I must start this post by sincerely apologising for the delay; the end of term found me rushing to finish a piece of work before leaving Cambridge (and, with it, access to my precious library).
Having gained your forgiveness, it is with great pleasure that I present to you a summary of mine and Anna Judson’s last session as organisers of the Graduate Interdisciplinary Seminar.
Joshua Pugh Ginn gave the first talk entitled ‘Plutarch on the Death of M. Claudius Marcellus’. Josh started by demonstrating that Marcellus’ death was criticised by Plutarch himself as being the death not of a general but of a scout, because of the rashness of his actions that led to his eventual downfall. On the other hand, the death of Pelopidas in the Parallel Lives is presented in heroic terms. Some have seen this juxtaposition as a way of characterising the entire lives of the two generals and, thus, undermining Marcellus. However, Josh showed that Plutarch’s characterisation remains consistent throughout the two Lives and went on to convincingly claim that Plutarch adapted the stories he found in pre-existing literature about Marcellus’ death in order to fit his own ethical agenda.
Next up was Hannah Price, with a paper entitled ‘The archaeologist-mystic: Giacomo Boni and the Forum, 1898-1910’. As the title suggests, Hannah enthusiastically talked about Giacomo Boni, an architect from Venice, and his contribution to the excavation of the Roman Forum. In the midst of the Italian unification movement, turning to ancient heritage provided a form of legitimacy for the claims of unity and Hannah showed the way in which Boni’s reconstruction of the Forum reflected, and supported, such claims. Eventually, Hannah concluded by showing how archaeologists effect the transformation of the past, by being mediating figures between antiquity and the present.
As always, the talks were followed by questions, which continued at the pub, alongside dinner and drinks.
We are also pleased to announce that next term’s GIS will be taken over by Charles Northrop and Dan Chiritoiu. We all look forward to meeting again for what promises to be an exciting new term.
To all of you: Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.