Past Events 2013

The Importance of Being Roman

Public Lecture Theatre, Old Arts – University of Melbourne, Monday 16 December, 6:30

Professor Emma Dench, Harvard University

What did it mean to be Roman in the ancient world, why did it matter in antiquity, and how might the study of the Roman empire benefit the modern world?   We will explore some of the very different ways in which groups and individuals in the Roman empire imagined and acted out what it was to be Roman and what Roman power meant to them.  At the same time, we will consider how far the case of Rome offers us a useful perspective on some of the issues that are of most concern in our own societies, such as the meaning of citizenship in a global world, the interaction between the global and the local, and when and where to anticipate challenges to sovereignty.

Emma Dench is Professor of the Classics and of History at Harvard University. Before joining Harvard in January 2007, she taught classics and ancient history at Birkbeck College, University of London (1992-2006). She is the author of “From Barbarians to New Men: Greek, Roman, and Modern Perceptions of Peoples from the Central Apennines” (Clarendon Press 1995) and “Romulus’ Asylum: Roman Identities from the Age of Alexander to the Age of Hadrian” (Oxford 2005). She is currently preparing “Culture and Imperialism in the Roman World” for the Cambridge University Press series “Key Themes in Ancient History.”

The lecture is sponsored by the University of Melbourne’s School of Historical and Philosophical Studies (SHAPS).

Working Copper, Making Pots: New Evidence From Middle Bronze Age Cyprus

Old Arts Building, Theatre C – University of Melbourne, Thursday 21 November, 6:30; Annual General Meeting and Public Lecture

Dr Jenny Webb, La Trobe University

In 1942, when the Hellenic Mines Corporation began mining a small copper ore-body at Ambelikou in northwest Cyprus, they found Middle Bronze Age pottery and ancient stone hammers in their underground shafts. This remains the earliest direct evidence for copper mining on the island, which has some of the most substantial copper deposits in the world. These discoveries led to several months of excavations at Ambelikou by the Department of Antiquities of Cyprus, which unfortunately were never published. This lecture tells the story of recent efforts to document and interpret the architecture and finds, some 70 years after the event, and reports on the discovery of evidence for mining, smelting and casting and of the earliest pottery production workshop yet known on Cyprus.

Jenny Webb is Charles La Trobe Research Fellow with the Archaeology Program at La Trobe University, and Editor-in-Chief of “Studies in Mediterranean Archaeology”, a monograph series published in Sweden by Astroms Forlag. She held an Australian Research Council Fellowship at La Trobe University from 1998 to 2002 and has co-directed excavations at Marki, Deneia and Politiko in Cyprus. She is also the Honorary President of the Classical Association of Victoria.

This lecture is sponsored by the University of Melbourne’s School of Historical and Philosophical Studies (SHAPS) and the Classical Association of Victoria and will be preceded by a brief Annual General Meeting (AGM).

W.H. Allen Memorial Lecture – ‘The Capitol Where Julius Caesar Fell’: Charles Dickens Rewrites Rome

Kaye Scott Room, Ormond College, 49 College Crescent, Parkville, Wednesday October 9, reception at 6:00, lecture at 6:30

Dr Rhiannon Evans, La Trobe University

Charles Dickens is not known as a classical scholar and he sometimes got his facts wrong! Indeed nineteenth century scholars of the novel often insist that it was modern, not ancient, Europe which interested him. However, Dickens did travel to Rome on extended visits twice and he was clearly fascinated by the ancient ruins he found there, frequently comparing antiquity favourably with the decadence and artificiality which he perceives as modern Catholic Italy. This lecture will investigate how ancient Rome affected Dickens and how he represents it in three very different modes: his personal letters, his published travelogue and his novel of extreme poverty and lengthy imprisonment, Little Dorrit.

Rhiannon Evans is Lecturer in Ancient Mediterranean Studies within the School of Humanities at La Trobe University. Until 2012 she was Lecturer in Classics at the University of Melbourne. She is the author of “Utopia Antiqua: readings of the Golden Age and Decline at Rome” (Routledge 2008) and several articles on ethnic identity in Rome literature.

The annual W.H. Allen Memorial Lecture is sponsored by the Classical Association of Victoria and Ormond College, in honour of Barney Allen, the first Secretary of the Classical Association of Victoria (1912 onwards), and Vice-Master of Ormond College from 1915-1943. The event will begin with the awarding of the annual Alexander Leeper Prize for the highest-achieving undergraduate Classics honours student in the state of Victoria. Alexander Leeper in 1876 became the first Warden of Trinity College at the University of Melbourne, and in 1912 became the first President of the Classical Association of Victoria.

Books ~ Dream ~ Stories: How Sandman Comics Help Us Understand Ovid

Old Arts Building, Theatre D – University of Melbourne, Tuesday 6 August, 6:30

Assoc. Prof. C.W. Marshall, University of British Columbia, Canada

This illustrated talk examines the structure of Ovid’s epic poem “Metamorphoses” (c. 8 CE) and Neil Gaiman’s comic series “The Sandman” (1989-96 CE). The comparison illuminates both works and demonstrates the reading strategies used by classicists and comics fans when approaching a complex, wide-ranging, allusive masterpiece. It will also consider how stories work, the place of comics in classical reception studies, and the true nature of ravens.

C. W. Marshall is Professor of Greek in the Department of Classical, Near Eastern and Religious Studies and Distinguished Scholar in Residence at the Peter Wall Institute at The University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. He is the author of The Stagecraft and Performance of Roman Comedy (CUP, 2006) and The Structure and Performance of Euripides’ Helen (CUP, forthcoming). He is the co-editor of Classics and Comics (OUP, 2011) and has written widely on ancient theatre and popular culture.

The Search for Goliath of Gath

Public Lecture Theatre, Old Arts , University of Melbourne, Wednesday 14 August, 6:30, 2013 Marion Adams Memorial Lecture

Prof. Aren Maeir, Bar Ilan University, Israel

The ongoing excavations at Tell es-Safi/Gath (Israel), which is identified as Biblical Philistine Gath (home of Goliath according to the Bible) have shed light on cultural remains from many periods – spanning the late Prehistoric through Modern periods. Most importantly, the finds have shed light upon and clarified many issues relating to the historical and Biblical sources and have provided a fruitful background for the study of various cultures over the ages – utilizing a wide range of analytic perspectives – whether historical, anthropological or that of the sciences. In this lecture, Professor Aren Maeir will survey some of the more interesting finds and interpretative perspectives that these finds have brought forth.

Aren Maeir is a Professor of Archaeology at the Martin (Szusz) Department of Land of Israel Studies and Archaeology at Bar-Ilan University (which is located in Ramat-Gan, Israel), where he teaches Biblical and Ancient Near Eastern Archaeology. Over the years Professor Maeir has published more than 140 scholarly and popular studies in various journals and books and has written and edited 7 books. Professor Maeir’s primary professional focus is the Tell es-Safi/Gath Archaeological Project (which he directs), a long-term, multi-national excavation of one of the largest ancient sites in the Land of Israel, a site that is identified as “Gath of the Philistines”, home of Goliath.

Theatricality and Illusion in Public Life: Hellenistic Paradigms and Modern Experiences

Laby Theatre, Physics Building, University of Melbourne, Wednesday August 21, 6:30

2013 Australian Archaeological Institute at Athens (AAIA) Visiting Professor Prof Angelos Chaniotis – Ancient History and Classics, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, USA

The Hellenistic world, from Alexander to Cleopatra, is characterized by an interest in theatrical display (e.g. through the carefully staged appearance of public figures, the staged appearance of statues, the celebration of festivals) and illusion (illusion in visual arts, the illusion of democracy in political institutions). These elements, not only recognized by scholars but also by the poet Cavafy, give the Hellenistic period a very ‘modern’ appearance and invite us to reflect on similar phenomena in the modern world: the use of the media, the staged appearances of statesmen, and the limits of democratic institutions.

Professor Chaniotis was born in Athens, educated in Greece and Germany, and has held various positions at prestigious institutes in Germany, the United States and England. His knowledge and understanding of the ancient Greek world is both broad and deep. Angelos Chaniotis is engaged in wide-ranging research in the social, cultural, religious, legal and economic history of the Hellenistic world and the Roman East. The author of many books and articles and senior editor of the Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum, he has worked on war, religion, communicative aspects of rituals and strategies of persuasion in the ancient world. His current research focuses on emotions, memory, and identity. Significant questions and dialogues in the field have grown out of his contributions, which have helped to advance understanding of previously unexplored aspects of the ancient world.

This public lecture is sponsored by both the Classical Association of Victoria (CAV) and the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies (SHAPS) at The University of Melbourne, both of whom are subscribers of the Australian Archaeological Institute at Athens (AAIA).