Ancient Borderlands Research Focus Group

Int 594AB: Ancient Borderlands

List of presenters and topics, 2008-2009



October 8: General introduction, reception
October 22:
John Lee, History, UCSB
“Ionian Topography and the Spartan Attack on Sardis, 395 BC”

  • Reading: Graham Wylie, Agesilaus and the Battle of Sardis, Klio 74 (1992) 118-130.

November 5: Brice Erickson, Classics, UCSB
“New excavations at Priniatikos Pyrgos, East Crete:
Island Connectivity and Local Identities”

  • Reading: Peregrine Horden and Nicholas Purcell, excerpt from “Connectivity,” chapter five in The Corrupting Sea: A Study of Mediterranean History (Cambridge: Harvard, 2001) 123-43.

November 14: Mary Beard, Classics-Cambridge University
“Power of Laughter”


December 3: Roberta Mazza, Dept. of Classics, UCSB
“What’s in a text/What is a text? Magical papyri from Greco-Roman Egypt”

  • Reading: David Frankfurter, “Narrating Power: The Theory and Practice of the Magical Historiola in Magical Spells," in Marvin Meyer and Paul Mirecki, eds., Ancient Magic and Ritual Power (Leiden: Brill, 1995) 457-476.

January 22: Jacob Latham, History, Pomona College; Ph. D., Religious Studies, UCSB
Fabulous Clap-Trap:
Transgression and Roman Identity in the Processions of Magna Mater”

  • Reading: Mary Beard, “The Roman and the Foreign: The Cult of the Great Mother in Imperial Rome,” in Nicholas Thomas and Caroline Humphrey, eds., Shamanism, History, and the State (Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 1994) 164-90.

February 5: Walter Scheidel, Classics, Stanford University;
with response by Anthony Barbieri-Low, History, UCSB
“The Wolf and the Dragon: Empire in Ancient Rome and China”

  • Reading: Walter Scheidel, “From the Great Convergence to the First Great Divergence: Roman and Qin-Han State Formation and Its Aftermath” in idem, ed., Rome and China: Comparative Perspectives on Ancient World Empires (New York: Oxford University, 2009) 11-23.

February 12: Samuel Thomas, Religion, California Lutheran University
‘The Seal of the Vision is Sealed from You:
Esotericism and Identity in the Dead Sea Scrolls”

  • Reading: Carol Newsom, The Self as Symbolic Space: Constructing Identity and Community at Qumran (Brill: Leiden, 2004) 1-20, 68-75.

February 26: Christelle Fischer, Center for Tebtunis Papyri, Berkeley; Classics, USC
with response by John Lee, History, UCSB
“Beyond Ethnicity and Polybius:
Was the Decision of the Ptolemies to Integrate Egyptians in the Army a Good One?

  • Reading: W. Clarysse, Greeks and Egyptians in the Ptolemaic Army and Administration, Aegyptus 65 (1985) 57-66; Reading: D. Thompson, “The Ptolemies and Egypt,” in A. Erskine, ed., A Companion to the Hellenistic World (Oxford: Blackwell, 2003) 105-20.

March 12: Frances Hahn, Classics, UCSB
“A Liturgical Order of Thanksgiving in Ancient Rome

  • Reading: J. Rufus Fears, “The Theology of Victory at Rome: Approaches and Problems” in ANRW 2.17.1 pp. 736-804.


April 13: • Alexander Sokolicek, Ephesos Excavations, University of Vienna
“Liminal Gates: Sacred and Civic Space in Ephesos”

  • Reading: Alexander Sokolicek, “The Magnesian Gate of Ephesos” (distributed only to Int 594A participants)


April 27: Helen Morales, Classics, UCSB
“Ancient  Fiction and the Politics of Genre”

  • Reading: Gerald N. Sandy, trans., “Iamblichus: A Babylonian Story,” in B. P. Reardon, ed., Collected Ancient Greek Novels (Berkeley: University of California, 1989) 783-97.

May 4: Ralph Gallucci, Classics, UCSB
Thucydides and the Myth of the Hoplite Oligarchy

  • Reading: Sarah B. Pomeroy, et al., eds., Ancient Greece: A Political, Social, and Cultural History (Oxford: Oxford University, 1999) 311-15.

May 11: Fernando Cervantes, History, Bristol University
Christianity and Empire: Unity and Diversity in New Worlds
Panel Discussion with Hal Drake, History, UCSB; Sarah Cline, History, UCSB; Pamela Huckins, Art History, NYU; Beth Digeser, History, UCSB
co-sponsored by the Catholic Studies Research Focus Group, UCSB


May 18: Cristiano Castelletti, Classics, UC-Irvine
“The Styx: Source of Death or Source of Life?
A Study of Porphyry’s Treatise On the Styx

co-sponsored by the Departments of History and of Religious Studies, UCSB

May 26: Blossom Stephaniw, Dept. of Comparative Religion, University of Erfurt
“Constructing the Teacher:
Religious Identity in Third-Century Accounts of Teacher-Student Relationship”

  • Reading 1: Porphyry, “On the Life of Plotinus,” from The Enneads (tr. St. MacKenna; London: P. L. Warner, 1917-30).
    Reading 2: Gregory Thaumaturgos, “Oration and Panegyric Addressed to Origen,” from The Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 6 (trans. Alexander Robinson and James Donaldson; Edinburgh: T & T Clark; Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans).