Collections-based Research in Classics at Reading

In its efforts to bring present and future students’ attention to the wide range of research facilities available at the University of Reading the Research Review has highlighted Dr Amy Smith and her research in the Ure Museum of Greek Archaeology:

http://www.reading.ac.uk/research/ResearchReviewonline/res-welcometoure.aspx

In this audio Dr Smith introduces the Ure Museum and explains how the collection and its database are used by students and scholars, including the complications inherent in studying 3d objects and relevant conservation issues.

This is the second ‘unusual space people use for their research’ highlighted in a series that started with the ‘Gut lab’ (Nutritional Sciences).

New Publications by Classics Staff

The Department is delighted to welcome the three most recent additions to its Faculty bookshelf by Arietta Papaconstantinou, Amy Smith, and Tim Duff:

Papaconstantinou Proche OrientDr Arietta Papaconstantinou published a co-edited conference volume ‘Le Proche-Orient de Justinien aux Abbassides’. This volume is the result of a conference held in Paris with the aim of exploring the impact of the seventh-century Arab conquests on population and settlement in the Near East and Egypt. The transfer of sovereignty from Byzantium to the Caliphate brought some obvious geo-political changes, which in the long term signalled the decline of some cities or regions, which had lost their hinterlands, and the rise of others which were much more strategically placed than before. The contributions in the volume build on thirty years of extremely fruitful archaeological investigations in the area, and paint an exciting new picture of a major transition, which shaped the wider Mediterranean world as we know it
Gods of Small ThingsThe latest volume of the international series Pallas (vol. 86), published by the Presses Universitaires du Mirail, University of Toulouse, has been devoted to The Gods of Small Things, a volume that presents select articles from the international conference by the same name hosted by the Ure Museum and the Department of Classics at University of Reading in September 2009. The volume was edited by Dr. Amy Smith, Curator of the Ure Museum and Senior Lecturer in Classics at Reading, and Dr. Marianne Bergeron, who completed her PhD in Classics at Reading in 2010 and is now Project Curator in the Naukratis Project at the British Museum.Smith and Bergeron, along with Katerina Volioti, a current PhD candidate in Classics at Reading, co-organised the 2009 conference on the Gods of Small Things. Bergeron and Volioti have contributed articles to this volume as has Nick West, who has also just this term defended his PhD thesis at Reading.This volume investigates small and portable objects-small pots, figurines, loomweights, even shells-that functioned in a variety of non-commercial contexts in antiquity. Such objects are often fragmentary and/or overlooked, even by excavators. These items and assemblages, whether or not used as offerings, also inform us about the relationships between humans, their ancestors and gods.
While the volume gathers together an international team of scholars, ranging from established professors to PhD candidates, from Europe and the Americas, it is a landmark publication for the Pallas series insofar as it is published in English, and thus signals the internationalisation of the series.
Plutarch Penguin volumeWe are happy to announce the publication of Dr Timothy Duff‘s annotated translation of Plutarch’s fourth- and third-century BC Greek Lives: Plutarch: the Age of Alexander, in the world famous Penguin series. The volume, which runs to almost 700 pages, includes translations, introductions and notes to 10 of Plutarch’s Lives covering a crucial period of Greek history which saw the collapse of Spartan power, the rise of Macedonia, the conquests of Alexander the Great, and the wars of his successors.Dr. Duff has already published extensively on Plutarch, including his landmark 1999 monograph, Plutarch’s Lives: Exploring Virtue and Vice (Oxford University Press). This new edition includes a revised version of Ian Scott-Kilvert’s earlier translations, plus a new general introduction, and new introductions and substantial historical and literary notes to each Life. It also includes new translations of the Life of Artaxerxes I, Great King of Persia from 405 to 359 BC, and of Eumenes of Cardia, one of Alexander’s officers.Lives included in the volume: Artaxerxes – Pelopidas – Dion – Timoleon – Demosthenes – Phocion – Alexander the Great – Eumenes – Demetrius Poliorcetes – Pyrrhus of Epirus.

New Monograph by Dr Amy Smith

Polis and PersonificationWe are pleased to announce the publication of Dr Amy Smith’s monograph, Polis & Personification in Classical Athenian Art, in Brill’s Monumental Graeca et Romana series: http://www.brill.nl/polis-and-personification-classical-athenian-art.

In this book, Dr Smith assesses the development and expansion of the use of personifications in the visual arts of Athens during her golden age (480-323 BCE). Smith’s focus on personifications of political relevance, which one finds decorating objects that served either in private roles (e.g. decorated vases) or public roles (e.g. cult statues and document stelai), reveals that these personifications represented aspects of the state of Athens – its people, government, and events – as well as the virtues (e.g. Nemesis, Peitho or Persuasion, and Eirene or Peace) that underpinned it. Athenians used the same figural language to represent foreign places and their peoples in their arts.

This is the only comprehensive study of visual personifications as a manifestation of intellectual and political concerns in Athens in the Classical period.