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09/18/2017 06:00 PM ISAW Lecture Hall

Architectural Conservation in Egypt’s Western Desert

The Amheida Project

Nicholas Warner

Architectural conservation and presentation work at the site of Amheida in the Dakhla Oasis, supported by ISAW, began in 2007 and has focused on mud-brick structures of the late-Roman period. The work has also included the creation of a full-scale replica of a house with outstanding painted decoration that belonged to a member of the town council named Serenos. This structure was designed to serve as the site’s visitor center, and its construction provided many insights into the processes required to fabricate such a building. The new House of Serenos was opened earlier this year. This lecture is the first occasion in America that the architectural conservation of Amheida has been described and placed in context.
09/21/2017 11:45 AM ISAW Lecture Hall

DAY ONE: The Scribal Mind: Textual Criticism in Antiquity

Conference organized by Emily Cole (ISAW Visiting Assistant Professor)

The intellectual exercise of textual criticism is far from a modern invention. Without the regularity provided by printing, there were constantly different texts in circulation, and it was up to learned individuals to figure out how to make sense of them. While no manual on the assembly and editing of ancient manuscripts existed in ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, or China, scribes diligently worked through copies of the Egyptian Book of the Dead, Sumerian Incantations, or Buddhist manuscripts, and noted variants as they went along. It is the intention of this conference to draw out the details concerning how those scribes produced a text tradition, added commentary to new editions or marginalia to old ones, and what these practices might say about the culture in which the scribes were working. Please note that separate registration is required for DAY ONE (9/21/17), KEYNOTE LECTURE (9/21/17), and DAY TWO (9/22/17).
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09/21/2017 06:00 PM ISAW Lecture Hall

KEYNOTE LECTURE: The Art of Compilation

Karel van der Toorn

The intellectual exercise of textual criticism is far from a modern invention. Without the regularity provided by printing, there were constantly different texts in circulation, and it was up to learned individuals to figure out how to make sense of them. While no manual on the assembly and editing of ancient manuscripts existed in ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, or China, scribes diligently worked through copies of the Egyptian Book of the Dead, Sumerian Incantations, or Buddhist manuscripts, and noted variants as they went along. It is the intention of this conference to draw out the details concerning how those scribes produced a text tradition, added commentary to new editions or marginalia to old ones, and what these practices might say about the culture in which the scribes were working. Please note that separate registration is required for DAY ONE (9/21/17), KEYNOTE LECTURE (9/21/17), and DAY TWO (9/22/17).
RSVP
09/22/2017 09:30 AM ISAW Lecture Hall

DAY TWO: The Scribal Mind: Textual Criticism in Antiquity

Conference organized by Emily Cole (ISAW Visiting Assistant Professor)

The intellectual exercise of textual criticism is far from a modern invention. Without the regularity provided by printing, there were constantly different texts in circulation, and it was up to learned individuals to figure out how to make sense of them. While no manual on the assembly and editing of ancient manuscripts existed in ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, or China, scribes diligently worked through copies of the Egyptian Book of the Dead, Sumerian Incantations, or Buddhist manuscripts, and noted variants as they went along. It is the intention of this conference to draw out the details concerning how those scribes produced a text tradition, added commentary to new editions or marginalia to old ones, and what these practices might say about the culture in which the scribes were working. Please note that separate registration is required for DAY ONE (9/21/17), KEYNOTE LECTURE (9/21/17), and DAY TWO (9/22/17).
RSVP
10/10/2017 06:00 PM ISAW Lecture Hall

There Goes the Neighborhood

Gentrification and Urban Redevelopment in Roman North Africa

J. Andrew Dufton

City life in North Africa during the Roman period is often portrayed as a monolithic image of gleaming marble temples and elites, of unrivalled urban wealth and unquestionable success. Yet amongst these developments the neighborhoods of North Africa also saw periods of disuse, small- and large-scale regeneration projects, and a broad shift from mixed-use to specialized districts. This talk examines these changes using the modern concept of gentrification. By tracing examples of the displacement of urban production and the consolidation of property into larger and more elite residences, we can better understand both the nature of Roman urban renewal and the impact of these changes on local populations.
10/24/2017 06:00 PM ISAW Lecture Hall

Theology of Liberation in the Second Millennium BCE

The Hurrian Song of Liberation

Eva von Dassow

Around 1400 BCE, Hittite scribes recorded a Hurrian epic poem entitled “Song of Liberation” in a bilingual Hurro-Hittite edition, in cuneiform script on clay tablets. Fragments of these tablets were discovered in 1983 CE in the excavations at Hattusha, capital city of Hatti. The poem tells a mytho-historical tale turning on the gods’ demand that the city of Ebla release the people of another city, Igingallish, whom they have subjected. The storm god promises prosperity and military success if the Eblaites release the people of Igingallish, and threatens to annihilate their city if they do not. But the senate of Ebla refuses to grant release, exercising their liberty as a body of free men to deny liberty to those who serve them. The city of Ebla was indeed destroyed around 1600 BCE, and this poem explains why. What was the condition of liberty to which the gods demanded that the subjected people be released, and why did this interest the scribes of Hatti two centuries later?
11/07/2017 06:00 PM ISAW Lecture Hall

Language and Deception in the Gilgamesh Flood Story

Martin Worthington

The Flood story in the eleventh Tablet of Gilgamesh includes a mysterious message from the god Ea, featuring a rain of cakes and wheat. Since 1890 scholars have suspected some deliberate ambiguity (a forecast of the Flood disguised as a message about something else), and while the different proposals for how this may work make for a fascinating case study in the history of Akkadian philology, none of them quite work. A new solution is offered in this paper, and its broader implications are explored.
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