CLASSICS PRESENTS... 2022-23 Speakers

Winter 2023



Classics Presents Dr. Brois Chrubasik

Dr. Boris Chrubasik

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2023, from 5:30PM - 7:00PM in Watson Hall Room 517.

Towards a Local History in the Seleucid Empire: Sealings and Lives of Maresha.

Taking at its core the Idumean city of Maresha in modern-day southern Israel, this paper investigates local life in the Hellenistic Levant. The Hellenistic empires, and the political changes of the second century in particular, transformed the region markedly. But did these imperial changeovers affect the life of individuals in the local communities? By contextualising a private archive from Hellenistic Maresha within the archaeology of the region, this paper begins to trace the impact of empire on the ground of this particular city.


CAC Lecture - Dr. PJ Miller

Dr. Peter J. Miller

Wednesday, March 1st, 2023, from 5:30PM - 7:00PM in Watson Hall Room 517.

The Weight and Shape of Kleos: Verse and Prose Inscriptions on Jumping-Weights and Discuses

This talk examines inscriptions in prose and verse on dedications of athletic equipment from the jump and discus competitions of the pentathlon, mostly those from the Archaic and Classical periods. These objects were personalized in a variety of ways, from handholds, to incised images, and prose and verse inscriptions. I first argue that these objects were designed with readers in mind and could be located by visitors to sanctuaries, before moving on to literary examples of important athletic objects in epic and epinician verse. By paying close attention to the layout of inscriptions and contextualizing these sorts of dedications in light of literary examples and the sports in which they were used, I argue that handling and moving athletic dedications added to the meaning of the inscriptions on them.


Classics Presents Dr. Anthony D'Elia

Dr. Anthony D'Elia 

Wednesday, February 15th, 2023, from 5:30PM - 7:00PM in Watson Hall Room 517.

Roman Virtue, Violent Spectacle, and Gender in the Works of Petrarch

Petrarch (1304-1374) was obsessed with ancient Roman virtue. His writings are filled with the Stoic teachings and the stories of Roman heroes. My talk centers on Petrarch’s reception of Roman virtue in the works of Cicero, Livy, and Virgil. Gladiators, soldiers, and Rome’s great heroes were all models of masculine Stoic virtue in bravely accepting death, following orders, and suffering pain. Roman history and virtue are prominent themes in Petrarch’s letters, dialogues, and especially in his lengthy Latin epic, modeled on the Aeneid, the Africa, about the second Punic war, featuring Scipio, Hannibal, and the North African queen, Sofonisba. Petrarch appropriated, criticized, and recast these ancient stories to fit his Christian age. Petrarch not only wrote in Classical Latin but also applied the lessons of the ancients to the problems of his times.  


Classics Presents Dr. Scott Gallimore

Dr. Scott Gallimore

Wednesday, February 8th, 2023 from  5:30PM - 7:00PM in Watson Hall Room 217.

Looking for Seconds: Assessing Evidence for Quality Control in Roman Pottery Production at Sikyon, Greece

While evidence for craft production across the Roman Empire is prevalent, limited attention has been granted to consideration of quality control and the decision-making behind designating products as unusable (i.e. wasters) or marketable as lower-quality wares. For pottery, lower-quality or blemished wares that go to market are often referred to as seconds. By examining recently uncovered evidence of Roman-period pottery production at Sikyon, Greece, in conjunction with data from epigraphic and papyrus texts, we will investigate the potential of gaining insight into ancient quality control methods and the potential designation of certain pottery vessels as seconds.

Fall 2022


Classics Presents Dr. Gino Canlas

Dr. Gino Canlas
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Database of  Religious Studies
Department of Philosophy at  the University of British Columbia

Monday, November 21st, 2022 from 5:30 - 6:30 pm, in Watson Hall Room 517.

Interpreting Imperfect Data: The Case of the Sanctuaries of Thessaly

Although not famous for sanctuaries with large temples unlike its Greek neighbours to the south, there is archaeological, epigraphic, and literary evidence for roughly a hundred sanctuaries in the Northern Greek region of Thessaly. These sanctuaries are diverse in nature, ranging from precincts with large peripteral temples, nature shrines, and intentionally archaizing spaces. The data, however, is far from perfect as the majority of these sanctuaries were recovered in rescue excavations or from archaeological work from the first half of the 20th century. This lecture will provide a survey of the archaeological and textual evidence for sanctuaries in Thessaly (as well as the caveats involved) and the potential interpretive frameworks that can be applied to the imperfect data from this region. 


Classics Presents Dr. Kyle Gervais

Dr. Kyle Gervais
Associate Professor
Department of Classical Studies at Western University

Monday, November 14th, 2022 from 5:30 - 6:30 pm, in Watson Hall Room 517.

Studies in Virgil’s Aeneid: Text, Intertexts, Afterlife

This presentation focuses on some overlooked moments in Virgil’s Aeneid and its reception. I briefly discuss the burial of Aeneas’ nurse, Caieta, in Aeneid 7, as well as a short poem by a 17th-century Jesuit missionary in New France, who laments the Aeneas-like suffering of his fellow missionaries (and neatly folds the sufferings of various Indigenous peoples into a pernicious colonial narrative). I then discuss Achates, a shadowy character who seems to always be at Aeneas’ side, and is invariably fidus, “faithful”. Taking up the ancient etymology of “Achates” from the Greek akhos (“pain, grief”), I argue that Aeneas has “pain” as his constant companion: like Homer’s Achilles, whose name was also etymologized via akhos, Aeneas brings pain with him wherever he goes, pain for himself and for others. And this pain is “faithful” because all of the most painful moments in Aeneas’ story—Dido, Pallas, Turnus—involve broken bonds of fides.


Classics Presents Dr. Stefan Krmnicek

Dr. Stefan Krmnicek

Friday, November 11th, 2022 from 1:30 - 3:30 pm, in Watson Hall Room 517 and via Zoom.

The Archaeology of Roman Money. A Contextual Approach to the Study of Ancient Coinage. 

"In this lecture, Dr. Krmnicek will analyse the coin finds from the Apollo Grannus temple and other case studies from Roman Germany against the backdrop of a wider discussion of how a contextual approach will provide a better understanding of the function and meaning of coinage in the Roman world."


Classics Presents Dr. Willekes poster

Dr. Carolyn Willekes
Assistant Professor in Department of General Education
Mount Royal University

Monday, October 17th, 2022 from 5:30 - 6:30 pm, in Watson Hall Room 517

A Horse is a Horse? Reading Equines in Ancient Greece

The horse is one of the most popular subjects in Greek art, indeed, it is only surpassed by the human figure in terms of its prevalence in the visual record. References to equines likewise appear frequently in the literary record. In both cases – iconographic and literary – the presence of the horse can be found across a wide range of genres, motifs, and mediums. So why are they there? Are we meant to view the horse as nothing more than a symbolic reference to its cultural association with status and the related concepts of wealth, power, and prestige? Is the horse, in visual or verbal form just a horse, or is there more to its story? This talk will explore the living horse as a cultural and historical document by looking at the ways in which it is depicted and utilized in both art and literature not simply as a static symbol in two-dimensional or three-dimensional form, but rather as a representation of the real horses who lived in the Greek world and the relationships and knowledge individuals had with and towards these animals.



CAC Lecture - Dr. Matthew Sears

Dr. Matthew Sears
Professor of Classics and Ancient History
University of New Brunswick

Monday, October 3rd, 2022 from  5:30 - 6:30 pm, in Watson Hall Room 517

Walking the Marathon

The road to Marathon, the 42 kilometers between the center of Athens and the site of the battle of 490 BCE against an expedition of the Persian Empire, was the course taken by the first modern marathon race in 1896, and continues as the route of the Athens Classic Marathon each fall. In antiquity, too, the route was revered. Evidence from cult sites to conspicuous funerary monuments suggest that ancient Athenians travelled the road to Marathon as a sort of pilgrimage to remember the battle, pay respects to the fallen, and coopt some of Marathon’s legacy for themselves.

Winter 2022
poster with info re Mar 28/22 speaker Dr. Roberta Stewart




Dr. Roberta Stewart
Professor, Department of Classics,
Dartmouth College

Monday, March 28th @ 4:30-6:00pm ET via Zoom
(please contact to receive the Zoom link)

Cicero Slave-Holder: Cicero, Tiro, and the Relationships of Roman Slavery.

Cicero's correspondence with the enslaved person Tiro  gives us an archive we otherwise do not possess from classical antiquity: a sustained carefully fashioned dialogue between a slave owner and the enslaved person whose labor he claims. The letters allow us to track the contest for labor and the personal relationships of slavery, as well as the effects of Roman manumission on the relationship of slave-holder and the enslaved person manumitted into citizenship. The letters present a discourse of shared confidences and concerned care articulated by Cicero for Tiro, and they suggest the parameters of action for an enslaved person. Most important they reveal the role of the family in the manumission and freedom of Tiro. Manumission was for the familia Cicero a family affair and everyone laid claim to the patronage of Tiro and the obligations owed to them by him. The freed slave emerges as embedded in enduring relationships of obligation, especially obligatory affect.

poster with info re Mar 14/22 speaker Dr. Pierre Bonnechere



Dr. Pierre Bonnechere
Professor, Department of History, University of Montreal

Monday, March 14th @ 4:30-6:00pm ET via Zoom
(please contact to receive the Zoom link)

Whirling Greece. A neglected aspect of Greek thought and life.

The vortex appears, as soon as we dive into the sources, as one of the most powerful matrices in the system of representations of the Greek (and Roman) civilization, in spite of the lack of interest that has been shown in it so far. With more than 300 terms relating to "twirling", e.g. din-, eil-, helik-, kukl-, spear-, streph-, strob- and related, the Greek language makes our eyes sparkle, as soon as we become aware, at an incredibly rich universe of meanings. The reading of song 21 of the Iliad or the end of Aeschylus' Prometheus is enough to convince oneself of this, while translators often hesitate to translate these words in the first sense of "turning". Very present in iconography or religion when we know how to track it down, the vortex appears  everywhere in literature, from Homer to Nonnos, through the Alexandrians and their Latin heirs, or in philosophy, from the Pre-Socratics to the Neoplatonists, through Plato, Democritus or Lucretius. The paper will focus on thunderbolts in archaic cosmic crashes (Titans, Typhon, Giants), both in literature and art, and will close with some thoughts about Ganymedes.

poster with info re Feb 28/22 speaker Dr. Gareth Williams

Dr. Gareth Williams
Anthon Professor of Latin Languages and Literature, Department of Classics, Columbia University

Monday, February 28th @ 4:30-6:00pm ET via Zoom
(please contact to receive the Zoom link)

Received Wisdom: Celibacy, Cicero, and the Case against Marriage in Ermolao Barbaro’s Quattrocento Venice

This talk features the vastly erudite Venetian humanist, Ermolao Barbaro (1454-93). At 18 he wrote a tract entitled On celibacy, in which he argued that the celibate life is far preferable to a married existence. This was a remarkable position for a Venetian of his standing to take, as he was expected to follow the traditional path of state service and marriage so as to produce the next generation of the Venetian ruling elite. This talk explores the implications of Barbaro’s views on celibacy and marriage in the context both of classical reception and of his own career path in later life down to his premature death in 1493.

poster with info re Feb 07/22 speaker Dr. Kale Coghlan

Dr. Kale Coghlan
SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Classics at the University of Toronto

Monday, February 7th @ 4:30-6:00pm ET via Zoom
(please contact to receive the Zoom link)

Eratosthenes, The Gaze of the Geographer and Ptolemaic Power

Toward the end of the 3rd century BCE, Eratosthenes of Cyrene, summoned from Athens to Alexandria by Ptolemy III, initiated a new paradigm in Greek geographic writing with his text in three books. Modern scholars have largely considered his work to be an early attempt at mathematical geography. Little attention has been paid to the extent to which the geographic project of Eratosthenes and his resulting map of the known world continues the celebration of Ptolemaic rule by intellectuals, including the most important poets, in the courts of Ptolemy II and Ptolemy III. The focus on the mathematical elements of the fragments implies an objectivity on the part of the author. The image of the world is placed before the eyes of the audience to interpret, but behind the façade of an objective geographical projection of the oikoumene, Eratosthenes broadcasts ideas of dynastic self-representation of the Ptolemies.

I will explore aspects of what is Ptolemaic about Eratosthenes’ Geography. After situating his life and career in the context of Hellenistic Alexandria, I will discuss the idea of cartographic vision in the Greek tradition which summons images of the divine and, when attempted by men, evokes suspicion and ridicule. By embracing cartographic vision authoritatively, Eratosthenes communicates ideas about the divine status of the Ptolemaic sovereigns and the hegemonic capacities of Ptolemaic institutions to produce an up-to-date, post-Alexander, vision of the world.

poster with info re Jan 31/21 speaker Dr. Sinclair Bell



Dr. Sinclair Bell, Professor in the Department of Art History at Northern Illinois University, School of Art and Design

Monday, January 31st @ 4:30-6:00pm ET via Zoom
(please contact to receive the Zoom link)

How to do the Archaeology of "Race" in the Roman Empire: Novel Approaches to Ancient Objects

The representation of foreign cultures with manifest “racial” differences, such as unfamiliar physical traits or strange-seeming ethnic customs, has been a longstanding and often visceral site for human artistic expression. The visual and material culture of the Roman Empire (c. 100 BCE-200 CE) provides a particularly abundant record of such cultural encounters, which render visible complex formulations of foreignness, social hierarchy, and power.

This lecture focuses on how Roman artists represented Aethiopians (Black Africans) in different visual media, and explores issues related to the patronage, production, and viewership of these works. It looks at the conventions of their imagery, the critical axioms of their study, and their contemporary re-presentation in a museum setting.


poster with info re January 24th speaker Dr. Lisa Maher

"I am a prehistoric archaeologist and geoarchaeologist specializing in the prehistory of Southwest Asia. I finished my PhD at the University of Toronto, where I experienced fieldwork in Jordan for the first time and was hooked. After a post-doc and research position at the University of Cambridge, I joined the Anthropology Department at Berkeley as an environmental archaeologist. I am interested in exploring the complex relationships between people and the environment, including the creation and transformation of landscapes. I have been running archaeological projects in Jordan for over twenty years, and I have also worked as a geoarchaeologist in many other countries throughout the world. Recently, I’ve broadened my horizons to explore island archaeology and the arrival of humans in Cyprus and Hawaii."



Dr. Lisa Maher, Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley

Monday, January 24th @ 4:30-6:00pm ET via Zoom
(please contact to receive the Zoom link)

Persistent Place-Making in Prehistory: the Creation, Maintenance, and Transformation of Landscapes in Southwest Asia (and Beyond)

Few cultural developments have been as well-studied as when people began living in villages and producing their own food. Yet in Southwest Asia, during the preceding ten thousand years of prehistory, Epipalaeolithic (23,000-11,500 cal BP) hunter-gatherers initiated and experienced dramatic cultural transformations that included building the earliest permanent houses and villages, storing food, developing a rich and diverse artistic repertoire, establishing wide-ranging social networks, intensifying plant use, domesticating animals, and creating strong ties to specific places in the landscape as evidenced by some of the world’s earliest aggregation sites and cemeteries. These hunter-gatherer groups had highly complex, knowledgeable and dynamic relationships with their local environments. Ongoing work in Jordan and Cyprus is revising our knowledge of these periods with evidence that markers of social complexity have an earlier foundation andchallenging our long-held assumptions about how hunter-gatherers here perceived and constructed spaces and places, and the intersections between them. Investigation of human-environment interactions, the role of technological knowledge in creating social networks, the use of large-scale aggregation sites, and symbolic features of human burials, for example, all support a longer chronology of cultural development and continuity and in situ change among hunter-gatherers here that significantly predates the Neolithic. Indeed, it suggests that the features and practices often considered hallmarks of the Neolithic were enacted within a hunter-gatherer world and worldview.