CFP: 15th Unisa Classics Colloquium

Seen on the Classicists list:

15th Unisa Classics Colloquium, 22-24 October 2014

THEME: ‘Intellectual and Empire’

Classicists are hereby reminded to submit paper proposals for this year’s
colloquium. The conference is intended to explore the relationship between
public intellectuals and manifestations of imperial power, whether in the
form of rejection, acceptance or approval. The conference’s main focus
will be on the first three centuries of the Roman Empire, but other eras
and empires of Greco-Roman antiquity, e.g., Athenian, Macedonian or
ancient Near Eastern, will also be considered. ‘Intellectuals’ are broadly
conceived as individuals making public their intellectual endeavours
through literature, scholarship, religion, philosophy, rhetoric,
performance, and the like. We look forward to receiving proposals
exploring the tension (or not) between intellect and power, particularly
as manifested by individual authors or figures.

Invited speakers: Heinz-Günther Nesselrath (Göttingen); Ewen Bowie
(Oxford); Tim Whitmarsh (Oxford/Cambridge).

Please submit titles and abstracts of approximately 300 words to Philip
Bosman at bosmapr AT, as soon as possible. All proposals are
carefully considered, but bear in mind that slots are limited. Final
deadline for submissions: 30 April.

The Unisa Classics Colloquium is hosted annually by the Department of
Classics and World Languages at the University of South Africa, Pretoria.

More on the conference
Convening in 2014 for the 15th time, the Unisa Classics Colloquium
combines stimulating scholarship with a pleasant and intimate atmosphere.
Over two and a half days, approximately 20 scholarly contributions from
around the world are to be presented. The 40 minute slots provide ample
time for discussion and valuable feedback. Parallel sessions are avoided
in order to promote unity of focus in the conference, and delegates get to
know each other properly. Information on previous conferences may be found

Venue: To be announced. We are currently exploring the possibility of
moving the conference to a Bushveld game reserve
( on the outskirts of Pretoria.

Dates: 22-24 October 2014
Since transport to and from the conference venue might pose difficulties,
participants should ideally arrive at OR Tambo Airport and in Pretoria on
the morning of the 21st and only book a flight out from the evening of the
24th but preferably later.

A preliminary programme will be compiled from the received proposals and
published on the Departmental website after the final date for

Conference Fee
We are negotiating a conference package of approximately US$350, inclusive
of accommodation, transport and conference fee. Postgraduates, other
students and interested parties not able to claim back conference fees
from their institutions should please contact the organizers for a

Publication of papers
Depending on quality, a collection of articles on the colloquium theme is
envisaged. Submitted papers are subject to a refereeing process. If you
would consider submitting your paper for publication, please indicate that
to us via return mail for further guidelines on style.

CJ~Online Review: Mattern, The Prince of Medicine

posted with permission:

The Prince of Medicine: Galen in the Roman Empire. By Susan P. Mattern. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013. Pp. xx + 334. Hardcover, $29.95. ISBN 978-0-19-976767-0.

Reviewed by Svetla Slaveva-Griffin, Florida State University

It has been a while since I have read a scholarly book from cover to cover in almost one shot. Yet, Susan Mattern’s The Prince of Medicine engulfed me with its subject-which for a name like Galen’s is a given-and its enviable merits. Mattern’s talent weaves a historical biography of one of the most reputed and controversial intellectual minds of antiquity into a grabbing full-life story of the real Galen, uncensored and demystified.

Scholars for centuries have painstakingly slaved to disentangle the Renaissance-like profile of the man whose narcissistic and clashing personality, so truthfully portrayed in his own writings, tends to cast a long shadow over his genius as a physician, polymath, philosopher, an opinionated member of the intelligentsia of the late antique world, devoted citizen to his native Pergamum and avid follower of Asclepius and his art. Galen was a man of superlatives in his medical career and in his private life -more often disparaging than eulogistic-which he did not mind sharing with the public.

The same can be said about his writings the sheer number of which (appr. 150 titles) is as overwhelming as their thematic diversity. Oftentimes when introducing his prolific output, we remind ourselves that his corpus (22 vols. in C. G. Kühn, Claudii Galeni Opera Omnia [Hildesheim: Olms, 1964-65] and counting, with the recent discovery of his De indolentia) represents one eighth of all extent ancient Greek literature.[1] Galen’s works and Galen’s life are an empire of their own as large as the Empire he lived and worked in.

In her summary on the front flip of the dustjacket, Mattern states that "The Prince of Medicine offers the first authoritative biography in English of this brilliant, audacious, and profoundly influential figure." Given its subject, this is, in its own turn, an audacious, or at least ambitious claim to make and the final product has met its tall order in two main respects: scholarly erudition and general public appeal. There is much ‘food for thought’ between the covers of the volume for everyone, from the seasoned expert, familiar with the latest research trends in Galen’s multifarious heritage, to the incidental browser of the bookstore shelves, curious to learn something new and unexpected just for the sake of learning.

The book consists of a prologue, eight chapters, and an epilogue, which diachronically follow the course of Galen’s life, without the monotony of an accomplished curriculum vitae but dynamically, with highlights on revealing episodes of this life. For economy of space, I will not list here the subjects of the individual chapters. They cover all expected topics: childhood and upbringing in Pergamum, medical studies in Alexandria, beginning career as a gladiatorial surgeon in Pergamum, his high medical career as a court physician to Marcus Aurelius in Rome, his enigmatic behavior during the Antonine Plague, the loss of his library and medical instruments in the fire of 192 ce.

The biggest achievement of the book is piecing together the myriad facts of Galen’s life and work in a consecutive storyline. The book does not expand our understanding of Galen beyond what we already know but it improves it by artfully stitching together historical facts and Galen’s loud autobiographical voice. Taking advantage of this unique opportunity, Mattern has made Galen an engaging narrator, in the role of a "live witness" to her academic narrative. (Just to give one example, Galen’s first-person account of tending to a severe case of tonsillitis begins chapter three, 81). But Mattern has not let Galen speak for himself without a judicious evaluation of the facts in their context. Her narrative is meticulously documented throughout with primary and secondary sources. Still, the reader will not find an argument in the book, but a story, told with academic aplomb.

The above observation is not a critique, considering Mattern’s goal to compose an "authoritative biography." Although she does not identify what kind of readership she envisions for her account, it is obvious that she has also aimed at the general public who has seen Dr. House and Gladiator, but she has done so without ‘dumbing down’ the intellectual complexity of the material. Neither the academic specialist nor the connoisseur of the historical novel à la Marguerite Yourcenar or Mary Renault will be disappointed in this book.

CONF: International Conference on Orality and Greek Literature in the Roman Empire

Seen on the Classicists list:

International Conference on Orality and Greek Literature in the Roman Empire
Full details and booking information:

Organizer: Consuelo Ruiz Montero (Dpto. de Filología Clásica de la Universidad de Murcia)
Place: Museo del Teatro Romano de Cartagena (Murcia), Spain
Date: 29-31 May 2014

M. Andreassi (Univ. di Bari, Italia): “Le barzellette tra oralità e scrittura: il caso del Philogelos».
E. L. Bowie (Corpus Christi College, Oxford, United Kingdom): “Poetic and prose oral performance in the Greek world of the Roman empire: the evidence of epigraphy”.
A. Chaniotis (All Souls College, Oxford, United Kingdom): “The oral transmission of memory in the Greek cities of the Imperial period”.
J. A. Fernández Delgado (Univ. de Salamanca, Spain): “Literaturiedad y oralidad en la obra de Plutarco”.
P. Gómez Cardó (Univ. de Barcelona, Spain): “Relato oral, ficción y construcción narrativa: a propósito del Tóxaris de Luciano”.
E. Hall ((King´s College, London, United Kingdom): “Pantomime, multilingualism and orality under the Roman Empire’.
L. Kim (Trinity Univ., U.S.A.): “Oral performance, storytelling, and transmission in Dio Chrysostom”.
I. Konstantakos (Univ. of Athens, Greece): “The Alexander Romance and the archaelogy of folk narratives”.
F. Mestre (Univ. de Barcelona, Spain): “La palabra hablada o el prestigio de la oralidad en Luciano”.
J. A. Molina (Univ. de Murcia):”Presencia de la oralidad en la Historia Secreta de Procopio”.
J. Nollé (Kommission für Alte Geschichte und Epigraphik, Munich, Germany): «Implanting stories in the collective consciousness. The role of the so called Greek Imperials in memorising Greek literature and oral traditions».
L. Núñez (Univ. de Lausanne, Suisse): “Embedded orality in Apuleius’ Metamorphoses and Florida”.
C. Ruiz-Montero (Univ. de Murcia, Spain): “Relatos orales en textos narrativos griegos del Imperio”.
I. C. Rutherford (Univ. of Reading, United Kindom): “From Egyptian to Greek Literature: Oral or Written Transmission?”.
H. Schwarz (Univ. of Munich, Germany): “Biologoi – Storytellers in Ancient Greek Cities”.
M. Squire (King´s College, London, United Kingdom): “Telling tales on Mithras: The oral art of the story on “Mithraic Reliefs”.
A. Stramaglia (Univ. di Cassino, Italia): “Libri ‘a fumetti’ nel mondo greco-romano”.