Highlights of 2016-17

J.P. Barron Memorial Lecture

7 June 2017 at 5pm
Chancellor's Hall, Senate House
'Classicist Foremothers and Why They Matter'
Professor Edith Hall (KCL)

How many of us studying the classical world have been saddened by the dearth of portraits of women in the long galleries of learned ancestors lining the walls and staircases of our colleges, universities and libraries? This illustrated lecture traced the history of women’s engagement with the ancient Greek and Latin Classics between the Renaissance and the middle of the twentieth century. The aim was to come to a clearer understanding of the difficulties women have faced in acquiring right of entry to the texts often historically seen as the most prestigious and exclusive of cultural and intellectual properties, and of the strategies by which a few of the most able and indefatigable women scholars have succeeded in surmounting them. The last part of the lecture had a special focus on the inspirational women who taught and studied classical subjects in London from the foundation of Bedford College in 1849 onwards.


Michael Ventris Memorial Lecture

17 May 2017 at 5pm
Room G22/26, Senate House
'Tiryns: from the rise of its palace to the post-palatial resurgence'
Professor Joseph Maran (Heidelberg)


This lecture was concerned with some three centuries in the history of Tiryns: from its seemingly sudden growth into a major Mycenaean centre in the 14th century BC and then — following the destruction of the palace — to its re-emergence as the most important locale in the Argolid during the 12th century BC. Clear evidence has emerged that the north western sector of the Lower Town was developed systematically in the 12th century, a process of urbanization that bears some resemblance to town planning in Cyprus at that time. Yet these developments were relatively short-lived and after roughly two generations abandoned. The results of recent excavations, presented in this lecture, thus continue to provide new and important insights into the post-palatial era at Tiryns and beyond. 


Rome London Lecture

In association with the British School at Rome
22 March 2017 at 5pm
Room G22/26, Senate House
'Early History and Landscapes of Rome seen from the Palatine'
Professor Paolo Carafa (La Sapienza, Rome)

Rome from the Palatine

Since 1985 we have been investigating the northern slopes of the Palatine, aiming to recover its physical lay-out, and to map the extent and environment of disappeared ancient landscapes, as the basis for reconstructing historical interpretations and narrative. Integration and reconstruction have been fundamental to our research which has merged and combined the traditional methods, techniques and operating procedures typical of Ancient Topography and Classical Archaeology.
I shall be discussing some recent results which contribute to debate over the ancient topography of the Palatine Hill and the identification and location of a certain number of monuments. We have been able to produce new reconstructions based on excavation data which have allowed us to compile a “tale of the landscape” by correlating changes attested by material remains to other information. The main controversies about early Rome, including the origin of the city itself can now be considered in the light of new evidence.


Fourth Annual Rumble Fund Lecture

15 March 2017 at 6pm
Great Hall, King’s Building, King’s College London (Strand Campus), WC2R 2LS
'Beauty and Classical Form'
Professor Elizabeth Prettejohn (York)

Why do we still experience the visible forms of ancient Greek art as beautiful? It is not difficult to understand why we should find them impressive in their longevity, or informative about the ancient societies for which they were made. But why should they inspire in us the thrill of beauty? And why should they continue to do so in a modern world where the sterner values of politics, economics or social justice may seem dominant? This lecture explores the ways in which modern artists may help us not merely to understand, but genuinely to see the beauty of classical form. It takes as a test case the art of Frederic Leighton (a nineteenth-century painter so often treated with condescension as the last of the ‘academic classicists’). The lecture argues that the seriousness of Leighton’s engagement with classical form may be seen, instead, as progressive and forward-looking.

The 2017 Rumble Lecture comes about thanks to the generosity of the Jamie Rumble Memorial Fund

It was organised by the Centre of Hellenic Studies, in collaboration with the Institute of Classical Studies and the Department of Classics at King’s College London. 


British School at Athens/ICS Autumn Lecture

25 November 2016 at 5pm
Room 349, Senate House
'The Archaic necropolis in Faliron Delta'
Dr Stella Chrysoulaki

Mass burial of tied men

The rescue excavations at Faliron are carried out by the Ephorate of West Attica, Piraeus and the Islands since 2012 at the area, where the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC) is being built to host a new national opera house and Greece’s National Library.
The site was used as a cemetery for many centuries, as early as the Late Geometric period until Classical period (late 8th century B.C. – 4th century B.C.). Though, the Archaic period of the necropolis seems the most interesting not only because most of the burials are dated to that period but also because vessels and other offerings will contribute to a new understanding of the archaic pottery of Attica.
Since the beginning of the excavations, burials of individuals having suffered a violent death were found all around the site. A carefully constructed stratigraphy indicates that most of them belong to the archaic phase of the cemetery and fewer to the classical one. The group of 80 dead having iron bonds to their hands that brought to light on March 2016 could be dated at the 7th century B.C., more precisely the years 650 - 625 B.C.
The anthropological study can lead us eventually to interesting connections at a quite turbulent time in Athens’ history.


Thinking the Impossible: Symbolic Representations of the Tsunami in the Ancient World

23 November 2016 at 5pm
Room 349, Senate House
Professor Manuel Álvarez Martí-Aguilar (University of Malaga)

Ocean Wave

Professor Álvarez is an expert on the Phoenicians in the Western Mediterranean, and has also published extensively on the mysterious peoples of Tartessos in what is today Andalucia. A Visiting Fellow at the ICS he has been researching ancient perceptions of disasters especially of tsunamis recorded in ancient texts. His special lecture on the subject complemented the ICS history seminar which in this semester had as its subject Ecology and Ancient History.


What is Lived Ancient Religion?

1st November 2016 at 5pm
Room 104, Senate House
Professor Dr Joerg Ruepke, Deputy Director of the Max Weber Kolleg for Advanced Cultural and Social Studies, of the University of Erfurt

Joerg Ruepke


Professor Ruepke is an international renowned authority on comparative religion who has pioneered the application of social studies perspectives to the study of the Roman world. He is the author of more than a dozen books, and numerous articles and has led a series of major collaborative projects. He has held visiting position at the Institute of Advanced Study in Princeton, at the College de France, at Aarhus University and at the University of Chicago. In 2008 he was awarded Gay-Lussac Prize for Franco-German Research collaboration and in 2012 was appointed to the Federal Science Council (Wissenschaftsrat) of Germany. Ruepke co-ordinates an interdisciplinary research group on Religious Individualization in Historical Perspective and has led also a number of major collaborative projects that have done much to reshape the study of ancient religion today. In his talk on 1st November he discussed the work of his project  Lived Ancient Religion: questioning “cults” and “polis religion”, funded by the ERC, which has brought together classicists, Egyptologists, sociologists and researchers in religious studies. After his talk there were responses by Professor Gesine Manuwald (UCL) and Professor Hugh Bowden (KCL).