1:00 PM13:00

Cicero Conference in Honor of Professor James Zetzel’s Retirement

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Cicero Conference in honor of James Zetzel, Anthon Professor of the Latin Language and Literature, on the occasion of his retirement. Co-sponsored by the Center for the Ancient Mediterranean

Speakers include:

Professor Robert Kaster (Princeton University), Professor Peter White (University of Chicago), Professor Catherine Steel (University of Glasgow), and Carina de Klerk (Columbia).


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4:10 PM16:10

Classics Colloquium: Nicholas Rynearson

Plato’s Socratic Problem

We are accustomed to think of “Plato’s Socrates” as opposed to “Xenophon’s Socrates” or “the historical Socrates”. But the attentive reader will find many different Socrateses within Plato’s corpus. The multiplicity of Socrates in the dialogues reflects a deceptively simple but vitally important question for Plato: who (or what) is Socrates? Like the ti esti formula that characterizes many of the so-called early dialogues, this question seems always to end in aporia. In this paper, I explore some of the ways Plato multiplies Socrates in the dialogues, understanding them as strategies in Plato’s ongoing confrontation with his master’s mysterious opacity.

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4:10 PM16:10

Classics Colloquium: Hannah Čulik-Baird (Boston University)

Vetustas pauca non deprauat, multa tollit—loss and recovery of knowledge in the late Republic

How well do the Romans know their own history? In a world where records of the past rot away, are eaten by worms, mice, larvae, are accidentally or deliberately set on fire, how is a Roman of the late Republic supposed to understand Rome's past? In the De Lingua Latina (5.5), Varro wrote: uetustas pauca non deprauat, multa tollit; “there is little that time does not distort, much it obliterates completely.”  In the Academica (1.9), Cicero had said that, before Varro's books — "we were wandering and straying about like foreigners in our own city, and Varro's books led us, so to speak, right home again, and enabled us at last to realize who and where we were.” In this paper, I outline the challenges faced by late Republican Romans interested in understanding their city's history, and what kind of strategies they developed to recover "lost" knowledge. 

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4:10 PM16:10

Classics Colloquium: Ursula Poole

“Ovid the Cartographer: A Study of Place in Exile”


This project treats the subject of place in Ovid's exile poems. I argue that the poeta exclusus deliberately skews the spatial contours of his fictive universe in order to illustrate a cognitive dissonance that is endemic to the exile’s subjective experience. This topographic dysmorphia is a grim projection of the exiled subject’s addled interiority onto the site of his relegation, evincing the displacement mindset of Ovid’s carefully constructed poetic persona. The distinct ‘exilic cartography’ that can be distilled from the collection (i.e., the sustained execution of a geographic aesthetic, if you will) is peculiar to these works alone. The exile poetry is thus at its core a study in the phenomenology of trauma, of which these imaginary vistas are subtle instantiations

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9:30 AM09:30

CAM Symposium: The New Edition of the Earliest Greek Philosophers

The Center for the Ancient Mediterranean at Columbia invites you to an all-day symposium celebrating the new Loeb Classical Library edition of Early Greek Philosophy. Please visit the CAM website for more details: 


9:30-9:45am: Introductory remarks (W.V. Harris and Jeffrey Henderson)

9:45-11:00am: Discussion on the making of the new edition of Early Greek Philosophy (Glenn Most and André Laks)

11:00-11:15am: Coffee break

11:15am-12:15pm: André Laks - "How Preplatonic worlds became ensouled: an episode in the history of reception," followed by discussion.

12:15-1:00pm: David Sider - "Repetition in Empedocles," followed by discussion.

1:00-2:30pm: Lunch break

2:30-3:30pm: Glenn W. Most - "Thales and the Beginning of Philosophy," followed by discussion.

3:30-4:15pm: Christian Wildberg - "Two New Editions of the Presocratics – and What to Do With Them," followed by discussion.

4:15-4:45: Break for refreshments

4:45-5:30pm: Round-table discussion (featuring Marc Van De Mieroop, Dhananjay Jagannathan, Katja Vogt, Glenn Most, and André Laks).


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11:00 AM11:00

Classics Colloquium: Elise Kermani (Intermedia and sound artist)

“Iphigenia: Book of Change”

Iphigenia: Book of Change is a film of a live performance produced by MiShinnah Productions, written and directed by Elise Kermani. It is a collaboration between many New York and Los Angeles-based artists and incorporates puppetry, dance, video design, and music. The project uses text from Euripides’ 410 BCE play “Iphigenia at Aulis” in English as well as in ancient and modern Greek, and from Ellen McLaughlin’s 2005 play “Iphigenia at Taurus”. The film is inspired by Euripides' Iphigenia plays and by stories of contemporary women who have endured, survived and escaped captivity. A screening of the film will be followed by a panel discussion with the director, Dr. Elizabeth Scharffenberger, and Ellen Mclaughlin.

Elise Kermani is a sound media artist and filmmaker and the Artistic Director of MiShinnah Productions, a flagship company focusing on collaborative, genre-bending performance and film. She teaches media art at State University of New York/Empire State College and has a PhD in Media Philosophy from the European Graduate School. Kermani's film JOCASTA, a modern retelling of the Oedipus myth screened in Athens, GREECE in May 2012, and her short Agamemnon’s Daughter screened in Athens in October 2016. HerPOE[...and the museum of lost arts], developed during a 2 month residency at 3LD Art and Technology Center, screened at the Anthology Film Archives in December, 2015. In February, 2016 she presented a live performance of Iphigenia: Book of Change at the Electric Lodge in Venice, CA.Her most recent performance JUSTICE was performed in Riverside Park, NYC on the summer solstice 2017 and is currently being made into a film. 

Ellen McLaughlin's plays include: Iphigenia and Other Daughters, Tongue of a Bird, Helen, The Persians, Penelope, Septimus and Clarissa, Pericles and Ajax in Iraq. Off Broadway: New York Theater Workshop, National Actors’ Theater, Classic Stage Company and the Public Theater. Regional and international venues include: The Guthrie Theater, Actors’ Theater of Louisville, Almeida Theater, London, Intiman, Mark Taper Forum and Oregon Shakespeare Festival. As an actor she is best known for having originated the role of the Angel in Angels in America, appearing in all American productions through the original Broadway run, 1993-1994. She has taught playwriting at Barnard College since 1995.

Dr. Elizabeth Scharffenberger is a lecturer and faculty advisor of the postbaccalaureate program in the Department of Classics at Columbia University.  Her research and publications are generally focused on Athenian drama in the classical period and its reception in later eras. Look out for her paper “The Comic Refashioning of Tragedy in Strattis’ Phoenician Women” in the forthcoming volume on Aristophanes' Thesmophoriazusae edited by Niall Slater and Toph Marshall.

Note: The Black Sea Myths Network is holding an event at which Iphigenia, among other mythical figures, will be discussed. 



October 6, 2017 | 3:00pm - 6:00pm 

Heyman Center Common Room, Columbia University



Edith Hall (Professor of Classics, King's College London): “Tauric Iphigenia and Crimean Identity: Pericles to Putin”

Cleo Protohristova (Professor of Comparative Literature, Plovdiv University), “The Myths of Prometheus and the Black Sea Region”

Tamta Khalvashi (Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Free University of Tbilisi), “The Horizons of Medea and New Cosmologies of Dispossession in Georgia”

The "Black Sea Myths and Modern Europe" symposium addresses key ancient Black Sea myths that retain a stable presence in the Western cultural imagination—Prometheus, Medea and the Argonauts, Iphigenia, Odysseus—and aims to explore their life in the lands where these myths initially emerged. It targets especially the little-studied political mobilization of these myths in the construction of modern national, regional, and pan-European identities for various communities around the Black Sea. This symposium is the first public event of a long-term international research program, mobilizing an interdisciplinary team of scholars from the U.S., U.K., Greece, Bulgaria, and the Republic of Georgia under the umbrella of the global initiative Black Sea Networks, housed by the Slavic Department of Columbia University.

Discussant: Helene Foley (Professor of Classics, Barnard College)

Organizer: Valentina Izmirlieva (Professor of Slavic Literature, Columbia University)



The Black Sea Networks Initiative

Columbia University Department of Classics 

President's Global Innovation Fund 

The Heyman Center for the Humanities 

The Harriman Institute


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to Sep 23

PSL-Columbia Exchange in Classics: "Ways of reading, ways of seeing"

In collaboration with EALAC and the Department of Art History and Archaeology.

Event Program

Friday, September 22
Schermerhorn 612

9.30 Introduction

10-11 François Queyrel (EPHE/PSL), "Rendre invisible le visible : la mort des statues"  (Respondent: John Ma)

11-12 Martin Szewczyk (EPHE/PSL), Viewing power? Portrait statues and social relations in the Greek City in Imperial times" (Karen Christaens)

12-12.30 Discussion

12.30-2 Lunch

2-3 Manon Brouillet (EHESS/PSL), "Seeing, hearing and acting with the gods. Poetry and divination in Homer" (respondent: Kate Meng Brassel)

3-4 Gloria Mugelli (EHESS/PSL), "Hiera Kala: seeing and imagining animal sacrifice in ancient Greek tragedy" (respondent: Michael Fowler)

4-4.30 Break

4.30-5.30 Cléo Carastro (EHESS/PSL), Seeing phantoms : images, writing and the presence of invisible in ancient Greece (Respondent: Deborah Steiner)

5.30-6 Discussion

Saturday, September 23

10-11 Andréas Stauder (EPHE/PSL), “Display and Withdrawal of, and in, Ancient Egyptian Writing” (Respondent: David Lurie)

11-12 Olivier Venture (EPHE/PSL), "The display of writing and the question of the spread of literacy in ancient China"— (Respondent: Li Feng)

12-12.30 Discussion

12.30-2 Lunch

2-3 Camille Rambourg (ENS/PSL), "Visual evocation as a rhetorical strategy in Aeschines, Against Timarchus" (Respondent: Marcus Folch)

3-4 Christophe Goddard (CNRS/PSL), Le numen Augusti. Invisibilités divines, visibilité imperiales (Respondent: Francesco de Angelis)

4-4.30 Break

4.30-5.30 Stéphane Verger (EPHE/PSL), "Masquer la narration, raconter par l'abstraction: un parcours eschatologique protohistorique sur les cistes hallstattiennes de Kleinklein (Autriche)— (Francesco de Angelis).

5.30-6 Discussion

6-7 Drinks

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4:10 PM16:10

Classics Colloquium: Susanna Braund (University of British Columbia)

Empire without end': Virgil, translation, nationalism and transnationalism

“Translation of high prestige texts such as Virgil’s poems has had a significant role in creating literary language in European vernaculars and hence has sometimes served nationalistic agendas. In my paper, I shall first examine some examples of the appropriation of cultural authority for the ‘writing of empire’; through translation of Virgil, for example into French and Russian; I’ll then talk more briefly about the Aeneid in Portuguese, Welsh and Ukrainian, the last of which yields a bizarre situation. Finally, I shall explore issues of transnational identity that arise in the phenomenon of translations into Hebrew (nineteenth century) and Esperanto (twentieth century).”

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