Christopher J. Cornthwaite (Neda & Franz Leipen Fellow, The Canadian Institute in Greece; Ph.D. Candidate, Department for the Study of Religion, University of Toronto), “In the Shadow of Home: Jews, Syrians, and Religion in Delos and Corinth 200BCE-100CE”
The story of a roaming evangelist who made Corinth a main port of call on his Mediterranean tour is woven into our cultural mythology. But Paul’s success in Corinth came from more than his apparent passion as an itinerant preacher. The community in which Christianity spread there was formed before Paul’s arrival, already gathering as an immigrant religion at the nexus of a trans-Mediterranean trade route. Furthermore, Christianity was only one of many immigrant religions from the Levant that came west and attracted a large following beyond the boundaries of its ethnos. The sanctuary of the Syrian goddess (Atargatis) on Delos a hundred years earlier has a remarkably similar story. Brought to Delos by a Syrian priest, her worship outgrew the Syrian diaspora there, attracting outsiders as it moved on toward Rome. This talk compares how and why these two groups grew and attracted outsiders and how they negotiated the problems of identity that new members created. It then puts them in the broader contexts of religion and migration in the Graeco-Roman Mediterranean.
Professor George W.M. Harrison (Department of Greek and Roman Studies, Carleton University), "What Saved Satyr Drama?"
George Harrison has been researching satyrs since 2000. His production of Euripides’ Cyclops is the first full-scale commercial production of a satyr drama since antiquity and his conference volume the first full length study of the subject. Now, as part of preparations of a follow-up full-length study, he explores the question of what was about satyr drama that made it so compelling. What Saved Satyr Drama looks at the evidence for the wide and persistent appeal of a specialized genre best known as a ‘light’ and short play capping the tragic trilogies associated with Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides.
Screening of the Canadian Film “Stories We Tell”(2012; 1 hour 48 minutes; English)
In this inspired, genre-twisting film, Oscar-nominated writer/director Sarah Polley discovers that the truth depends on who's telling it. Polley is both filmmaker and detective as she investigates the secrets kept by a family of storytellers. She playfully interviews and interrogates a cast of characters of varying reliability, eliciting refreshingly candid, yet mostly contradictory, answers to the same questions. As each relates their version of the family mythology, present-day recollections shift into nostalgia-tinged glimpses of their mother, who departed too soon, leaving a trail of unanswered questions. Polley unravels the paradoxes to reveal the essence of family: always complicated, warmly messy and fiercely loving.
Winner of 24 awards at film festivals around the world, Stories We Tell explores the elusive nature of truth and memory, but at its core is a deeply personal film about how our narratives shape and define us as individuals and families, all interconnecting to paint a profound, funny and poignant picture of the larger human story.
Dr Céline Murphy (The Heritage Management Organisation), "How, when, who and what? Revisiting the fragmentation of Minoan peak sanctuary figurines"
Because of their allegedly ‘careless’ production and ‘poor’ appearance, it has been widely assumed that Minoan peak sanctuary figurines were not items made to last but that they were made to be broken as part of the rituals taking place on site. These assumptions, however, have rarely been questioned. Drawing upon a direct examination of – and experimental research on – a range of such artefacts, I here explore the implications that the aforementioned statements have on our understanding of human and non-human agency in the context of peak sanctuary figurine breakage. Starting with an examination of the material conditions upon which these items’ deposition at peak sanctuaries relied – namely their solid and sound manufacture – I propose that the figurines might also have been placed on display at the sites, and may not have been as immediately broken as is usually believed. Moreover, the figurines may not have been uniquely broken by humans: influence from the wider context in which they were deposited may have played a significant role in their fragmentation. In this light, it is conceivable that the breakage of peak sanctuary figurines occurred over time, over several generations, and consisted of a long-term process rather than an event isolated in a single moment. In this presentation, I therefore suggest that non-human-provoked material decay can also be considered as a form of fragmentation where Minoan peak sanctuary figurines are concerned.
Book Launch: David W. Rupp & Jonathan E. Tomlinson (ed.), “From Maple to Olive. Proceedings of a Colloquium to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the Canadian Institute in Greece, Athens 10-11 June 2016” (Publications of the CIG 10), Athens.
Presented by Professor John Bennet (Director, British School at Athens) & Professor Giorgos Vavouranakis (Assistant Professor of Prehistoric Archaeology, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens)
Dr. Rodney D. Fitzsimons (Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, Trent University), "Taking a Seat at the Minoan Banquet: An Architectural Approach to the Minoanisation of the Aegean Islands"
The dissemination of “Minoanising” cultural traits throughout the Aegean in the latter half of the second millennium BC has long been of interest to archaeologists working in this region of the ancient world, with recent scholarship stressing the active, rather than passive, role played by the indigenous inhabitants of the various territories participating in this process. While much emphasis has rightly been placed on the adoption and adaptation of the wide range of “imported” artefactual, artistic, administrative, and technological cultural traits throughout the region, comparable changes in the built environment that resulted from the same phenomena of “Minoanisation” have received relatively little attention to date beyond basic enumeration. This paper seeks to address this lacuna in current scholarship, using as a starting point the Northeast Bastion at Ayia Irini, Kea, where a new Minoan-style banquet hall has recently been identified, and then reassessing the evidence for and significance of the adoption and adaptation of Minoan-style architectural motifs elsewhere in the southern and eastern Aegean. The focus of this study will fall not on the ultimate origin of “imported” architectural elements, but rather on the significant changes that the adoption and adaptation of such motifs wrought on the local physical, cultural, and socio-political landscapes.
Nanno Marinatos (Professor, Department of Classics and Mediterranean Studies, University of Illinois at Chicago), “Thucydides and Pericles: Democracy and Empire”
Pericles has been traditionally identified with Athenian democracy but has also received criticism about the imperialism of Athens from modern historians. The issue is indeed complex since democracy contradicts tyranny over others. The problem is solved if one analyses Thucydides' own opinion. He is shown to be a partisan of Pericles and presents him as a political pragmatist who had a deep understanding of human nature, on the one hand, and benefits of justice, on the other.
Dr. Emily K. Varto (Associate Professor, Department of Classics, Dalhousie University), "The Politics of Fatness in Archaic Greece"
This talk explores how modern narratives that imbue fatness with personal and communal ethical significance compare to ancient narratives of fatness, particularly in archaic Greece politics. Through examining art and poetry, it explores how fatness was not exactly a marker of elite status, but was a metaphor of the abuse of status with economic, social, and moral consequences for family, community, and state. Although elitism was central to the significance of fatness in archaic Greece, so were ideas about uncontrollable appetite, lack of restraint, and communal harm familiar to us from modern narratives about obesity and socio-economic class.