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.
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. 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.