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In 2022, the third year of the SCS Erich S. Gruen Prize, the selection committee received 18 submissions from graduate students across North America treating aspects of race, ethnicity, or cultural exchange in the ancient Mediterranean. The committee was impressed by the papers’ quality and range of disciplinary perspectives, methodologies, types of evidence, and time periods across the multicultural ancient world.

Of these submissions, all anonymized before review, the committee commends one with an honorable mention. Erez DeGolan’s “The Ancient Rabbis and The Politics of Rejoicing and Mourning in the Roman Empire” (Religion, Columbia University) challenges the prevailing use of emotions in narratives of ancient Jewish history, rereading expressions of joy and grief in rabbinic narratives of the second-fourth centuries CE as ritualized signals of loyalty and disloyalty to the Roman Empire.

The committee unanimously awards the 2022 SCS Erich S. Gruen Prize to Savannah Sather Marquardt (History of Art, Yale University). Her paper “Life in the Tomb: The Funerary Function of a Red-Figure Krater from a Peucetian Tomb” is noteworthy owing to its use of New Materialism and close autopsy to investigate a Lucanian red-figure volute krater as an embodied object and to explore the cultural interaction that produced it. In a paper written with verve that was a joy to read, Marquardt argues that the krater itself offers a point of connection between depicted and lived experiences by orienting its Dionysiac scene, Italic practices of communal drinking, and the grave goods in its tomb. The paper will receive a cash prize of $1000.

The committee thanks and commends all applicants, and above all Savannah Sather Marquardt, for work that enhances our understanding of multiculturalism in the ancient Mediterranean, in honor of Erich Gruen’s continuing contributions to the field.

Support the Gruen Fund

SCS has established the Gruen Fund to support this important new prize. Thanks to the generosity of donors, the prize is now $1,000. You can donate to the endowment for long-term support of the prize. Donations can be made via this online form on the SCS website. SCS is a 501(c)3 public charity and donations may be tax deductible.

Volunteer to Serve on the Gruen Prize Committee

Please contact Helen Cullyer (helen.cullyer@nyu.edu) if you are interested.