CLASSICS PRESENTS... 2023-24 Speakers

Winter 2024



Josh Paul

Dr. Joshua Paul

Wednesday, March 27th, 2024 from  2:30 - 4:00 pm, in Watson Hall Room 517

Flirting with the Enemy: Latin Love Elegy, Furies, and the Anxiety of Genre

Roman poets of the Augustan Age were generally expected to climb the hierarchy of genres, to gradually ascend from humble pursuits like bucolic, satire, and love elegy and eventually reach more prestigious aspirations like tragedy, didactic, and epic. I argue that the Latin love elegist Propertius raises but rejects the possibility of generic ascension by invoking the Furies at crucial junctures of his literary career. The Erinyes, in their capacity as guardians of boundaries and protectors of natural order, function as apt mythological metaphors through which Propertius might write polemic against incompatible genres. Latent and rationalized myths of the Furies signpost transgressions of genre (both hypothetical and realized) and serve as subtle recusationes, “refusals” to fully commit to tragedy, didactic, and aetiology. 


Dr. Bice Peruzzi

Dr. Bice Peruzzi

Wednesday, March 13th, 2024 from  2:30 - 4:00 pm, in Watson Hall Room 517

Drunken Women with Spears? Funerary Practices and Female Identity in pre-Roman Apulia

Before the Roman conquest, Central Apulia was inhabited by a population traditionally known as the Peucetians. Although the Peucetians have left no written records and were largely ignored by ancient sources, the thousands of tombs excavated in Central Apulia speak of a society with a complex social hierarchy and long-range commercial contacts with Etruria, Greece, and other parts of Southern Italy. 

Perhaps unexpectedly, these graves also show that in the Classical and Hellenistic periods, Peucetian women enjoyed a more emancipated existence than their Athenian counterparts. Besides objects related to what are traditionally understood as female roles (e.g., weaving, child rearing, performing libations) funerary assemblages dated between the 6th and 4th century BCE also included full banqueting sets, virtually identical to those found in male tombs. A few older women were even buried with spears, maybe to indicate their exceptional role in the community. This talk explores the relationship between the consumption of artifacts and the lives of Peucetian women in antiquity and discusses more broadly about how our modern ideas about “female assemblages” are often in contrast with the reality of the archaeological record.


Dr. Baker

Dr. Patrick Baker

Wednesday, February 28, 2024, from 2:30 pm - 4:00 pm in Watson Hall Room 517

Local celebrations on the territory of Xanthos in the late Hellenistic period. The work of the Canadian epigraphic mission to Xanthos-Letoon

From 2000 to 2010, the Canadian epigraphic mission of Xanthos-Letoon worked on collecting and studying the Greek and Latin inscriptions of the two sites in Lycia, Turkey, and publishing the results in print and online. Though the Turkish government suspended fieldwork in 2011, research has continued into the documents themselves. This paper begins with a brief overview of the mission, both during the 10 years devoted to fieldwork and since this was suspended. The emphasis is on the nature of the fieldwork carried out by epigraphists, as well as the use of 3D technologies for epigraphical research. We then turn to a particularly illuminating case. Survey work in 2009 on the site of Aklar, a village of the Xanthian eschatiai on the mountainous borders of the territory of Xanthos, led to the discovery of two similar inscriptions. The nearly 180 lines, once deciphered (a challenge in itself), present the regularly-structured list of contributors to an unnamed annual religious celebration. Drawing on Lycian parallels, notably from Phellos, we address a number of key questions, such as the status of the anonymous kōmē on the territory of Xanthos during the Hellenistic period, the nature of local cultic celebrations far from the urban center, and the validity of archaeologist F. Işık's initial interpretation of the site of Aklar.


Dr. Nicola Terrenato

Dr. Nicola Terrenato

Wednesday, January 31st, 2024, from 2:30 pm - 4:00 pm in Watson Hall Room 517

Urban borehole surveys and the Origins of the Roman Forum

The debate on the early phases of the Roman Forum goes back to the origins of urban archaeology in Rome, in the days of Giacomo Boni’s excavations at the Equus Domitiani. Since the 1990s, the dominant theory has envisioned seasonal flooding that needed to be mitigated before the city could come into existence. Recent hydrogeological data from boreholes in the neighboring Forum Boarium has been calling into question the accepted reconstruction. We now know that the environment of early Rome changed radically in the course of the 6th century BCE—a realization that is driving a broad-ranging reassessment of the first stages in the urbanization process. The paper reconsiders the new evidence, proposing a radically different sequence of events and placing it within the context of the emergence of piazzas in other central Italian urban centers.

Fall 2023