Hellenic Studies Announcements, October 2007
- Lecture - Tuesday, October 2, 6:00 p.m. Maja Kominko: "Science and Revelation: The Christian Topography of Cosmas Indikopleustes"
<Posted on 09/26/2007 09:56>
Maja Kominko (Post-Doctoral Fellow, Program in Hellenic Studies)
Respondent: Christian Wildberg (Department of Classics)
103 Scheide Caldwell House
The Christian Topography, written in the sixth century, combines Biblical exegesis with ancient science, and Alexandrian sources with influences from the East Syrian School of Nisibis. It is the only work extant that was both written and illustrated in the sixth century, albeit preserved only in later copies. The whole treatise was written to refute the notion that the universe is spherical. Instead, the author proposes a theory that the universe is based on a flat earth and consists of two superimposed spaces. He argues that a similar shape for the universe could be deduced from the shape of the tabernacle built by Moses. What sets the Christian Topography apart from other exegetical writings is the author's deep interest in ancient science. Not only does he strive, in common with all astronomers in antiquity, to "save the phenomena," but he also attempts to prove that his theories concerning the universe tally rather better with observed phenomena than the theories of his adversaries. The paper will analyze this attempt to create a new, Christian science, which is based on Christian, mainly East Syrian exegesis, but importantly also follows the rules and lines of argumentation created by Greek, mainly Alexandrine, scholarship.
Maja Kominko received her M.A. (2002) in Art History, from the Jagiellonian University, Krakow, and her D.Phil.(2006) in Archaeology from the University of Oxford. She held the position of University Lecturer in Art History at Sabanci University, Istanbul (2006-2007). Her interests are interdisciplinary, with recent articles dealing mainly with classical tradition in Byzantine and Medieval geography and astronomy. Her doctoral dissertation, a monograph on the miniatures of the Christian Topography, is being revised for publication.
- Workshop - Thursday, October 4, 4:30 p.m. James M. Pettifer: "Hellenism in Contemporary Albania"
<Posted on 09/28/2007 15:40>
James M. Pettifer (Defence Academy, United Kingdom; Visiting Fellow, Program in Hellenic Studies)
Respondent: Alexander Kitroeff (Haverford College)
Scheide Caldwell House, Room 103
In the early 1990s, discussions on the position of Greeks in Albania were focused mainly on what was known as the "Greek Minority," who mostly resided in designated areas in the south, in and around towns such as Saranda (Hagioi Saranta) and Gjirokastra (Argyrokastro). Under the communist regime, certain provisions had been made for education and cultural activity in the Greek language, but the Minority suffered many disadvantages in social, political, and economic life. In the last twenty years, in the new society in Albania, there have been many changes in the status of these people. At the same time, hundreds of thousands of Albanians have had exposure to Hellenism, Orthodoxy and Greek culture by working as gastarbeiters in Greece, and this has led to a considerable increase in knowledge of Greece and of the Greek language in Albania.
The purpose of this paper is to open up discussion and analysis of the contemporary situation, and its wider implications.
James Pettifer is Professor in the Conflict Studies Research Centre of the Defence Academy, UK, and Visiting Professor in the Department of History in the University of Tetovo, FYROM. He works on the nineteenth and twentieth century Balkans, as well as Greece and Turkey. He is author of numerous books on the region, including Greece-Land and People since World War II (1993), The Turkish Labyrinth (1996), The New Macedonian Question (1999), Blue Guide to Bulgaria (1998), Albania-from Anarchy to a Balkan Identity (1997, with Miranda Vickers), Kosova Express (2004) and The Albanian Question (2006, with Miranda Vickers). He wrote the northern Greek section of Blue Guide Greece (7th edition, 2005), and with his daughter Julia, co-authored a book on Butrint, (Tirana, 2007). He was a writer for The London Times during the post-communist and wartime period in the Balkans from 1989 to 2001.
- Lecture - Tuesday, October 23, 4:30 p.m. Maurizio Viroli: "The Civic Religion of Italian Republics (1200-1500): Greek, Roman and Christian Sources"
<Posted on 10/17/2007 10:15>
Maurizio Viroli (Department of Politics)
Scheide Caldwell House, Room 103
Between the thirteenth and the early sixteenth centuries a distinct civic religion emerged within the context of Italian free republics, especially in Florence, Venice and Siena. Even if the best scholarly works on Italian republican experience have not investigated it, Italian republicanism was deeply religious. Political theorists and magistrates regarded their republics as God's gift and as the form of government most dear to God. They also shared a particular interpretation of Christian religion based upon the principle that a good Christian must be a good citizen and devote his best efforts to sustain common liberty. Another equally important feature of Italian civic religion was the belief that the good ruler of a republic who loves his fatherland and defends the common good attains an almost divine status. The sources of this civic religion were not only Christian but also Greek and Roman. Its specific features were in fact the result of a particular mixture of these three intellectual traditions. The talk will illustrate this interpretation of the historical meaning of republican civic religion by focusing on political texts and on a number of pictorial works like Ambrogio Lorenzetti's Buongoverno, and Taddeo Di Bartolo's Ciclo degli Uomini Famosi, in Siena, and the Sala dei Gigli in Florence.
Maurizio Viroli is Professor of Politics at Princeton University. He is the author of Jean Jacques Rousseau and the ‘Well-Ordered Society’ (Cambridge University Press: 1988); From Politics to Reason of State. The Acquisition and Transformation of the Language of Politics (1250-1600) (Cambridge University Press: 1992); For Love of Country: An Essay on Patriotism and Nationalism (Oxford University Press: 1995); Machiavelli (Oxford University: 1998); Niccolò's Smile (Farrar Straus and Giroux); Republicanism (Farrar Straus and Giroux) and, with Norberto Bobbio, The Idea of the Republic (Polity Press: 2003); Il Dio di Machiavelli e il problema morale dell'Italia (Laterza: 2005). He has edited and written the Introduction of Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince (Oxford University Press: 2005), transl. by Peter Bondanella. With Gisela Bock and Quentin Skinner he is the editor of Machiavelli and Republicanism (Cambridge University Press: 1990). He writes for La Stampa, Turin.
Co-sponsored by the Committee for Renaissance Studies
- Lecture - Tuesday, October 16, 6:00 p.m. Eka Tchkoidze: "Georgian Sources for Byzantine History: The Life of Hilarion the Georgian and two Eleventh Century Chronicles"
<Posted on 10/10/2007 10:33>
Eka Tchkoidze (Hannah Seeger Davis Post-Doctoral Fellow, Program in Hellenic Studies)
Respondent: AnneMarie Luijendijk (Department of Religion)
Scheide Caldwell House, Room 103
Hilarion the Georgian was a ninth century monk, founder of monasteries in Georgia, as well as pilgrim to the Holy Land, Byzantium (Constantinople, Mount Olympus of Bithynia, Thessalonike), and Rome. There are four different versions of the Life of Hilarion: long, brief, metaphrastic and synaxaric. Various interesting issues emerge from the study of Hilarion's Life: monasticism on Mount Olympus during the ninth century, administrative institutions of Thessalonike, Byzantine officials’ titles, state-church relations, the character of Emperor Basil I, and geographical data about the villages around Constantinople. For a better understanding of this period, Hilarion's Life will be read side by side with two eleventh century Georgian chronicles, the Chronicle of Kartli [=Georgia] by an anonymous author and the Chronicle of Bagratids/Bagrationi by Sumbat, son of David. These texts offer very interesting information on the events of the ninth and, especially, the eleventh century.
Eka Tchkoidze received her first degree in Philology at the I. Javakhishvili State University of Tbilisi (1998), and her M.A. (2001) and Ph.D. (2006) in Byzantine History at the University of Ioannina. She was awarded fellowships from the State Scholarships Foundation of Greece and the Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation. Her main research interests include the comparative study of Georgian and Byzantine hagiographic texts, Georgian hagiography as a source for Byzantine history, foreign policy of Byzantium, Byzantine diplomacy during the era of the Macedonian dynasty (ninth to eleventh centuries), and the wider area of the Caucasus during the middle ages. Presently, she is revising her doctoral dissertation, a monograph on the Georgian narrative sources of the period between the ninth and the eleventh centuries, as well as translating relevant texts of interest for Byzantine history from these medieval Georgian texts into modern Greek.
- Lecture - Tuesday, October 9, 6:00 p.m. Eleni Papargyriou: "Through the Viewfinder: George Seferis, Poet and Photographer"
<Posted on 10/02/2007 13:10>
Eleni Papargyriou (Hannah Seeger Davis Post-Doctoral Fellow, Program in Hellenic Studies)
Respondent: Eduardo Cadava (Department of English)
Scheide Caldwell House, Room 103
Well known as a poet, essayist, diarist, and diplomat, George Seferis was also a passionate photographer. This paper will discuss the relation between Seferis’s visual sensibility and his poetry: photography enabled Seferis to see more intensely, an act which led to complex poetic imagery, but also to theorize the act of seeing and the effect of light, both as poetic theme and as a metaphor for lucidity and knowledge. At the same time, photographic jargon regarding time, contingency, point of view, posing, and framing provided Seferis with an effective ‘visual’ idiom to describe various other aspect of his poetics. Attention will be drawn to those cases where photographs were used as primary material for specific poems and to photography as the composition of a visual diary. The paper will conclude with an evaluation of Seferis's ideas on the status of photography as art and its place in the intellectual context of Greek modernism.
Eleni Papargyriou received her first degree in Greek language and literature at the University of Thessaloniki (2000), an M.A. in European Literature (2001) and a D.Phil. in Modern Greek Literature from the University of Oxford (2005). Her doctoral dissertation entitled “Reading Games in twentieth-century Greek Fiction” received the London Hellenic Society award in the modern category. For the past two years she worked for the Faculty of Modern Languages at Oxford and for King's College London as an instructor in Modern Greek language and literature. Her research interests include translation, intertextuality, and reception theories. She has collaborated with the Centre for Greek Language as a research assistant and has published articles on translation and intertextuality.