Hellenic Studies Announcements, November 2004
- Workshop - Tuesday, November 30, 6:00 p.m. John Davis: "Fourteenth Century Byzantine 'Declassicizing' Metaphrases: Obscure Linguistic and Literary Purpose?"
<Posted on 11/24/2004 10:05>
John Davis (Writer-in-Residence, Program in Hellenic Studies)
Humanities Program Building, Room 103
The appearance in fourteenth-century Byzantium of a number of translations into simpler language of various high-style texts has attracted scholarly comment, usually to the effect that they are evidence (to quote Hans-Georg Beck) of the desire of Byzantines in this age "not to allow any linguistic barrier to come between them and their own historical self-awareness." In this workshop it will be suggested that both specific and circumstantial evidence point to a particular time when these translations, or metaphrases, were made and why. They probably need to be linked to the troubled period of the regency of Anne of Savoy, widow of Andronikos III, and Patriarch Kalekas, overseeing the minority of her son, John V Palaiologos, in the 1340s. The "declassicizing" translations of the histories of Anna Komnene and Niketas Choniates and of the speculum principis of Nikephoros Blemmydes do not represent a spontaneous expression of the desire of ordinary Byzantines to attain a clearer understanding of their historical and cultural background, thus reflecting - it could be claimed - a kind of Byzantine equivalent to the revolutionary developments taking place in Italian letters in the same century; rather, they constitute a curious by-product of the desperate attempts of a small, threatened social group to hold on to political and economic power and privilege. Some copies of the folios of the manuscripts containing the text of the metaphrase of Niketas Choniates' History will be presented to illustrate some of these points.
John Christian Davis studied English at St. Andrews University, and subsequently Medieval Greek at King's College London. He has lived in Athens since 1985, working as a translator and pursuing research in Byzantine language and literature. Davis's translations of early Greek vernacular poetry were read by Alan Bates at the Byzantine Festival London (1998), and his rendering of a lament on the Crusaders' sack of Constantinople (1204) was set to music by the English Orthodox composer John Tavener. His published translations include unfinished works by Cavafy, as well as other contemporary Greek poets. He was recently awarded his doctorate by the University of Ioannina for his dissertation on a fourteenth-century Byzantine text and its background. [Last Updated 2004]
- Workshop - Friday, November 19, 2:30 p.m. Irma Karaulashvili: "Construction of a Myth: The Rediscovery of the Icon of Christ (Mandylion) in Edessa"
<Posted on 11/15/2004 13:35>
Irma Karaulashvili (Post-Doctoral Fellow, Program in Hellenic Studies)
Respondent: Emmanouel Papoutsakis (Department of Near Eastern Studies)
PLACE: Room 103, Humanities Program Building, Princeton University
The narrative about the Edessan icon of Christ "not made by human hands" (acheiropoietos) constitutes a part of the apocryphal legend of King Abgar, the ruler of the city of Edessa. According to the generally accepted view, the story of the icon appears already in the sixth and seventh centuries in the writings of Byzantine historians. This view is conditioned by the "emergence of acheiropoietai in the context of the sixth-century warfare in Syria and on the borders between Byzantium and the Sassanian empire." According to my hypothesis, the full version of the story as presented in one of the versions of the apocryphon, the Epistula Abgari, appears even earlier, in the course of the fifth and sixth centuries. The earliest reference to the icon in historical writings was connected with the Persian siege of Edessa (544A.D.) and, in scholarly works, with the discovery of the icon inside the walls of the city. An investigation of this earlier tradition in Byzantine literature, connecting the discovery of the icon with the siege can help clarify the question: did the icon's motif emerge first as a palladium of Edessa, or was the story of the icon's miraculous origin there first?
Irma Karaulashvili holds an undergraduate degree in Armenian Studies from the Department of Eastern Languages of Tbilisi State University, Georgia, and an M.A. degree in Medieval Studies from the Central European University in Budapest, where she earned her doctorate in June 2004. Her dissertation was a study of an apocryphal text of the New Testament, namely the group of writings related to the earthly life of Christ, in particular the period before Crucifixion. She currently works on texts pertaining to the Abgar legend, and studies Greek and Syriac original versions of the apocryphon, together with its various renditions in different languages, including the Ancient Greek, Georgian and Armenian manuscripts. Irma Karaulashvili has served as a researcher at the K. Kekelidze Tbilisi State Institute of Manuscripts of the Georgian Academy of Sciences. [Last Updated 2004]
- Lecture - Tuesday, November 16, 5:30 p.m. Dr. Helen C. Evans: "Art out of Time: 'Byzantium: Faith and Power' at the Metropolitan Museum of Art"
<Posted on 11/12/2004 13:59>
Dr. Helen C. Evans (Metropolitan Museum of Art)
Lecture to be held at 010 East Pyne Building, Princeton University, and is free and open to the public. A reception will follow the lecture. For further information, contact Lee Ann Riccardi at 609-771-2347 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cosponsored by the Archaeological Institute of America and the Princeton University Classics Department.
- Workshop - Friday, November 12, 2:30 p.m. Lina Stergiou: "Athens: A Case of Symptomatic Ugliness: The Backlash of Moderation"
<Posted on 11/08/2004 11:54>
Lina Stergiou (University of Thessaly; Visiting Fellow, Program in Hellenic Studies)
Respondent (Spyros Papapetros, School of Architecture)
Humanities Programs Building, Room 103
Modern Athens is said to be an ugly, disfigured city. During its modern history a number of attempts were made to impose clear architectural or urban norms onto the city. These attempts were resisted as immoral acts of transgression into forbidden territory, and thus no spatial order or dominant style was ever adopted. The singularity and effectiveness of the architectural object was not to be tolerated. Moderation in size and style, besides being an outcome of economic necessity, was presented as a moral category, while formal transparency released the cityscape from all aesthetic verdicts. Was Athens's symptomatic ugliness the natural corollary of these developments? This talk will analyze the prevailing conception of Athenians that their city is ugly. It will elaborate on the reasons behind this attitude, from the perspective of moderation both as a social virtue and spatial quality, and will also address related issues of national and individual identity.
Lina Stergiou received her Diploma in Architecture from the National Technical University of Athens in 1990 and her Master of Architecture from the Pratt Institute, New York, in 1992, with an Alexander S. Onassis Foundation Scholarship and a Pratt Institute Assistantship. She is an adjunct assistant professor of Architectural Design at the University of Thessaly, and she practices design in Athens. Her work integrates cultural studies, urban speculations and references from the field of psychology. She has published in Architecture d' Aujourd' hui, Archis, Architext and Metalocus and exhibited her projects in Women architects in Europe (Paris), Athens-scape (RIBA gallery, London), the 3rd International Architectural Festival (Busan/Korea), and the 2nd and 3rd Biennale of Young Greek Architects. She is currently completing a book-length collection of her projects and articles on neutral and active space. [Last Updated 2004]
- Workshop - Tuesday, November 9, 6:00 p.m. Vassilis Voutsakis: "Greece During the Post-Dictatorship Period"
<Posted on 11/03/2004 11:31>
Vassilis Voutsakis (University of Athens; Visiting Fellow, Program in Hellenic Studies)
Humanities Program Building, Room 103
Should a liberal state support culture? This presentation will examine the cultural politics of the Greek state during the post-dictatorship period, 1974 to the present. A first question to be addressed is historical. The reconstruction of the rhetorics employed to justify the cultural policies of the Greek state could reveal principles underlying these policies and related to deeper trends in contemporary Greece. A second question is philosophical. Should the state carry out cultural politics? Several perfectionist theories can be put forth to justify the protection of the cultural environment by the state. The critical examination of some perfectionist arguments reveals the paternalism they all share. This leads to the formulation of a theory that could combine state support to culture with the neutrality of the state concerning questions of the "human good." Such a theory might account for certain phenomena in contemporary Greece, such as the fact that in recent years the rhetorics of "human good" have given way to and are gradually being replaced by the rhetorics of "rights."
Vassilis Voutsakis teaches philosophy of law as a part-time lecturer in the Faculty of Law of the University of Athens, where he received his first degree. He was awarded a first D.E.A. in Jurisprudence from the University of Paris II, and a second one in Philosophy from the University of Paris I - Sorbonne. He completed his Doctorat d'Etat en Droit Public at the University of Montpellier. From 1996 to 2004 he was advisor to Constantine Simitis, the former Prime Minister of Greece. He recently published a book on the right of privacy and has also written several articles on law and culture, civil society, legal reasoning and the rule of law. He has translated books of political philosophy. [Last Updated 2004]
- Lunch Talk - Friday, November 5, Noon Werner H. Tietz: "Barley or Wheat? Food as a Cultural Signifier in Polybius"
<Posted on 11/01/2004 14:29>
Program in Hellenic Studies and Program in Ancient World Lunch Talk
Werner H. Tietz (Seminar for Ancient World, Munich Visiting Fellow, Program in Hellenic Studies)
Humanities Programs Building, Room 203
Please bring your own brown bag lunch.
- Screening - Sunday, November 21, 6:30 p.m. Athens 2004 Opening Ceremony
<Posted on 11/19/2004 14:00>
Screening: Athens 2004 Opening Ceremony (approx. 90mins.)
Discussion will follow.
Please bring your own dinner and drinks.
Humanities Programs Building, Room 103
- Presentation - Monday, November 22, 6:00 p.m. Petros Babasikas *02: "Athens 2004 'Catch the Light: Routes Through Athens'"
<Posted on 11/19/2004 14:03>
Petros Babasikas *02
Humanities Programs Building, Room 103
Petros Babasikas received an M.Arch. (2002) from the School of Architecture at Princeton and worked for the Athens 2004 Organizing Committee, designing and organizing the "Catch the Light" installations and events around the city during the Olympic Games. He is currently based in Athens. [Last Updated 2004]
Light dinner and drinks will be offered.
- Group for the Study of Late Antiquity - Sunday, November 7, 1:30 p.m. Kimberly Bowes: "Possessing the Holy: Private Churches and the Christianization of the Late Roman Countryside"
<Posted on 10/29/2004 14:43>
Kimberly Bowes (Fordham University)
Place: 211 Dickinson Hall