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

Fishing Through Time

Every year the Department of Classics supports students through generous travel awards. Here is a report from our doctoral researcher Lee Graña:

FRWG

This autumn Lisbon was host to the 18th biennial meeting of the Fish Remains Working Group (FRWG), a conference attracting historians, archaeologists and ichthyologists from across the globe, with a common passion for the study of fish and fishing. Following my successful application for the Alan Wardman Travel Award I was able to attend the conference and following field trips to several important sites in the districts of Lisbon and Setubal. The insight into ongoing studies of ancient fisheries, alongside the contacts made, have made this a fruitful and influential experience.

FRWG2

The conference took place at the Lisbon Geographic Society over three days. There were nine diverse sessions promoting a rich interdisciplinary approach to the subject and therefore providing invaluable information on potential theories and approaches. Session Three: ‘Roman Fisheries and Fish Products’, highlighted the ongoing debates on the subject of Roman fish-processing. There continue to be various contrasting interpretations of the literary evidence, concerning the methods of salting fish for dried or sauce products. It seems the archaeological evidence from the Southern Iberian coast continues to be highly influenced by the classical authors and our interpretations of these texts. In addition to this debate, archaeological discoveries throughout Europe are revealing a complex structure of Roman fisheries with diverse approaches to the exploitation of freshwater and marine resources. I had a great opportunity to discuss this evidence further with current researchers and specialists in the field, while receiving invaluable feedback on my research. Several contacts were made with potential case studies for ongoing or future research.

FRWG3

The field trip started at the port of Setubal with a boat journey on a seventy-year-old ‘galleon’, originally used to transport salt. Accompanied by curious dolphins, we followed the Sado estuary to where it meets the Atlantic Ocean and where the coastline is strewn with over two thousand years of manmade structures applied to the exploitation of marine resources. To date, many traditional fishing methods continue to be used, avoiding the influences of modern fisheries (the photograph above was taken at the quays of Carrasqueira, demonstrating the influence of the tidal estuary and the continuity of traditional fisheries).

The following day we visited the site of ‘Alcacér do Sal’ (The Salt Fortress). For close to three thousand years this site has acted as an acropolis overlooking the Sado river and its vast fertile banks where endless fields of rice are now cultivated, but where once salt pans stretched as far as the eye could see. The use of this resource for the production of salted fish products at an industrial scale may have its origins in the Phoenician occupation of southern Iberia, reaching its zenith during the Roman Empire. Alcacer is now a hotel and museum encompassing the medieval nunnery, which subsequently encompasses a 13th century Moorish fortress, in turn built on Roman foundations. However, not all of the Roman sites in the region have such a complex stratigraphy. The following visit was to the Troia Peninsula, where one of the largest Roman fish processing sites has survived, buried under vast sand dunes.

It is believed that fish sauce would have been produced at these workshops by mixing vast amounts of locally sourced fish with the salt being produced at Alcacer. The tanks vary in size, though the largest examples can reach 7 x 4 x 2m with a capacity of over 65m³. Twenty-five workshops (structures with one or more salting vats) have been identified at Troia, though much remains buried. Future excavations may provide more evidence on the capture and processing of local marine resources (the image below is a southern view of Workshop 1 and the FRWG team).

FRWG4

The final trip was to the ‘Merrcado do Livramento’, a local bazar rivaling the largest supermarket in Setubal. One third of the market was dedicated to selling fish, containing hundreds of species from diverse environments. From finger length anchovies to 2m long sword fish, the market provided us with fresh examples of the species identified in the archaeological record, as well as supper for the evening.

FRWG5

Though many countries contain archaeological examples of Roman fisheries, or are the subject of Roman literary texts on local fish consumption, Portugal provides a unique case study of a country which perpetuates the importance of local marine resources, as significant to the local economy and population today as it likely was two thousand years ago. The culture remains immersed and dependent on marine resources, combining ancient tradition with modern advances in a way that promotes the continued exploitation of local supplies, rather than their substitution for cheaper resources in international waters (as is the case in many European countries). It was therefore an ideal setting for the FRWG and an inspirational location for my research.

I would like to thank our host, Sónia Gabriel and the rest of the organizing committee for such an incredible experience and enriching conference. I would also like to thank Professor Annalisa Marzano and the Classics department for their support in making this trip possible.

Forthcoming Workshop: Words, Numbers, Rationality

Words, Numbers, Rationality: The effect of accounting systems and language on economic and business decision-making

Friday 8 November 2013: Thet Win Aung Boardroom, RU Student Union

This interdisciplinary workshop, sponsored by the Centre for Economic History and the Economic History Society, will explore how, through the ages, language and recording systems employed at the time influenced concepts of economic rationality.

9.00 Coffee and registration
09:30 Mr M. Stringer (Reading) Sales, Costs and … Confusion? : Linguistic and accounting constraints on decision-making in Roman agriculture.
10:20 Dr A. Dobie (Stirling) Medieval Man, Accounting and Economic Rationalism.
11.00  Coffee break
11:30 Prof. R. Macve (LSE) A genealogy of myths about the rationality of accounting in the West and in the East.
12:10 Dr O. Gelderblom (Utrecht) The public support of private accounting as the key to understanding the commercial expansion of Europe before the Industrial Revolution.
13.00: Lunch break
14:15  Prof. G. Waymire (Emory) The Impact of hard information on self-dealing, soft communication, and social gains in an investment-trust game.
15:00 Prof. S. Basu (Temple) Knowledge, mental memory and accounting transaction records.
16:15 Round Table Discussion with M. Casson (Reading), K. Verboven (Ghent), D. Mullins (Oxford), and A. Marzano (Reading)

There are still places available for this workshop and there is no registration fee. If interested in attending, for catering purposes, please register by emailing Mr Stringer.

Herodotos and Plutarch Workshop – A Report

On 4th October 2013 the Department of Classics at Reading, hosted a one-day workshop on the subject of Herodotos and Plutarch.  The workshop was organised by two of the Department’s doctoral students, Lucy Fletcher and Niki Karapanagioti, with the support of Professors Timothy Duff and Phiroze Vasunia.

We were delighted to welcome as participants: Christopher Pelling (Oxford), Judith Mossman (Nottingham), Timothy Duff (Reading), Michele Lucchesi (Oxford), Tim Whitmarsh (Oxford), Tom Harrison (Liverpool), Aristoula Georgiadou (Patras), Suzanne Saïd (Paris/Columbia), John Marincola (Florida), Carolyn Dewald (Bard College), Rosaria Munson (Swarthmore College), Tim Rood (Oxford) and Phiroze Vasunia (Reading).  The papers and responses aimed to explore in-depth the relationship between these important Greek authors.  Subjects ranged from the representation of individual Greek states in the writings of Plutarch and Herodotos, through Plutarchan re-working of Herodotean material, Plutarch’s peculiarly ethical Herodotos, Plutarch as reader of Herodotos and more broadly the readership of the Histories, and on to more individual instances of Plutarch’s engagement with Herodotos in specific works and for specific historical events and themes.

The organisers were delighted with the response they received from interested parties prior to the event, and were pleased to welcome to Reading approximately fifty delegates, including a number of current Reading students – both undergraduate and postgraduate – and staff.  The response on the day from all participants was equally pleasing.  The papers sparked enthusiastic responses and extensive discussion, as manifest in the way in which we quickly departed from the timings advertised on the programme!

The workshop was immensely successful in generating debate and opening new lines of enquiry into this subject as a fruitful area of study.   Existing scholarship had focused on Plutarch’s reception of Herodotos in his polemical treatise, De Herodoti Malignitate, and on specific instances where the Histories function as a source within Plutarchan texts.  The conference proved particularly revealing, however, of the much greater potential inherent in this relationship as a subject of study for both Plutarchan and Herodotean scholars.  It made apparent the value of a retrospective turn to Herodotos from Plutarch for illuminating the text of the earlier writer, and the wider value of looking proleptically at Plutarch from Herodotos.

The organisers were extremely pleased with the event, and were delighted to receive so many messages from delegates to express how much they had enjoyed the day, and how much they felt it had achieved.  It is a pleasure to take one final opportunity to thank all the participants for making the day so successful and rewarding.  We would also like to thank the Department of Classics at Reading (and especially Prof. Peter Kruschwitz, former Head of Department), the Jowett Copyright Trust, the Institute of Classical Studies, the Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies, and the Graduate School at Reading for their support.  Lastly, we are delighted to thank Professors Timothy Duff and Phiroze Vasunia once again for their kindness and generosity in offering so much invaluable help and advice.

Lucy Fletcher

Herodotos and Plutarch Workshop 2013

We are very pleased to announce a workshop on ‘Herodotos and Plutarch’ to be held in the Department of Classics at the University of Reading on Friday, 4th October 2013.

The event will take place at the University of Reading’s Whiteknights Campus, in the Humanities and Social Sciences Building, room 125.

The programme for the day is included below.

To register for the event, please send an email to the organisers, Lucy Fletcher and Niki Karapanagioti at the conference address: herodotosandplutarch@gmail.com.  The deadline for registration is 15th September 2013.

Thanks to the generosity of the Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies, we are pleased to offer a number of graduate bursaries.  Interested parties should write to the organisers and explain the nature of their interest in the event, and how the topic is related to their studies.   The deadline for bursary applications is 8th September 2013.

The workshop is generously sponsored by the Department of Classics and the Graduate School at the University of Reading; the Jowett Copyright Trust; the Institute of Classical Studies; and the Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies.

For further information or queries please contact the organisers: Lucy Fletcher and Niki Karapanagioti at: herodotosandplutarch@gmail.com.

Programme

9.30 Registration
9.45 Introduction

10.00-11.30: Session One

  • Christopher Pelling, ‘Athens and Sparta in Herodotus and Plutarch’
  • Judith Mossman, ‘Plutarch and Herodotean tyrants’

11.30-12.00: Coffee

12.00-1.30: Session Two

  • Tim Whitmarsh, ‘Plutarch’s ethical Herodotus’
  • Tom Harrison, ‘Plutarch and the audiences for Herodotus’ Histories’

1.30-2.30: Lunch

2.30-4.00: Session Three

  • Suzanne Saïd, ‘The use of Herodotus in Plutarch’s Aristeides’
  • John Marincola, ‘Plutarch at Plataea: In the footsteps of Herodotus’

4.00-4.30: Coffee
4.30-5.15: Final Session

  • Aristoula Georgiadou, ‘Plutarch on the malice of Herodotus’

5.15-5.30: Break
5.30-6.15: Final Discussion

  • Respondents: Carolyn Dewald, Rosaria Munson, Tim Rood

6.15-7.00: Reception

Classics Doctoral Research Colloquium 2013

Invitation to the University of Reading, Classics Doctoral Research Colloquium
Wednesday 19th June 2013, Ure Museum of Greek Archaeology
All welcome

Session 1: Greek Drama
Chair: Alastair Harden

10.30 Elena Chepel: Processions in Old Comedy
11.00 Kate Cook: Heroic identity and the use of praise in Euripides’ Heracles

11.30 Coffee break

Session 2: Greek literature and art
Chair: Kate Cook

12.00 Niki Karapanagioti: Women, Space and Revenge in Herodotus’ Histories
12.30 Alastair Harden: Skins and symbols: some iconographical case-studies

1.00 Lunch (HumSS G40, Department Library)

Session 3: Latin literature and Roman history
Chair: Niki Karapanagioti

2.00 Maria Lloyd: The influence of Julia Domna upon Septimus Severus
2.30 Orazio Camaioni: The first fragment of Varro’s Antiquitates Rerum Humanarum
3.00 Mick Stringer: Flog it! Flog what?  Sales recognition in Roman agricultural treatises

3.30 Coffee break

Session 4: Workshop
4.00 Timothy Duff – Peter Kruschwitz: Academic job interviews in Classics

Greeks & Egyptians-themed Day School

Thirty keen adult learners joined members of the Department of Classics for a Day School, planned in collaboration with the Ure Museum of Greek Archaeology, for a presentation of their research on the topic of Greeks & Egyptians, on 18 May 2013.

During the day 30+ participants learned about the interactions of ancient Greeks & Egyptians in Egypt, from members of the department and two of the Department’s recent PhD recipients.

Participants were also given the opportunity to view the Ure Museum collections, some relevant artefacts in which were discussed by Dr. Smith (Curator) and Prof. Rutherford (on the topic of mummified cats).

Participants gave enthusiastic feedback and called it ‘… a most enjoyable and stimulating study day…’, commenting that ‘the range of topics and their enthusiastic presentation were excellent’.

Mick Stringer Poeticus

Doctoral Research Student Mick Stringer has learnt that one of his poems is to be included in a poems and arts exhibition to be held in Dunedin, New Zealand on September 1st 2013.

The poem came to the notice of the organisers, Poems in the Waiting Room (NZ) a couple of years ago.  This is a Dunedin based arts in health charity which prints and distributes free poetry cards (currently 5700) every season to medical waiting rooms, rest homes, hospices and prisons throughout the South Island and parts of the lower North Island.  It was included on one of the cards and subsequently selected  to accompany his work by one of the artists who will be exhibiting.

A website has been set up to publicise the exhibition and Mick has contributed some more poems, including the Roman one that made it into last year’s Creative Arts Anthology, together with a poetic biography. You can check it out at:

http://bellamysatfive.wordpress.com/the-poets/mick-stringer/

 

Travel Award Enables Doctoral Researcher to Attend Conference in Moscow

From our doctoral researcher Elena Chepel:

Thanks to the generosity of the Department’s Austin Travel Fund I had  the opportunity to attend the largest international classical conference in Russia, Gasparov readings, that was held in April, 18-20 at the Russian State University for the Humanities (RSUH), Moscow.

 

conferenceThis year the topic was Poetics of classical ode with main focus on Pindar and Horace. The organisers, Prof. Nikolay Grintser and Prof. Nina Braginskaya brought together a constellation of classical scholars from UK, Serbia, France, Russia, USA, and Greece. Among the contributors were Prof. Ian Rutherford (University of Reading), Dr. Sergey Stepantsov (Lomonosov Moscow State University), Prof. Ewen Bowie (University of Oxford), Dr. Ana Petkovic (University of Belgrade), Prof. Richard Martin (Stanford University), Prof. Dmitry Trubochkin (State Institute for  Art Studies, Moscow), Prof. Chris Carey (UCL).

 

RSUH runs this annual conference to commemorate life and academic research of the prominent Russian classicist and translator Mikhail Gasparov. Among the works translated by him are Horace’s On the art of poetry, Aristotle’s Poetics, Cicero’s Orator, Ovid’s Ars amatoria, and Phaedrus’ Fables. He is the author of the standard Russian translation of Pindar and Bacchylides. He also studied in depth classical and modern European versification.

 

As my PhD topic deals with ritual forms in Greek comedy, including prayers, hymns and other forms of worship of gods, I attended this conference to learn more about choral odes and other lyric genres in their ritual context and about their relationship with other literary genres, especially comic genres. The conference turned out to be most fruitful and inspiring for my research.

 

conference2I found Prof. Lucia Athanassaki’s talk on the celebratory occasion in Pindar and Horace extremely useful. She made a groundbreaking point about Horace’s awareness of the sociopolitical and ritual context of the Pindaric odes. I benefited a lot from the brilliant paper given by Dr. Maria Kazanskaya (Universite de Paris 4, Sorbonne – St-Petersbourg State University). It considered deviations from high style in Pindaric odes including low-style expressions, everyday images and irony.

 

Vivid and lively discussions continued during the coffee breaks. I had chance to meet new people and share ideas about my research in an informal and friendly atmosphere.

 

Dr. Alexey Belousov from the Lomonosov Moscow State University presented to the Department of Classics at Reading a bundle of volumes of Aristeas, a very successful Russian journal of classical philology and ancient history, that accepts articles in Russian, English, French, German, and Latin.

 

Every year, the Department of Classics supports its students with generous travel awards.

Fees-Only PhD Studentship in Classics at Reading

Reading’s Department of Classics is delighted to advertise a fees-only PhD studentship for a project ‘Painters of Boeotian red-figure vases from the 4th century BC’, based on the collection of the Ure Museum of Greek Archaeology. For further information, please follow this link:

http://www.reading.ac.uk/gs-phd-collections.aspx