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.

Chair of Morning Sessions: Lorenzo d'Alfonso, ISAW

9:30am - Gina Konstantopoulos, ISAW Visiting Assistant Professor
The Disciplines of Geography: Constructing Space in the Ancient World

10:00am - Paul Delnero, Johns Hopkins University
A Land with No Borders: Mimesis and Alterity in Mesopotamian Representations of Space

10:45am - Coffee Break

11:15am - N. Ilgi Gerçek, Bilkent University
“Imaginary Homelands”: Hittite Geography, Ancient and Modern

12:00pm - Nancy Highcock, New York University
Assyrians Abroad: Expanding Borders through Identity in the Middle Bronze Age

12:45pm - Lunch Break

Chair of Afternoon Sessions: Sarah Graff, Department of Ancient Near Eastern Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art

1:45pm - Seth Richardson, University of Chicago
Iron Age Empires as Peers and Fantasies: a Neo-Assyrian Perspective

2:30pm - Michael Seymour, Department of Ancient Near Eastern Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art
Neighbors through Imperial Eyes: Depicting Babylonia in Assyrian Campaign Reliefs

3:15pm - Coffee Break

3:45pm - Stephen C. Russell, John Jay College of Criminal Justice
Enemies, Lands, and Borders in Biblical Crossing Traditions

4:30pm - Jennifer Finn, Marquette University
The Navel of the Earth in Ancient Thought

5:15pm - Closing Remarks and Final Discussion

Registration is required at isaw.nyu.edu/rsvp

Please check isaw.nyu.edu for event updates.