14 Jan 2017

January + February 2017

Monday 30 January 2017 at 7:30 pm
The Politics of Fatness in Archaic Greece
Dr. Emily Varto, Associate Professor
Department of Classics, Dalhousie University

This talk explores how modern narratives that imbue fatness with personal and communal ethical significance compare to ancient narratives of fatness, particularly in archaic Greece politics. Through examining art and poetry, it explores how fatness was not exactly a marker of elite status, but was a metaphor of the abuse of status with economic, social, and ethical consequences for family, community, and state. Although elitism was central to the significance of fatness in archaic Greece, so were ideas about uncontrollable appetite, lack of restraint, and communal harm familiar to us from modern narratives about lower socio-economic classes.

Monday 27 February, 2017 at 7:30 pm 
The Silent Grandeur of Cyrene, a Greek City in Libya
Gerald Schaus, Professor Emeritus
Wilfred Laurier University

In 2007. Col. Gaddaffi’s son, Saif, announced a $2 billion plan to turn the ancient Greek city of Cyrene, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, into a popular destination for eco-tourism. Today, the city stands largely deserted in a struggling Libya, despite the grandeur of its monuments, built originally by Greeks from the Aegean islands, and re-built by Italian archaeologists in the 20th century. The temple of Zeus was as large as the Parthenon; the sanctuary of Apollo was home to a gushing spring of water “where the heavens had a hole”, the sanctuary of Demeter reflected the bounty of the fertile land, and people, especially its rulers, became wonderfully wealthy from their harvest of a wild miracle plant called silphium, from which the ancients made medicines of many kinds before it became extinct.