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NYC - Lecture Series w/ Joan Connelly FR'90

The Parthenon Enigma: A New Understanding of the World’s Most Iconic Building

For more than two millennia, the Parthenon has been revered as the symbol of Western culture, the epitome of the ancient society from which we derive our highest ideals. It was understood to honor the city-state's patron deity Athena, and its intricately sculptured surface believed to depict a celebration of civic continuity in the birthplace of democracy. But through a close reading of a lost play by Euripides, accidentally discovered on a papyrus wrapping an Egyptian mummy, Joan Connelly began to develop a new theory that has sparked one of the fiercest controversies ever to rock the world of classics.

Now, she recounts how our most basic sense of the Parthenon and of the culture that built it may have been crucially mistaken. Re-creating the ancient structure from its natural environment to its pediment, and using a breathtaking range of textual and visual evidence, Connelly uncovers a monument celebrating human sacrifice set in a world of cult rituals quite unlike anything conventionally conjured by the word "Athenian."

Tracking the response of early travellers to the Parthenon from the Renaissance to the 18th century, the discovery of the mummy preserving the Euripides text at the Fayum Oasis in 1901, and the words of the fifth century B.C. Athenians who built the temple, Connelly takes us on a riveting journey of discovery. The result is a revolutionary new understanding of the most famous and influential building in the world, a thesis that calls into question our basic understanding of the ancient civilization that we most identify with.

Classical Archaeologist Joan Breton Connelly FR’90 has excavated across Greece, Kuwait, and Cyprus where for the past twenty-three years she has directed the NYU Yeronisos Island Expedition. A graduate of Princeton University, she received her Ph.D. in Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology from Bryn Mawr College where she now serves on the Board of Trustees. In 1996, Professor Connelly was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship. Her book, Portrait of a Priestess: Women and Ritual in Ancient Greece, was named a notable book of the year by the New York Times Book Review and winner of the Archaeological Institute of America’s James R. Wiseman Book Award.

Connelly has held visiting fellowships at All Souls College, Magdalen College, New College, and Corpus Christi College at Oxford University, and at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University, and has been a member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. She has been honored with a number of teaching prizes, including the Archaeological Institute of America’s Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award. For over eight years, she served on the Cultural Property Advisory Committee, U.S. Department of State. Connelly is a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London, the Royal Geographical Society, and the Society of Women Geographers.

Date: 3/10/2013

Time: 6:00pm Reception, 7:00pm Lecture

Location: NYC Headquarters, 46 E 70th Street, New York, NY, 10021

Member Ticket Price: Free

Guest Ticket Price: $20

Student Ticket Price:

Free to EC Student Members, $5 w/ valid Student ID

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