Meet our Ure Museum Erasmus Intern

317207_10151143606689807_1753912674_nMy name is Mariana Gomes Beirão, I’m Portuguese, 21, and I am currently doing a 3 month Erasmus internship in the Ure Museum as part of my MA in Ancient History, which I will defend next year.  I have a degree in Languages, literatures and cultures with a major in English and minor in Italian. While doing my degree I discovered my fascination for classics mainly due to one of my Professors’ passion for his job. Rodrigo Furtado greatly influenced and impressed me to the point of, inadvertedly, entirely changing my course of studies. I began taking optional lectures and saw that they interested me more than my mandatory ones. I knew then I had to alter my path.

Moreover, before starting university I applied for an integrated masters’ in the Portuguese Army and was accepted. In my first year I sustained and injury to my knee and was forced to abandon my military career. At first I was devastated yet now it seems clear that the Moirae did their thing and everything fell into place. I find interest in learning about people long dead instead of being the one doing the killing.

Furthermore, my former summer jobs include working as a security guard in a golf resort, as a client liaison for a holiday rental company and for the past 3 years I’ve been teaching Portuguese as a foreign language to British ex-pats living in Portugal (to get a bit extra for the tuition). Finally, the least interesting aspects (not that any of the previous ones were particularly fascinating):

Firstly, I am a very active person, proof of that is that my fiancée owns the gym I go to (which is where we met). I enjoy running, doing gymnastics and kickboxing. Secondly, I love animals, especially horses, once again the fates had it all sorted as my soon to be husband has a few specimen of my favourite animal. Thirdly, I possess a PS3 and I proudly call myself a gamer. Lastly, I have failed to become a vegetarian due to the fact that Portugal isn’t very keen on rabbit food as almost everything has at least a pig’s internal organ in it.

The Garden in Antiquity: A Workshop at the Fondation Hardt

Prof. Annalisa Marzano at the Fondation Hardt

Prof. Annalisa Marzano at the Fondation Hardt

From August 19 to 23, 2013 the Fondation Hardt pour l’étude de l’Antiquité Classique in Geneva hosted the 60th Entretiens sur l’Antiquité classique on the theme ‘The Garden in Antiquity,’ organized by Kathleen Coleman. Papers covered different historical periods, starting with the gardens of ancient Mesopotamia and ending with the early Christian period. Prof. Marzano was part of the lucky group of invited speakers who could enjoy the Fondation’s superb hospitality, the villa’s fine grounds, and, last but not least, the cook Heidi’s excellent dishes. She spoke on ‘Roman gardens, military conquests, and elite self-representation’, exploring the reasons behind ‘botanical imperialism’, such as the case of general Lucullus introducing into Italy the sour cherry tree from Pontos, and elite interest in grafting (according to Pliny, even someone like Pompey the Great had time to graft a new variety of fig tree). The event was very successful and now the volume is being prepared for publication in 2014.

The speakers of the 60th Entretiens and organizers, from left to right: Évelyne Prioux, Pierre Ducrey (Director of the Fondation), Stephanie Dalley, Christian Loeben, Kathleen Coleman, Annalisa Marzano, Bettina Bergmann, Giulia Caneva, Robin Lane Fox, Rabun Taylor.

The speakers of the 60th Entretiens and organizers, from left to right: Évelyne Prioux, Pierre Ducrey (Director of the Fondation), Stephanie Dalley, Christian Loeben, Kathleen Coleman, Annalisa Marzano, Bettina Bergmann, Giulia Caneva, Robin Lane Fox, Rabun Taylor.

The Fondation was created by Baron Kurd von Hardt. In his vision, the exchange of ideas among international scholars was crucial in order to advance knowledge. He described the Entretiens, first held in 1952, with these words: ‘Each year, at the Fondation’s home in Vandœuvres, the Entretiens sur l’Antiquité classique will be held, during which specialists from all over the world will speak about their chosen fields, and in the course of further discussions, will thus foster an enriching exchange of views’. The Fondation has a specialized library of almost 40,000 volumes and welcomes researchers who wish to stay in order to pursue their studies; research scholarships are available for young scholars. Our own PhD student Maria Lloyd was awarded one of these scholarships and will be going to the Fondation in October.


Animals in the Classical world – New Book by Reading Doctoral Researcher

Congratulations to our doctoral researcher Alastair Harden on the publication of his book Animals in the Classical world: ethical perspectives from Greek and Roman texts.

Harden, AnimalsThe sourcebook is a collection of nearly 200 specially-translated excerpts from Classical authors from Homer to Plutarch. It  aims to contextualize modern animal rights debates within the civilizations of Greece and Rome, and to provide an introduction to the uses of animal imagery in Classical literature with the ultimate goal of understanding the place of the non-human animal in the moral and ethical parameters of the ancient world.

Topics such as warfare, science, farming, vegetarianism and public entertainment join the more traditionally-philosophical corners of this growing area of Classical studies, and passages are included from authors of all genres of Classical literature including poets, novelists and historians.

The book suggests that we can learn as much about ancient ethical parameters from a Homeric simile, a passage of Sophocles or a throwaway comment from Thucydides as we can from the nuanced language of philosophical discourse, if we look in the right places.

The book joins the Animal Ethic series published by Palgrave Macmillan ( in conjunction with the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics, which recently founded the new print Journal of Animal Ethics. The photograph on the cover was taken in the Ure Museum.

Classics Research Seminars – Autumn Term 2013

We are delighted to announce our programme of research seminars for Autumn Term 2013.

Unless otherwise indicated, all seminars will take place at 4pm in the Ure Museum of Greek Archaeology (HumSS G38). Everyone welcome.

9 October
Lindsay Powell
(Austin, TX – Wokingham):
‘Celebrity, Comedy and Chickens: The Magnificent Life of Germanicus Caesar’
N.B., this event will take place in HumSS G25

16 October
Eleanor Dickey (Reading):
‘Why the Greeks did not leave spaces between words’

23 October
Koen Verboven (Ghent):
‘Economics and the Roman collegia’

30 October:
Walter Scheidel (Stanford):
‘Always follow the money: what public revenue and expenditure tell us about the nature of the Roman empire’
N.B., this event will take place in HumSS G25

6 November
Greg Woolf (St Andrews):
‘Rethinking Ancient Literacy. Words, numbers and social complexity in the Near East and the Mediterranean world’
N.B., this event will take place in HumSS G25

13 November
The Annual Percy N. Ure Lecture
Robert Parker (Oxford):
‘Artemis Polymastos and others: challenges and problems of iconography in Greco-Roman Anatolia’
N.B., this event will take place in HumSS G27

20 November
Alex Mullen (Oxford):
‘Latinitas Britannica’
N.B., this event will take place in HumSS G25

27 November
Marianne Bergeron (The British Museum, London):
‘Pots and People: Greek traders at Naukratis’

4 December
Sally Waite (Newcastle):
‘An Athenian Red-Figure Kalathos in the Shefton Collection’
N.B., this event will take place in HumSS G25

Dr Matthew Nicholls on Radio 4

Dr Matthew Nicholls will be on BBC Radio 4 tomorrow (11 September 2013, 11am), speaking about his work on ancient libraries.

From the BBC’s blurb:

As public libraries shut down or cut their opening hours, Michael Rosen continues a two part investigation into the library story from the ancient world to the modern and beyond.

In the second episode, Michael visits the biggest public lending library in Britain, the brand new Library of Birmingham. In this cultural centre for the 21st century, the emphasis is as much on access to information technology and cultural events as on the old-fashioned book. What will it do for the city, and how might the new super library affect smaller community libraries in the area?

Matthew Nicholls from Reading University takes us on a tour of the libraries of imperial Rome, with their papyrus scrolls and busts of great men. And from Bexar County, Texas, we hear how any busts of great men will be virtual busts, pictures on the screens of visitors to what has been hailed as America’s first “bookless library.” Is this the future?

Follow this link for further information:

Greek Song Conference 2013 – Now on Storify

The Department of Classics was delighted to host the 2013 conference of the Network for the Study of Archaic and Classical Greek Song (6-8 September), in collaboration with the University of Oxford, organised by Prof. Ian Rutherford (Reading) and Dr Bruno Currie (Oxford).

The theme of this year’s conference was ‘The Reception of Greek Lyric Poetry, 600BC-AD400’, under the umbrella of which participants were able to discuss a wide range of issues around the topics of transmission, canonization, and paratext.

With an excellent line-up of speakers as well as more than sixty guests from all over the world in attendance, we were proud to celebrate Greek Lyric Poetry and its reception in the ancient world. It is our intention to publish the proceedings in a conference volume in due course.

Meanwhile, if you would like to find out more and cannot wait for the volume to come out, the conference was covered live on Twitter, and our PhD student Kate Cook kindly assembled the highlights of the Twitter feed on Storify, accessible via this link:

Some photos taken during the conference (click on images for larger versions):

30th Biennial Conference of the Classical Association of South Africa (CASA)

The Classics section of the Department of Classical and Near Eastern Studies hosted the 30th Biennial Conference of the Classical Association of South Africa (CASA) at the University from the 8th to the 11th July, 2013. Eighty national and international classicists attended and many of these were postgraduate students presenting papers for the first time. This is a very healthy sign and bodes well for the future of the discipline. Keynote addresses by Professor Barbara Goff (University of Reading, UK), Judge Deon van Zyl (CASA Patron), Professor Johan Henning (UFS) and Professor Christa van Wyk (UNISA, UFS) were well received at this very successful conference.


Photo: (from left to right) Judge Deon van Zyl, Mr Mike Lambert (CASA Chairperson), Prof Christa van Wyk, Prof Christoff Zietsman (Conference organiser), Prof Barbara Goff and Prof Johan Henning.

New Monographs by Reading Classicists

Reading’s Department of Classics is delighted to welcome the two most recent additions to our Faculty bookshelf by Prof. Annalisa Marzano and Dr Katherine Harloe:

Harvesting the SeaProf. Annalisa Marzano published her monograph ‘Harvesting the Sea. The Exploitation of Marine Resources in the Roman Mediterranean‘. Harvesting the Sea provides the first systematic treatment of the exploitation of various marine resources, such as large-scale fishing, fish salting, salt and purple-dye production, and oyster and fish-farming, in the Roman world and its role within the ancient economy.

Bringing together literary, epigraphic, and legal sources, with a wealth of archaeological data collected in recent years, Marzano shows that these marine resources were an important feature of the Roman economy and, in scope and market-oriented production, paralleled phenomena taking place in the Roman agricultural economy on land. The book also examines the importance of technological innovations, the organization of labour, and the use of the existing legal framework in defence of economic interests against competitors for the same natural resource.

WinckelmannDr Katherine Harloe published her monograph ‘Winckelmann and the Invention of Antiquity. History and Aesthetics in the Age of Altertumswissenschaft‘. This volume provides a new perspective on the emergence of the modern study of antiquity, Altertumswissenschaft, in eighteenth-century Germany through an exploration of debates that arose over the work of the art historian Johann Joachim Winckelmann between his death in 1768 and the end of the century.

Winckelmann’s eloquent articulation of the cultural and aesthetic value of studying the ancient Greeks, his adumbration of a new method for studying ancient artworks, and his provision of a model of cultural-historical development in terms of a succession of period styles, influenced both the public and intra-disciplinary self-image of classics long into the twentieth century. Yet this area of Winckelmann’s Nachleben has received relatively little attention compared with the proliferation of studies concerning his importance for late eighteenth-century German art and literature, for historians of sexuality, and his traditional status as a ‘founder figure’ within the academic disciplines of classical archaeology and the history of art. Harloe restores the figure of Winckelmann to classicists’ understanding of the history of their own discipline and uses debates between important figures, such as Christian Gottlob Heyne, Friedrich August Wolf, and Johann Gottfried Herder, to cast fresh light upon the emergence of the modern paradigm of classics as Altertumswissenschaft: the multi-disciplinary, comprehensive, and historicizing study of the ancient world.

Conference: The Reception of Greek Lyric Poetry 600BC-AD400

The Reception of Greek Lyric Poetry 600BC-AD400: Transmission, Canonization, and Paratext

Classics Department, University of Reading, 6th-8th September 2013

A conference organized by Oxford University and Reading University under the auspices of the Network for the Study of Archaic and Classical Greek Song

Greek lyric, elegiac and iambic poetry have come down to us through the filter of selection, editing, and commentary by ancient scholars. This amounts to a textual and diachronic context for lyric poetry no less crucial to its understanding than the oral and synchronic context of an original performance. This conference aims to appraise the variety of ways in which the reading of the scholarly ‘paratext’ affects our reading of the lyric poems.

Participants: Lucia Athanassaki (Rethymno), Kristina Bartol (Poznan), Hans Bernsdorff (Frankfurt),  Anton Bierl (Basel), Gregor Bitto (Eichstätt-Ingolstadt), Deborah Boedeker (Brown), Elsa Bouchard (Montreal), Ewen Bowie (Oxford), Joannes Breuer (Mainz), Michel Briand (Poitiers), Stefano Caciagli (Bologna), Claude Calame (Paris/Lausanne), Vanessa Cazzato (Nijmegen), Willy Cingano (Venice), Thomas Coward (UCL), Bruno Currie (Oxford), José Antonio Fernandez Delgado (Salamanca), Massimo Giuseppetti, (Roma Tre), Theodora Hadjimichael (LMU Munich), Maria Kazanskaya (Paris), Jacqueline Klooster (Ghent), Peter Kruschwitz (Reading), André Lardinois (Nijmegen), Richard Martin (Stanford), Glenn Most (Pisa/Chicago), Greg Nagy (Harvard), Arlette Neumann-Hartmann (Freiburg), Dirk Obbink (Oxford), Anastasia-Erasmia Peponi (Stanford), Tom Phillips (Oxford), Enrico Prodi (Oxford), Xavier Riu (Barcelona), Jessica Romney (Bristol), Ian Rutherford (Reading), Eveline Rutten (Nijmegen), Renate Schlesier (Berlin), Kristina Tomc (Vienna), Maria Xanthou (Thessaloniki).

For further details, see:

For further information, contact Ian Rutherford ( or Bruno Currie (


Day One: Friday 6th September

12.30 pm Registration and Lunch
1.00 pm Introduction: Bruno Currie and Ian Rutherford
1.30 pm Canons 1 : Transmission

  • Glenn Most (Chicago/Pisa): “Τὸν ᾽Ανακρέοντα μιμοῦ. Imitation and Enactment in the Anacreontics”
  • André Lardinois, Vanessa Cazzato, and Eveline Rutten (Nijmegen): “A New Philological Approach to the Textual Transmission of Archaic Greek Lyric Poetry”
  • D.Obbink (Oxford): “Sailing to Naukratis: Saphho on her Brothers”

3.00 pm Coffee

  • 3.30 pm Biographical Paratexts
  • Elsa Bouchard (Montreal): “The status of lyric in ancient poetics: Chamaeleon’s method and the lyric ‘I'”
  • Massimo Giuseppetti (Roma Tre): “Archilochus between Biographical Fictions and Performance Tradition”
  • Kristina Tomc (Vienna): “Μουσάων ἱερὸν στόμα: Pindar as an inspired poet in the ancient vitae, epigrams and Pindaric scholia”

6.00 pm Reception

7.30 pm Dinner

Day Two: Saturday 7th September

10.00 am Canons 2: Canons and Paratexts in the 5th – 4th Centuries

  • Jessica Romney (Bristol): “The Vaguarities of ‘We’. Solon and his Democratic Biographical Tradition”
  • Kristina Bartol (Poznan): “Structuring the Genre: The 5th-and 4th-Century Authors on Elegy and Elegiac Poets”

11.00 am Coffee

11.30 am Ancient Scholarship 1

  • Tom Phillips (Oxford): “History and Historians in Ancient Pindaric Scholarship”
  • Michel Briand (Poitiers): “Pindar in the Scholia Vetera in Pindari Carmina, or the lyric poet as a paratextual fiction”
  • Theodora Hadjimichael (LMU Munich): “The Peripatetics and the Transmission of Lyric.”

1.00 pm Lunch

2.00 pm Canons 3. The Fifth Century

  • Claude Calame (Paris/Lausanne): “Poètes et formes méliques dans les comédies d’Aristophane: genres poétiques et choix canonique”
  • Greg Nagy (CHS): “On the Odeum of Pericles and the shaping of the Lyric Canon”
  • Maria Kazanskaya (Paris): “Sappho’s Kertomia.”

3.30 pm Coffee

4.00 pm Reception 1. The Second Sophistic

  • Renate Schlesier (Berlin): “Athenaios’ Sappho”
  • Jacqueline Klooster (Ghent): The (ab)use of poetry in Plutarch’s Life of Solon”
  • José Antonio Fernández Delgado (Salamanca) “The Plutarchan reception of the oldest melic poetry”

6.00 pm Conference Dinner

Day Three: Sunday 8th September

10.00 am Ancient Scholarship 2

  • Enrico Emanuele Prodi (Oxford): “De poematum titulis apud Pindarum Bacchylidem Simonidem”
  • Hans Bernsdorff (Frankfurt): “105 (or so) ways to start a poem: a list of lyric and tragic incipits on a new Michigan papyrus”
  • Stefano Caciagli (Bologna): “Sympotic Sappho? The tradition of Sappho’s text”

11.30 am Coffee

12 noon Reception 2. Rome

  • Gregor Bitto (Eichstäett Ingolstadt): “Pindar, Paratexts, and Poetry”
  • Johannes Breuer (Mainz): “Greek Lyric Poetry in Horace and his commentators”
  • Peter Kruschwitz (Reading): “Innoventing Roman lyric poetry: the paradigm of Laevius”

1.30 pm Lunch

2.30 pm Pindaric Paratexts

  • Arlette Neumann-Hartmann (Freiburg): “Why cite Pindar? Eustathius of Thessalonica and his works on Pindar”
  • Maria Xanthou (Thessaloniki): “Challenging the pseudo-canonical status of Pind. P.2 and 3 M. post S. in the corpus of Pythian odes: the extrapolation of a new category through hard core text”
  • Thomas Coward (KCL) “Pindar before Alexandria: Evidence for the Early Transmission of Lyric Poetry”

4.00 pm General Discussion