New Books from Classics

It has been a busy summer for the department and the Classics research division as we prepared for the new academic year 2016-7. Now we are fully back into the swing of teaching, and we are delighted to share some recent, exciting news with you.

We would like to kick off our updates with a little celebration of our most recent book publications. Over the last few months, in addition to dozens of articles and other formats, a number of important, impactful new books, authored or edited by colleagues from Reading’s Classics department, have been published:

  • Dickey, E. (2016): An introduction to the composition and analysis of Greek prose. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
  • Fournet , J.-L. and Papaconstantinou, A., eds. (2016): Mélanges Jean Gascou: textes et études papyrologiques (P. Gascou). Travaux et Mémoires, 20 (1). Centre d’histoire et civilisation de Byzance, Collège de France – CNRS, Paris.
  • Nicholls, M. ed. (2016): 30-Second Ancient Greece: The 50 Most Important Achievements of a Timeless Civilization, Each Explained in Half a Minute. Ivy Press, London.

In addition to this, Dr Matthew Nicholls has also worked as a consultant for a delightful children’s book based on his best-selling 30-seconds Ancient Rome volume of 2014:

  • Holland, S. and Hill, A. (2016): Ancient Rome in 30 Seconds: 30 fascinating topics for time travellers, explained in half a minute. Ivy Press, London.

Here is a short little film that was produced on occasion of the book launch of ’30-Second Ancient Greece’:

Would you like to find out more about the impressive volume and range of our published research? Check out our institutional repository, CentAUR, following this link.

Classics Research Seminars – Autumn Term 2016

We are delighted to announce our research seminars and special lectures for Autumn Term 2016:

28 September
Francesca Silvestrelli (Salento), “Pottery workshops in Greek colonies of the Ionian coast: production and consumption at Metaponto and Herakleia”

5 October
Evert Van Emde Boas (Oxford), “Realism in Euripidean characterization: a cognitive approach”

12 October
Luigi Prada (Oxford) “Two Languages, Four Scripts (and Counting): Dealing with Linguistic Diversity in Graeco-Roman Egypt”

19 October
Barbara Borg (Exeter), “Reviving tradition in Hadrianic Rome: From incineration to inhumation”

26 October
Andreas Gavrielatos (Edinburgh), “In search of the hidden truth in Persius’ Satires”

9 November
Sophia Piacentin (KCL) “Epigraphy in context: the case of multae in Roman and  Samnite Italy”

16 November
Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones (Cardiff), “Sexual Violence and a Re-Reading of the Eurymedon Vase”

23 November
Peter Agocs (UCL) “Pindar’s Pythian 4 and Greek colonial memory”

25 November
Annual Percy N. Ure Lecture
Christopher Smith (BSR)
Title and venue tbc.

30 November
Nicoletta Momigliano (Bristol) “Aegeomania’ or Aegean Bronze Age Archaeology beyond archaeology modern obsessions with the Aegean Bronze Age Past in various cultural practices”

7 December
Fred Naiden (North Carolina), “The Self-Image of Alexander the Great”

Unless otherwise stated, all seminars will take place at 4pm in the Van Emden lecture theatre (HumSS).

Everyone welcome.

Interaction in Imperial Greek Literature Workshop

Brief

Postgraduate workshop on the theme of interaction in imperial Greek literature, to be held at the University of Reading on Friday September 16, 2016.

Abstract

When we think of imperial Greek literature, we tend to think of creative and innovative authors, like Plutarch, Lucian, and Aelius Aristides, whose works draw deeply and (self-)consciously from the existing literary tradition, but also frequently subvert and play with readers’ expectations.  Many of the works produced in Greek during the imperial period are difficult to categorise, at first glance seeming to participate in one genre, but upon closer examination engaged in a more intricate interplay of genres, styles, and allusions.  The theme of interaction is here interpreted broadly; we may think of interaction as encompassing processes of innovation, enrichment, influence, adaptation, or repurposing.  In imperial Greek literature, in particular, we may observe the interaction that occurs between genres, between fiction and non-fiction, prose and poetry, past and present, and between what is and is not considered ‘Greek’.

While recent scholarship has emphasised the great variety and intensity of interaction that characterises imperial literature, much work is required to move away from pursuing authors and their works in isolation, towards a more universal approach.  The aim of this workshop is, therefore, to foster dialogue between the different fields of imperial Greek literature (the novel, rhetoric, biography, historiography, etc.), in order to reach new and more nuanced conclusions.

Speakers will address wider issues concerning imperial authors’ engagement with earlier established genres and texts, from archaic and classical lyric poetry to later Latin works.  They will consider how authors viewed their own work and its place in the literary tradition, and the ways in which readers interpreted the fusions and tensions these works embody.  Exploring these complex processes of (re-)invention and (re-)interpretation can open up new ways of understanding the literary polyphony of imperial culture.

One of the anticipated outcomes of the workshop is the creation of an imperial Greek literature network for those working in the area, to be organised in the final group discussion of the day.

The titles of the papers are included in the programme outlined below.

The organisers gratefully acknowledge the support of the Department of Classics at the University of Reading, the Graduate School at the University of Reading, the Jowett Copyright Trust, and the Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies

Programme

9:30 – 9:45: Registration
9:45 – 10:00: Introduction (Caitlin Prouatt, Claire Jackson)

10:00 – 11:10, Session 1

(chair: Caitlin Prouatt)

Chrysanthos Chrysanthou (Heidelberg): ‘Generic hybridity in the prologues to Plutarch’s Lives’
Francesca Modini (King’s College London): ‘Playing with Terpander & Co.: lyric interactions in imperial rhetoric’

11:10 – 11:30: Tea break

11:30 – 12:40, Session 2
(chair: Chris Mallan)
Nick Wilshere (Nottingham): ‘Homer among the Celts: Lucian’s Hercules’
Nicolò d’Alconzo (Exeter): ‘Mapping Greek novels with Lucian’

12:40 – 1:30: Lunch

1:30 – 2:40, Session 3
(chair: Claire Jackson)
Chris Mallan (Oxford): ‘Further thoughts on the Parthica of Pseudo-Appian’
Dan Jolowicz (Cambridge): ‘Greek imperial authors reading Latin literature for pleasure’

2:40 – 3:00: Tea break

3:00 – 4:30, Session 4
Ian Rutherford (Reading): keynote address
Group discussion

5:00: End of conference

Revolutions and Classics

Revolutions and Classics, hosted by The Classical Reception Studies Network and the Legacy of Greek Political Thought Network with the support of the UCL Department of Greek and Latin and the Department of Classics at the University of Reading, was held at UCL on the 22nd of July 2016. Inspired by recent trends in classical reception research, particularly on the political significances of antiquity for subsequent cultures and societies, this one day workshop explored the manner in which classical texts and artefacts are deployed in modern societies undergoing radical change. The event brought together seven speakers from a range of academic disciplines, including Classics, French, and History, which resulted in resulted in a fruitful variety of theoretical and interdisciplinary perspectives. Participants included a healthy mix of established international scholars in Classical reception and postgraduate students from the US and UK. Papers analysed various revolutions from 17th century to the present day in various geographical contexts, including England, France, Mexico, and Greece. A portion of the day was also devoted to discussion of teaching across classical reception, classics, and politics. Two sessions, one featuring early-career researchers, and the second more seasoned scholars, featured five further papers addressing a range of important teaching issues, from incorporating classical reception within a wider context of liberal arts pedagogy to covering sensitive subjects in today’s classroom.

 

This one day-event thus combined important discussions of pedagogical matters with a timely research interest in the intersection between Classics and politics. One participant wrote the following of the experience: ‘I was there to hear most of the papers, and was impressed by their quality, variety, and overall coherence.  I learned a good deal, in the course of the day, about classical aspects of the English, American, French and Mexican Revolutions, as well as about a 20th-century revolutionary movement. The talks on teaching provided a good moving picture of experiments with the curriculum.’ Another participant commended the ‘intellectual and friendly atmosphere’ that the workshop had created. Some participants live tweeted the event, which can be seen at https://twitter.com/hashtag/classicsrevns?src=hash.

Revolutions and Classics:

We are delighted to publish the programme of the previously announced one-day workshop ‘Revolutions and Classics’, co-organised by our very own Prof. Barbara Goff and Dr Rosa Andújar (UCL):

Friday 22 July 2016

IAS Common Ground, University College London

1000-1010 coffee and welcome

Chair: Rosa Andújar, UCL

1010-1040 Rachel Foxley , University of Reading, Innovation and revolution in seventeenth-century England

1040-1110 Nicholas Cole, Pembroke College Oxford, The Classics and the American Revolution — two centuries of controversy

1110-1120 break

Chair: Phiroze Vasunia, UCL

1120-1150 Sanja Perovic and Rosa Mucignat, King’s College London, The Legend of Pythagoras:  Narrating Revolutionary Failure in Sylvain Maréchal and Vincenzo Cuoco

1150-1220 Sebastian Robins, Independent, Ancient Greek Texts in the Age of Revolution: John Gillies Orations of Lysias and Isocrates 1778 and Aristotle’s Ethics and Politics 1797

1220-1315 lunch

1315-1400 early career teaching roundtable:

Chair: Katherine Harloe, University of Reading

Emma Cole, University of Bristol, Classical Reception Pedagogy in Liberal Arts Education

Luke Richardson, University College London, Teaching the Classical Reception “Revolution”. 

Carol Atack, University of Warwick, Precarity and protest: performing politics in Aristophanes’ Lysistrata

1400-1430 discussion

1430-1500 teaching presentations:

Chair: Barbara Goff, University of Reading

Susan Deacy, University of Roehampton, Black Athena in the classical classroom

Joanna Paul, Open University, tbc

1500-1545 discussion, followed by tea

Chair: John Bloxham, Nottingham and OU

1545-1615 Rosa Andújar, University College London, Plato and Pater’s Greeks in the Mexican Revolution

1615-1645 Benjamin Gray, University of Edinburgh, Studying the modern German Left as Ancient History: from Jean Jaurès to Alexander Kluge

1645-1715 Michael Simpson, Goldsmiths, University of London, Of Minotaurs and Macroeconomics: Greek Myth and Common Currency 

1715-1800 reception

https://www.ucl.ac.uk/classics/events/revolutionsandclassics

 

Workshop: The Economic Importance of Coastal Lagoons

Prof. Annalisa Marzano reflects on our most recent workshop:

On Monday May 23rd the Centre for Economic History, in collaboration with Reading Classics, ran a successful workshop entitled ‘The economic importance of coastal lagoons in antiquity and the Middle Ages’.

This workshop idea has developed from Professor Annalisa Marzano’s recent research, which has highlighted how coastal lagoonal environments and the natural resources they offered (eg, fisheries), have been neglected in research work on the ancient economy. This event brought together ancient and medieval historians and archaeologists not only to learn about recent research in these different disciplines and current approaches being used, but also to use information from the medieval period, when documentary data is more abundant and complete than for classical antiquity, as a proxy in studying the exploitation of lagoons in antiquity.

Two guest speakers came to Reading from Ca’ Foscari University in Venice, an institution with which the Classics Department has good research and teaching links, most notably with the collaborative masters’ course in ‘Ancient Maritime Trade and Navigation’. Professor Marzano opened the workshop with a paper on ‘Costal lagoons and large-scale fishing in the Roman Mediterranean: an underestimated resource’, arguing for the integration in the same fish-salting cycle of marine and lagoonal fisheries.

Dr Alessandro Rucco spoke on ‘Fisheries in the early medieval landscape of Comacchio (Ferrara, Italy)’, presenting some interesting data on the scale of human interaction in this very unique natural environment. Dr Cecilia Moine concluded the afternoon with a presentation on ‘Water exploitation in a changing lagoon: The Venetian area in the late Middle Ages’, which focused on fascinating archival material from various nunneries and monasteries. Among other things, we learnt that in the case of rent paid in kind to these religious institutions, the two most common items listed in the documents were wine and fish; this surely reveals something about life and diet in these religious houses!

It was a very fruitful afternoon, and the speakers and attendees enjoyed chatting over a cup of tea or coffee (after some struggle with an uncooperative pump in the coffee thermos!)

Reading Classics in the News

The past few months have been exciting ones for the Classics department owing to a blitz of media attention covering the publication of Professor Eleanor Dickey’s book Learning Latin the Ancient Way as well as the annual Reading Ancient Schoolroom.

It started in February with an article in the Guardian and lasted until April, when the CBC Radio Canada broadcast a half-hour interview with Professor Dickey; along the way we featured on national TV and radio as well as the Times, the Telegraph, and numerous European publications. The final tally was (as far as we know) 3 printed newspaper pieces, 11 online newspaper pieces in 6 languages, 2 national TV broadcasts, 2 BBC South TV broadcasts, and 6 radio broadcasts (4 in UK, 1 in US, 1 in Canada).

Here is the full list:

Wednesday 10th February

Thursday 11th February

Friday 12th Feburary

Saturday 13th February

Sunday 14th February

  •  BBC 1 TV, 2:24 am

Wednesday 17th February

Saturday 20 February

  •  Announcement of Naples ‘Presentazione libro’ sent out on Notiziario Italiano di Antichistica

 Monday 22nd February

Thursday 25th February

Tuesday 1st March

  •  ‘Presentazione libro’ in Naples (public event in which book was discussed by a pair of Naples Classicists; in Italian)

Monday 7th March

Friday 1st April

For more information on the Reading Ancient Schoolroom, see http://www.readingancientschoolroom.com.

Research Seminars – Summer Term 2016

We are delighted to invite you to the following research seminars during Summer Term 2016:

April 21: André Lardinois (Nijmegen), “Eastern Myths for Western Lies: Deliberate Allusions to Near Eastern Myth in Early Greek Epic”

April 27: Eric Csapo (Sydney), “The Shape of Choral Dance and Euripides”

May 4: John Boardman (Oxford), tba. – room tbc.

May 11: Egizia-Maria Felice (Oxford), “Hadrian’s Wall – multilingualism and the Roman army at the edge of the Empire.”

May 18 Kunbi Olasope (Ibadan), “Antigone and Tegonni: Female Sexuality, Subdued Masculinity and Tyranny in Classical and African Drama”, with commentary by Sola Adeyemi (Greenwich) – time tbc.

Unless otherwise noted, all seminars will take place at 4pm in the Ure Museum (HumSS G38).

All welcome!

The legacy of ancient Greek politics, from Antigone to Xenophon (OUP Blog)

“This piece first appeared on the OUPblog April 14th 2016”.

What do the pamphlets of the English Civil War, imperial theorists of the eighteenth century, Nazi schoolteachers, and a left-wing American artist have in common? Correct! They all see themselves as in dialogue with classical antiquity, drawing on the political thought of ancient Greek writers. Nor are they alone in this; the idea that Western thought is a series of “footnotes to Plato,” as Alfred Whitehead suggested in 1929, is a memorable formulation of the extensive role of ancient Greece within modernity. Further reflection, however, will show that the West does not have an unbroken connection with ancient Greece, as knowledge of both language and culture declined in the medieval period – even the great Renaissance scholars sometimes struggled to master their ancient Greek grammar and syntax. Once the West does recover a relationship to ancient Greece, is its own role confined to writing “footnotes” under the transcendent authority of Plato? Perhaps we can reconstruct more varied forms of intellectual engagement.

One thing to remember is that the political thought of ancient Greek was not itself monolithic. The democratic experiment of classical Athens, the idealistic militarism of Sparta, the innovative imperialism of Alexander – such plurality of political forms gave rise to a wealth of commentary that ranged across the ideological spectrum. Moreover, texts that are not only political but have other identities too, like Athenian history or tragedy, also involve sustained reflection on the organisation of society and the workings of power. So the political writings of ancient Greece are not confined to Plato, or to Plato and Aristotle, and they offer a range of political positions.

Conversely, Western thought does not simply accept the authority of Greek texts, despite the huge cultural clout that the classical world undoubtedly wielded during much of European history. Instead, we can see later writers using the classical past as a partner in dialogue, to be variously embraced, rejected, modified, and sometimes transformed out of all recognition. For instance, recent research has shown how Xenophon has been understood as forerunner of Romantic exploration, American militarism, and Nazi ideology. From the opposite perspective, an appeal to the classical past has often shaped and altered the discourses of modernity, calling its basic assumptions into question. The study of this complex kind of engagement is currently undertaken by scholars in classical reception and The Legacy of Greek Political Thought Network enables classicists, historians, and political theorists to learn from each other how the classical past has been debated, interrogated, and contested in post-classical political writings.

The Network is interested particularly in studying the political work of ancient Greek writers other than Plato and Aristotle, and we also want to move away from debates about democracy to investigate how ancient writers have been deployed to pursue many other arguments. Topics studied recently range from the seventeenth century to the twentieth, taking in republicanism, colonialism, pedagogy, Aesop and Antigone. Pamphlets from the English Civil War include reflections on Sparta as ideal democracy, which challenge our current understanding of Spartan politics and imperial theorists of both Britain and France focus on Athens as paradigm of imperial power and decline, with considerably less interest in the city’s democratic identity. German pedagogues in the 1930s drew on Xenophon for characterisations of political leadership that they applied to the autocratic politics and culture developing in their own society, while Aesop provided a way of figuring radical politics for Hugo Gellert, an artist in 1930s New York. New readings of Antigone, via political philosophy as well as drama, enable further consideration of the relations between classical reception and political thought. The current political context presents challenges both relatively familiar and wholly surprising, but we can expect a dialogue with antiquity to continue.

 

 

Revolutions and Classics workshop

‘Revolutions and Classics’, a one-day workshop at University College London, Friday July 22nd 2016.

Researchers in classical reception are increasingly intrigued by the political significances of antiquity for subsequent cultures and societies the field has been energised by the recent publication of Classics and Communism (2013) and Greek and Roman Classics in the British Struggle for Social Reform (2015).

’Revolutions and Classics’ examines the manner in which classical texts and artefacts have been deployed in societies undergoing rapid and radical social change. This one-day workshop aims to foster interdisciplinary discussion of intersections between classics and revolutions; substantial time will also be given to discussion of teaching across classical reception, classics, and politics.

The workshop is hosted by The Classical Reception Studies Network and the Legacy of Greek Political Thought Network, with the support of the Department of Greek and Latin at UCL, and the Department of Classics at the University of Reading. In line with the aims of the Classical Receptions Studies Network, the day is designed to be especially useful for doctoral researchers and early career academics.

Confirmed speakers include Rosa Andújar (UCL), Carol Atack (Warwick), Emma Cole (Bristol), Nicholas Cole (Oxford), Susan Deacy (Roehampton), Benjamin Gray (Edinburgh), Adam Lecznar (Bristol), Jo Paul (Open University), Sanja Petrovic and Rosa Mucignat (Kings College London), and Luke Richardson (University College London).

There is no charge to attend, but registration is required; Interested participants should register via Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/revolutions-and-classics-tickets-22796492924

Should you have any questions, please contact the organisers: Barbara Goff, University of Reading (b.e.goff@reading.ac.uk) and Rosa Andújar, UCL (r.andujar@ucl.ac.uk)

The organisers are very grateful to the A. G. Leventis Fund at UCL for their generous support, as well as the UCL Institute for Advanced Studies and CUCD.

IAS leventis foundation