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Emily Corbin & Dr Ryan Strickler

By Departmental Research Seminar

Tuesday 7 May (Week 9), 2-3.30pm

Recreation Room (S2.6), Level 3, Australian Hearing Hub, Macquarie University

The Department of Ancient History in conjunction with the Macquarie University Ancient History Association (MAHA) offers a research seminar series, intended to bring together those within Macquarie and outside who have an interest in the languages, histories, and cultures of the ancient world. View the schedule for the research seminar.

All are welcome! Please arrive on time and join us after the seminar for coffee, tea and biscuits!

Convenor: Dr Alexandra Woods Twitter


Emily Corbin | PhD candidate, Macquarie University

Connect with Emily on Twitter: Twitter

The Rise and Fall of the Genet: The Relationship between the Cat and the Genet in Ancient Egypt

The common genet (Genetta genetta) and the African Wild Cat (Felis silvestris lybica) are two morphologically similar animals that were depicted by the ancient Egyptians in two-dimensional painting and relief on tomb walls during the pharaonic period (c.3150BC - 30BC). While the latter animal has received much scholarly attention from Egyptologists, research on the genet in ancient Egypt has been limited to small articles and encyclopaedic entries in larger bodies of work. From the supposed advent of cat domestication in Egypt onwards, cat iconography increased dramatically. This exponential growth in the popularity of cats appears to have resulted in them replacing genets in marsh scenes during the New Kingdom period. This heralds a significant change to the Egyptians’ traditional artistic repertoire.

Using a number of case studies, this project examined this event through the application of an anthrozoological and an art historical perspective in order to unpack how the social construction of animals in society influences their reception. The primary goal was to achieve a more extensive understanding of this phenomenon and to explore its impact on ancient Egyptian society, while also providing comphrehensive overview of the genet in ancient Egypt.

Dr Ryan Strickler | University of Queensland

An Ominous Emperor: A Consideration of the emperor Vespasian’s Portents

In 69 CE Titus Flavius Vespasianus brought an end to the “year of four emperors”, restoring order and founding the Flavian dynasty. Although Vespasian may have seemed like an unlikely candidate, numerous literary sources, including Tacitus, Cassius Dio, Suetonius, and Josephus would have us believe that his ascent had been foretold early on through prophecies, portents, and the results of divination. The number and variety of portentous events is curious, but not surprising after a period of crisis. This paper considers what the portents surrounding Vespasian’s ascent tell us about religion, power, and legitimacy in early Roman imperial society, especially after a period of crisis and instability.

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