CFP: A theatre of Justice: aspects of performance in Greco-Roman oratory and rhetoric

Seen on the Classicists list:

A theatre of Justice:
Aspects of performance in Greco-Roman oratory and rhetoric

19-20 April 2012, University College London, London

The notion of “performance” has recently attracted considerable scholarly attention both in literary criticism and in cultural history. In
fundamentally “performative” societies, such as the Greek and Roman, a
“performance” approach seems to be a sine qua non for the understanding of the nature of several genres. Oratory is, certainly, among them: for the Greeks and Romans, oratory was not primarily something they wrote or read, but something they performed before the audience. Despite the significant scholarly advances that have been made on the area of oratory in/as performance, there is still a lot more to be explored, further questions need to be asked and answered.

For example:
1) What is performance? Suggested definitions of performance based on information offered by Greek and Roman rhetorical texts.
2) Performance and text: can we reconstruct something as elusive and fleeting as performance from the extant written copies of oratorical
3) Why performance matters? What difference does it make in our
understanding of the oratorical texts that they were performed?
4) “Imagine that you are not in a court, but in a theater” (Aeschines
3.153): what is the relation of oratorical performance with theatre?
5) Features of the “performative” infrastructure of certain oratorical
6) Hypocrisis-actio-delivery.
7) Ethopoiia as an aspect of performance.

Our postgraduate conference aims at bringing together not only classicists,
but also students from other fields of study such as law, reception and
theatrical studies, in order to present their on-going research work in this
fertile area.

Confirmed keynote speakers:
Professor Ian Worthington (University of Missouri, USA)
Professor Edith Hall (Royal Holloway, London)

Interested postgraduate students are warmly invited to submit titles and
abstracts of no more than 300 words for a 20-minute research paper by
Sunday, 18 December 2011 at the latest. Please send your abstracts or
enquiries, to both conference organisers:
Andreas Serafim (andreas.serafim.10 AT
Beatrice Da Vela (beatrice.vela.10 AT

Mythologizing Syphilis

This is one of those times when I wish I had access to assorted online databases. The current issue of Archives of Dermatology has a potentially very interesting article, it seems, with a 150-word tease (since there isn’t an abstract). How’s this for Classical Tradition:

In early times, some physicians named syphilis for Greek and Roman myths as a way to explain the difficulty in overcoming the disease. Guillaume Rondelet (1507-1566) called syphilis Hydra’s disease for the Greek mythological monster Hydra from Lerna, which had 9 heads, with the one in the middle being immortal. Gervais Uçay (17th century) named the numerous symptoms and clinical features of syphilis Proteus’ disease after the Greek divinity, who was able to change his appearance according to circumstance.

People believed that the outcome of syphilis was God’s severe punishment for lascivious men. Juan Almenar (15th-16th century) named the disease passio turpis saturnina in remembrance of the filthy passion of Saturn, a Roman divinity, known as Kronos in Greek mythology, who killed his own sons by eating them.1 Almenar stated, “Venereal disease is a diathesis which is . . .

… the link will take you to access possibilities, including shelling out thirty bucks for what I think is a one page article.

JOB: Assorted Specialty Options @ UWinnipeg (tenure track)

Seen on various lists:

The Department of Classics at The University of Winnipeg invites applications from qualified women and men for a tenure-track position at the rank of Assistant Professor. This appointment is effective July 1, 2012 and is subject to budgetary approval. Salary is commensurate with qualifications and experience. Preference will be given to candidates who can demonstrate an ability to teach broadly at the undergraduate level and have a particular interest in one of the following areas: 1. Staging and Filming Greek and Roman Drama; teaching responsibilities may include courses on Drama (its content, societal relevance and staging), Reception Studies and the Ancient World in Film and Television.
2. The Sustainable City and the Ancient Mediterranean World; teaching responsibilities may include courses on Town Planning Ancient and Modern, The Environment in the Classical World and on aspects of Greek and Roman Society. There is a strong tradition of engagement with the community by the Department’s members, and it is expected that the successful applicant will be similarly involved. Experience in the use of digital media in research and pedagogy is an asset. Qualifications include a completed or nearly completed Ph.D. in Classics and a demonstrated potential for excellence in teaching, research and scholarship.

The University of Winnipeg is committed to employment equity, welcomes diversity in the workplace and encourages applications from all qualified individuals, including women, members of visible minorities, Aboriginal persons and persons with disabilities. In accordance with Canadian immigration requirements, this advertisement is initially directed to Canadian citizens and permanent residents of Canada.

Interested applicants should send their curriculum vitae, along with three
letters of reference, to:

Dr. Jane Cahill
Chair, Department of Classics
The University of Winnipeg
515 Portage Avenue
Winnipeg, MB
R3B 2E9

The deadline for applications is December 15th, 2011.

CONF: Ancient Aitia: Explaining Matter Between Knowledge and Belief

Seen on various lists:

NYU Classics Department Graduate Student Conference 2011
Ancient Aitia: Explaining Matter Between Knowledge and Belief

Co-sponsored by:
NYU Center for Ancient Studies
NYU College of Arts and Sciences
Institute for the Study of the Ancient World
New York Classical Club
Classical Association of the Atlantic States

9 am Breakfast
9:30 Welcome & Introduction

Inger Kuin (New York University)

First Panel

Aitia in Imperial Greek Literature: Love and Faith
Chair: Melanie Subacus (New York University)

9:45 “There Must Be Something in the Water: The Questions of Bartholomew, Eve’s Seduction, and the Functional Use of Aetiology in Two Coptic Magical Texts”

Ryan B. Knowles (Boston University)

10:05 Response & Discussion

Allan Georgia (Fordham University)

10:20 “Literary Functions of the Aetiological Texts in Parthenius Nicaea’s Erotika Pathemata”

Marc Vandersmissen (Université de Liège)

10:40 Response & Discussion
Robyn Walsh (Brown University)

10:55 “The Social Side of Aitia: Demons, Seals, and Recipes in the Testament of Solomon and Late Antique Apotropaic Practices”

Katherine French (Boston University)

11:15 Response & Discussion

Zacharias Andreadakis (University of Michigan)

11:30 Coffee Break

Second Panel

Aitia in Science: Doctors, Rainbows and Stars
Chair: Inger Kuin (New York University)

11:50 “It Is Evident That There Is No Cause: Aitia in Early Greek Medicine”

David Camden (Harvard University)

12:10 Response & Discussion
Sara Agnelli (University of Florida)

12:25 “On Rainbows: Optical Technology and Meteorological Aitia”
Colin Webster (Columbia University)

12:45 Response & Discussion
Katia Kosova (New York University)

1 pm “The sidus Iulium: Political Advantage and Religious Truth”
Eric Tindale (University of Toronto)

1:20 Response & Discussion
Nicholas Geller (University of Michigan)

1:35 Lunch

Third Panel

The Aetiological Method: Time, Humor and Community
Chair: Melanie Subacus (New York University)

3 pm “Illud Tempus in Orpheus’ Song: Eliade, Apollonius, and Aetiological Time”

Kathryn Wilson (University of Pennsylvania)

3:20 Response & Discussion
Anke Walter (Universität Rostock)

3:35 “Comic First Inventions”
Alan Sumler (City University of New York Graduate Center)

3:55 Response & Discussion
Elda Granata (University La Sapienza of Rome / University of Michigan)

4:10 “Sublime Riddling: Self-Identity and Sense of Community in Symphosius’ Aenigmata”
Adrienne Ho (University of Iowa)

4:30 Response & Discussion
Paul McBreen (City University of New York Graduate Center)

4:45 Break

5 pm Keynote Address: "Why doesn’t my baby look like me? Expectations and surprises in ancient theories of inheritance."
Professor Daryn Lehoux (Queen’s University)

6 pm Reception

Also Seen: W. H. Auden and the Comedy of Human Suffering

Interesting little essay over at big think … here’s the incipit as a bit of a tease:

“What is so distasteful about the Homeric gods,” W. H. Auden complains in his essay “The Frivolous & the Earnest,”

is that they are well aware of human suffering but refuse to take it seriously. They take the lives of men as frivolously as their own; they meddle with the former for fun, and then get bored.

Unlovable as the gods can be, this isn’t quite fair to them. Plenty of evidence in the Iliad and Odyssey contradicts the charge of heartlessness: Zeus, Hera, and the rest take pity on mortals at least as often as they harass them, and far more often than they view human suffering with detachment. A lot depends on their mood (Zeus is notoriously mercurial) and character (Athena, for example, runs more errands of mercy than Ares). But in general, they have an undeniable capacity for decency; they’re just selective and inconsistent in applying it. What seems to bother Auden is not that the Homeric gods are “frivolous” but that they’re no more or less so than we are.

How does all of this bear on Auden’s own poetry? Throughout his career, Auden strove to stay morally engaged with, rather than aesthetically detached from, the wars and genocides of the twentieth century. Because these were immediate rather than historical crises, Auden had a tough line to walk. He wanted to save mankind but also save his work from the trash heap, to address contemporary fears with both urgency and permanence. […]