Lecture Announcements Lectures

“Reexamining the Visual Impact of the Togate Body” by Erin Bello

We are excited to share Erin Bello’s video lecture, “Reexamining the Visual Impact of the Togate Body: Deviations and Codified Representations.”

Erin Bello received her Bachelors degrees in both Art History and Classical Civilizations from  the University of North Carolina at Asheville. She then attended John Cabot University for her Masters in Rome where her research focused on Roman statuary. She returned to Italy again to  attend the certification program for the Association for Research into Crimes against Art and is currently studying underwater cultural heritage crimes across the Mediterranean. 

This presentation explores how the toga was depicted in Roman art, and what it represented.

Erin provided us with the following abstract:

“The ideal of the gens togata has framed scholarship around statuary and reliefs of the togate statue body and has served to eliminate the narrative beyond a codification of symbols as indication of status and achievements. The visual dialogue of the togate consists of the juxtaposition and tension between the face and body, male and female depictions, and between other togate statue bodies. The authority of the statue relies on the object’s reception among others of similar appearance while maintaining a sense of personalization, communicating through the expectation of the viewers in a public space. Through an expanding examination of the togate statue body as means of an actual garment, an object, an ideal, and a codified language in of itself, this paper seeks to examine the visual impact of these statue types among themselves and the public landscape of the Roman world.”

Erin has not asked us to share any content warnings with our audience.

Lecture Announcements Lectures

“Something Old, Something New: Using Technological Tools to Link the Past to Modern Audiences” by Neecole A. Gregory

We’re pleased to present “Something Old, Something New: Using Technological Tools to Link the Past to Modern Audiences” by Neecole A. Gregory.

Due to an obsession that started early, Neecole Gregory began dedicating her academic career to the ancient world. She received her BA from Randolph-Macon College in both Archeology and Classical Studies. In the last year, Neecole received her MA in Museum Practices and certification in Museum Studies from the University of Memphis. Despite initially entering the U of M through their Egyptology program, Neecole quickly found that she enjoyed engaging the public with the ancient world which led to her transition into Museology. Neecole’s ambition stems from the excitement of grasping the attention of future generations so that they can develop into aspiring adults who understand the significance of the humanities. This goal is expressed in her current adjunct work at the University of Memphis, teaching introductory art and art history courses. Alongside this, Neecole works with the National Emerging Museum Professionals Network and their Advocacy committee where she promotes more attainable opportunities for those new to the museum world. As the dust clears after the devastation of COVID-19, Neecole hopes to find a progressive institution where she and her ambitions can be an asset. Until then, she enjoys catering to her other passion of cooking as a kitchen manager in a famous breakfast restaurant in Memphis, Tennessee as well as traveling whenever she can.

This presentation explores how museums and institutions can apply different technologies to better engage their audiences.

Neecole provided us with the following abstract:

“Institutions and sites that house ancient objects must compete daily with modern distractions, mainly technology. Adjusting to this new reality, many establishments have decided to utilize these digital tools to better engage a more active, diverse audience. By utilizing devices such as smartphones, 3D documentation, augmented and virtual reality, cultural organizations can foster memorable and personalized interactions with visitors. Currently, there is a large gap in the literature that covers cross-examinations of multiple projects that implement these technologies. A review of case studies and scholarly research on the individual digital tools would present common variables in technological-based public programs that make them successful. Additionally, it would also produce the required materials and labor necessary to start these projects. Comparing this information to the needs of the modern audience member would show the reason why institutions should see these technologies as tools for the future.”

Neecole has not asked us to share any content warnings with our audience.

Lecture Announcements Lectures

“African Subjects in Greek Pottery: A Call for Comprehensive Interpretation” by Miranda Lovett

We’re thrilled to announce a special lecture by a member of our very own AATAW team. Miranda Lovett presents “African Subjects in Greek Pottery: A Call for Comprehensive Interpretation.”

Miranda Lovett is the current Public Programs Intern at the Getty Villa Museum. She is interested in Greek art and archaeology, particularly in the Bronze Age and Archaic period, ancient identity, and modern reception of antiquity. Miranda received her B.A. in Classics at the University of Mary Washington and her M.A. in Classical Archaeology at the University of Arizona.

Her presentation highlights issues with how scholars present and interpret depictions of Africans in Greek pottery.

Miranda provided us with the following abstract: 

“Depictions of Africans in Greek pottery have long been studied by archaeologists and historians, but interpretations about why the Greeks chose these subjects continue to change. Even when dismissing the blatant racism of early scholarship, modern scholars struggle to present these subjects without using inappropriate or outdated terminology or reducing Africans to mere slaves. As stewards of antiquity, academics and museum professionals alike are responsible for providing interpretations that make sense within the context of antiquity and within modernity. Focusing on a single object in the Getty Villa collection, an Athenian wine pitcher, this paper discusses what is known about the Greek context of this vessel, issues of terminology, and the role modern museums play in presenting racialized subjects.” 

Miranda has not asked us to share any content warnings with our audience. 

Lecture Announcements Lectures

“Stone and Ancient Egyptian Book Culture” by Chana Algarvio

We are happy to announce our first presenter for April, Chana Algarvio, with her presentation “Stone and Ancient Egyptian Book Culture.”

Chana Algarvio has a MA in Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations from the University of Toronto, with a specialization in Egyptology that focused on cross-cultural relations via art practices and iconography. Currently she is a Master of Information candidate at the University of Toronto pursuing Library Science, and Book History and Print Culture. Her research focuses on challenging Western notions and modern bias regarding the book by shedding light on the realities of ancient Egyptian book culture, a culture which was not solely papyrus-based, as is commonly believed.

Her presentation focuses on how stone was a fundamental writing surface in ancient Egypt, and how book historical scholarship, as well as Egyptological scholarship, often neglects stone as a book medium.

 She has provided us with the following abstract:

“There is a neglect or hesitancy in modern scholarship—whether in Egyptology or Ancient Near Eastern studies, and especially in book history—to consider stone as a book medium due to the seminal focus placed on portability as a defining characteristic of the book. Based on Western concepts and early-modern bias that ultimately equates codex to book, the notion of portability is ultimately inapplicable to all book cultures and deserves reexamination. Throughout ancient Egyptian history, stone was used as a primary writing surface to communicate with humans and the divine. This presentation will look at the various uses of stone in ancient Egyptian book culture and the literary works inscribed, conceptual frameworks that can be used to better understand how stone can be considered a carrier for the book, and will discuss other ways in which portability can be achieved via non-physical means.”

Earlier Lectures Lectures

“Diplomacy and Security in the Ancient World: Hasmonean-Roman Relations” by Louis Polcin

We are happy to announce our second presenter for March, Louis Polcin, with his presentation “Diplomacy and Security in the Ancient World: Hasmonean-Roman Relations.” Louis is a graduate student in the interdisciplinary Classical, Near Eastern and Religious Studies department at the University of British Columbia. His research interests include Greco-Jewish cultural interactions in the Hellenistic period, and Judean political institutions in the Hellenistic and early Roman eras. He was a History and Classical Studies double major as an undergraduate at Willamette University. Today’s presentation stems from his History thesis, which seeks to re-evaluate perhaps the earliest interactions between Jews and Romans: the military alliances between the Hasmonean Dynasty and the Roman Republic. You can follow him on Facebook (@Louis Polcin).

His presentation focuses on Hasmonean-Roman relations and geopolitical strategies in the 2nd century BCE.

 He has provided us with the following abstract:

“Scholars have long been puzzled by the treaties between the Hasmonean Dynasty of Judea during the second century BCE, and the Roman Republic, which ruled much of the Western Mediterranean during the same period. The geographic, political, religious and cultural differences between the two states, as well as the enormous power differential between them, has caused skepticism over their mutual cooperation. Yet placed within the larger geopolitical context of the ancient Mediterranean, these treaties become quite sensible. This study argues that Hasmonean-Roman relations illustrate the geopolitical strategies of each regime; while Rome sought to use the Hasmoneans as a buffer against their rivals, the Hasmoneans attempted to use the backing of Rome to intimidate both internal and external opponents. Far from victims of Rome manipulation, the Hasmoneans overdramatized the threat that their own enemies could pose to Rome, allowing them to obtain sweeping rhetorical concessions from the Roman Senate.”

Earlier Lectures Lectures

“About Face: Female Frontality in the Khorsabad Ivories” by Rafaela Brosnan

We are happy to announce our first presenter for March, Rafaela Brosnan, with her presentation “About Face: Female Frontality in the Khorsabad Ivories.” Rafaela Brosnan is currently the John Wilmerding Intern for Digital Interpretation at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. She earned her master’s degree with specializations in Ancient Near Eastern Art and Archaeology and Curatorial Studies from the University of Chicago in 2020. Rafaela’s research interests include gender and sexuality in the ancient world, displaced objects, and social justice in the museum field. You can follow her on Facebook ( and Instagram (@rafaela.bros)

Her presentation focuses on the role of female frontality, gender in composite creatures, and the unstable meanings of the Khorsabad ivory sphinxes in a cross-cultural context.

 She has provided us with the following abstract:

“The Syro-Phoenician Wig and Wing ivory sphinxes excavated in Khorsabad (ancient Dur-Sharrukin) bear intriguing faces that demonstrate the power of female frontality, a composition that is still largely unexplored in scholarship on ancient Near Eastern art. In contrast to the frameworks of originality and hybridity that typically characterize this subject, this presentation examines the role of female frontality, gender in composite creatures, and the unstable meanings of the Khorsabad ivory sphinxes in a cross-cultural context. By exploring the ivories’ relationship to the ancient city of Dur-Sharrukin, I argue the ivories’ gendered frontal pose presents an innovative divergence from their Phoenician counterparts, transforming the Wig and Wing sphinxes and the specific connotations they are able to carry in a variety of contexts. This is due to the ability of female frontality to signal meanings based on the affective nature of sight in relation to knowledge, gender, and Assyrian customs.”

Earlier Lectures Lectures

“Benvenuto Cellini’s Perseus with the Head of Medusa – the Meaning Behind the Violence” by Sara Myers

We are happy to announce our third presenter, Sara Myers, with her presentation “Benvenuto Cellini’s Perseus with the Head of Medusa – The Meaning Behind the Violence.” Sara received her MA in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Colorado Boulder and her BA in Classics with a minor in Art History from Brigham Young University. She has worked at both the Denver Art Museum and the Children’s Museum of Denver as a museum educator. Her interests lie in the artistic representation of classical mythology throughout history. You can follow her on Facebook ( and Instagram (@smyers778)

Her presentation focuses on the 16th century depiction of Perseus and Medusa commissioned by Cosimo I de’ Medici and completed by Benvenuto Cellini.

 She has provided us with the following abstract:

“Commissioned by Cosimo I de ‘Medici shortly after his appointment as Grand Duke, the famous bronze sculpture of Perseus with the Head of Medusa completed by Benvenuto Cellini in 1554 uses the myth of the great hero Perseus to serve as a visual representation of Cosimo’s rise to power as well as act as a warning to the enemies of the Medici. The mythological symbolism, the location of the statue, the supplemental imagery found on the base of the bronze, as well as surrounding artwork all lend themselves to the idea that this statue was commissioned to commemorate a critical event in Cosimo I de ‘Medici’s rise to power. This presentation takes a closer look at the context, the myth, and the statue as a whole to fully appreciate the thought that went into the commission of this statue. I explore how a story frequently told and depicted in the ancient world was effectively used to make a bold statement about Cosimo I de’ Medici and visually cemented his claim to power in Florence.”

Earlier Lectures Lectures

“Textiles: Women’s /Work/ Art” by Dr. Katherine Iselin

We are happy to announce our first presenter for November, Dr. Katherine Iselin, with her presentation “Textiles: Women’s Work Art”. Dr. Iselin received her PhD in Art History and Archaeology from the University of Missouri, and she currently teaches in the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Missouri. Her research explores themes of gender and sexuality in visual and material culture, particularly through the reception of ancient art in later periods. You can follow Dr. Iselin on Twitter (@Ktpiselin) and Instagram (@ktp.iselin).

Her presentation focuses on how women contributed to the visual arts in ancient Greece. She has provided us with the following abstract:

“How did women contribute to the visual arts in ancient Greece? Discussions on the art of ancient Greece typically focus on sculpture and vase-painting – unsurprising as these two forms of art not only most commonly survive, but sculpture and painting remain the most highly-regarded of all artistic mediums in the Western art world. As they have been for much of Western art history, these media were largely produced by men. Thus, women are frequently absent from discussions of ancient Greek art. Yet ancient Greek women were involved in visual art in other ways – most notably through textile arts.

Textiles rarely survive from antiquity. Even so, with the handful of extant fragments, depictions of weaving on vase-painting, and the surviving objects associated with weaving activities, we can gain a better understanding of this particular form of art so closely associated with women. This video gives an overview of the association between women and weaving, examining the significance of textiles in ancient Greece and showing the weaving process.”

Earlier Lectures Lectures

“Doctor, doctor, gimme the news: Diagnosis 2000 years removed” by Susanna Pilny

We are happy to announce our first presenter for October, Susanna Pilny, with her presentation “Doctor, doctor, gimme the news: Diagnosis 2000 years removed.” Susanna has an MPhil in Classics from Trinity College Dublin and an MSc in Biological and Biomolecular Science, with a focus on microbiology and infection biology, from University College Dublin. She is currently a data analyst, but still spends her summers volunteering at the Agora Excavations in Athens (during non-Covid years) and her spare time pursuing independent scholarship. You can follow Susanna on Twitter (@plinytheshorter).

Her presentation focuses on how to diagnose ancient illnesses. She has provided us with the following abstract:

“We often take it at face value when experts tell us that ancient peoples suffered from specific diseases. But how do you go about diagnosing someone who is 2000 years dead? And how confident can you really be in this diagnosis? 

I will walk viewers through the pitfalls of attempting to diagnose the diseases of people long past. Problems include: differences in modern and ancient understanding of health, disease, and medicine; translation problems; diseases that no longer exist; and genetic mutations of current diseases. Then, using malaria in Classical Greece as an example, I will explain how one might attempt a retrospective diagnosis. This discussion will broadly use modern scientific knowledge to analyze textual and archaeological evidence from ancient Greece.”

Susanna has asked us to share the following content warnings with our audience: human remains (i.e. bones) will be shown.