Pasts Imperfect (12.1.22)
The Classicist's Gift Guide, Pseudoarchaeology, Ancient Nubian Jewelry, and More
This week, Tori Lee brings back the annual Eidolon gift guide to help you holiday shop for the lover of Greco-Roman antiquity in your life. Then, some problematic pseudoarchaeology hits Netflix, ancient Nubian jewelry on display at the Getty Villa, claims of a new third century Roman emperor, remembering Ramsay MacMullen, The East Asian Journal of Classical Studies debuts, and more.
The 2022 Classicist’s Gift Guide by Tori Lee
Classicists tend to have what some might call “niche” interests. As a help to them, and to their confused but loving friends and family, Eidolon started a holiday gift guide way back in 2016. Though Eidolon has since shuttered, capitalism has not (ugh), so I continue to honor the gift guide tradition today. The 2022 Classicist’s Gift Guide is here!
And, since capitalism has not shuttered in the time since I wrote the previous paragraph (ugh), please first consider donating to some of the amazing Classics non-profits and initiatives in our field:
The Sportula: Microgrants for Classics Students provides microgrants–petty cash ranging from $5 to $300, no questions asked, to Classics/ Classics-adjacent undergrads and grads in the U.S. who need it.
Sportula Europe follows the same mission for Classics students in Europe and the UK.
Black Trowel Collective is a collective of archaeologists committed to the active support of archaeology students from working-class and historically looted communities.
The Asian and Asian American Classical Caucus fosters the interests of students and scholars of classical antiquity who identify as Asian and Asian American.
The Lambda Classical Caucus, a coalition of queer Classicists--including, but not limited to, lesbians, bisexuals, gay men, and transgender people--and their friends and supporters.
The Women’s Classical Caucus advances equality, equity, and diversity efforts that support women, women-identifying persons, people of color, people with disabilities, graduate students, contingent faculty, and allies.
…and others gathered here and here.
A Global Antiquity Online and in the News
Pseudoarchaeology is a popular but highly problematic part of our field. The new show on Netflix, Ancient Apocalypse, is only the most current example. British presenter Graham Hancock (whose son is also an executive at the streaming service) makes strong, unfounded claims about an advanced global ice age as connected to Atlantis. In an article within The Conversation, real archaeologist Flint Dibble points to the flaws and embedded racism threaded into the conspiracy theories promoted within the show, and reveals the damage done to both the field and to people of color.
Scholars and journalists have pointed out that Hancock’s ideas recycle the long since discredited conclusions drawn by American congressman Ignatius Donnelly in his book Atlantis: The Antediluvian World, published in 1882…Hancock’s mirroring of Donnelly’s race-focused “science” is seen more explicitly in his essay, Mysterious Strangers: New Findings About the First Americans. Like Donnelly, Hancock finds depictions of “caucasoids” and “negroids” in Indigenous American art and (often mistranslated) mythology, even drawing attention to some of the exact same sculptures as Donnelly.
You can also read about the modern damage done by myths of Atlantis in Ana Maria Guay’s essay for the SCS Blog.
At the Getty Villa recently, Egyptologist Solange Ashby gave a lecture examining the “adornments worn by priestesses and queens of ancient Nubia.” Dr. Ashby’s presentation complements the current exhibition "Nubia: Jewels of Ancient Sudan, From the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston” on now at the Getty Villa until April 3, 2023.
At the Horniman Museum & Gardens in South London, an exhibition honors the Kenyan archaeologists often erased within the field in “Ode to the Ancestors: Kenyan Archaeology.”
Colonial-era archaeological excavations in Kenya drew on the expertise and skills of African Kenyan archaeologists. However, despite contributing knowledge to the understanding of Kenyan pasts, their names are absent. Instead white British and Kenyan names dominate the archaeological record. This includes Louis Leakey, the name associated with the Horniman’s collection of Kenyan archaeology.
Some seemingly exciting news came last week via an article in PLOS One announcing that a “new” Roman emperor, Sponsianus, was discovered via coins. However, numismatists are still hesitant about the authenticity of the coins, which point to a military commander hailed as emperor in Dacia in the 260s. As Marjanko Pilekić notes in the Twitter thread below—the coins still could be ancient imitations or a modern forgery.
In Memoriam: News came this week that the great Ramsay MacMullen had passed on November 28, 2022 at the age of 94. He was Dunham Professor Emeritus of History and Classics at Yale University. His curiosity and willingness to work with young scholars on everything from Roman social history to epigraphy was without parallel, in addition to his almost encyclopedic knowledge of the Roman Mediterranean. On Twitter, historian Carlos Noreña provided a fitting thread about the impact of his work. S·T·T·L
Virtual Lectures, Conferences, and Events
On December 2, 2022 at 11:00 am ET, Rachel Kousser will be speaking at Columbia’s Center for the Ancient Mediterranean on “‘Living like a king:’ Integrating Persian and Macedonian Customs in the Feasts of Alexander the Great.” As they note,
This paper draws on artifacts as well as epigraphic and literary texts to examine Alexander’s feasts and their relationship to Persia. It focuses particularly on chryselephantine couches, over forty of which have been preserved in the Macedonian tombs of Alexander’s officers.
You can register for virtual attendance here.
The hybrid conference “Reuse in Post-Roman Societies: Christian and Islamic Attitudes Towards Ruins and spolia” will take place December 5-6, 2022 at the University of Hamburg and online. In order to attend online please register by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. The full program can be viewed here.
New Antiquity Journal Issues (by @YaleClassicsLib)
The East Asian Journal of Classical Studies Vol. 1 (2022) debuts.
This new open access journal, published on behalf of the Taiwan Association of Classical, Medieval and Renaissance Studies, reflects the vibrancy of East Asian scholarship on Greco-Roman Classics. In addition to seven research articles, bibliographies covering publications in China, Taiwan, Korea, and Japan testify to the depth and breadth of interest in the ancient Mediterranean on the Pacific Rim.
Gnomon Vol. 94, No. 8 (2022)
Mediaevalia Vol.43 (2022) Medieval Unfreedoms in a Global Context
Comitatus Vol. 53 (2022)
Trends in Classics Vol. 14, No. 2 (2022) Style and the Ancient City: Form and Functions of Language in Attic Oratory
Gerión. Revista de Historia Antigua Vol. 40 No. 2 (2022) #openaccess Greek Landscapes. From the Ionian Sea to Athens
Frankokratia Vol. 3, No. 2 (2022)
Journal of African Archaeology Vol.20 No. 2 (2022)
Acta Antiqua Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae Vol. 61 No. 3 (2021)
Mouseion Vol. 18, No. 3 (2021) NB: Hilary Becker, “Caveat Emptor: The Perils of Shopping for Medical Products in the Ancient Marketplace”
Classical World Vol. 116, No. 1 (2022)
Classical Receptions Journal Vol. 14, No. 4 (2022)
Circe de clásicos y modernos Vol. 26, No. 2 (2022) #openaccess Las emociones en el mundo griego antiguo: debates y perspectivas
Studia Antiqua et Archaeologica Vol. 28, No. 1 (Nov. 2022) #openaccess
American Journal of Philology Vol. 143, No. 3 (2022)
Studia Iranica Vol. 50, No. 1 (2022) NB: Ekaterina But, “Prometheus in Russia: From Revolution to Dissidence”
New England Classical Journal Vol. 49, No. 2 (2022) #openaccess
Revue d'Etudes Augustiniennes et Patristiques Vol. 68 (2022) NB: Izabela Jurasz, “Comment retourner à Ithaque ? Le voyage d’Ulysse selon les platoniciens, gnostiques et chrétiens.”
Journal of Ancient History and Archaeology Vol. 9, No. 3 (2022) #openaccess
Arethusa Vol. 55, No. 2 (2022)
Espacio Tiempo y Forma. Serie II, Historia Antigua No. 35 (2022) #openaccess
Thanks for reading Pasts Imperfect! See you again on 12.15.22. Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support our work.
In Memoriam Ramsay MacMullen https://news.yale.edu/2022/11/30/ramsay-macmullen-distinguished-roman-historian-and-yale-citizen