Thursdays August-October 2020, 3.30-5pm
The Department of Ancient History presents their weekly 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.
All welcome. Program PDF
|DETAILS (teaching week)||SEMINAR|
|Professor Javier Álvarez-Mon
BAD NEWS FIRST: NO HANGING GARDENS IN BABYLON
Recognized in ancient times as one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the legendary Hanging Garden of Babylon and its location remain to this day a mystery steeped in shadow and puzzling myths. Why this Garden, with its remarkable innovations, deserved its place alongside the Pyramids and the Colossus of Rhodes as one of the most astonishing technical achievements of the ancient world? Here we will question the sources, examine the latest evidence and together seek a new home for the "hanging gardens" of [...].
|Associate Professor Trevor Evans
KNOCKING DOWN WALLS: A FRESH ANALYSIS OF THE GREEK TRANSLATION OF JOSHUA AND ITS RELATIONSHIP TO THE GREEK PENTATEUCH
Research on the language of the Septuagint is booming. Twenty years ago one could barely have envisaged the advances that have been made. The landscape has been changed by a sequence of scholarly achievements, culminating in the publication of a remarkable book, John Lee's Greek of the Pentateuch (in 2018). This study is of particular importance in its demonstration of the Pentateuch translators' control over the Koine Greek of their time (the third century BCE). It also opens exciting possibilities for further research on other parts of the corpus.
The present paper aims to explore these specifically for the book of Joshua. Henry St John Thackeray long ago observed that this book 'forms a kind of link between the Pentateuch and the later historical books ... we may conjecture', he added, 'that the Greek version followed soon after that of the Law [i.e. the Pentateuch].' The linguistic character of this link has not yet been investigated in a systematic way, but the time has come to do just that. I will examine selected features that offer a glimpse of how Lee's work on the Pentateuch can be harnessed to build our understanding of Joshua. And I want to start the process of addressing some key questions. What is the nature of the Greek of Joshua (a question on which contemporary views are mixed)? Just how close is Joshua's language to that of the Pentateuch? And is there a closer link to any one of the five books than to the others?
|Associate Professor Eva Anagnostou
WINE AND PHILOSOPHICAL ENTHUSIASM IN PLATO AND SENECA
This lecture will revisit Seneca's endorsement of wine-drinking as a remedy for mental anxiety in De Tranquillitate Animi (17.4-12). Although the locus has been often interpreted as Seneca's endorsement of Platonic enthusiasm (Schiesaro 2003, 21; Ustinova 2017, 272), I argue that Seneca does not deviate from the Stoic rejection of drunkenness (e.g. Ep. 83.9; Anagnostou-Laoutides and Van Wassenhove 2020a). Furthermore, a close reading of Platonic texts suggests that Plato opposed physical drunkenness as much as the Stoics. According to Plato, the philosopher may appear but can never be drunk, a notion especially explored in the Symposium (e.g. 220a; Anagnostou-Laoutides and Payne 2020b) and in the later Laws (Belfiore 1986; Sauvé-Meyer 2015, esp. 323-330) . In his footsteps, Seneca, appreciates the correct use of wine as a means of inducing or maintaining a higher state of consciousness, a state of hyper-reality that is crucial for achieving philosophical breakthroughs. Seneca's De Otio offers additional evidence towards this understanding of the role of wine in achieving philosophical enthusiasm.
|Dr Susan Lupack
THE INAUGURAL 2020 SEASON OF THE PERACHORA PENINSULA ARCHAEOLOGICAL PROJECT: NEW WORK IN THE UPPER PLAIN OF THE SANCTUARY OF HERA
The Perachora Peninsula Archaeological Project held its first season of intensive surface survey over January and February 2020. The project is a synergasia co-directed by Panagiota Kasimi (Director of the Antiquities of the Corinthia), and Susan Lupack (Macquarie University), under the aegis of the Australian Archaeological Institute at Athens, with Shawn Ross as the Deputy Director.
In our first season we focused on the area above the Sanctuary of Hera called the Upper Plain. The nature of this area, with its houses and extensive waterworks, has been disputed: Payne, the site's initial excavator, saw it as a substantial town, while Tomlinson, who worked three decades later, in the 1960s, referred to it as "a scatter of houses." One of our main aims is to clarify the nature of the settlement in the Upper Plain during the sanctuary's use from the 8th to the 2nd century B.C. We also aim to discover the full diachronic use of the area: Mycenaean and Early Helladic sherds were found in the excavation, and a Roman house was built in the sanctuary site, but very little attention has been paid to these time periods. In this paper I will illustrate how we set out to accomplish our aims and share some of our preliminary findings.
|Dr. Matthew O'Farrell
THE 'OFFICIAL' VERSION OF THE DEATH OF MANI?
Ferdowsi's massive epic, the Šāhnāmeh (11th century), is a remarkable combination of myth, legend and (occasionally) actual historiography. Being late and built up on a largely opaque source tradition scholars often (rather justifiably) view it with some suspicion. Yet, in places, it can offer a window into the historical sensibility, if not the actual history, of the Sasanian period.
This talk will contend that the death of Mani presented in this poem represents just such an opportunity. The episode recorded by Ferdowsi contains a number of parallels to much older Christian and Manichean versions of this event. Yet it completely reworks them into a story in which the power and influence of the court magi, missing or relegated to the role of evil advisors in the older literatures, is made central.
A strange amalgam of ancient material, unusual ideological bias and light Islamisation, the episode may be suspected to have been the product of the magi of the imperial form of Sasanian Zoroastrianism. If so it would demonstrate an intervention in the the historical tradition made to emphasise the role of religion in the imperial ideology; an intervention that would raise interesting questions regarding the actual religious position of the empire in its first century.
|Dr Emlyn Dodd
TREADING THE GRAPE AND PRESSING THE OLIVE: WINE AND OIL PRODUCTION AND NEW ARCHAEOLOGICAL DISCOVERIES IN THE CYCLADES FROM THE CLASSICAL TO ROMAN PERIODS
Vast quantities of locally produced Aegean amphorae are found across the Mediterranean and Black Sea suggesting that these islands possessed considerable viticultural and oleicultural production in antiquity. This is reinforced by textual and numismatic evidence. But where and how were they making this oil and wine? Who was making it? And for what purpose?
This project, funded collaboratively by the Australian Archaeological Institute at Athens, British School at Athens, Macquarie University Department of Ancient History and Centre for Ancient Cultural Heritage and Environment, aims to illuminate answers to these questions. New archaeological survey evidence from multiple Cycladic islands, along with reassessment of existing interdisciplinary data, will be presented from a broad range of historical periods and linked to analyses of ancient agricultural productivity, population fluctuation, and trade patterns.
|Dr Sophia Aharanovich
SPICE IT UP. A PRELIMINARY ANALYSIS OF IRON AGE POTTERY FROM KHIRBET EL-RAI, ISRAEL
The organisation of the private Iron Age households in the Levant, their relationships with the public area of the cities and their social and economic communications with the regional households are inspiring research areas of the biblical archaeology in the Levant. Khirbet le-Rai, located c.3 km northwest of Tel Lachish on the main road that connected the coastal plain with the Judean Shephelah and the Judean Hill Country, with nicely preserved Iron Age I and IIA, from the mid-11th to early-10th centuries BCE is a great archaeological site to study differences between Philistine, Judean, and Canaanite households, look into agricultural activities in the area, and discuss possible trade routes in the region. Here we will present a preliminary result from the 2019-2020 excavation seasons in Khirbet el-Rai based on the data collected and analysed by undergraduate students during the excavation period. We will discuss first results of the residue analysis studies of storage areas and on-field sampled pottery in Khirbet el-Rai. Finally, we will discuss some environmental reconstructions based on the pollen grains from the site.
FROM WANAX TO BASILEUS: THE DEVELOPMENT OF GREEK AUTHORITY FROM THE LATE BRONZE AGE INTO THE EARLY IRON AGE
The past fifty years of archaeological excavations and the analysis of Linear B texts has produced much evidence for the role of the Mycenaean wanax in the Greek Late Bronze Age. The transition of authority from the wanax to the social elite in the LH IIIC period, and to the rulers of the Early Iron Age can be understood by comparing archaeological and textual evidence of the Late Bronze Age with archaeological evidence from the LH IIIC period and the Early Iron Age.
The wanax appears to have held a highly religious and social role, and the extensive palatial administrative system of the Mycenaean civilisation was centralised upon this figure. However, after the palatial system collapsed at the end of the LH IIIB period (ca. thirteenth century BC), much of the Mycenaean social organisation and hierarchy disintegrated. It has been proposed that during the Early Iron Age, the Greek βασιλεύς, who had played a minor role in the Bronze Age hierarchy as the qa-si-re-u, emerged as the prominent authority figure. Previous scholarship has constructed his role from the term's usage in Homeric texts. However, more recent excavations suggest that this figure fulfilled a role different to the wanax. These Iron Age authority figures were, perhaps more like 'big-men' than the English translation of 'king.' The development of authority between the Late Bronze and Early Iron ages, then, is not a simple transition.
|Dr Kyle Keimer
RAIDING, TRADE, AND POWER: NOMADIC SOCIOPOLITICAL COMPLEXITY AND DAVID'S RISE TO POWER
Socio-political complexity amongst nomadic groups is well established in a number of examples outside of the ancient Near East. Considering such examples and drawing upon a body of theoretical literature in anthropology and archaeology, this paper will first detail the function of raiding in nomadic cultures. Second it will analyze the role raiding plays specifically in the creation of social and political complexity amongst such cultures. Third it will consider the biblical accounts of David from his separation from Saul up to his coronation as king in Judah. While this paper will also discuss a number of issues in relation to the biblical portrayal of this phase of David's life, it will seek foremost to consider the way in which raiding, sociopolitical complexity, and economic concerns all interrelate in the late Iron Age I and early Iron Age IIA.
|Dr Anna Latifa Mourad
FORGING FOREIGN RELATIONS: EXPLORING EGYPT'S ENCOUNTERS WITH THE MIDDLE BRONZE AGE SUPRA-REGION
The period leading up to the first International Age of recorded history is one marked by the rise and fall of several powers, major climatic disturbances, and population movements across Egypt and the Near East. However, alongside these dramatic developments was the punctuated yet continuous growth of a dynamic network of trade. How were its links fostered and maintained across geopolitical, cultural and social borders, despite the impending challenges? This question is one of the central aims of a Macquarie University Research Fellowship that investigates 'The Ties that Bind: Negotiating Foreign Relations in the Second Millennium BC'. As an introduction to the project, the seminar presents an overview of Egypt's role in the Middle Bronze Age trade network, and how 'The Ties that Bind' emerged from a research programme interested in the links between cultural encounters and socio-cultural transformations.
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