Fear in Ancient Culture

The 15th Annual Meeting of Postgraduates in Ancient Literature 2020 University of Reading, Department of Classics
Monday 15th and Tuesday 16th of June 2020

The Department of Classics at the University of Reading is delighted to host the 15th Annual Meeting of Postgraduates in Ancient Literature (AMPAL) in 2020. The theme for this year is Fear in Ancient Culture.

This year’s AMPAL includes a tour of the Ure Museum of Greek Archaeology, our departmental museum founded by Percy and Annie Ure. In addition to the museum’s permanent display, we are proud to present two temporary displays: the British Museum’s Spotlight loan on the theme of Helen and Achilles: beauty, heroism & the fall of Troy, and an inaugural student exhibit, Fear Beyond Words.

We are delighted to announce that the AMPAL 2020 Keynote Speech will be delivered by Professor Fiona McHardy (University of Roehampton). The speech will be open to all university members and the general public.

Fear is a driving force behind human action that can push people to exceed their own expectations or prevent them from acting at all. As a powerful motivator and emotion, fear has a pervasive presence in ancient life and thought, which is also reflected in literature in multiple ways relating among others to motivation, social interaction and power dynamics. Furthermore, as early as Aristotle’s Poetics, fear had already been understood as a ruling force and a powerful notion even for the construction of literary genres, especially of tragedy. While evaluating the ancient literature as an integral part of understanding such a concept, the diverse influences of different fields of study, such as literary criticism, political theory, psychoanalysis, and philosophy, can add valuable insights.

In this context, AMPAL 2020 invites presentations on fear from literary or interdisciplinary approaches. Questions as to how fear can be defined, who, how and why, causes fear, how fear is related to other aspects of ancient thought, how the sense of fear grows or fades, how this notion forms the interaction among humans or between mortals and gods,

and the role of language in the creation of a fearful or fear-free context, are all considered to be substantial aspects of this year’s theme.

Suggested topics on fear may include, but are not limited to:

  • Fear and literary criticism, meta-poetical or reception analysis
  • Fear and other emotions; fear disguised as other emotions; fear and the sense of respect; fear and related notions and experiences; fear and the five senses or other body reactions
  • Cognitive and behavioural approaches to fear, and emotions in general
  • Fear and the manipulation of memory
  • Fear and the construction of myth and heroic profiles or/and social or political identity
  • Fear and power play; the control of political dynamics; the promotion of political agendas and ideas
  • Psychoanalytical approaches to fear; gendered fear; fear as a significant aspect of rites; fear as anxiety
  • Fear of the other (Orientalism, Amazons etc.); philosophical approaches to fear; fear and the fundamental existential questions
  • Depictions and illustrations of fear in ancient art and material culture
  • Aspects, perceptions and depictions of fear in late antique and early Christian literature and thought; reception of the ancient concept of fear in early modern literature

The Department of Classics at Reading invites postgraduates of every level to submit an abstract of 250-300 words for a 20-minute paper followed by 10-minute discussion by the 21st of February 2020. Abstracts should be sent as an unnamed PDF to readingampal2020@reading.ac.uk. Please include your name, university affiliation, programme and year of study in the body of your email and not in the abstract.

AMPAL 2020 is open to all undergraduate and postgraduate students in any relevant discipline as well as to the general public. Details on the registration fee, the conference dinner and other relevant procedures will be announced in due time. All welcome!

Further information on the exact location of the conference and other events attached to AMPAL 2020 can be found at its website.

Please keep an eye on AMPAL 2020 website and to AMPAL Facebook and Twitter for further announcements. Feel free to follow us on Facebook and Twitter and spread the word!

Research of Ure Museum interns acclaimed

Every year the Ure Museum welcomes and benefits from the work of several interns from around the world, other UK universities and even Reading. This week two of our interns from Summer 2019 were celebrated for their work in the Ure. At the 2019 UROP showcase last night Ruth Lloyd, a third-year student in Classics, was awarded Best Poster in the Heritage and Creativity theme, for her work on the biography of Annie Dunman Hunt Ure (1893-1976) on a paid internship through the University of Reading’s UROP scheme. Ruth’s poster moreover was one of two singled out for inclusion in a BCUR (British Conference of Undergraduate Research) event — Posters in Parliament — which brings together undergraduate students from universities across the UK to exhibit their research in Westminster. For her research Ruth worked with Ure staff and archives, University archives and conducted oral history with Ure’s family. Some of her research has already been incorporated into Annie’s Box, an interactive museum outreach project funded by The Friends of the University of Reading. We are delighted that through Ruth’s work our museum’s co-founder Annie Ure will finally have her day in Parliament!

Meanwhile a report of Kutsi Atcicek’s internship has been published in the latest volume of Imperial College’s Imperial Engineer. Kutsi, now in his third year of a course in Materials Science with Nuclear Engineering at Imperial, came to Reading through a grant from RSMA (Royal School of Mines Association) to pursue his interest in ancient materials. Working with Professor Amy Smith & James Lloyd, one of our PhD students who has just completed his viva, Kutsi employed various analytical techniques to research the Ure’s collection of miniature votive vessels found at Sparta’s ‘Achilleion’.

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!)

Materialising Poetry

A one day workshop to be held on Tuesday 8th September 2015 at the Department of Classics, University of Reading

Organisers: Prof. Peter Kruschwitz  and Dr Rachel Mairs

Outline

Recent years have seen increasing levels of interest in the material dimension(s) of poetry. Just as there appears to be defining spatial and societal contexts for poems, whose study is essential for a thorough appreciation of a poem’s meaning(s), its materiality is increasingly understood as a defining, perhaps even vital, feature of verbal art. The investigation of textual materiality (or, in fact, materialities) thus becomes an important step towards a more adequate and complex understanding of poetic artifice.

From the sounds and images that begin to take shape in a writer’s head to the impact that poetry has on the human brain, from the choice of writing material and the deliberate, careful design of a poem’s layout to the multidimensional sensual stimulus that comes with an encounter of poetry: during its life-cycle, poetry undergoes multiple material transformations. In fact, it seems as though each and every material transformation, often occurring in conjunction with a change of ‘ownership’, has its own, often significant impact on the nature of the artefact itself.

This international and interdisciplinary workshop will, in an informal and communicative setting, explore the materialities of poetry as well as the poets’ playful and intellectual interactions with this dimension. While the main focus will lie on the verbal artistry of the ancient Mediterranean (broadly conceived), specialist contributions will also elucidate creative processes, craftsmanship, and the cognitive science that underpin the ways in which poetry materialises.

Participants will include –

Discussions will start at 10.00 am and finish by 4.15 pm, and lunch will be provided. The workshop will take place in room G25 of the Humanities and Social Sciences (HumSS) Building [click here for a campus map].

Booking

There is no booking fee, but as space is limited, and in order to help the organisers arrange catering, it would be helpful if those intending to come could contact Prof. Peter Kruschwitz at p.kruschwitz [at] reading.ac.uk by 1 September at the very latest.

Dr Emma Aston meets Achilles

Archaeologists, Classicist and … Homeric hero.  Photo courtesy of Margriet Haagsma.

Archaeologists, Classicist and … Homeric hero. Photo courtesy of Margriet Haagsma.

If you thought an encounter with the best of the Achaians was beyond the scope of modern mortals, think again: go to Farsala, in northern Greece, and you can bump into him on your way to the zacharoplasteío (cake-shop).  The town in Thessaly, roughly on the site of ancient Pharsalos, has recently erected an imposing bronze statue of Achilles, their most famous son.  It’s easy to forget, when reading Homer, that Achilles came from Thessaly, but the people of Farsala are clearly in no danger of letting it slip their minds!  When questioned, Farsalians said firmly that no, an adjacent statue of Patroklos was not on the cards; but Achilles should at least get his mother’s company, as a statue of the sea-nymph Thetis is planned when funds allow.

Farsala was the location of a recent conference on the region which brought together local archaeologists and historians as well as a small number of international specialists on ancient Thessaly, including Dr Emma Aston of RUCD, shown above (at right) in the company of Achilles and some colleagues from the Canadian team who excavated the important south-Thessalian site of Kástro Kallithéas (probably ancient Peuma).  The event was organised jointly by the local Archaeological Service and by the Municipality of Farsala.  As well as academic papers on a range of Pharsalian topics, the conference included a visit to the ancient acropolis of Pharsalos, still in the process of being excavated, whose fortifications display an impressive range of Archaic, Classical, Hellenistic and Byzantine masonry, testifying to centuries of occupation and embellishment.  It is also worth noting that southern Thessaly contains some of the loveliest scenery in Greece, wooded hills rising out of the famous horse-bearing plains.

The conference as a whole, and the passion of the local participants, really brought home the extent to which the myths and folktales of ancient Thessaly (Achilles and his family, centaurs, Lapiths, Jason, Asklepios) remain a vibrant part of the local community and its self-perception.  It also demonstrated that no conference should be allowed to proceed without tsípouro, a northern Greek liquor of great potency whose stimulating effect upon academic discourse and intellectual engagement cannot easily be overstated.

Emma Aston

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

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: http://storify.com/KatExe/the-reception-of-greek-lyric-poetry-600bc-400ad-tr

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.

CASA

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.

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
(http://greeksong.ruhosting.nl).

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: http://www.reading.ac.uk/classics/research/songconference.aspx.

For further information, contact Ian Rutherford (i.c.rutherford@reading.ac.uk) or Bruno Currie (bruno.currie@oriel.ox.ac.uk)

Programme

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

Luwian Identities

We are pleased to announce the publication of ‘Luwian Identities: Culture, Language and Religion Between Anatolia and the Aegean’, co-edited by Prof. Ian Rutherford, Dr Alice Mouton (CNRS), and Dr Ilya Yakubovich (Moscow State University).

Luwian Identities

Luwian Identities

The Luwians inhabited Anatolia and Syria in late second through early first millennium BC. They are mainly known through their Indo-European language, preserved on cuneiform tablets and hieroglyphic stelae. However, where the Luwians lived or came from, how they coexisted with their Hittite and Greek neighbors, and the peculiarities of their religion and material culture, are all debatable matters.

A conference convened in Reading in June 2011 in order to discuss the current state of the debate, summarize points of disagreement, and outline ways of addressing them in future research. The papers presented at this conference were collected in the present volume, whose goal is to bring into being a new interdisciplinary field, Luwian Studies.