Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Conference Season

Late Spring - Early Summer is traditionally conference season. Panoply have been out and about accordingly, so here’s a quick run through some of what we’ve been up to.

May saw us making a trip to the beautiful University of Warsaw in Poland. We were there for a conference called Chasing Mythical Beasts...The Reception of Creatures from Greco-Roman Mythology in Children and Young Adults’ Culture as a Transformational Marker. This conference brought together a range of scholars working on an impressive array of children’s culture, including Elizabeth Hale on Medusas and Minotaurs in Australian literature, Roehampton’s Susan Deacy on Bright-Eyed Athena and her Fiery-Eyed Monster, Helen Lovatt considering how Greek Harry Potter’s mythical animals are, and Hanna Poulouskaya discussing Mythical Beasts in Soviet Animation. Vase fans would particularly have enjoyed Deborah Roberts’ presentation, Picturing Duality: The Minotaur as Beast and Human in Illustrated Myth Collections for Children. It explored the way that the Minotaur’s half-bull-half-human duality is depicted in varying ways depending on how sympathetic or frightening it’s intended to be, with vases serving as the starting place for picturing this strange hybrid.

Deborah H. Roberts of Haverford College

Steve and I were delighted to have the opportunity to visit the National Museum in Warsaw. Not only is it a very fine museum, this was also a chance to see Panoply’s Hoplites! Greeks at War on display in the exhibition Hoplites. On the Art of War in Classical Greece. The vase animation complements the exhibition’s selection of hoplite equipment by helping to illustrate how those items would be used and what their wearers would go through. We also gave a presentation in the museum’s media room, outlining the work that we hope to do with the museum in the future. Many thanks to Prof Katarzyna Marciniak for organising an excellent conference. We’re looking forward to being back in Warsaw.
Panoply's Sonya and Steve with Hoplites! Greeks at War on location in Warsaw

Sonya gives a vase animation demonstration at the National Museum in Warsaw

Above, a short video of Chasing Mythical Beasts.

Come June I was visiting London for A Celebration of Greek Language and Culture Education in the UK. This event was organised by Oxford University’s Classics in Communities project and hosted by the Hellenic Centre. Attendees got together to hear what good things are going on in the teaching of ancient and modern Greek and classical civilisation. If you have ideas for a project, get in touch with Classics for All – they want to help! Also expect good things from the new classical civilisation textbook created by OCR and published by Bloomsbury.

Ambassador Bikas, Greek ambassador to the UK, opens the event

Sonya outlines the work of the Panoply Vase Animation Project

Teachers discuss what’s hot in Greek teaching

Most recently, I’ve been in Dublin for the 9th Celtic Classics Conference, hosted by University College Dublin. This 4-day classics extravaganza saw 350 delegates gather from all over the world to talk classics, ancient history, and classical reception. Highlights included Bridget Martin’s presentation Comfort in the Unfamiliar: The Depiction of the Winged Dead on Greek Funerary Vases (which we’ll hear more about in due course), Hans van Wees on Greek warfare’s relationship with Near Eastern warfare, and Philip de Souza on Greek fleets at war. My presentation was Icon Appropriation in Ancient Warfare, discussing the do’s and don’ts of taking other communities' religious statues. It featured some of the ideas I’ve been exploring for my forthcoming book, Military Leaders in Sacred Space in Classical Greek Warfare: Temples, Sanctuaries, and Conflict in Antiquity. There’ll be more on that here closer to the publication date in October, but till then, here’s one of the vases that made an appearance – a belly amphora featuring Athena accompanying Diomedes and Odysseus with the Palladion. Thanks to everyone at UCD for all the hard work they put in to making the conference a great success.

Athena accompanying Diomedes and Odysseus with the Palladion, Stockholm Medelhaus Museet, 1963.001

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