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Institute for the Study of the Ancient World



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10/25/2016 06:00 PM ISAW Lecture Hall

Decrepit Rome, your morals disintegrate, your walls collapse!

Critique of Rome in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages

Maya Maskarinec

This talk will address the persistent late antique and early medieval hagiographical and historiographical perception of Rome as a city too burdened by its monumental pagan and imperial past and worldly distractions to be a sacred city. The title, “Decrepit Rome, your morals disintegrate, your walls collapse!” is a loose translation of the line “moribus et muris, Roma vetusta, caedes,” from a satirical poem arguably dating to the late 9th century, the so-called Versus Romae. The poem is unusual for its vehemence, but, as this talk will demonstrate, the complaints against the city of Rome it expresses were deep-seated.
10/28/2016 09:30 AM ISAW Lecture Hall

Hic Sunt Dracones: Creating, Defining, and Abstracting Place in the Ancient World

Workshop organized by Gina Konstantopoulos (ISAW Visiting Assistant Professor)

Borders, frontiers, and the lands beyond them were created, defined, and maintained through a variety of physical, geographical, and moreover, social and cultural means in the ancient Near East, Biblical World, and the ancient Mediterranean. While the first two definitions were most often enforced through open military conflict, the maintenance of forts or frontier territories, or the more fluid existence of trading networks, these real encounters interacted with a tradition of fictionalizing foreign locations, as well as inventing new and distant lands entirely. This workshop is principally concerned with this process of creating and sensationalizing, to a degree, distant lands in the ancient world, and the ways by which these spaces were represented in literary, religious, and economic texts, as well as being depicted artistically. This process of "othering" foreign lands, as well as those who lived there, speaks to the ways in which the separate civilizations of the ancient world each constructed their own mental maps of the world around them, and created points of both contact and conflict when those mental maps intersected with each other.
11/03/2016 06:00 PM ISAW Lecture Hall

Tenth Annual Leon Levy Lecture: A People Without a Name or, Who Were the Hittites?

Theo van den Hout

Whereas the civilizations of the Assyrians and Babylonians in Mesopotamia and that of Egypt never faded from memory, knowledge of the Hittites was almost fully erased after the collapse of their kingdom around 1200 BC. In the now one-hundred-year-old resurrection of Hittite culture and society that followed the decipherment of the Hittite language in 1915, they were largely cast in the image of Mesopotamian civilization, especially where Hittite sources remain less eloquent or even silent. But is this always justified? Are we at liberty to assume entire text genres and social systems just because others had them? What would Hittite society look like without them?
11/10/2016 06:00 PM ISAW Lecture Hall

Exhibition Lecture: Ancient Sundials

Art, Technology, and Culture

James Evans

Nearly six hundred sundials are preserved from ancient Greek and Roman times. This richly illustrated lecture will explore the styles, uses, and significance of ancient sundials and their relevance historically and in context to our modern understanding of time.
11/15/2016 06:00 PM ISAW Lecture Hall

Fruits of the Silk Road

The Spread of Agriculture through Central Asia

Robert Spengler

The Silk Road was the largest commerce network of the ancient world; it linked the disparate ends of the vast Eurasian supercontinent and in doing so connected the imperial centers of East and Southwest Asia. While organized trade, including military outposts and government taxation, along the Silk Road dates back to the Han dynasty in the second century B.C., the exchange of goods, ideas, cultural practice, and genes, through the thousands of kilometers of desert and mountainous expanses comprising this region dates back to the third millennium B.C. This flow of cultural traits through Central Asia during the past four and a half millennia was a major driving force in the development of cultures across the Old World and shaped cuisines around the globe.
11/29/2016 06:00 PM ISAW Lecture Hall

Late Antiquity in Early Modernity

Debating the End of the Roman World in the Centuries Before Gibbon

Frederic Clark

12/01/2016 06:00 PM ISAW Lecture Hall
12/08/2016 06:00 PM ISAW Lecture Hall
12/13/2016 06:00 PM ISAW Lecture Hall

A Cumulative Han Culture

Paradigms of Tradition and History in the Study of Early China

Yitzchak Jaffe

01/26/2017 06:00 PM ISAW Lecture Hall

Exhibition Lecture: Geographical Portable Sundials

Reliable Instruments or Roman Fashion Statements?

Richard Talbert

This lecture considers one type of Roman sundial represented in the exhibition that has not been sufficiently appreciated from geographical, cultural, and social perspectives. These are the miniature bronze instruments fitted with adjustable rings to accommodate the changes of latitude liable to occur during long journeys. This lecture will explore the possibility that often they were valued not so much for practical use, but rather as prestige objects.
02/27/2017 06:00 PM ISAW Lecture Hall
04/06/2017 06:00 PM ISAW Lecture Hall

Exhibition Lecture: A Portable Cosmos

The Antikythera Mechanism

Alexander Jones

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