Workshop in Ancient Mediterranean Studies/Classical Tradition

The Workshop in Ancient Mediterranean Studies and the Classical Tradition (WAMS) draws on the large community of scholars with interests in the ancient world at UWM and surrounding institutions (e.g., Marquette, Wisconsin Lutheran, Carthage College) and builds on a tradition of interdisciplinary work that has long characterized the field of classical studies. WAMS offers a forum for debate and discussion, maintaining a broad disciplinary scope that we hope will attract scholars working on the ancient Mediterranean (not only Greece and Rome, but also the Near East, Egypt, North Africa, Northern Europe), as well those researchers with an interest in the interpretation and meaning of classical influence in later periods.

The foundations of many modern institutions are to be found in the literary and material culture of antiquity; the study of these formative processes, as well as the recognition of their historical development, is crucial to assessing their continued meaning in the present. By committing ourselves to a broad geographical and chronological scope, we acknowledge the multi-faceted dynamics of cultural encounters between center and periphery and past and present. Moreover, analysis of the reception and/or rejection of classical ideas in later periods offers an ideal opportunity to cross chronological boundaries and examine not only the diffusion, but also the transformation of literary, artistic, philosophical, and even religious ideas in new environments.

This workshop provides the opportunity for faculty to engage in critical dialogue by reading and discussing each other's work as well as reviewing and evaluating new directions in the study of the ancient world and its legacy. From a more practical point of view, the group also seeks to devise strategies to (1) promote the study of the ancient world and the classical tradition at UWM; (2) suggest initiatives for education outreach into the larger Milwaukee community; and (3) foster professional development and collaborative research projects among its members. The workshop meets two or three times each term.

At present, the group consists of faculty members drawn from four different departments already collaborating in such collective projects as the creation of an undergraduate Certificate Program in Ancient Mediterranean Studies. We expect this group to expand further with the participation of faculty from other areas (e.g., Philosophy, Communications, etc.) in addition to graduate students with a research interest in antiquity and/or its reception in later periods.

2013-14 Schedule

Friday, September 20
3:30 pm Curtin Hall 939
Chad Austino (PhD, Classics, Duke University)
"Regulating Religion: The Challenges and Potential of Greek Sacred Laws"

Chad Austino received his PhD in classics from Duke University in 2012 and has a BA in History and Classics from Rutgers University. His dissertation was on “Adaptation and Tradition in Hellenistic Sacred Laws.” He currently teaches Latin at Catholic Memorial High School in Waukesha, Wisconsin.

Friday, November 22
3:30 pm Curtin Hall 939
Kent Rigsby (Classical Studies, Duke University)
"The Children of the Athenian Phratry"

Kent Rigsby is emeritus from Duke University, where he was a professor of Ancient History and Epigraphy. He received a BA in Classics from Yale, before receiving an MA from the University of Toronto. In 1971, he was a fellow at the Society of Fellows at Harvard University. He is the author of Asylia: Territorial Inviolability in the Hellenistic World (1996), and has published dozens of articles on Greek law, epigraphy, and numismatics. He is currently the editor of the journal Greek, Roman & Byzantine Studies.

Friday, February 21
3:30 pm Curtin Hall 939
Bob Wallace (Classics, Northwestern)
"At the Horse and Girl: Sex, Death and Revolution in Archaic Athens"

On the abolishment of Athenian monarchy.

Friday, March 14
3:30 pm Curtin Hall 939
Anne Duncan (Classics & Religious Studies, University of Nebraska-Lincoln)
2013-14 Solmsen Fellow, Institute for Research in the Humanities, UW-Madison

Theban Plays "Creon and Other Stock Tyrants in Greek Tragedy"

Creon is arguably the hero of Sophocles’ Antigone, but if we look at Sophocles’ other two “Theban plays” (Oedipus the King, Oedipus at Colonus) in the order of their composition, Creon diminishes in complexity and stature. We see characters named Creon in Euripides’ Phoenecian Women and Medea as well, and like Creon in Sophocles’ last Oedipus play, these Creons are angry, blustery, blocking characters. The name Creon means “Ruler,” and by the end of the fifth century, when Oedipus at Colonus was composed, he is simply that: the King, or more precisely, the Tyrant, a stock tragic character. During the second half of the fifth century, this stock character became standard in Greek tragedy with recurring negative characters such as Aegisthus (in Aeschylus’ Agamemnon and Libation-Bearers and Sophocles’ Electra), Menelaus (in Euripides’ Andromache, Orestes, and Trojan Women), Lycus (in Euripides' Heracles Gone Mad), and Agamemnon (in Euripides’ Hecuba). The stock tyrant of tragedy is defined by his amoral calculation, his desire to seize or hold on to power at all costs, and the unhappiness of his subjects; he is often portrayed as politically illegitimate in some way. This stock character is a reflection of a larger concern, as the Athenian democracy came to seem increasingly fragile during and after the Peloponnesian War and tyrants on the edges of the Greek world turned to theater to legitimate their regimes and advance their stature.

Friday, April 4
3:30 pm Sabin Hall 281
Hrvoje Potrebica (Archaeology, University of Zagreb; Kress Lecturer for AIA, 2013-14)

Dr. Hrovje Potrebica Professor Potrebica will be speaking about the Kapitol site in Croatia as a nexus of Mediterranean cultures where artifacts of both Etruscan and Greek origin are found in funerary contexts during the Early Iron Age.

Potrebica's research interests are Iron Age Europe, and Bronze and Iron Age elites. He is President of the Croatian Archaeological Association, of the Center for Prehistoric Research, and is also on the Steering Committee of the International Congress of Underwater Archaeology. Since 2001 he has been the leader of the excavations at Kaptol in northern Croatia, and is in charge of several smaller excavation projects throughout the country.

Flyer (PDF)

Friday, May 2
3:30 pm Curtin B74

Note new room number, in the basement of Curtin Hall!

Lee Brice (History, Western Illinois)

Professor Lee Brice Writing on military historiography, John Keegan observed, “Certainly no military institution of which we have detailed, objective knowledge has ever been given the monumental, marmoreal, almost monolithic uniformity of character which classical writers conventionally ascribe to the Legions” (The Face of Battle, 1976).

Keegan may have been waxing rhetorical, but the modern image of the Roman army remains remarkably idealistic, mired in rigid, brutal discipline, an efficient machine-like institution. The reality was much more complicated. Part of that complexity is indiscipline. Indiscipline or military unrest was a problem every Roman commander encountered. In this presentation Lee L. Brice will address various facets of military unrest in the late Republic and early empire including types, common causes, and resolutions, with special attention focused on the mutinies of 14 CE.

Also of interest:

Fifth Annual Milwaukee Archaeology Fair
March 7-8, 2014
Milwaukee Public Museum

Archaeological Institute of America (Milwaukee Society) Public Lectures and Events
Fall 2013 and Spring 2014

Sarah Bond (History, Marquette University)
Renee Calkins (Classics, UWM)
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