Call for Student Nominations: Emory Summer Seminar in Material Culture

The Use of Art and Material Culture in Scholarship and Teaching:
Greek and Roman Art: an Introduction
A Seminar in Material Culture for Graduate Students in Classics and Ancient History
Directed by Dr Jasper Gaunt, Curator of Greek and Roman Art, Michael C. Carlos Museum,
Emory University
22 May – 30 June 2017
Emory University, Atlanta GA
Supported by generous grants from the Samuel H. Kress and Henry Luce Foundations, and Emory University
The Society for Classical Studies (SCS) invites doctoral programs in Classics or Ancient History to nominate a student to participate in a 6-week seminar that will introduce ten graduate students to the use of material culture in their scholarship and teaching. The aim of this seminar is to familiarize students with archaeological material that goes hand in hand with the historical and literary records, and how to incorporate such evidence into historical or philological research. This seminar will be the second of three with the same purpose but with different foci and at different institutions. The first took place at the J. Paul Getty Museum in 2016; the third will be held in 2018. Background. Despite new awareness of the scope of material evidence, and the ready availability of excellent images, all too often literary scholars treat images as decoration or illustration, while historians exploit the material record only gingerly. Probably more important than “literature” was the oral tradition, and the essential web of images that arose from it. Conversely, it has been wisely said of archaeology that it is a branch of ancient history.
This seminar offers students an opportunity to engage with the material record on a daily basis. Over the six weeks, every effort will be made to introduce the widest range of possibilities encountered in the archaeological record. Not only pottery and sculpture in bronze and marble will be considered, but also works in precious or exotic materials like ivory, gold, silver, amber, gems, glass, faience, and colored stones. Questions of facture and circulation will predominate: how these objects were made, by whom, for whom, why, and how to recognize them in the literary, historical and epigraphic record.
Resources and Faculty.
Participants will have access to the Museum’s collections of Egyptian, Nubian, Near Eastern, Greek, Etruscan and Roman antiquities, both those on view in the galleries and those in storage. The latter, which will be used daily for teaching, include notably rich holdings of fine pottery and gems. The Karen Mariea Madsen Parsons Conservation Laboratory, the Thalia N. Carlos Education Center and its staff are also participants, as are Emory faculty members. An extensive collection of plaster casts of ancient sculpture, and models of the sanctuaries at Delphi, Olympia and the Athenian Acropolis on long-term loan from the Metropolitan Museum of Art are sprinkled among several buildings on campus. Further resources include the two principal campus libraries, the Robert W. Woodruff together with the Stuart A. Rose Manuscripts and Rare Books Library; and The Pitts Theology Library. Besides resources at Emory, the course will include the participation of Prof. Patricia Butz, Savannah College of Art and Design, on treasuries and their inscriptions; Prof. Mark Abbe, University of Georgia at Athens, on polychromy and color on ancient sculpture; and Prof. Peter Bing, University of Toronto, on the new Posidippos papyrus and hellenistic gems.
The course is co-ordinated by Jasper Gaunt, Curator of Greek and Roman Art at the Michael C. Carlos Museum. He is the joint editor with A.J. Clark of Essays in Honor of Dietrich von Bothmer (Amsterdam 2002), and has published widely on Greek vase-painting (including a volume of the Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum: Great Britain 21: Harrow School, 2005), vessels in bronze and marble, metrical inscriptions on pottery, and reception studies.
The seminar is structured in broadly chronological terms. The importance of time allocated for students to absorb material in the galleries in their own ways cannot be overstated. Three two-hour classes are planned each week around an over-arching theme, outlined in the synopsis. Provision is also made each afternoon for further opportunities to handle original objects. Excursions to local artists’ workshops – such as glass-blowing, gold working and a bronze foundry – are planned on Friday afternoons, as is a day trip to see the Nashville Parthenon and its life-size reproduction of the chryselephantine cult statue.
Expectations of Students.
It is proposed that students will undertake small assignments on an on-going basis, intended primarily to foster familiarity with the world of objects. These will include informal mini-presentations on objects in the Carlos Museum’s collections, gallery talks, and some sketching. Over the course of the seminar, participants will work on a paper to be presented in the last week. The subject will be of the student’s choice, rising out of their research interests, but in conjunction with the course co-ordinator, who will allocate generous weekly time to meet with students individually.
Logistics and Funding.
Students selected for the seminar will be offered free accommodation at the Clairmont Campus of Emory University. A shuttle service operates between this campus and the main one where the seminar will be held. Both on campus and within walking distance of campus can be found a variety of shops, grocery stores and places to eat. Some public transportation, and taxi services like Uber, work well. In other words, the use of a car is not essential. The cost of car rental is greatly reduced if the airport is avoided. In addition, thanks to the generosity of the Samuel H. Kress and Henry Luce Foundations, the SCS will provide a stipend of up to $2,000 to cover the cost of travel to and from Atlanta, and modest out of pocket expenses. The SCS believes that these arrangements will offset many but by no means all of the costs of attendance at the seminar.
Nomination Process.
Each doctoral program may nominate only one student for the seminar. The focus of the student’s academic work should be classical languages, literatures, and/or history and not archaeology or other areas of material culture. Preference will be given to graduate students who are still taking coursework or in the early stages of writing their dissertation. Nominators should elicit from potential applicants a CV and a statement of the value that the student expects to derive from attending the seminar, choose one applicant to nominate, and forward the CV and statement to the SCS Executive Director (, along with a brief endorsement. The student’s statement should be 500 to 700 words in length and should describe how the seminar would advance the applicant’s education and scholarly interests. The student him or herself should also email the Executive Director ( with full name, mailing address, phone number.
A committee consisting of Dr Gaunt as chair and Professors Mary English (SCS Vice President for Education) and Donald Mastronarde (SCS VP for Publications and Research) will select participants from ten different academic institutions and a variety of countries of origin. Although many applicants from North America are expected, students from all countries are equally welcome. Reasonable fluency in English is the only requirement. Nominations by departments and emails from student nominees including their full contact information should be submitted electronically to no later than 1 January 2017. The SCS will announce the decisions of the selection committee in early February 2017. Questions about the seminar program may be directed to Dr Gaunt at or by telephone at 404 727 1146.
Synopsis of Curriculum
Each week has an over-arching (chronological) theme that is explored in a two-hour class on Monday, Wednesday and Friday 9.30–11.30. On Mondays through Thursdays, an afternoon session 2.30–4:00 is offered during which original works of art that are relevant to the topics discussed during the week are handled, and questions of manufacture discussed. On Friday afternoons, excursions are planned to studios of artists working in different media.
Week One: Monday May 22 – Friday May 26: Homer between Bronze Age and Geometric Greece
The Heroon at Lefkandi - Nestor’s Cup from Pithekoussai – Early artistic responses to the Epic Cycle
Week Two: Monday May 29 – Friday June 2: Archaic Greece: The symposium: how to throw a party in archaic Greece
Myths on vases, myths in “literature” - History and heroes - Herodotus and the Vix krater
Week Three: Monday June 5 – Friday June 9: Classical Greece
Inscriptions and the Parthenon Inventories – Polychromy on Greek sculpture - Textiles
Guest speakers: Dr Patricia Butz, Savannah College of Art and Design (inscriptions); Dr Mark Abbe, University of Georgia at Athens (polychromy)
Week Four: Monday June 12 – Friday June 16: Alexander the Great and the Hellenistic World
Macedonian Tombs - The Posidippos Papyrus and gems – Ptolemaic Egypt
Guest speaker: Dr Peter Bing, University of Toronto (Posidippos)
Week Five: Monday June 19 – Friday June 23: The Roman World
Trimalchio’s dinner party - Portraiture - Glass
Week Six: Monday June 26 – Friday June 30: Pulling Things Together
Student reports
(Photo: Michael C. Carlos Museum. Carlos Collection of Ancient Art, Atlanta, used with permission)


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By Andaleeb Badiee Banta (Curator of European and American Art, Allen Memorial Art Museum, and Christopher Trinacty (Associate Professor of Classics at Oberlin College,

Campus museums can help professors not only to teach about the ancient world, but also to explore connections between different civilizations, time periods, and media. At Oberlin College, professors engage with the collection at the Allen Memorial Art Museum to teach a variety of topics – from philosophy to cinema studies, from anthropology to book studies. This collaboration between professors and the museum’s curators creates evocative and unexpected links for both students and professors, aiding in the interdisciplinary exploration of material.

View full article. | Posted in on Sun, 03/04/2018 - 1:31pm by Andaleeb Badiee Banta.
Manuscript of Megillat Esther, dating to the 18th century and currently housed in the Joods Historisch Museum in Amsterdam. Photo by Vassil, licensed under CC0 1.0. Edited (cropped) by C. Bonesho.
In her monthly column, Catherine Bonesho will feature discussions of Greco-Roman age Judaism, the Roman Near East, as well as the American Academy in Rome. For her first monthly column, she explores the Roman context for the Jewish holiday of Purim.

According to historian Amnon Linder, there are approximately 107 imperial Roman laws that concern Jews and Judaism and, for the most part, one can find them in the Theodosian and Justinianic Codes.[1] Roman imperial legislation on Jews and Judaism ranges from discussing circumcision to synagogues and the Sabbath, among other topics. However, one can also find a peculiar law, dating to the early fifth century CE, that establishes Roman policy on the Jewish holiday known as Purim.

This year Purim will be celebrated at sundown on February 28. In this blog, I focus on a Roman law found in the Theodosian Code (16:8:18) that deals with the celebration of Purim and briefly discuss how this law not only aids in understanding Jews and Judaism in Roman antiquity, but also how it helps decipher religious competition during the period known as Late Antiquity (200-800 CE).

View full article. | Posted in on Mon, 02/26/2018 - 5:03pm by Catherine Bonesho.


Classical Antiquity: Screening the “political animals” of the Ancient Mediterranean world

An area of multiple panels for the 2018 Film & History Conference:

Citizenship and Sociopathy in Film, Television, and New Media

November 7-12, 2018

Madison Concourse Hotel and Governor’s Club, Madison, WI (USA)

Full details at:

DEADLINE for abstracts: 1 June 2018 

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Mon, 02/26/2018 - 10:20am by Erik Shell.

by Patrice Rankine

One of the precepts of Joseph Campbell’s Hero of a Thousand Faces, in fact of his life work of studying myth, generally, is that myth is truer than the truth itself. The metaphoric power of storytelling is such that the story precedes reality. When one deploys the metaphor “my love is a red rose,” the statement suggests the profound truth of the beauty of love, its exquisiteness, its sensual power.

View full article. | Posted in on Mon, 02/26/2018 - 6:31am by .

By Adrienne K.H. Rose

In her monthly column, Prof. Adrienne K.H. Rose explores issues surrounding translation within Classics. In her first edition, she addresses the challenges of picking the “right” Catullus translation. What does “right” even mean when choosing a translation for class?

Choosing the “right” translation of any Classical author for the classroom is a challenge for most teachers. What is “right” can often be dependent upon factors such as availability and pricing, particularly for students with a textbook budget. For a popular, much-translated poet like Catullus there is a wealth of English-language translations to choose from. Catullus is antiquity’s most modern poet.

His work is raunchy, moody, turbulently charged political and social commentary – my advanced Latin students called him “emo”—his carmina akin to unfiltered Facebook status updates perhaps better left unposted. At the same time they’re fastidious metrically, driven by Hellenic fascination (Grecomania?), and fixated by core human emotions and needs: internal conflict, affection, lust, mourning, and spite. Because Catullus is so contemporary, translations reinvent his persona anew with updated, contemporary language and cultural references.

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 02/23/2018 - 5:21am by Adrienne K.H. Rose.
St Andrews Graduate Conference in Ancient Philosophy 2018, on:
Teleology, Intelligence and Life in the Platonic and Aristotelian Tradition
Teleology plays a central role in both Plato’s and Aristotle’s philosophy. It is essential in particular for their cosmological views and their conceptions of intelligence (nous) and life. We are interested in a deeper understanding of both Plato’s and Aristotle’s approach to teleology in all their aspects and the principal differences between them. We invite graduate students to submit high-quality papers on any topic related to teleology within the Platonic or Aristotelian tradition, broadly construed, in antiquity.
 Keynote Speakers:
View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Thu, 02/22/2018 - 2:30pm by Erik Shell.

The Organizer Refereed Panel "Thirty Years of the Jeweled Style" has extended its deadline for abstract submission to March 5th.

See the original CFP here:


(Photo: "Handwritten" by A. Birkan, licensed under CC BY 2.0)

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Thu, 02/22/2018 - 11:29am by Erik Shell.

Τὰ μεταξύ - Knowing where to draw the line: Intermediates and Dianoia in Plato

Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College
5353 Parkside Drive
Jupiter, FL 33458

We read in Aristotle’s Metaphysics that Plato regarded mathematical objects as intermediate between forms and particulars (987b14-18). Nowhere in the dialogues does Socrates talk explicitly about these “intermediates,” although it could be argued that there are several texts in which the intermediates are implied. Even if the intermediates were implied, however, it is not at all clear that they match up with the account that Aristotle gives us. The purpose of this event is to reconsider the evidence for and against the intermediates in the Platonic dialogues. Presentations on the ontological status of the objects of dianoia in Plato will be included.

Friday morning until early evening, we will discuss what Aristotle says in his Metaphysics, hear arguments about the implications of his claims and discuss the possibility of intermediates in the Phaedo. Saturday morning until early afternoon there will be presentations of papers and outlines of ideas regarding the possible intermediates in Plato’s Republic and the later dialogues as well as the ontological status of the objects of dianoia.

View full article. | Posted in Conferences, Lectures, and Meetings on Thu, 02/22/2018 - 10:43am by Erik Shell.



September 28 – 30, 2018

The Program in Classical and Medieval Studies at Bates College invites papers on any topic related to new approaches to the cultures of the ancient Greco-Roman Mediterranean, for a day-long graduate symposium showcasing the work of emerging scholars (recent PhD or ABD) from historically underrepresented groups.

The symposium will showcase new work by individuals from underrepresented groups in the professoriate, specifically defined as including African Americans, Alaska Natives, Arab Americans, Asian Americans, Latinx, Native Americans, Native Hawaiians, and other Pacific Islanders.

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Tue, 02/20/2018 - 2:08pm by Erik Shell.

(Originally posted on Facebook by the Vergilian Society by Jim O'Hara)

The Vergilian Society notes with sadness the passing of Professor Eleanor Winsor Leach of the University of Indiana, who served the Society as a trustee in 1978-83 and as second and then first vice-president in 1989-92. Vergilians learned much from her articles on the Eclogues, Georgics, and Aeneid, her landmark 1974 book on the Eclogues, her two major studies on the ties that link Roman literature, art, and society, and her many many articles on Latin poetry and painting and their reception. Both her many students, and all those of us who learned from her writings, will carry on her work and her memory.

(From Matthew Christ)

The Department of Classical Studies at Indiana University, Bloomington, is very sorry to report that Eleanor W. Leach died on Friday, February 16, at the age of 80. Ellie will be sorely missed by all of us; it was characteristic of her strong spirit and commitment that she remained active as teacher and scholar up until the very end. We will circulate information concerning a service in her memory as soon as this is available.


The memorial service for Eleanor W. Leach is scheduled for:

Saturday, April 21, 11 a.m.

Trinity Episcopal Church 

View full article. | Posted in In Memoriam on Tue, 02/20/2018 - 1:29pm by Erik Shell.


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