be presented at the annual meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America in Philadelphia in January. The paper, titled “Defining Northern Etruria: Evidence from Poggio Colla (Vicchio di Mugello),” will be presented by Ann Steiner, provost, dean of the faculty and Shirley Watkins Steinman Professor of Classics at Franklin and Marshall College.

Poggio Colla is a highly significant and rare site. One reason is that it spans most of Etruscan history. Archaeological evidence suggests that the site was occupied from around 700 B.C.E. until 187 B.C.E., when it was destroyed by the Romans. Another reason is that it was not buried under later construction. The Etruscans picked beautiful, easily defended hilltops for their settlements. As a result, generation after generation built new cities on top of their sites. That means many have 2000 years of other civilizations on top of Etruscan settlements and cemeteries. Poggio Colla, however, remained in its original condition. Third, Poggio Colla represents an entire settlement, including tombs, a temple, a pottery factory and an artisan community. Excavations of workshops and living quarters are yielding new details about Etruscan life to scholars.

The site centers on the acropolis, a roughly rectangular plateau of one and a half acres at the summit of Poggio Colla. Excavations have found strong evidence that the acropolis was home to a sanctuary and have identified a temple building and an altar at the center of a large courtyard. Numerous offerings have been found buried around the altar, gifts left behind as part of a sacred ritual to a still unidentified deity. These votive donations range from a massive deposit of nearly 500 varied bronze objects, to a spectacular gift of women’s gold jewelry and semi-precious stones. Another votive deposit contains a collection of ritual objects that were laid to rest in a room at the northwest corner of the sanctuary courtyard, possibly by a priest.

Excavators discovered a large circular pit, at the center of which was placed a sandstone cylinder, possibly the top of a votive column. Carefully situated near the cylinder were two sandstone statue bases, the larger of which includes the inscribed name of the aristocratic donor. Buried alongside these objects were a strand of gold wire, a purposely broken bronze implement, and two bronze bowls that had been used to pour ritual libations, as well as the bones of a piglet, presumably sacrificed as part of a purification ritual. This unique religious context has allowed researchers to reconstruct, for the first time, the actual rituals and actions of the priest/magistrate who presided over the ceremonies.

Although the Etruscan site now called Poggio Colla has been known since the 19th century, it was first excavated from 1968 to 1972 by Francesco Nicosia, the former Superintendent of Archaeology in Tuscany. With Nicosia’s permission and encouragement, SMU professor Greg Warden, a Mugello Valley native, reopened the site in 1995, established the Mugello Valley Archaeological Project and launched the summer Poggio Colla Field School. Today the project continues to proceed with the permission and supervision of the Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici per la Toscana and Luca Fedeli, Inspector.

Directors of the project include Warden; Steiner; Michael L. Thomas, senior research associate at the University of Texas at Austin; and Gretchen Meyers, assistant professor of classics at Franklin & Marshall College. They oversee a team of archaeologists, scientists, architects and conservators who are conducting a systematic and multi-disciplined study of Poggio Colla, including stratigraphic excavation, scientific analysis, geophysical mapping and land surveys.

… the original article has a nice video for ‘recruiting purposes’ and some photos from the project’s flickr set …