Recent Events

12/06/2019 06:00 PM ISAW Galleries
Reconstructed panel of bricks with a striding lion Neo-Babylonian Period; Processional Way, El-Kasr Mound, Babylon, Iraq; CC0 1.0 Image courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Friday Evening Exhibition Tour

Mariana Castro

Part of our Free Friday Evening Exhibition tour series. Join us in the galleries for an in-depth discussion of the exhibition A Wonder to Behold: Craftsmanship and the Creation of Babylon’s Ishtar Gate. In this tour, participants will engage in a guided conversation exploring the specific history, iconography, and transformative power of ancient Near Eastern craftsmanship as it relates to the creation of Babylon's Ishtar Gate and Processional Way.
12/05/2019 06:00 PM ISAW Lecture Hall

A Tale of Two Stories:

Mythological Texts as a Source on Ancient Egyptian Gender Roles

Ann Macy Roth

Bata and Osiris, the heroes of two very well known ancient Egyptian stories, have often been compared, and the similarity of some episodes in their lives has been noted. What has not been properly understood, however, is the degree to which the stories themselves are structurally identical, differing only in the gender of the characters who play the two secondary roles in the stories. The recognition of this circumstance means that the two stories can be compared, which clarifies the episodes that are essential and those that are inessential additions. More importantly, however, the results can be used to examine the assumptions the Egyptians made about gender. When are male and female characters able to do the same things, and when must the story be twisted to prevent characters from acting in ways that are inappropriate to their gender?
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12/04/2019 12:00 PM ISAW Galleries
Reconstructed panel of bricks with a striding lion Neo-Babylonian Period; Processional Way, El-Kasr Mound, Babylon, Iraq; CC0 1.0 Image courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Exhibitions Gallery Talk: Object Histories

Object Histories

Kate Justement

Join us in the galleries for a 20-minute in-depth discussion of a single object from A Wonder to Behold: The Power of Craftsmanship and the Creation of Babylon’s Ishtar Gate. In this brief lunchtime talk, participants will engage in a guided conversation exploring the specific history, iconography, and manufacture of one of the objects on view in our current exhibition.
12/03/2019 06:00 PM ISAW Lecture Hall

The Discovery of Knossos by the Cretan Antiquarian Minos Kalokairinos:

Politics and Research Agendas in the Early Days of Aegean Archaeology

Antonis Kotsonas

Knossos in Crete is one of the most frequented archaeological sites in the world. Visitors to the prehistoric Palace of Knossos are greeted by a bronze bust of the British archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans who excavated, restored and interpreted the monument in the early 20th century, thus leaving us with an everlasting legacy on the archaeology of Crete and the Aegean. A few months ago, a second bust was erected near the first one and it shows the little-known Cretan businessman and antiquarian Minos Kalokairinos (1843-1907). Kalokairinos was the first to excavate Knossos more than two decades before Evans, and the first to discover its palace in a brief and poorly documented campaign in 1878. Although his work attracted international attention at the time, it was quickly overshadowed by the much more extensive and well-documented research of Evans and it remained entirely overlooked for nearly a century. However, recent scholarship increasingly appreciates the pioneering investigations of the Cretan antiquarian.
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11/29/2019 06:00 PM ISAW Galleries
Reconstructed panel of bricks with a striding lion Neo-Babylonian Period; Processional Way, El-Kasr Mound, Babylon, Iraq; CC0 1.0 Image courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Free Exhibition Tour

Priya Barchi

Join us in the galleries for an in-depth tour of the exhibition A Wonder to Behold: Craftsmanship and the Creation of Babylon's Ishtar Gate. In this tour, participants will engage in a guided conversation exploring the specific history, iconography, and transformative power of ancient Near Eastern craftsmanship as it relates to the creation of Babylon's Ishtar Gate and Processional Way.
11/27/2019 12:00 PM
Ishtar Gate Lion, Babylon, Iraq

Exhibition Gallery Talk: Object Histories

Part of a series of lunchtime gallery talks: Wednesdays, November 13–May 20, 12:00–12:20pm Join us in the galleries for a 20-minute in-depth discussion of a single object from A Wonder to Behold: The Power of Craftsmanship and the Creation of Babylon’s Ishtar Gate.
11/21/2019 06:00 PM ISAW Lecture Hall
Ishtar Gate Lion, Babylon, Iraq

Babylon Before Excavation

Michael Seymour

This lecture will explore the place of the site of Babylon in scholarship and the public imagination in the years leading up to the German excavations, and the cultural context within which the project came into being.
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11/19/2019 06:00 PM ISAW Lecture Hall

Speaking Truth to Power in Greece and Babylon:

Mythological Paradigms Compared

Johannes Haubold

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11/14/2019 06:00 PM ISAW Lecture Hall
Inscribed black stone surface with cuneiform texts and a group of seven people engaged in ritual performance.

13th Annual Leon Levy Lecture:

Assyria and the Hebrew Bible: A Reassessment

Peter Machinist

Assyria, in its last or Neo-Assyrian phase of the first millennium BC, was the first universal empire in the ancient Near East. It was an imposing, indeed terrifying colossus to the many states and peoples that fell under its sway, two of which were ancient Israel and Judah. The Neo-Assyrian empire was a highly complicated and sophisticated entity, in which ruling elites and subjects interacted not simply in the military, political, and economic arenas, but, intertwined with them, in the cultural, especially the ideological, arena as well. In short, Assyria was more than a colossus of brute force; it imposed itself on its subjects as a powerful ideological system. The analysis of this system and its relationship to the other arenas of the empire has formed an important part of contemporary study of Neo-Assyria. In this study, scholars have drawn on the evidence, both written and non-written, of the Assyrian ruling elites themselves, but also of their various subject states and peoples. And from the latter, easily the most important evidence, because of its extent, variety, and depth of engagement with Assyria, has been the principal monument of ancient Israel and Judah, namely, the Hebrew Bible.
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11/12/2019 06:00 PM ISAW Lecture Hall

New York Aegean Bronze Age Colloquium: Mari and the Minoans

Karen Polinger Foster

The 20,000 cuneiform tablets found in the palace at Mari provide a wealth of evidence for the world of the 18th century B.C.E. This presentation focuses on the documents that shed light on the connections between Mari and Minoan Crete. Thanks to much recent Assyriological work, the corpus of relevant texts has nearly tripled since Aegean specialists last considered them. Two historical nuggets of considerable significance for Aegeanists emerge from my present study. In addition, I discuss for the first time what the Mariote scribes might have been looking at and attempting to describe when they made their inventories of Cretan goods.
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11/11/2019 09:00 AM ISAW Lecture Hall
Circular chart in rainbow colors showing migrations patterns across various parts of the world.

Melting Bowl or Salad Pot?: Identity Dynamics of Migrants to State/Imperial Heartlands Through the Ages

Conference organized by David Danzig (ISAW)

Human migration is and has always been an important component of settled life, impacting all sectors of society. Migration often occurs in the context of the exercise of power by large states and empires. While scholars of migration and ethnicity tend to focus on identity dynamics at the peripheries of such polities, the impact of migration on central heartland regions is potentially more ripe for exploration. Though expansionist actions directly impact borderlands, the resultant flow of migrants to heartlands creates an inter-ethnic hotbed. This phenomenon is problematized in the title of this conference via an intentional play on the terms “melting pot” and “salad bowl.” First used to describe social identity dynamics of migrants to the United States of America, the mixing of these metaphors accentuates the multiplicity of possible developments of identity that arise after immigration to the heartlands of powerful polities. Instead of insisting on a binary approach, this conference brings together expert scholars from multiple fields to explore the dynamics of ethnic identity in state and imperial heartlands in a variety of ancient, pre-modern, modern, and contemporary contexts, in order to investigate the gamut of historical and social developments that result from such migrations.
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