Image source: Artistic Brushworks

Other Spaces

Moderator: Dr. Chris Dobbs

9:00-10:30 AM

"New World Man: Geographic and Political Fantasy in Tacitus’ Agricola" by Mason Johnson, Classical and Near Eastern Studies at the University of Wisconsin

9:00 AM-9:20 AM

Since at least the time of Ronald Syme, the work of Tacitus has been recognized as distinctively ambiguous when it comes to its presentation of the principate and Roman rule, and the Agricola is a hallmark of this ambivalence. While many scholars have worked to suggest that this work presents either a critique of Roman rule or a justification for it, this present paper seeks to show how the very structure of the work embodies this doubled viewpoint on Roman imperialism. Tacitus’ use of historiographical tropes of the Republic and geographical description casts Agricola’s exploits in a fantastical light, but the historical connections to the city of Rome itself and the interference of the princeps within the narrative highlights this unreality. Thus, Tacitus’ Agricola wavers back and forth between two worlds held together in tension.

"Creating (Other)Spaces: The Dynamics of Heterotopic Thought in Ovid’s Exile Poetry" by Amie Goblirsch, Classical and Ancient Near Eastern Studies at the University of Wisconsin

9:20 AM-9:40 AM

Many scholars in recent years have rightly noted the problematic relationship of time and space to reality in Ovid’s descriptions of Tomis and his conditions of exile. This paper will argue that the way in which Ovid writes about Tomis and Rome in his exile poetry shows a deep interaction with the literary tradition, and only a lesser interaction with the physical world. These spaces, between reality and unreality, are where the formation of what Foucault terms ‘heterotopias’ can be seen. Taking Foucault’s concept of ‘heterotopias’ as a central theoretical principle, this paper will analyze how Ovid creates otherspaces through his description of Tomis and Rome. This will be demonstrated through an analysis of these ideas in two selected poems in which Rome and Tomis are given contrasting descriptions: Tristia 3.12 and Ex Ponto 1.8. Through this, this paper aims to show how exploring the intertextual complexities of these otherspaces can nuance our perception of how Imperial Latin literature constructs place and time.

"Greeks Painting Babylon: A Preliminary Summary of Archaic and Classical Greek Sources on the City of Babylon" by Brett L. Stine, Classical Language & Literature Studies at Texas Tech University

9:40 AM-10:00 AM

This paper aims to explore Babylon as a multi-faceted image by considering its various representations in archaic and classical Greek sources. For this paper, focus is given specifically to mentions of the babel- root (βαβυλ-), with an eye for descriptions of the city itself. First, it will trace the few references to Babylon through archaic authors such as Alcaeus, as well as highlight the references available in early classical poetry [Pindar] and Attic drama [Aeschylus, Sophocles and Aristophanes]. Then it explores various Greek historians, including Herodotus, Ctesias, Xenophon, and Hellanicus of Lesbos. This preliminary survey aims to develop a characterization of Babylon that considers not so much the historicity of Greek descriptions of Babylon, but instead to gather and define clearly what sorts of language and concepts Greeks used when they thought and talked about Babylon the city. Future research may also include ancient Near Eastern interfaces, such as the literatures and materials of Israel, Persia, and Egypt, to provide a more composite notion of how Babylon was understood across the Mediterranean amongst different cultural milieus, so as to delineate distinct and similar ancient experiences and opinions of the city.


10:00 AM-10:30 AM

New Spaces

Moderator: Kristin Harper

10:45-11:45 AM

"Something Old, Something New: The Pauline Epistles and Early Christianity’s Creation of a New Community" by Joseph Windheim, Department of Religious Studies at the University of Missouri

10:45 AM-11:05 AM

This paper demonstrates how early Christians utilized eschatological concepts and imagery borrowed from Judaism as well as broader Greco-Roman beliefs and traditions regarding death and society in general in order to construct a new and unique space. The new space that was created was simultaneously inclusive as well as exclusive in the sense that there was strong group solidarity amongst the Christians and their converts (encouraged through the fostering of things like fictive kinship) but that other groups (such as Jews and Pagans) viewed the Christians with disdain and suspicion, effectively isolating them in society. Furthermore, the paper explores how St. Paul and early Christians synthesized Greco-Roman social customs (such as burial associations) and religious beliefs with Judaic religious thought (especially pertaining to death and resurrection). Finally, the paper argues that the seemingly two contrasting worlds were blended in order to not only resolve an internal church conflict, but to effectively lay the groundwork for the Church’s interpretation on these matters going forward.

"Circe D’Ambroise: Walking the Tightrope of Pindaric Praise in the 'Apostolorum Passio'" by Anthony Thomas IV, Department of Classical and Near Eastern Studies at the University of Minnesota

11:05 AM-11:25 AM

This paper will apply insights from modern Pindaric scholarship to the study of one of the martyr hymns of Ambrose of Milan. I will focus on the Apostolorum passio, a hymn written in praise of the Apostles Peter and Paul. Some recent scholarship on Pindar’s epinicia has focused on Pindar’s need to avoid excessively praising the victor to the point that he risks committing hubris. Ambrose’s hymns for martyrs present similar problems for the poet seeking to praise the martyrs. Since all of Ambrose’s hymns are ultimately intended as praise of God, not just praise of the martyrs (234-35), it is necessary for Ambrose to praise the martyrs while simultaneously not praising them to an excessive extent that would risk raising them to divine status. This paper will focus on Ambrose’s use of the language of equality to present Peter and Paul as simultaneously above the norm for humans but not at the level of God. The paper will also consider the fact that the hymn ultimately shifts from the moderated praise of Peter and Paul to the unmitigated praise of the city of Rome.

"Anchors Among Shifting Tides: Examining a New Place and Space for Ancient Religion in Early Christianity" by Christopher Simonson, Department of Ancient Mediterranean Studies at the University of Missouri, Columbia

11:25 AM-11:45 AM

The purpose of this paper is to establish that due to the attitudes among the ruling classes towards their subjects in the Hellenistic era, Egyptian and Greek religious iconography and practice were able to survive and have a visible impact on the representations and direction of early Christianity. By establishing a relationship of religious respect between the ancient Greeks and Jews before and during the Hellenistic Period, we can see how both communities were allowed to survive and preserve their cultural identities, even when being the ruled or the ruler. Alexander the Great and Saint Paul’s use of similar approaches of inclusivity in spreading their messages proved to be quite successful. Further, the ability of ancient Egyptian religion to survive in the Ptolemaic era, despite being ruled by Greeks, allowed for the Horus and Isis imagery of the ancient Egyptians to be directly appropriated in early representations of Jesus Christ and his mother Mary in early Christianity.


11:45 AM-12:00 PM

Break for Lunch
Experiencing Spaces
Moderator: Matthew Harder
1:30-3:00 PM

"The Roman Cistern of Salemi: Identifying Pottery Consumption at a Site in Western Sicily, 2nd Century BC to 2nd Century AD" by Jessica Bernstetter, Department of Anthropology at the University of Missouri

1:30 PM-1:50 PM

The island of Sicily has long been an important focal point for colonization, trade, and group interaction, resulting in intense periods of interaction. In particular, 241 BC marked a turning point for Sicily as the the First Punic War ended, and it was annexed as Rome’s first province. As such, Sicily is a unique case study for how Rome developed an administration and negotiated power. Using the archaeological record, this research aims to understand how the Roman conquest influenced the economy of western Sicily and how access to Roman trade networks may have changed the social and economic structure. To accomplish this research, ceramic material will be analyzed from a cistern in Salemi, Sicily to identify patterns of pottery consumption. The expected results are that pottery consumption at Salemi significantly changed after the Roman conquest as inhabitants of Salemi were increasingly exposed to Roman markets and trade, resulting in an increase in Roman-style pottery. Thus, the overall goal of this project is to understand how Roman influence would have changed people’s behaviors in regard to the pottery styles they consumed.

"The Mithraic Fresco at Caesarea Maritima: Reexamining the Lion’s Position in Ritual and Hierarchy" by Lucas Menzies, Department of Classical and Near Eastern Studies at the University of Minnesota

1:50 PM-2:10 PM

Remains of a fresco on the wall of a Mithraeum at Caesarea Maritima, a sanctuary to the god Mithras converted from a horreum in the late second or early third century CE, depict a ritual sequence performed by the Lion grade of Mithraic initiate. In the final panel Mithras and the sun god Sol perform a blood pact, an analog of the syndexios (initiatory handshake) practiced by new Mithraic initiates. This association between the syndexios and the Lion initiation rites suggests that the Lion grade may not have been the fourth rank in a seven-tiered hierarchy as traditionally understood. Instead, the Lion may have been the most basic form of initiate and the only non-priestly Mithraic grade, placed fourth out of seven in art and literary sources due either to its central importance as an entry point into the cult or to Leo being the central constellation in the star map represented in the Tauroctony (Mithras’ iconic bull-slaying).

"The Crocodile, the Labyrinth, and the Singing Statue: Autopsy in Strabo's Account of Egypt" by Jordan Johansen, Department of Classics at the University of Chicago

2:10 PM-2:30 PM

In c. 25 BCE, Strabo sailed down the Nile in the entourage of the Roman prefect Aelius Gallus (Strabo 2.5.12) and saw a highlights tour of Egypt – crocodiles, labyrinths, sphinxes, pyramids, temples, and colossi (Strabo 17.1). This paper analyzes Strabo’s use of personal and impersonal autopsy, or “seeing for oneself,” in his account of Egypt and evaluates how his interactions with the space and place of Egypt informed his intellectual project, specifically how autopsy populated his methodological and narratological toolkit. While Strabo claims that the sense of hearing “is much more important than sight for the purposes of science” (Strabo 2.5.11), this paper argues that, at least for Egypt, he frames his intellectual project through sight and his experience of space.

"A Microcosm of Ritual on Classical Attic Votive Reliefs: Comparing Divine Interactions Between Individual and Group Worshippers" by Emily Prosch, Department of Ancient Mediterranean Studies at the University of Missouri
2:30 PM-2:50 PM

Any Greek sanctuary in the Classical period would have been home to a variety of votive offerings, including votive reliefs. Two votive reliefs from the Acropolis Museum in Athens provide an interesting comparison when considering depictions of interactions with the divine, and how these interactions were spatially represented. In one, an individual extends an offering directly to Athena; in the other, a group of people approach a god in order to perform a sacrifice. In other reliefs depicting group sacrifice, the altar appears to serve as a required intermediary device. So, what is the difference between these two ritual acts of offering to a deity, and how are the actions spatially represented? This paper explores this question further by examining a survey of votive offerings from Classical Athens. Through this survey it argues that only groups of worshippers used an altar as part of a sacrificial ritual to a deity, while an individual could have personal contact with a god without an intermediary instrument. The votive reliefs represent important differences in the mental and imaginary space of worshippers performing their rituals, and present a valuable microcosmic glimpse into the reality of ritual.


2:50 PM-3:10 PM

Break until Keynote
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