Seminar Series 2018

March 9, Prof. Louise Hitchcock, University of Melbourne

Yo Ho, Yo Ho, A Pirate’s Life for Me: The Maritime Culture of the Sea Peoples

Historical accounts indicate pirates were able to create culturally mixed tribal entities and identities by incorporating new followers from different cultures into their social structure. This talk suggests that upheavals at the end of the Bronze Age led to the formation of pirate bands of “Sea Peoples” composed of non-elites, including sailors, disenfranchised warriors, mercenaries, workers, crafters, and peasants from the Mediterranean social network. We discuss how historical accounts of piracy may enable us to model the Sea Peoples’ phenomenon through the identification of patterns in pirate culture including social organization and geography and we suggest that piracy was a mechanism for limited migration and transmission of foreign cultural traits. One tribe of these blended cultures, the Peleset, settled amongst the indigenous Canaanites, forming a new entity, the Philistines. We propose that their leaders assumed the Luwian title tarwanis (seren) or military leader, indicative of their tumultuous past.


March 23, Dr.  Katherine McLardy, Monash University

Women’s Festivals in Ancient Greece: An Interdisciplinary Approach to the Thesmophoria and the Adonia

In this talk, I will present an overview of my research into the Thesmophoria and the Adonia, two women’s festivals from ancient Greece. The Thesmophoria was a festival that was held in honour of Demeter Thesmophoros and her daughter Persephone, while the Adonia was a festival in honour of Adonis, the short-lived consort of Aphrodite. Past research has been largely preoccupied with reconstructing a general pattern for the festival; contrary to this, I argue that the festivals must be viewed in their local contexts which allows us to observe considerable variation to their structure and meaning(s). Thus, I consider both the evolution of these festivals over time and place and, crucially, the impact that these festivals would have had on the women who celebrated them. I contend that it is important to recognise that rituals such as these were multifaceted and cannot be fully explained under a single paradigm; instead, an interdisciplinary approach is required in order to reconstruct and interpret these festivals in a manner which brings us closer to how they really worked within their actual historical contexts.


April 13, Sarah Chandlee, Monash Centre for Ancient Cultures

Domestic Architecture and Urbanism in Late Period and Ptolemaic Egypt

NOTE: This lecture has been cancelled. 


April 27, Prof. Lloyd Weeks, University of New England

May 11, Prof. Jane Montgomery Griffiths, Monash Centre for Theatre and Performance