CONF: Ancient Cosmos: Concord Among Worlds

A CAMNE Conference at Durham University
20-22 September 2013
Department of Classics and Ancient History, Durham University, 38 North Bailey, Durham, DH1 3EU, England

'The cosmos of a polis is manpower, of a body beauty, of a soul wisdom, of an action virtue, of a speech truth, and the opposites of these make for acosmia.'

- Gorgias, Encomium of Helen 1

Cosmos is a term that encompasses a wide variety of meanings and applications in the ancient world, each of which, broadly speaking, implies the 'order' that things can have. As the sophist Gorgias of Leontini attests,cosmos can refer to the most proper (or best) arrangement of many sorts of things, including those made up of many constituent parts (city-states, bodies, and speeches) as well as those that seem to be unified (souls, actions). But its application in antiquity goes far beyond the list given by Gorgias: in Homeric poetry (Od. 8.489), as elsewhere in later poetry and literary criticism, being kosmios entails the proper arrangement and truth of a speech act. Ornamental dress is designated kosmêma by Xenophon (Cyr. 7.3.7), which reflects a broader concern with proper cosmetic arrangement that also applies to sculpture and architecture. Cosmos also featured in novel ways of thinking about citizenship in Imperial Rome: for Martial (VII. 41), the cosmicus is a new arrival in the Roman mundus, a kindred concept to the cosmos which reaches back to the early Roman stage. In philosophy, natural science, and theology, from Heraclitus and Plato to Proclus and Origen, cosmos refers to the world-order that is held together through forces of opposition, equilibrium, and measure.

The Department of Classics and Ancient History at Durham University, in collaboration with the Centre for the Study of the Ancient Mediterranean and Near East (CAMNE), seeks to pursue a better understanding of the various modalities that cosmos took on throughout the ancient world, from its pre-Greek analogues in the Near East to its role in the articulation of Christian and Islamic theology. We wish to invite you to an international conference, to be held 20-22 September 2013 in Durham, on the topic of Ancient Cosmos: Concord among Worlds, which will feature dedicated panels of distinguished speakers on various sub-topics as well as presentations by our two keynote speakers, Luc Brisson (CNRS) and Malcolm Schofield (Cambridge University).

Conference Speakers and Titles

  • Ahmed Alwishah (Pitzer College): 'Avicenna on God's Knowledge of the Universe and Human Cognition'
  • Luc Brisson (CNRS): 'Kosmos in Plato's Laws'
  • Jackie Feke (University of Chicago): 'Ptolemy on Good Order in the Heavens and in the Soul'
  • Phillip Sidney Horky (Durham University):'When Kosmos became the Cosmos'
  • Donald Lavigne (Durham University/Texas Tech University): 'The Kosmos of Thersites'
  • Grant Nelsestuen (University of Wisconsin – Madison): 'Agronomy and Cosmonomy in the Roman Republic'
  • Pauliina Remes (Uppsala University): 'Cosmic and Human Agents in Plotinus'
  • Gilles Sauron (Université de Paris-Sorbonne (Paris IV)): 'La représentation du cosmos dans les décors romains, de Varron à Hadrien'
  • Malcolm Schofield (Cambridge University): 'Diakosmêsis'
  • Edmund Thomas (Durham University): 'Ancient Architecture in Southern Italy and the Music of the Cosmos'

Those who are interested to attend the conference should contact the organizer, Phillip Horky (Phillip.Horky@Durham.ac.uk), for further information and a provisional schedule, preferably by 10 September. A registration form will be sent to you after you contact the organizer. There is no cost for participation in the conference, which is open to the public. Accommodations and meals will take place at St. John's College, Durham, and more information on these is available from the conference organizer. All presentations will take place in the Ritson Room/CL007 at the Department of Classics and Ancient History, 38 North Bailey, Durham, DH1 3EU. There may be support for postgraduate students interested to attend the conference; please feel free to contact Dr Horky with expressions of interest or any questions. Updates on the conference can be found at workofmemory.wordpress.com.

This conference has been generously supported by the Department of Classics and Ancient History at Durham University.

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From the SCS Board of Directors, approved 6/3/20

The Society for Classical Studies condemns the relentless horror of police brutality and murder of black men, women, and children, including George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Atatiana Jefferson, Rekia Boyd, Sandra Bland, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, Freddie Gray, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, and Rodney King, to name just a few of the victims. Brutality perpetrated by the police and others stands with mass incarceration and unequal access to healthcare, education, and housing as symptoms of longstanding systemic, structural, and institutional racism in American and European cultures. These are deep problems in society that will not be fixed without radical policy changes at every level of government and across all institutions.   

View full article. | Posted in Public Statements on Wed, 06/03/2020 - 6:20am by Helen Cullyer.

The new Classics Everywhere initiative, launched by the SCS in 2019, supports projects that seek to engage communities worldwide with the study of Greek and Roman antiquity in new and meaningful ways. As part of this initiative the SCS has been funding a variety of projects ranging from reading groups comparing ancient to modern leadership practices to collaborations with artists in theater, music, and dance. In this post we focus on digital projects that engage with ancient texts and discuss the study of Classics during the coronavirus pandemic and beyond.

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 05/29/2020 - 7:55am by .

Fellowships, Scholarships, and Grants, January – April 2020

Some of our short-term fellowship and Classics Everywhere award winners are deferring use of their awards until Fall 2020 or 2021 owing to COVID-19. However, we congratulate everyone who was awarded a scholarship, fellowship or grant this spring, and we thank our selection committees for their hard work.

TLL Fellowship:

Amy Koenig

Pearson Fellowship:

View full article. | Posted in Awards and Fellowships on Wed, 05/27/2020 - 5:32pm by Helen Cullyer.

Please see below a message from the SCS President, followed by a listing of 2020 graduates:

With in-person celebrations ruled out by the coronavirus pandemic, the Society for Classical Studies is proud to recognize the many graduates at all levels across North America who have chosen to make serious and sustained study of the ancient Mediterranean world a significant part of their education.  For those who are earning PhD’s, we welcome the new contributions to knowledge that each of you has made, and we pledge our support and guidance as you negotiate an even more challenging professional landscape than you signed up for.  We warmly salute all degree-recipients who are pursuing careers in the vital enterprise of K-12 education.  For those who are going in other directions, we take great satisfaction in the variety of paths you will be following.  We hope the classical world will remain an important part of your lives, and we invite you to visit our website, read our blog, and join the SCS as “Friends of Classics.”  And we count on you as lifelong advocates for the value of studying Greco-Roman and ancient Mediterranean history and culture: please take every opportunity to spread the word that the ancient world still presents us with new questions to investigate and with multiple points of reference for thinking through our present-day concerns.  Heartfelt congratulations to all!

View full article. | Posted in Presidential Letters on Mon, 05/25/2020 - 12:11pm by Helen Cullyer.

The Arabic and Latin Glossary (hereafter al-gloss) is a free, online dictionary of the vocabulary used by medieval translators, primarily working in eleventh- to thirteenth-century Italy and Spain, to render the Arabic versions of Greek scientific and philosophical texts and original Arabic compositions into Latin. It is parallel, in terms of its scholarly goals and methodology, to the database Glossarium Graeco-Arabicum (hereafter gloss-ga), which is also run out of Germany but by a different team. In this review, I will refer to gloss-ga because it offers a point of comparison for assessing al-gloss’ editorial decisions and accessibility.

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 05/22/2020 - 3:23pm by .
Books

Loeb Classical Library Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowships in Classics

2021-2023

The Trustees of the Loeb Classical Library Foundation announce funding of four two-year postdoctoral fellowships to be held in the academic years 2021–2023. [A further four fellowships will be funded for the academic years 2022–2024] The details for the first round of competition for these fellowships are as follows:

View full article. | Posted in Awards and Fellowships on Thu, 05/21/2020 - 2:30pm by Helen Cullyer.

Many congratulations to Erik Shell who graduates today with his M.A. in Education Policy from NYU. Erik has been working part-time on his degree while working full-time for SCS in many roles. He runs the the Placement Service, works on social media and our website, coordinates our departmental membership program, edits video, and does so many other things. Thank you, Erik, for everything you do for SCS and its members, and congratulations on a well-deserved Masters degree!

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Wed, 05/20/2020 - 8:09am by Helen Cullyer.

Have you ever thought about a terminal MA in Classics?

I have to confess, I hadn’t before coming to teach at Boston College, where we have such a graduate program. I had firsthand experience with Classics BAs in colleges that only granted undergraduate degrees, BAs and MAs in PhD-granting departments — heck, even a combined BA/MA program. But a freestanding MA degree that was a purposeful end goal rather than an add-on, an along-the-way, or a no-more-thanks? It never crossed my mind. To judge from the conversations that I’ve had since joining a department with a terminal MA program, I think that’s true of a lot of Classics faculty, as well as for a lot of students. And I also think that has led to some unfortunate misunderstandings about terminal MAs and their contributions, both to the field as a whole and to the personal and professional development of individual students.

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 05/15/2020 - 8:26am by Christopher Polt.

Barbara K. Gold is Edward North Professor of Classics at Hamilton College, Emerita. She received her B.A. at the University of Michigan in 1966, her master’s degree in 1968 and her doctorate in 1975, both from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her research focuses on Greek and Roman literature, particularly Roman elegy, lyric, and satire; medieval literature, culture, and history; Roman social history; women in the ancient world; and feminist criticism. A prolific author and recipient of numerous grants and awards, Professor Gold was the first woman editor of The American Journal of Philology from 2000 to 2008 and is currently Vice President for Professional Matters of the Society for Classical Studies. She has also served on numerous college committees and was Associate Dean of Faculty at Hamilton College (1997-2001).

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 05/08/2020 - 5:01am by Claire Catenaccio.

THE ERICH S. GRUEN PRIZE

On behalf of the Society for Classical Studies (SCS), the Erich S. Gruen Prize Committee invites all graduate students in North America to enter the first annual competition for the best graduate research paper on multiculturalism in the ancient Mediterranean. This year the prize will be a cash award of $500. 

View full article. | Posted in Awards and Fellowships on Thu, 05/07/2020 - 6:55am by Erik Shell.

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