Upcoming joint conference of UNIPV and ISAW-NYU: Phrygia Between the East and the West

By hnm231@nyu.edu


A joint conference of UNIPV and ISAW-NYU

Pavia, Italy – April 7th-9th, 2022

This conference will be held in-person and livestreamed through the social media platforms of Digital Hammurabi and Save Ancient Studies, where viewers can submit questions to the conference chat.

Access the complete conference program here.  
*Please note that all times are in Central European Summer Time (CEST)

Event Description

The question of the definition of contrastive identities between the East and the West has always been central to understanding the Mediterranean, the European, and, today also, the Atlantic world. In the reassessment of the values and fundaments of a new, diverse, and inclusive society, the legacy of the Greco-Roman world on western political identity as ‘the exemplum’ is under scrutiny. The discussion, often led by non-experts, however, involves a too simplistic understanding of the ancient Mediterranean, in general, and of the Greco-Roman experience, in particular. The challenge for ancient historians and archaeologists is to promote a vision of the ancient Mediterranean with all of its rich complexity and diversity in the broader context of the ancient world. In order to make space for a different understanding of the ancient Mediterranean trajectory, this conference focuses on Phrygia, a region of northwestern, inner Anatolia, which represented a borderland between the East and the West for the entire 1st millennium BCE. The conference even aims to bring a conjecture to discussion: whether it was Phrygia, well before the expansion of the Achaemenid Empire towards the west, that promoted contrastive identities between the East and the West already during the 8th century BCE. The aim is also to investigate how the several elements of diversity characterizing this borderland were received and elaborated in contemporary and later societies of the Mediterranean and Near Eastern worlds.

New research and the new chronology of the Destruction Level at the Phrygian capital of Yassı Höyük-Gordion have resulted in a backdating of about 250 years for the formation of a Phrygian kingdom. This has considerable consequences in the historical, art historical, technological, and cultural spheres. The publication of a profound revision of the archaeological datum of the capital of a kingdom – located between the Aegean and Mediterranean worlds on one side, and the Anatolian, Assyrian, and Levantine worlds on the other – has begun to receive attention in individual studies related to specific themes. However, a reflection on the archaic formation of this kingdom and the political and ethnic identities that defined it still require new investigations; equally, a study of the impact of this polity as a middle ground entity between two areas that were beginning a process of progressive definition of opposition needs new reflection. Reception and integration of the Phrygian legacy in the Greek, Hellenistic, and Roman world is also considered a central part of the discussion of the Phrygian identity, both in its developments locally in the Anatolian Plateau, and elsewhere.

With this intent the Department of Humanities of the University of Pavia in collaboration with the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World of New York University have organized a conference in Pavia on April 7-9, 2022. This collaborative conference brings together experts and young scholars to discuss the themes presented above which emerged from the homonymous joint UNIPV – ISAW graduate seminar of Spring 2021: "Phrygia between the East and the West".

Organized by:

Lorenzo d’Alfonso (lda5@nyu.edu)

Nathan Lovejoy (ncl291@nyu.edu)

Alessio Mantovan (alessio.mantovan84@gmail.com)

Annarita Bonfanti (annaritastefan.bonfanti01@universitadipavia.it)

Ryan Henry Schnell (rhs399@nyu.edu)