Homer and the Epic Tradition IX

The 9th Homer Seminar, to be held at ANU, will take place from 4–5 December 2017. The seminar is intended to give Australasian scholars interested in the epic tradition the chance to test out ideas, methodologies and findings in a supportive environment, and is particularly (but not exclusively) open to postgraduates and early career researchers. Please submit your abstract to Fiona Sweet Formiatti (fiona.sweet-formiatti@anu.edu.au) by 30 September. Further information.

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Last of the Naval Triumphs: Revisiting Some Key Actian Honours

A paper by Frederik Vervaet for the Ancient World Seminar at 1:00 on Monday 22 May in the Macmahon Ball Theatre, Old Arts.

On 2 September 31 BCE, Caesar Octavianus, or Imperator Caesar Divi filius, as he then wanted to be known, won a decisive naval victory over his rival Marcus Antonius and his ally Cleopatra at Actium in Greece.  While some scholars even argue that there was no such thing as a separate triumph for this victory, others consider it to be not very different from the curule triumphs that preceded and followed it on 13 and 15 Quintilis, namely those over a number of European tribes and Egypt successively.  More often than not, they also tend to downplay the significance of the so-called Actian triumph.  This paper endeavours to cast a very different light on Octavianus’s second curule triumph by virtue of a careful reappraisal of the extant literary, numismatic and epigraphic evidence.

Third Intermediate Period/Iron Age I-II Raphia and Egypt’s Response to the Changed Political Spectrum in the Levant: Early Results

A paper by Stuart Ibrahim for the Ancient World Seminar at 1:00 on Monday 8 May in the Macmahon Ball Theatre, Old Arts.

Archaeological analysis has established that, following the Bronze Age Collapse (around 1200–1177 BC), all of the great Bronze Age kingdoms and empires, except for Egypt, crumbled into dust.  Other cultures and peoples took this opportunity to seize these lands and form their own kingdoms.  In the meantime, Egypt had declined into a period of Chaos (the Third Intermediate Period), with separate dynasties ruling over Upper and Lower Egypt.  It was only in Dynasty 22, under the Libyan King, Shoshenq I, that Egypt was reunified and able to influence the Levantine region.

This presentation comprises the preliminary results for my PhD analysis on the site of Raphia/Tell Rafa and the surrounding region and will attempt to expand on what we know already.  While the primary analysis will be on Raphia itself, the focus of this paper is on the surrounding regions and the most likely occupants of Raphia (these being the Philistines, the Israelites, surviving Canaanites (?) or even the Edomites).  These results will then be used to address the question of whether Egypt reclaimed Rafa under Shoshenq I or not.

Jodocus Badius and the Lyon Terence: The Earliest Illustrated incunabulum of the Six Comedies

A paper by Andrew Turner for the Ancient World Seminar at 1:00 on Monday 1 May in the North Theatre, Old Arts.

The 1490s saw the first early printed editions (incunabula) of Terence’s plays incorporating an illustrative cycle found in manuscripts which had its origins in late antiquity; the earliest and most complete of these was published in Lyon, where it was edited by the Flemish classical scholar Jodocus Badius Ascensius.  Although the pictures appear to be a late addition to another edition and commentary on Terence, written by Guy Jouenneaux, behind them lies a large amount of careful scholarship by Badius.  Only two years earlier he published a major edition of the ancient commentary by Donatus on Terence, rediscovered in the 1440s, and had studied the classics extensively in Renaissance Ferrara at the precise time that the first dramatic revivals of Roman comedy were taking place on stage there.  This paper looks in more detail at the relationship of text, image and performance in one of the key works for the reception of Terence in the later Renaissance.

The Dilemma of Vibia Sabina’s Roman Coins

A paper by Trudie Fraser for the Ancient World Seminar at 1:00 on Monday 24 April in the Mcmahon Ball Theatre, Old Arts.

The coins of Vibia Sabina, wife of the emperor Hadrian, are beautiful and their number suggests that she was honoured with more coins than any previous emperor’s wife. The chronology of these coins, however,  has puzzled many scholars for nearly a century with no satisfactory conclusion having yet been reached.  The variety of the iconography, both the obverse images of Sabina and the selection of reverse images, several different legends and the use of most coin denominations, all contribute to an enormous chronological dilemma.  This paper discusses these problems with many illustrations of Sabina’s coins. It attempts to provide reasons for the different combinations of image and legend and to suggest a possible chronology for Sabina’s coins, which in turn could shed some light on Sabina’s relationship with her husband.

Yo Ho, Yo Ho, A Pirate’s Life for Me: The Maritime Culture of the Sea People

A paper by Professor Louise Hitchcock, University of Melbourne, for the Ancient World Seminar at 1:00 on Monday 10 April in the Mcmahon Ball Theatre, Old Arts.

An anthropological approach to culture extrapolates social structures, traditions and general organizing principles of that culture from the careful observation of patterns of behavior as described in case studies.  In the absence of a living culture to record, archaeologists extrapolate this information from behavior reconstructed from spatially determined patterns in the deposition of material remains and from patterns found in the general organizing principles of historically documented cultures, using arguments based on analogy.  This talk builds on my previous research with Aren Maeir on the “Sea Peoples” as a piratical culture in order to investigate and to apply an anthropological approach to understanding the cultural identities of the various tribal groups involved in maritime activities at the end of the Bronze Age who are popularly known as the “Sea People” and place this within the broader context of the current discussions on the transition between the Late Bronze and Iron Age in the Mediterranean.

New Thoughts on the End of the Mycenaean Palaces

A paper by Professor Philipp Stockhammer, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, for the Ancient World Seminar at 1:00 on Monday 3 April in the Mcmahon Ball Theatre, Old Arts.

For a long time, the 13th century in the Aegean has been considered as a peaceful period marked by rather stable, local communities and the large-scale exchange of commodities most emblematically materialised by the Mycenaean palaces of the Argolid.  In contrast to that, the 12th century seemed to be characterised not only by the end of the palaces and all connected societal institutions but also by human mobility together with a rather neglectable scale of the exchange of commodities.  The year 1200 BC was considered as the peak of the crisis which has been taken as an explanation for the assumed groundbreaking shifts between the two centuries.

In my paper, I want to go beyond simplifying narratives and take a more differentiated view on what transformations took place at the end of the 13th century or already during its course.  I want to show that major changes already seem to have taken place in the second half of the 13th century and continued into the 12th century and thereby relativise the year 1200 BC as a hallmark of the developments.  I will demonstrate the shifts of the Mediterranean network of mobility of humans and objects during the 13th century and in the early 12th century with a strong focus on the archaeological evidence from Tiryns. This will lead to a revaluation of the historical developments in the 13th century.

In the final part of my paper, I will then present our newly founded Max Planck Harvard Research Center for the Archaeoscience of the Ancient Mediterranean (MHAAM) and present a vision for future research which will help us to shed a completely new light on the issues discussed in the first part of my lecture.