CONF: Simonides Lyricus

Seen on the Classicists list


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

Seen on the Classicists list:

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?