College of Arts and Sciences

Classical Studies

News & Events

  • Fall 2018 lecture sponsored by Classics:
    • Dr. David Romano
      Classical Archaeologist, The University of Arizona
      "Recent Excavation and Research at the Sanctuary of Zeus at Mt. Lykaion, Arcadia"
      October 25, 4:30pm
      Ballantine Hall 217

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Classical Studies Lecture Series

December 2018

Walnut Room, Indiana Memorial Union
December 6, 2018
4:30pm-7pm
Associate Professor Wilson Shearin
University of Miami
"Saussure's cahiers and Lucretius' elementa"

Ancient Studies Fall 2018 Distinguished Lecture

September 2018

Walnut Room, Indiana Memorial Union, 4pm 09/17/18

Monica L. Smith
Professor, Cotsen Institute of Archaeology
Department of Anthropology
Institute of the Environment and Sustainability
University of California, Los Angeles

The Power of Language and the Language of Power: Texts, Scripts, and Decipherment in Comparative Perspective

What is the purpose of encoding language into script? Our own global surfeit of literacy obscures an appreciation of the profound social disjunction that would have been felt at the moment in which words became materialized into physical form. This talk will compare the incremental development of writing in the Mediterranean world with the dramatic entrée of script in the Indian subcontinent. In greater India, the first widespread symbol system was the as-yet undeciphered Bronze Age Harappan script that eventually disappeared from use. More than a thousand years later, an alphabetic script was developed and displayed in monumental form through stone inscriptions associated with royal support for Buddhist doctrine; the subsequent adoption of writing throughout the subcontinent resulted in a proliferation of textual forms and scripts, the abundant diversity of which continues to have social and political effects.

PhD Candidate Sean Tandy wins 2018-2019 Rome Prize

April 2018

PhD candidate Sean Tandy was awarded a 2018-2019 Rome Prize for his project entitled "Carmina Qui Quondam: Poetry, Identity, and Ideology in Ostrogothic Italy." Presented by The American Academy in Rome, "these highly competitive fellowships support advanced independent work and research in the arts and humanities. This year, 29 Rome Prizes were awarded to 29 artists and scholars, who will each receive a stipend, workspace, and room and board for a period of five months to two years at the Academy’s eleven-acre campus in Rome." Learn more about the Rome Prize and its recipients here.

Project summary of
"Carmina Qui Quondam: Poetry, Identity, and Ideology in Ostrogothic Italy":

“Carmina qui quondam” argues that during the Ostrogothic Period (493–554 AD) the Roman elite in Italy utilized poetry both to maintain class cohesion and to exert political power. The dissertation utilizes major literary and historic sources from the period, such as the writings of Boethius and Cassiodorus, alongside shorter texts preserved in epigraphic and paleographic sources. I draw on this archive, as well as modern theories of identity and ideology derived from sociology and political science, to examine the ways in which the Roman elite utilized poetry to distinguish themselves from the newly arrived and ethnically distinct Gothic military elite. I argue that poetry functioned as a sign marking elite wealth, education, and connection with the Roman past; elites thus used poetry to promote their ideological agendas among competing aristocratic factions as well as within the Gothic military elite. In this way, I contend that poetry in this period was not only a “literary” phenomenon, but also a powerful force for motivating human action and influencing historical change.

The Seer and the City: Religion, Politics, and Colonial Ideology in Ancient Greece by Dr. Margaret Foster out now!

February 2018

Dr. Margaret Foster's new book is now available through University of California Press.

"Seers featured prominently in ancient Greek culture, but they rarely appear in archaic and classical colonial discourse. Margaret Foster exposes the ideological motivations behind this discrepancy and reveals how colonial discourse privileged the city’s founder and his dependence on Delphi, the colonial oracle par excellence, at the expense of the independent seer. Investigating a sequence of literary texts, Foster explores the tactics the Greeks devised both to leverage and suppress the extraordinary cultural capital of seers. The first cultural history of the seer, The Seer and the City illuminates the contests between religious and political powers in archaic and classical Greece."

Click here to learn more. A coupon is available for online orders.

Julie Mebane to join Classics faculty in Fall 2018

February 2018

Julie Mebane received her PhD from the Program in the Ancient Mediterranean World at the University of Chicago in 2017. She comes to Indiana University, Bloomington after completing her position as Lecturer in University of California, San Diego’s Literature Department. Julie’s research interests include Roman political thought and its reception; civil war; metaphor and figurative language; the reception of classical antiquity in 19th century historiography; gender and sexuality. We are so excited for Julie to join our faculty ranks as Assistant Professor and enrich our department, curriculum, and research.

Welcome to IU, Julie!

New book by Jonathan L. Ready,
The Homeric Simile in Comparative Perspectives:
Oral Traditions from Saudi Arabia to Indonesia

February 2018

Dr. Jonathan L. Ready's The Homeric Simile in Comparative Perspectives was published through Oxford University Press this February in the U.S.

This work "examines oral traditional works from around the world, introducing a wealth of often neglected comparanda for the Homeric epics and revivifying a comparative approach to Homeric poetry," "builds on research from outside classical studies to approach a central feature of Homeric poetry from a truly interdisciplinary perspective," and "includes English translations of all foreign and ancient languages, ensuring accessibility to readers regardless of language familiarity."

Click here to learn more about Dr. Ready's book.

Dr. Teresa Ramsby presents at her alma mater

November 2017

Dr. Teresa Ramsby, Graduate Program Director and Associate Professor of Classics at UMass Amherst, visited the IUB campus the week before Thanksgiving break to present the final guest lecture sponsored by the Department of Classical Studies this semester, entitled "Portrait of a Goddess: Anna Perenna and the Coin of Gaius Annius". Dr. Ramsby received her PhD in Classics from Indiana University in 2001.

Classics class visits Parthenon in Nashville, Tennessee

October 2017

Over fall break, eight members from this semester’s Topography and Monuments of Athens class (CLAS-C 420/503 and ARTH-A 410/501)—taught by Visiting Assistant Professor Nicholas Blackwell—traveled to Nashville, Tennessee to explore a true replica of the Parthenon. The construction of the original Athenian temple, dedicated to the goddess Athena, dates to the mid-5th century BC.

While touring the Nashville Parthenon, students experienced first-hand the sheer size and architectural refinements of the temple. Moreover, the replica offers the best opportunity to view the building’s renowned architectural sculpture in its intended context. The presentation of the original sculptures in London and Athens occurs at eye level, meaning a visit to Nashville is essential to experience the full effect of the Parthenon’s artistic program. Anybody approaching the building immediately focuses their attention on the pedimental sculpture above—either the contest between Athena and Poseidon on the west façade or the birth of Athena on the east. While a replica of the continuous Ionic frieze (usually interpreted as depicting the Panathenaic festival procession) has not been incorporated into the Nashville Parthenon, students discussed visibility issues related to that debated sculpture. The highlight of the trip was seeing a replica of the gold and ivory (chryselephantine) Athena Parthenos statue that originally stood within the Parthenon. The 42-foot gilded statue of Athena in Nashville offers a hypothetical reconstruction—based on ancient literary descriptions and later Roman models—of the original Parthenos statue by the sculptor Pheidias, lost in antiquity.

During their visit, students gave short presentations on the building’s architectural sculpture, the Parthenos statue, the statue’s base with the depiction of Pandora’s birth, and the Amazonomachy composition on Athena’s shield.


Interested in learning about more events related to Classics on campus?

The Bloomington campus is alive with lectures, colloquia, workshops, and conferences on diverse aspects of the ancient world. The Department of Classical Studies sponsors many departmental lectures and the Program in Ancient Studies offers its own Distinguished Lecturer Series as well as colloquia featuring both IU faculty and scholars from other institutions. In addition, the Archaeological Institute of America presents a lecture series each year on topics in Greek and Roman Art and Archaeology in the Indiana area.