Achamenid Ethnicity from the Material Perspective

Epigraphic evidence on public building: shifting procedures or shifting perspectives?

My second post will focus on some methodological considerations prompted by the study of 5th and 4th c. Attic inscriptions, in particular building specifications and building commission accounts. As I proceed with my research, I am becoming increasingly aware of the extent to which the correct interpretation of the nature and function of these inscriptions is essential for a proper understanding of the information they provide. At risk of stating… Read more

Making Sense

As I committed to do in my last post on the aesthetics of Greek vase inscriptions, I want to discuss a bit further the phenomenon of nonsense inscriptions, which have gone largely understudied. The few exceptions have tended to focus on their contributions to assessing the literacy or illiteracy (however defined) of their authors or audiences.[1] I am interested in shifting the focus instead to how such inscriptions may actually… Read more

Singing in the sun

Hi everybody, I have given my research talk and I have started discussing my work and other topics with a number of people: this is proving truly exciting and I thank them all. To my delight, some of them seem to be surprisingly keen on a few of my favourite things, such as grasshoppers, crazed-with-sun cicadas and other minutiae, and my idea that Plato’s philosophical discourse can be conceptualized as… Read more

Turning around Achilles' Shield

During these first three months of my fellowship, I have been working on an interpretation of the description of Achilles’ Shield in Iliad XVIII. My intention is to link this famous passage with other demiurgical motives found in mythological and philosophical texts, namely Hesiod’s Theogony, Parmenides’ poem, Empedocles’ cosmogony, and Plato’s Timaeus. I believe that the craftsmanship theme, which is conspicuous in all these texts, conveys a double reflection: one… Read more

Dionysos, Lykourgos, and a Murder in the Sanctuary

As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve spent the last several weeks focusing on some vase paintings that show the madness of Lykourgos, a mythical king of Thrace who seems to have been best known in the Classical period for the gruesome murder of his young son Dryas. To judge from the surviving vases, the Lykourgos myth was of interest to both Athenian and South Italian artists, but since… Read more

Were there territorial waters in Ancient Greece?

The topic of the present post, maritime borders in Ancient Greece, was inspired by N. Papazarkadas’ comments on my previous post. Most of Attica’s borders, as well as those of many other Greek poleis, were delimited by the sea. What does this mean, concretely? Did the coasts mark the borders, or were the borders offshore? To put it more simply: were there territorial waters in Ancient Greece? The formula κατὰ… Read more

Word and Image, Word as Image

I begin by posing a sort of sympotic griphos: What do ancient Greek inscriptions and a chiropractor’s cerebral hemorrhage have in common? If you already have a solution, please leave it in the comments or email me; otherwise, read on. If you do so, you’ll see that in this first blog post I follow the trend established by my fellow Fellows, first giving a brief overview of my current research… Read more

Public Building: Personal Inclinations and Present Concerns

Hello everyone! As this is my first post, I’ll start by introducing myself and my project. My name is Cristina Carusi and I am spending the whole academic year at the Center, while working on a project tentatively called “Public Building in Law and Economy of Classical Athens”. My interest in the Athenian public building sector first originated some years ago, thanks to the study of Ronald Stroud’s commentary to… Read more

Of incredible and bizarre tales

I should start by noting that my post title refers to Ctesias’ work (at least in Plutarch’s estimation, Artaxerxes 1.4), not what I’m about to write. I’m only a “two-weeker” (and not until March) with regard to physical presence at the CHS. I note with great interest the variety of projects underway at the Center. I myself am working on two main projects this year: a textbook history of the… Read more

Research Talks, November 17

Our series of informal talks by current fellows continues on Thursday, November 20 at 4:00PM (EST) with presentations by: Andrea Capra University of Milan  “‘Harvesting Homer’: The Voice of Epic in Plato’s Dialogues” Synnøve des Bouvrie University of Tromsø “The Institution of the Warrior in Greek Tragedies” Watch the talks live at rtsp://, viewable with Quicktime or Real Player. Recordings of these talks will be available on our Research Talks page… Read more

'Harvesting Homer'

This is my first post, so let me introduce my research project. I am working on a book-length study provisionally called “‘Harvesting Homer’: the voice of epic in Plato’s dialogues”. Here is my general premise: Plato’s dialogues are often seen as an all-encompassing blend of all previous literary genres, “the boat on which” – to quote from Nietzsche’s Birth of Tragedy – “the older forms of poetry, together with all… Read more

The very first linguistic turn

Early Greek cosmologies and learned myths that account for the origin of the universe and its present state tend to bring up the question of representation in language. If we were to formulate this question nowadays it would probably be in these terms: how can the whole natural process of becoming, which in principle is not knowable through direct experience, be objectified in a narrative? In early Greek thought, this… Read more

Women, Property, and Linear B

In Greek antiquity, few issues concerning women created as much regional controversy as women’s abilities to command and control property. Control of property for women in Archaic and Classical Greece varied broadly from site to site with no real consistency across states. While Classical Athenian wives would own only their clothing and jewelry, the Gortyn law code offered protections to the interests and property of heiresses, and then of course… Read more

Research Talks are Now Online!

Throughout the year, the CHS fellows will give talks about their projects. The talks in this series will be available to watch live at rtsp://, viewable with Quicktime or Real Player. Recordings will be available online after each talk. The first few talks of the year are available online and there are more coming soon! Visit our Research Talks page to watch. Read more

Why Art and Religion?

I have been interested in ancient Greek religion for as long as I can remember. As an undergraduate Classics major at Davidson College it was my privilege to study with the late Stephen Lonsdale, himself a CHS fellow back in 1990. Dr Lonsdale and I shared many common interests – dance, performance, religion, ritual, funeral games, Homer, Horace, and Vergil. He was also my introduction to Greek art and archaeology,… Read more

Greeks, Non-Greeks, and the Imagery of Ritual

I am spending this term at the CHS researching a book provisionally titled The Representation of the Exotic in Athenian Ritual Imagery. Since my reasons for pairing these two topics – ritual and the exotic – are probably not immediately clear, I will use this first post to explain what led me to formulate my project in this way and what I’m trying to accomplish with it. A major focus… Read more

Ancient borders, modern issues.

The front page of the Washington Post of 18 September 2011 featured a column entitled “Disputed Territory” discussing China’s territorial claim over the Spratly Islands – the claimant arguing that shards of Chinese pottery unearthed there entitle China to “indisputable sovereignty” over the South China Sea. This is just one of the more than 200 border disputes currently being fought on all five continents. In the 21st century, border disputes… Read more

Research Talks, November 3

Our series of informal talks by current fellows continues on Thursday, November 3 at 4:00PM (EST) with presentations by: Tyler Jo Smith University of Virginia “The Art of Greek Religion: Object, Performance, Image” Kathryn Topper University of Washington “The Representation of the Exotic in Athenian Ritual Imagery” Watch the presentations live at rtsp://, viewable with Quicktime or Real Player. Recordings of these talks will be available on our Research Talks… Read more

The Future of Hellenistic Archaeology In Egypt or: how I stopped worrying and learned to love the blog

Since this is my first post, I thought I should use this space to introduce myself and to offer some insight into both the project that brought me here and other things that I’ve been working on since I arrived in Washington.  I’m here at the Center this year to work on a project, tentatively called “Power Across Frontiers: Networks of Power in Hellenistic Upper Egypt.”  This book-length project examines… Read more

Research Talks, October 20

Our series of informal talks by current fellows continues on Thursday, October 20 at 4:00PM (EST) with presentations by: Cristina Carusi Scuola Normale Superiore “Public Building in Law and Economy of Classical Athens”   Reginald Gibbons Northwestern University “Translating the Poetics of Pindar” Watch the presentations live at rtsp://, viewable with Quicktime or Real Player. Recordings of these talks will be available on our Research Talks page after the event. Read more

Research Talks

During the academic year, the current fellows will give talks about the research they are conducting while at the CHS. The series of talks kicks off on Friday, October 7 at 4:00PM (EST) with presentations by: Alexandra Pappas University of Arkansas “Graphic Art: Alphabetic Images in Ancient Greece” Diego Machuca Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas “Can the Skeptic Search for Truth?” Watch the presentations live at rtsp://, viewable… Read more

CHS Research Symposium

On Saturday, April 30, join us for a live webcast of the CHS Research Symposium, featuring talks by the 2010-11 CHS Fellows in Hellenic Studies. The live webcast will be available at rtsp://, viewable with a Quicktime Player. To download and install Quicktime from Apple, please go to   Viewers can submit questions via chat.  To learn more about using chat and to see the schedule, click here. Read more

Mutilating goddesses: Aphrodite in Late Antique Aphrodisias

Recently I participated in a conference in Germany, entitled “Prehistoric and ancient goddesses.”  My interest was in violence towards goddesses’ images, particularly Christian attacks on pagan divinities.  I focused my paper on how the citizens of Aphrodisias in southwestern Turkey eradicated the cult of Aphrodite, and in so doing transformed the visual landscape of their city.  Aphrodisias’s rich archaeological and epigraphic record, and the prominence of Aphrodite there, made this… Read more

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