Friday, Sept. 18, James Rives’ seminar on ‘Animal Sacrifice and Political Identity in Rome and Judaea’

Next Friday, Sept. 18, James Rives of UNC will give a seminar on ‘Animal Sacrifice and Political Identity in Rome and Judaea’ in the Gibson Room of Cocke Hall, 3:00–4:30. The seminar will discuss the attached recent paper by Prof. Rives. All are welcome to attend. Please forward this message along with the reading to possibly interested students and faculty who may not be receiving this message.

The previous evening, Thurs. Sept. 17, Prof. Rives will deliver a lecture on ‘Social Power and Religious Communication in the Roman Empire: Orthopraxy and Orthodoxy,’ also in the Gibson Room, at 5 pm. Reception to follow.



Lecture Series: History in the Present: Perspectives on the Middle East

Hi preModerns,

Just a note about an interesting lecture on an early Ottoman topic sponsored by our companion group in Early Modern studies.   Leslie Peirce, Professor of History, Middle Eastern & Islamic Studies from New York University will give a talk entitled “Hurrem Sultan: The Slave Who Became Ottoman Queen” on Tuesday, April 14 at 4pm in the Harrison Small Auditorium   Peirce poster.

Best, Lucie

Next preModern Research Evening on March 19, 2015

Do you ever watch the program “So who do you think you are?” offered on TLC (Comcast) or any number of like-minded programs on identity, ethnicity, or even genealogy? Is your identity clear to you? Do you base your worldview on ethnicity?  Do you enjoy the Vikings serial on the History Channel and search for Ragnar and Lagertha on Google?  What would Herodotus say about all this?  Join us for a lively evening of discussion on the makings of the identities many of us hold dear.  We will explore further back into the mists of the preModerns and search for the elusive foundation of “ethnicity” with all its twists and turns.

This Thursday, March 19th, from 5-7pm in the Fiske Kimball Fine Arts Library, the preModerns@UVA will meet for an evening with the Greeks and Romans, whoever they are, and their cousins, the Christians and the Barbarians. We will attempt to unravel that notion of Ethnicity & Identity as only the preModerns@UVA can.

This week the homework is short with just two reading (optional readings for extra credit can also be found in the Box folder for overachievers).  Be prepared to talk about:

K. Lomas, “Ethnicity and Gender,” ed by J. McInerney, A Companion to Ethnicity in the Ancient Mediterranean (Wiley- Blackwell, 2014), 483-496.

W. Pohl, “Post-Roman Transitions: Christian and Barbarian Identities in the Early Medieval West,” ed. by Walter Pohl and Gerda Heydemann, CELAMA 14 (Turnhout: Brepols, 2013) 1–46.

And anything else that is relevant.  See you at the buffet and on the green lounges.




Coordinating offerings

In what seems to be a current atmosphere of huge concern about enrollments, I thought I would use the blog as a space for all of us ‘preModerns’ to coordinate offerings, or at least think about coordinating offerings, or at very least inform each other of what we’re doing. I would like all of us to maximize enrollments rather than appearing to pilfer, or actually pilfering, students from each other. To me, this would be good at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. It’s hard to adjust anything for next year, since at least in History we had to start planning for this in September.

But these are the courses Lendon and I semi-officially* slated to offer next year:
Lendon: HIEU 2031 (“Ancient Greece”: Greek History survey), MW 1-1:50 plus section
HIEU 7003(?) [ca]n’t remember exact number]: “Anthropology of Ancient Greece” (graduate students only: will only run if there are six graduate students in it) M 3:30-6:00

Meyer: HIEU 3041 (“Fall of the Roman Republic”), TR 11-12:15. Can be taken for grad credit as a 9000-level, with extra meeting every two weeks
HIEU 4511/5021 (“Greece in the Fifth Century”): a discussion seminar with short papers, for advanced undergraduates and graduate students together. T 3:30-6:00

*semi-officially, because if there is no guarantee of six (currently there are three), he will have to drop it and teach an introductory (1500) seminar.

Could or would others post what they are planning to do? Does this subject interest others, and is it an appropriate subject for the blog?


Elizabeth Meyer

Lendon: HIEU 3021 (“Greek and Roman Warfare”) MW 1-1:50 [he hopes], plus section
HIEU 5010 [not sure about the number] (“Late Archaic Greece”), for advanced undergraduates and graduate students alike; T 3:30-6:00
Meyer: HIEU 2041 (“Roman Republic and Empire”), MW 11-11:50 [she hopes], plus section
HIEU 5051 (“Roman Empire”), for advanced undergraduates and graduate students alike, M 3:30-6:00


Traffic in the Indian Ocean

I think we would all say that our first “research evening” was a success! We enjoyed good food and good conversation met in the Fine Arts Library, including a stimulating discussion of the movement of people and goods in the medieval Mediterranean.

At the meeting, Dan Ehnbom looked at the map of the Mediterranean world provided in Horden and Purcell’s Corrupting Sea and asked a provocative question:

“What if we were to turn the map a different way?”

Dan’s question took us beyond the boundaries of the Mediterranean, first to the 1375 Catalan map that serves as a banner to our blog, in which the Mediterranean connects an expanded northern Africa to Europe and the Levant, and then to thinking about the Indian Ocean and eastern Asia. There was some consensus about making a geographical shift in the reading for our next research evening, towards the Indian Ocean as a center connecting east and west—Europe, Africa, and Asia.

Erin Lambert and I propose the following readings for our next meeting, Thursday, December 4, from 5-7 p.m., again in the Fine Arts Library. These articles and the book chapter seem to connect the different regions around the Indian Ocean, as well as Europe and East Asia, and raise issues in the scholarship of the region. They also stretch the boundaries of “premodern” from the medieval world through the end of the 17th century.

1. Sanjay Subrahmanyam’s “Birth Pangs of Portuguese Asia: revisiting the Fateful ‘Long Decade’ 1498-1509, ” Journal of Global History 2 (2007) : 261-280, nicely brings Venice and the Mamluks into the Indian Ocean, gauging their concern over Vasco da Gama’s opening of trade with India.

2. “The Silk Road of the Seas,” from Lincoln Paine’s Sea and Civilization: a Maritime History of the World, New York: Knopf, 2013, gives an overview of connections between the different parts of the Indian Ocean in the Middle Ages.

3. Tonio Andrade’s “Beyond Guns, Germs and Steel: European Expansion and Maritime Asia, 1400-1750.” Journal of Early Modern History 14 (2010): 165-186. Andrade asks how Omani and Chinese maritime empires emerged in the 17th century to successfully challenge the Europeans by adapting their technology.

4. Benjamin Schmidt’ “Inventing Exoticism,” in Merchants and Marvels: Commerce, Science and Art in Early Modern Europe, New York: Routledge, 2002, describes how Dutch mapmakers envisioned the world for the European public c. 1700 based on their experience of exploration and colonization.

What do you think? Still too Eurocentric? Obviously, others are welcome to suggest different or additional readings based on their own research, but we thought we’d throw these out there. We look forward to discussing these and learning together!

Keith Weimer


Traffic and Movement, October 2nd, 5-7pm

We’ve all been there! Ten minutes in the bar/restaurant/committee talking with another colleague and we discover how many  research interests we actually share! We catch ourselves thinking that it would be so great if we could have a bit more time to talk to each other, exchange notes and even collaborate but alas! between teaching, research, service and other commitments that flood our calendars this often remains wishful thinking.

preModerns@UVA is an opportunity to meet with colleagues from different departments who work in similar periods and share common interests. Think of  this as interdisciplinary dialog with food and drinks in the comfortable green sofa in the Fine Arts Library. We do not want to add to everyone’s busy calendars, thus these meetings will be happening sporadically in the year, every two-three months.Come to as many as you like and make sure you suggest topics and readings that interest you. We are teaming up with Keith Weimer, the Pre-Modern History Librarian and Lucie Stylianopoulos, Art/archaeology, and Classics Librarian who are here to collaborate and support our teaching and research needs.

After some initial conversations among colleagues, we have decided to meet for our first event on October 2nd, 5-7pm at the Fine Arts Library. Our theme for this event is Traffic and Movement. We want to discuss how people, ideas and objects move in the preModern world and the implications of such movements. How do such movements rearrange sociopolitical geographies and under what circumstances can they create a cultural koine? How do new technologies, warfare, politics and demography inform such movements?

We also want to discuss new ways and technologies that can help us explore and visualize such movements from the regional to a global scale. Digital humanities, data mining, big data, network analysis, are they for everyone? How can we use such tools in our own research?

Jehan de Mandeville, Le livre des merveilles, Bibliotheque national de France

To this end, we have put together a small bibliography on Traffic and Movement that will be circulated in an email. These are just some suggested readings to help us start our conversations. If you have ideas and reads you would like to suggest, do not hesitate to let us know.

Here is our reading/discussion list:

1. The chapter on connectivity in Horden, Peregrine, and Nicholas Purcell. The corrupting sea: a study of Mediterranean history. Vol. 1. Oxford: Blackwell, 2000. (yes you might agree, disagree, have taught it in class but we can not not include it in a session on Traffic and Movement. Bring all your objections/ideas/counter-arguments with you!)

2. On Lucie’s suggestion to move us towards mobility, trade and politics, Franklin, Kathryn J. “A House for Trade, a Space for Politics.” Anatolica 40 (2014): 1-21.

3. On thinking about methodological tools and the analysis of networks: Preiser-Kapeller, Johannes, Liquid Frontiers. A Relational Analysis of Maritime Asia Minor as Religious Contact Zone in the 13th-15th Century.

4. As an opportunity to engage with our colleagues’ work here at UVA we are including  La n c a s t e r  L e w i s, Crossing a Boundary: Where, When, How, pp. 27-38, from Dorothy Wong’s newly released edited volume on China and Beyond.

Are you finding our reading/discussion list too medieval, too restricted, too western or not western enough? Then send us suggestions, reading lists, ideas. You can post on this blog and comment on each post.

Finally, you might ask if this group relates to you. Who qualifies as preModern you may ask. Well, I think we can be generous with our time-span and open minded. The more people join us, the more stimulating the conversations will be. And what defines us as preModerns can be part of our discussions this year.  Join us on October 2nd and be part of our discussions on what constitutes the preModern world!


Fotini Kondyli