“Thucydides, the Athenian” International Conference, organized by College Year in Athens, took place in Athens on 26-29 June. With 12 speakers, more than 100 active participants, and special sideline activities, the conference was a success.
The conference sought to situate Thucydides in his native city, exploring the man within his political and social circles, and delving deeper into the realities of Periclean policy and ideology.
An International group of scholars presented papers that investigated the many aspects of the great historian. The presentations were enriched by the audience’s comments and questions, and the conference concluded with a consensus that, with lessons still remaining to be learned from Thucydides’ Histories, his work remains very current today.
The conference organizing committee consisted of:
- Nanno Marinatos, Professor and Head, Department of Classics and Mediterranean Studies, University of Illinois at Chicago
- Alexis Phylactopoulos, President, College Year in Athens
- Robert Pitt, Classics professor, College Year in Athens
- Theoni Scourta, Vice President for Academic Affairs, College Year in Athens
Here’s a day-by-day recap of the main presentations and discussions of the conference as well as the very engaging activities organized on the sidelines of the event:
Tuesday 26th June, Pre-conference Lecture and Reception
In the evening before the conference, Thanos Veremis, Professor Emeritus at the University of Athens, gave a lecture on Eleftherios Venizelos and Thucydides – the politician and historian –and Venizelos’ translation work of Thucydides.
The lecture was followed by a welcoming reception hosted at the CYA Academic Center, overlooking the Acropolis and the Panathenaic stadium.
Wednesday 27th June, Conference Session I
The conference opened with welcoming remarks by College Year in Athens President, Mr. Alexis Phylactopoulos. The President thanked the international group of scholars for their participation in the conference, the organizing committee for their hard work and all of the attendants for their presence.
Next, Matthew Dickie (University of Edinburgh) declared the opening of the works of the conference, as the Chairman of the first session relating to: “From the Periclean Age to Sicily: Historical and Biographical Perspectives”. The international group of speakers participating at this session included: Angelos P. Matthaiou (Greek Epigraphical Society), Sebastian Anderson (ASCSA), Lisa Kallet (University of Oxford) and Tasos Tanoulas (CYA).
Thurday 28th June – Visit to the Epigraphic Museum, Conference Sessions II & III
On the morning of the second day of the conference, speakers and attendees had the opportunity to visit the Epigraphic Museum of Athens, unique of its kind in Greece and one of the largest in the world, guided by Epigraphy expert, Professor Angelos P. Matthaiou, who presented in detail the inscriptions exposed at the museum and answered the group’s questions.
The afternoon session of the conference, chaired by Olga Palagia (University of Athens), discussed “Post-Periclean Age: Pylos, Amphipolis and Sicily”. The panel of speakers was comprised of: Anastasios G. Nikolaidis (University of Crete), Nanno Marinatos (University of Illinois at Chicago) and Dimitris J. Kyrtatas (University of Thessaly).
The third and last session of the conference centered around the topic of “Literary Metaphors and Ideas”, with presentations from Robert Pitt (College Year in Athens), Ben Earley (Freie Universität, Berlin), Thomas Scanlon (UC Riverside), Tim Rood (University of Oxford) and Michael Konaris (University of Thessaly).
Each presentation was followed by numerous interesting and engaging questions.
Friday 29th June – Excursion to Brauron
Following the productive sessions of the conference, speakers and attendees alike had the opportunity to visit the ancient sanctuary of Brauron, guided by two expert archaeologists: Professor Olga Palagia (Professor Emerita Univ. of Athens) and Dr. Konstantinos Kalogeropoulos (Researcher at the Academy of Athens). The conference participants discussed reliefs and buildings that were constructed during the Peloponnesian war and the history of the cult of Artemis. The visit concluded pleasantly with Greek seafood and Ouzo at a local Taverna.