On February 5 and 6, Humanities West is presenting a two-day series
lectures by noted scholars on */Alexander/Alexandria: The Flowering of
Hellenistic Culture/*, at Herbst Theatre in San Francisco.
P O Box 546, San Francisco, CA 94104. 415 391 9700.
*email@example.com* <mailto:***@humanitieswest.org>_* .
*_*www.humanitieswest.org* <http://www.humanitieswest.org/>_* *
/Alexander/Alexandria: The Flowering of Hellenistic Culture/
Sponsored by Consul General of Greece, Grants for the Arts/SF Hotel
Tax Fund, George and Judy Marcus Family Foundation, Center for Middle
East Studies, UC Berkeley; Stanford Humanities Center; Co-sponsored by
the Modern Greek Studies Center, San Francisco State University.
/*Tickets available now: City Box Office. 415 392 4400.
*/_/*www.cityboxoffice.com*/ <http://www.cityboxoffice.com/>_/* */
*February 5 and 6, 2010. **Herbst Theatre, **401 Van Ness Avenue,** San
Alexander conquered the vast Persian Empire and founded Alexandria
before dying in his 33rd year in 323 BCE. In the aftermath, Greek
literature, learning, and art intermingled with Egyptian, Iranian,
Babylonian, and Hebrew cultures. The interplay of cultures caused
ethnic, artistic, and religious conflicts and convergence. Nowhere did
this convergence of cultures emerge more dramatically than in
Alexandria, which became the royal seat of Hellenistic Egypt. Its Great
Library and Museum and its Lighthouse---one of the wonders of the
ancient world--became magnets for travelers from all around the
Mediterranean and beyond. Though Alexandria's original Library was
destroyed long ago, another has risen from its ashes, and the luster of
Hellenistic Civilization that flourished for three centuries after
Alexander still endures.
Moderator: *William S. Greenwalt* (Professor of Classics, Santa Clara
*Friday, February 5, 2010, 8-10 pm*
/Alexander the Great: Agent for Change?/* **Eugene N. Borza* (Professor
Emeritus of Ancient History at The Pennsylvania State University).Two
things are certain about Alexander the Great. One is that he is among
the greatest military commanders of all time. The other is that the
eastern Mediterranean and western Asian worlds were transformed because
of his passage, resulting in the penetration of Greek culture into
previously non-Hellenic parts of the world. To what extent was the
introduction of Greek culture into Egypt and the East the result of a
deliberate policy of Hellenization? Did Alexander, a pupil of Aristotle
who himself had made clear distinctions between Greeks and "barbarians,"
have a deliberate policy of introducing Greek culture into the
"barbarian" world? How do we go about attempting to answer these
questions? And following from this, one must ask to what extent Hellenic
culture---whatever its source---actually penetrated deeply into native
cultures such as Ptolemaic Egypt during the Hellenistic Era.
* */Picturing Ptolemaic Egypt: The Nile Mosaic from Praeneste. /*Andrew
Stewart *(Professor of Art History, UC Berkeley). The huge and
spectacular Nile Mosaic from Praeneste (ancient Palestrina) in Italy,
discovered in 1600, transferred to Rome in 1626, returned in 1640, and
now heavily restored, remains our best guide not to Ptolemaic Egypt as
such, but to Ptolemaic /attitudes/ to Egypt. Labeled in Greek, it
faithfully pictures many key elements of Ptolemaic material culture from
drinking vessels to temples, and must echo a Ptolemaic painting of the
third or second centuries BCE. This lecture examines its threefold image
of the country: the Hellenized Delta; the Egyptian /chora/; and the
wilds of Nubia.
*Saturday, February 6, 2010, 10:00 am-12 noon and 1:30 pm to 4:00 pm*
* */The Ancient Library at Alexandria: Facts and Fictions/. *Susan
Stephens* (Professor of Classics, Stanford University). Founded by
Alexander in his conquest of the eastern Mediterranean and ruled by a
line of his successors, the Ptolemies, Alexandria was the city from
which Greeks now ruled over the land of the pharaohs. It was also a city
in which Greek and Egyptian cultures must have mixed. The famous
Alexandrian library is a case in point. To what extent it was inspired
by previous Greek models? Could Egyptian temple libraries have played a
role? What was the scribal culture like that enabled the collection and
maintenance of so many books? What roles did scholar-poets like
Callimachus or Apollonius play in shaping the culture of the early
city? What happened to the library? Did the Romans destroy it by
accident? The Christians? The Muslims? Or simply time itself?
* */Jewish Culture in Alexandria: The Hebrew Bible in Greek/. *Erich
Gruen* (Professor of the Graduate School-Wood Professor, UC Berkeley). A
wonderful and witty legend has it that Ptolemy II, the Hellenistic ruler
of Egypt, summoned the most learned Jewish scholars from Jerusalem to
his court to render the Hebrew Bible into Greek. The scholars performed
that task with precision, earning the gratitude of the Greek-speaking
Jewish community, and Ptolemy added the sacred translation to the
shelves of his magnificent library in Alexandria. The lecture employs
this tale, however fictitious it may be, as an illuminating window on
the place of Jewish culture in the life of Alexandria and on the
relationship between Jewish intellectuals and the Hellenistic monarchy
* */The Ptolemaic Alexandria Poetry of Modern Greek Poet Constantine
Cavafy/. *Martha Klironomos* (Professor of English and Modern Greek
Studies, Director of the Center for Modern Greek Studies, the Nikos
Kazantzakis Chair, San Francisco State University) presents the poetry
in Greek of Alexandria-born modern poet Constantine Cavafy set in
Ptolemaic Alexandria, with Professor Klironomos's own translations of
the poetry in English.
* */Alexander's Pictorial Legacy/. *Ada Cohen* (Professor of Art
History, Dartmouth College). Textual and visual sources suggest that
Alexander the Great was not just a brutal conqueror but that he also
possessed and exhibited a certain human complexity. The impression that
he also aspired to the life of the mind contributes to his fame. This
lecture addresses various layers of complexity embedded within works of
art depicting Alexander or other "model" men of his cultural
environment, which often highlight aggression. It also demonstrates the
longevity of visual paradigms that became dominant in Alexander's era
and explores aspects of the evolution of Alexander's image over time.
/*Concluding Panel Discussion */with Presenters and Written Questions
/*Related Programs in San Francisco: Book Discussion on January 13.
Lectures on February 2 and 4. Salon on February 11. See details at
*/_/*www.humanitieswest.org*/ <http://www.humanitieswest.org/>_/*. */