ARC Future Fellowship awards 2017

Congratulations to Associate Professor Julia Kindt, Chair of the Department of Classics and Ancient History, at the University of Sydney on being awarded an ARC Future Fellowship in 2017. The Future Fellowships scheme encourages research in areas of national priority, with preference given to researchers who can demonstrate a capacity to build collaboration across industry, with other research institutions and with other disciplines.

The award provides funding for a four-year project which will look at how the line between humans and animals is drawn and re-drawn in ancient world texts and contexts. As the real and imagined foundation of Western civilisation, the ancient Greek world is frequently invoked in current debates about what separates humans from animals. Yet, in the modern debate the ancient position is restricted mainly to philosophy. The expected outcome of the project is a comprehensive study of the place of the animal in ancient Greek conceptions of humanity. It will refocus classical scholarship and prompt the re-evaluation of our contemporary understanding of what makes us human.

Performance of Aristophanes' Clouds

On the 25th of May 2017, undergraduate and postgraduate students of the Department of Classics and Ancient History at the University of Sydney took to the stage of the Nicholson Museum’s Refectory to perform an abridged version of Aristophanes’ seminal ‘Comedy-of-Ideas’, The Clouds (Nεφέλαι). The play was originally performed at the City Dionysia in Athens in 423BC but the theme is timeless - poking fun at the intellectual fashions of the day. The play tells the story of a father and son who have fallen on hard times due to the son’s obsession with betting on horses. The father, Strepsiades, resolves to send his son Pheidippides to Socrates’ new-fangled ‘Thinkstitute’ to learn the rhetorical art necessary to argue their way out of debt.

The cast in full costume

Members of the cast in full costume

Performed in Classical Greek, the students displayed their mastery of the ancient language and their newly acquired comedic talents. The performers had a formidable reputation to live up to, appearing as the latest rendition in a long history of performing drama in Greek and Latin at the University of Sydney, boasting such landmark performances as the world-premiere of the then newly discovered Dyscolus of Menander in 1959 (re-performed in 2009). True to this proud tradition, the 2017 production of Clouds was a resounding success and met with rave reviews – and, true to the bawdy reputation of Aristophanes, raucous laughter – from all present,with the non-Greek speakers helped by projected translations of the dialogue.

Cast and guests

The play was directed by postgraduate students Daniel Hanigan (also acting as Pheidippides) and Jonathan Adams (also action as the Naughty Argument), with the help of Classics Research Associate and eminent scholar of the ancient theatre, Dr Elodie Paillard. The abridged Greek text was produced by Mr Anthony Alexander, and translated by Jonathan Adams. The performance was proudly hosted by the Nicholson Museum, in partnership with The Consulate General of Greece in Sydney (Dr Stavros Kyrimis), The Centre for Classical and Near Eastern Studies of Australia (CCANESA), and the Department of Classics and Ancient History. The cast and crew were as follows: Grant Kynaston (Strepsiades), Sharon Fulwood (Socrates), Spyridon Augostinos (Creditor), Kirra Larkin (Pupil), Timothy Young (Fogey Argument), Edward Armstrong (Chorus-Leader), William Poulos (Cloud), Laurel Hooper (Cloud and Costume Designer), James Whitfield (Cloud), Natalie Mendes (Xanthia and Costume Designer), Elisabeth Slingsby (Slides), Jimmy Yang (Slides), Emma Barlow (Lights), and Frances Muecke (Prompter). The wonderful masks worn by the cast were made specifically for the production by Dark Side Masks.

Further performances will be held at The Australian National Maritime Museum on 11th July, and Rockdale Community Hall on the 16th July. Watch this space for further details of these events.

National Archaeology Week 2017

CCANESA has once again been proud to take part in National Archaeology Week (NAW) 2017, in conjunction with ArchSoc, the University of Sydney's student archaeology association. NAW is a nationwide event held each year in May with the aim of increasing public awareness of Australian archaeology and the work of Australian archaeologists at home and abroad.

Professor Alison Betts and Kerrie Grant at CCANESA after the NAW talk

As part of the official program of NSW events for NAW, we were fortunate to have Kerrie Grant, a freelance contract archaeologist and PhD candidate from the University of New England, Armidale as our guest speaker. The lecture was entitled 'The Archaeology of War and Conflict', and drew on her experience as a forensic archaeologist in Iraq and Libya, as part of a multidisciplinary team of specialists uncovering the graves of innocent victims of the former Hussein and Gaddafi regimes. Kerrie’s talk was well attended and her presentation included insights from working in this sensitive and deeply moving environment - the audience was left with a keen appreciation of the professional and personal issues faced when dealing with the archaeology of the more recent past and the harrowing consequences of human conflict.

Professor Alison Betts, CCANESA Director and Professor of Silk Road Studies at the University of Sydney introduced Kerrie’s talk and co-organisers ArchSoc delivered a vote of thanks to Kerrie for travelling to Sydney for the event. Thanks must also be extended to Helen Nicholson from the NSW planning committee for NAW and to the hard-working student volunteers from the ArchSoc executive team - Sarah Gyngell, Martin Wright, Kathleen Carmichael, Natasha Ramrakha, Alexandra Seifertova, Rosie Campbell, Cameron Mackay, and Amanpreet Kang - for organising the event in conjunction with CCANESA.

Teaching Classical Languages Symposium 2017

CCANESA, alongside the Department of Classics and Ancient History, was pleased to host a symposium on Teaching Classical Languages on April 20. The event brought together around 40 participants, including interstate presenters, and representatives from major Australian universities including the Australian National University, Australian Catholic University, Macquarie University, University of Newcastle, University of New England, University of Queensland and members of the Department of Classics and Ancient History at the University of Sydney. Speakers on the day included Dr Emily Matters (President of the Classical Languages Teachers Association), Dr Janette McWilliam (UQ), Anthony Gibbons (Sydney Grammar), Dr Christopher Bishop (ANU), Helen Pigram (North Sydney Girls), Dr Sarah Lawrence (UNE) and our very own Dr Paul Roche, Professor Dexter Hoyos and Dane Drivas.

One of the major aims of the day was to bring together teachers from both tertiary and secondary sectors to discuss the importance of teaching Classical languages, various pedagogical strategies and to highlight developing and innovative methodologies in the discipline from schools and universities all over the world. To this end participants from a number of schools from the Sydney, Adelaide and Melbourne metropolitan areas attended. The organisers noted that the event was a resounding success due to the collegiate atmosphere of all who attended, their breadth of experience and the ideas shared on the day. The passion for the subject displayed by the speakers was evident to all present, which coupled with the enthusiasm and humour that characterised the event, was encouraging for all who attended.

Special thanks must be extended to Associate Professor Julia Kindt and Dr Tamara Neal from the Department of Classics and Ancient History for all their hard work organising this valuable symposium and we look forward to more events like this in the future.

Classical Rome Summer School - January 9-29, 2018

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Enrolment for the 2018 Classical Rome Summer School is now open! The University of Sydney is offering a chance to study classics in Italy with Associate Professor Kathryn Welch and Dr Estelle Lazer. You will have the opportunity to visit major archaeological sites like Pompeii and Herculaneum, as well as museums and sites around Rome.

Beginning with introductory lectures at the University of Sydney, students will will meet in Rome before traveling to Vico Equense for close access to the sites of Mount Vesuvius. From there, students will travel to Frascati, offering a view of ancient Rome's impact on regional towns. Students will then travel to Rome, touring various sites by foot in order to understand the history of the ancient city.

This is a great opportunity for students of classics or archaeology to experience the ancient world first-hand.


Olwen Tudor Jones Scholarship

Applications are open for the Olwen Tudor Jones Scholarship, offered by the Society of Mediterranean Archaeology (SoMA). The OTJ Scholarship is offered to a University of Sydney student of archaeology, or associated field, of high academic achievement for the purpose of partially funding that student's travel costs to participate in fieldwork in the Mediterranean region. The applicant must be a University of Sydney undergraduate student of archaeology or a related discipline.

Applications are due Monday May 1
Guidelines for the scholarship can be found here
For more information about Olwen Tudor Jones, visit the AAIA website

Dane Drivas shortlisted for prestigious Edmund Barton Award

As part of the University of Sydney 2017 Alumni Awards, the Department of Classics and Ancient History's graduate Dane Drivas has been shortlisted for the prestigious Edmund Barton Award. After finishing his BA specialising in Latin, Dane chose to pursue a teaching career in the subject, and recently completed a Master of Teaching degree. He continues to encourage new students to develop an appreciation of the language through reading and performance.

We join Classics and Ancient History and the School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry (SOPHI) in congratulating Dane on his nomination. The award ceremony will be held on 28 April, 2017. For more information contact SOPHI.

Two teams of multi-disciplinary researchers in CCANESA have won Australian Research Council (ARC) awards in the current round of funding announcements. Professor Alison Betts, the current Director of CCANESA and Professor of Silk Road Studies with the Department of Archaeology, and her team of international colleagues will continue to advance their research on the early history of Zoroastrianism by examining the archaeology and art of ancient Khorezm in modern day Uzbekhistan.

Professor Peter Wilson and Professor Eric Csapo, from the Department of Classics and Ancient History, head up a team of colleagues: from the Department of Archaeology, Emeritus Professor J. Richard Green; from Classics and Ancient History, Dr Jelle Stoop; CCANESA Postdoctoral Fellow, Dr Elodie Paillard (who also brings funding for a Postdoctoral Fellowship from the Swiss National Science Foundation); and from the Département d'Histoire, Université Paris 8, Professor Brigitte Le Guen. The project will continue the work of the Greek Theatre Project undertaken by the principal investigators with funding from previous ARC and other grants.

Details of the successful projects can be found below.

Australian Research Council Discovery project success for CCANESA researchers in 2017

Image of priests

Image of roosters in the guise of Zoroastrian priests. They are symbols of the Avestan God Srosh

Professor Alison Betts; Professor Frantz Grenet; Dr Michele Minardi;
Dr Makset Karlibaev

Shifting the Foundations of Zoroastrian History: a fresh focus on Khorezm.

This project aims to explore the importance for Zoroastrianism of images of Avestan
gods in Uzbekistan. Zoroastrianism is an ancient religion, but little is known of its
early development. Recent finds of massive six-metre-high murals of Avestan gods
decorating the royal ceremonial centre of Akchakhan-kala in Khorezm provide
evidence of early formal Zoroastrian practices, in a region not considered a centre of
early religious development. The project will study this data and its implications for
later religious beliefs, drawing particularly on evidence for burial practices in the early
Islamic period and indigenous tribal practices. The project aims to enhance
understanding of one of the world’s significant religions.

Theatre Syracuse

The Great Theatre of Syracuse and late-Archaic temple on the terrace above.

Professor Peter Wilson; Professor Eric Csapo; Emeritus Professor J Green; Professor Brigitte Le Guen; Dr Elodie Paillard; Dr Jelle Stoop.
Theatre and autocracy in Ancient Greece

This project aims to study the relations between theatre and autocratic power in antiquity. Theatre, from the start, appealed just as much to autocrats as to democrats and throve in autocratic states for half a millennium after the extinction of the Classical democracies. While many studies trace ancient Greek theatre’s links to democracy, none explore its links to specific tyrants, monarchs or emperors. This project will examine how autocrats moulded the world’s first mass medium of communication to consolidate their power, and how competing interests used the theatre to share, limit or challenge that power.

Masterclass and workshop by CCANESA International Visiting Researchers

To start off the year CCANESA hosted a masterclass and a workshop for our extended research community thanks to the generosity of two international visiting researchers: Dr Amy Russell, from the University of Durham who was in Sydney for the Roman Law Network Symposium held February 8-9 in CCANESA, and Dr Gino Caspari, University of Bern, Institut für Archäologische Wissenschaften, Early Postdoctoral Mobility Fellow, Swiss National Science Foundation, University of Sydney and the Chinese Academy of Sciences Beijing. Dr Caspari will be at CCANESA during 2017 to conduct post-doctoral research.

The first masterclass entitled The Politics of Space in Republican Rome was given by Dr Russell in the CCANESA boardroom on January 27. Hosted by the Department of Classics and Ancient History the class provided an opportunity for our research community to hear more about Dr Russell's research interests integrating the political history and topography of the Roman Republic and early Empire.

A second workshop on February 7 was aimed at a broader interdisciplinary audience from Archaeology, Ancient History, and Classics. The combined presentation from Dr Russell and Dr Caspari entitled Space, a current frontier: scalar approaches to spatial analyses in Archaeology and History was hosted by the AAIA and attended by post-graduate students and researchers at the University of Sydney.

Dr Russell and Dr Caspari presented a sampler of their respective research projects in a less formal environment which served as a sounding board for discussion and questions from those who are currently engaged in or about to embark on similar research. Dr Russell presented the results of the collaborative spatial analyses and visualizations of experienced space which informed her recent monograph The politics of public space in Republican Rome, 2016, and articles such as 'Memory and Movement in the Roman Fora from Antiquity to Metro C', JSAH 73, 2014, and 'On gender and spatial experience in public: the case of ancient Rome' , 2016, in TRAC 2015: Proceedings of the 25th annual Theoretical Roman Archaeology Conference.

Dr Gino Caspari who is conducting post-doctoral research on the cultural landscapes of the Chinese Altai Mountains in collaboration with Professor Alison Betts, Department of Archaeology and the current Director of CCANESA gave an insight into the multiple levels of spatial analysis that underpin his work, from remote sensing to mapping and modelling individual monuments in the landscape for heritage preservation. Dr Caspari's publications include “Detect, map, and preserve Bronze & Iron Age monuments along the pre-historic Silk Road” in Proceedings of International Symposium on Earth Observation for One Belt and One Road (EOBAR) 2016 and “Discernibility of Burial Mounds in High-Resolution X-Band SAR Images for Archaeological Prospections in the Altai MountainsJournal of remote sensing 8 2016 (doi:10.3390/rs8100817).

The workshop provided the CCANESA research community to take advantage of the expertise of both speaker and provided an opportunity to learn about current debates and advances in techniques, methodologies and theoretical frameworks in spatial archaeology.

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CCANESA Newsletter April 2017
CCANESA News and Events May 2017

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