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: