14 Oct 2017

October+November 2017

Monday 30 October 2017 at 7:30
The Great Mothers: Rhea and Cybele in Ancient Athens
Dr. Arden Williams, UBC Classics, Near East & Religious Studies

The cult of the Mother of the Gods, simply known in Athens as Meter, is one of great antiquity.  Meter's role in the Eleusinian Mysteries connects her both with Rhea, mother of the Olympians, and the family drama of the Eleusinian myth.  Across the Aegean, there were also cults of Great Mother goddesses, like that of Cybele, whom the Athenians identified with Meter and Rhea.  The Romans had adopted the goddess Cybele in response to a prophecy, but found spects of her worship disturbing.  The situation in Athens was rather different.  A small private association in Piraeus established a cult of Cybele as Meter.  The documents published by this group offer a glimpse into how the traditional cult of Meter was transformed by the introduction of elements of the cult of Cybele into something distinctly Athenian.

Monday 27 November 2017 at 7:30
Liquid Memories in the Forum of Constantine: Pagan Symbolism and Meaning in a Christian Emperor's Capital
Prof. Dimitris Krallis, Hellenic Studies, SFU

The forum of Constantine does not conform to the image we have of the first Christian Emperor as a disruptive figure ushering in a new Christian age.  Filled to the brim with pagan statuary it remains a puzzle, as it confounds anyone who seeks to understated Constantine through a Christian prism.  This presentation proposes ways to understand the forum's symbolic armature by focusing on Constantine's Greco-Roman identity.