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The interdepartmental Classical Studies Program (CLST) at Columbia University (contact information here) brings together faculty from Art History and Archaeology, Classics, History, and Philosophy. Students in the program pursue a Ph.D. or an M.A. in Classical Studies, meeting requirements in three fields relevant to the study of Greek and Roman antiquity as well as the larger Ancient Mediterranean. Together with the Center for the Ancient Mediterranean, Classical Studies is the home of a vibrant community of scholars working in ancient studies at Columbia University. Learn more…

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Columbia Classical Studies Photo Award 2015

Throughout the summer, we are posting photos from places where the CLST students travel, do research, excavate, and teach.

The sixth winner of the CLST Photo Award is Douglas Wong. Doug participated in the CLST Global Class and excavation project at Villa Adriana in Italy, directed by Professors Francesco de Angelis and Marco Maiuro. He sent us photos from a Saturday excursion to the nearby Villa d’Este in Tivoli, where Professor John Pinto (Princeton University) joined the group for a tour.

One of the many fountains that comprise the garden in the Villa d’Este, Tivoli, by Douglas Wong. Built for Cardinal Ippolito d'Este, grandson of Pope Alexander VI, it is an impressive estate whose design was heavily inspired by Hadrian's Villa (and it used remains as building materials as well!).

One of the many fountains that comprise the garden in the Villa d’Este, Tivoli, by Douglas Wong. Built for Cardinal Ippolito d’Este, grandson of Pope Alexander VI, it is an impressive estate whose design was heavily inspired by Hadrian’s Villa (and it used remains as building materials as well!).

One of the columns found in the villa's garden, by Douglas Wong. The design is that of the Apples of the Hesperides, one of the many images associated with Hercules; Cardinal Ippolito d'Este "traced" his lineage back to Hercules and thus used much of his mythos as imagery around the villa.

One of the columns found in the villa’s garden, by Douglas Wong. The design is that of the Apples of the Hesperides, one of the many images associated with Hercules; Cardinal Ippolito d’Este “traced” his lineage back to Hercules and thus used much of his mythos as imagery around the villa.

Another example of the extent and detail of the fountains in the villa's garden, by Douglas Wong. All the water comes directly from the Aniene River, around a kilometer away, and this hydraulic system too was inspired by Hadrian's Villa. The fountains and garden architecture were created by the papal architect Pirro Ligorio, who himself had excavated Hadrian's Villa in 1549.

Another example of the extent and detail of the fountains in the villa’s garden, by Douglas Wong. All the water comes directly from the Aniene River, around a kilometer away, and this hydraulic system too was inspired by Hadrian’s Villa. The fountains and garden architecture were created by the papal architect Pirro Ligorio, who himself had excavated Hadrian’s Villa in 1549.

 

The fifth winner of the CLST Photo Award is Evan Jewell. Evan will be teaching Latin in Columbia’s Summer Session. Prior to that, he is traveling in Greece and France. The first photo comes from the Greek island Delos. Visiting this island over two days, Evan says, was the highlight of the Center for the Ancient Mediterranean’s (CAM) trip to Greece this May. The second photo comes from Nîmes in France, where Evan was doing research for his PhD dissertation.

Wallpainting in Delos, Cyclades, Greece, by Evan Jewell. Delos is remarkable for its wall painting, which is very well preserved in some domestic contexts. But even more interesting is the proliferation of graffiti preserved, such as one from a series of paintings in the Stadium Quarter where an inscriber decided to respond to the painting of a man playing a salpinx (trumpet) by drawing another. Elsewhere, inscribers drew ships, human heads, and wrote names and more on the walls of Delos, much like the cities of Vesuvius in Campania, Italy.

Wallpainting in Delos, Cyclades, Greece, by Evan Jewell. Delos is remarkable for its wall painting, which is very well preserved in some domestic contexts. But even more interesting is the proliferation of graffiti preserved, such as one from a series of paintings in the Stadium Quarter where an inscriber decided to respond to the painting of a man playing a salpinx (trumpet) by drawing another. Elsewhere, inscribers drew ships, human heads, and wrote names and more on the walls of Delos, much like the cities of Vesuvius in Campania, Italy.

The Maison Carrée, Nîmes, France, by Evan Jewell. The Maison Carrée was the main reason why I visited Nîmes and will form one aspect of my dissertation research on youth and power in the Roman empire. It has long been held to be an Augustan temple, possibly built around 16 BCE and then rededicated to Augustus' grandsons, Gaius and Lucius Caesar, the

The Maison Carrée, Nîmes, France, by Evan Jewell. The Maison Carrée was the main reason why I visited Nîmes and will form one aspect of my dissertation research on youth and power in the Roman empire. It has long been held to be an Augustan temple, possibly built around 16 BCE and then rededicated to Augustus’ grandsons, Gaius and Lucius Caesar, the “princes of the youth” (principes iuventutis) somewhere between 2-5 CE, on the basis of a reconstructed inscription. However, recent scholarship has questioned this dating, placing its construction in the Hadrianic period. In any case, the temple is one of the best preserved examples from the Roman world, due to its conversion into a church. One truly gains a sense of the imposing nature of its architecture and its experiential effect upon the viewer as they ascend the steep steps to the portico and cella.

 

The fourth winner of the CLST Summer Photo Award is Alice Sharpless. Alice is participating in the CLST Global Class and APAHA excavation at Villa Adriana, co-directed by Francesco de Angelis and Marco Maiuro. She sent us a series of images of sculpted faces in the Capitoline Museums in Rome. With these pictures, Alice tells us, she wanted to capture the emotions that can be expressed through virtuosic sculpting of faces, both animal and human. Photos and descriptions by Alice Sharpless.

A republican bronze portrait which has been identified as Junius Brutus since the Renaissance, by Alice Sharpless. The head was probably originally part of a full statue, and not a bust as it is seen today.

A republican bronze portrait which has been identified as Junius Brutus since the Renaissance, by Alice Sharpless. The head was probably originally part of a full statue, and not a bust as it is seen today.

Detail of a lion attacking an antelope on a marble sarcophagus in the Capitoline Museums from the late 3rd c. CE., by Alice Sharpless.

Detail of a lion attacking an antelope on a marble sarcophagus in the Capitoline Museums from the late 3rd c. CE., by Alice Sharpless.

Detail of the elder of a pair of centaurs from Hadrian's Villa, signed by Aristeias and Papias of Aphrodisias, by Alice Sharpless. The two centaur sculptures originally included Cupid riders and represented the pain and pleasure caused by love.

Detail of the elder of a pair of centaurs from Hadrian’s Villa, signed by Aristeias and Papias of Aphrodisias, by Alice Sharpless. The two centaur sculptures originally included Cupid riders and represented the pain and pleasure caused by love.

 

The third winner of the CLST Summer Photo Award is Grant Dowling. Grant sent us photos from midtown Manhattan, where he is taking a summer Latin class at the CUNY Graduate Center. Class runs from 9:30am-4pm 5 days a week with optional early morning, lunch time, and weekend review sessions—all of it in the midst of New York City. Photos and descriptions by Grant Dowling.

The flag-lined entrance to the CUNY Graduate center, by Grant Dowling. The building used to house the “B. Altman and Company” Department Store from 1906 to 1989. Unlike Columbia, the second you exit CUNY’s classrooms you step right onto New York’s busy sidewalks.

The flag-lined entrance to the CUNY Graduate center, by Grant Dowling. The building used to house the “B. Altman and Company” Department Store from 1906 to 1989. Unlike Columbia, the second you exit CUNY’s classrooms you step right onto New York’s busy sidewalks.

Street view with CUNY Graduate Center, by Grant Dowling. The architecture of the building has lots of detail. Notice the ornate fluting on these columns. The Classics Department is located on the 3rd Floor of the Graduate Center. And the Empire State Building looms less than a block away!

Street view with CUNY Graduate Center, by Grant Dowling. The architecture of the building has lots of detail. Notice the ornate fluting on these columns. The Classics Department is located on the 3rd Floor of the Graduate Center. And the Empire State Building looms less than a block away!

Side entrance onto 34th Street, by Grant Dowling. The students usually use this door to go get lunch. After grabbing a meal from one of the many cuisines near by (or packing a lunch from home), the students often congregate in the 8th floor cafeteria to chat and study.

Side entrance onto 34th Street, by Grant Dowling. The students usually use this door to go get lunch. After grabbing a meal from one of the many cuisines near by (or packing a lunch from home), the students often congregate in the 8th floor cafeteria to chat and study.

 

The second winner of the CLST Summer Photo Award 2015 is Evan Jewell, who is currently traveling in Greece. His theme for the below photos is materiality, inspired by the many differing uses of local and imported stones in the sites he has been visiting. Photos and descriptions by Evan Jewell.

Mycenae, the roof of the so-called tholos Tomb of Clytemnestra, by Evan Jewell. One of the few tombs of this type not to have had its ceiling collapse, the incredible ashlar blocks carved from a conglomerate rock allowed the builders of this tomb, and the so-called Treasury of Atreus, to achieve architectural feats of load-bearing engineering.

Mycenae, the roof of the so-called tholos Tomb of Clytemnestra, by Evan Jewell. One of the few tombs of this type not to have had its ceiling collapse, the incredible ashlar blocks carved from a conglomerate rock allowed the builders of this tomb, and the so-called Treasury of Atreus, to achieve architectural feats of load-bearing engineering.

Eleusis, the "telesterion" or so-called initiation hall, which would have held a large number of initiates during the initiation rites, by Evan Jewell. Note how the seating is carved from the distinctive bedrock of the site, a feature I encountered at several other sites, from the Parthenon to the limestone fountain of Glauke at Corinth.

Eleusis, the “telesterion” or so-called initiation hall, which would have held a large number of initiates during the initiation rites, by Evan Jewell. Note how the seating is carved from the distinctive bedrock of the site, a feature I encountered at several other sites, from the Parthenon to the limestone fountain of Glauke at Corinth.

Detail from the Erectheion on the Athenian acropolis, Athens, Greece, by Evan Jewell. Here I was fascinated by the deterioration of the pentelic marble in the corner of this famous building--its almost crumpled-at-the-seams state.

Detail from the Erectheion on the Athenian acropolis, Athens, Greece, by Evan Jewell. Here I was fascinated by the deterioration of the pentelic marble in the corner of this famous building–its almost crumpled-at-the-seams state.

 

The first winner of the CLST Summer Photo Award 2015 is Maria Dimitropoulos, who just graduated from the the Classical Studies MA Program and has been accepted into our PhD Program. Maria is currently traveling in the south of Italy. She participates in the Apulia-Paestum in Residence Archaeological Scholars Program, a seminar organized by the Newington-Cropsey Foundation. The program takes graduate students to the archaeological sites of Magna Graecia in South Italy. Impressed by the variety of sites, Maria sent us several images. Photos and descriptions Maria Dimitropoulos.

Temple of Athena in Paestum in the evening, 500 B.C, by Maria Dimitropoulos. This building is an early example of the Doric and Ionic architectural styles co-existing: it is a Doric temple yet there are Ionic columns.

Temple of Athena in Paestum in the evening, 500 B.C, by Maria Dimitropoulos. This building is an early example of the Doric and Ionic architectural styles co-existing: it is a Doric temple yet there are Ionic columns.

Court in the House of Neptune and Amphitrite in Herculaneum, 1st century A.D. with a mosaic of Neptune and Amphitrite on the east wall, surrounded by frescoes depicting plants and fountains; by Maria Dimitropoulos.

Court in the House of Neptune and Amphitrite in Herculaneum, 1st century A.D. with a mosaic of Neptune and Amphitrite on the east wall, surrounded by frescoes depicting plants and fountains; by Maria Dimitropoulos.

Marble bas-relief decorating the front of the stibadium in the cenatio of the Villa Faragola in Ascoli Satriano, 5th - 6th century A.D., by Maria Dimitropoulos. The small marble slab depicts a dancer in front of an altar surrounded by a snake.

Marble bas-relief decorating the front of the stibadium in the cenatio of the Villa Faragola in Ascoli Satriano, 5th – 6th century A.D., by Maria Dimitropoulos. The small marble slab depicts a dancer in front of an altar surrounded by a snake.

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Call for Applications: Classical Studies Summer Fellowship 2015

The interdepartmental Classical Studies Graduate Program at Columbia, CLST, is offering fellowships to be used as summer funding for CLST Ph.D. students. The fellowships are intended as an additional financial resource to GSAS summer funding as well as other fellowships you may have. We wish to support academic projects that will significantly further your education. Applications must include a description of your project, its relevance to your educational path, as well as a budget. Plausible projects include: research in libraries and archives, travel to excavation sites or other places of relevance to your studies, and language training, and more. At the end of the summer, recipients of the fellowship must submit a report. Two recipients will be awarded a small additional sum for outstanding completion of their summer project. Relevant submissions at the end of the summer include completed conference or journal papers, dissertation proposals that are innovative and especially promising, dissertation chapters, and more. Please send your application by email to the Chair and Vice-Chair of the program by Tuesday, April 21.

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Classical Dialogues: Tombs and Burial Customs in Third-Century CE Rome by Barbara Borg

As part of its Classical Dialogues series, the Classical Studies Graduate Program CLST at Columbia University is pleased to welcome Barbara Borg, Professor in the Department of Classics and Ancient History, University of Exeter. On April 10, 2015, 11am-1pm, Barbara Borg will discuss her recent book Crisis & Ambition: Tombs and Burial Customs in Third-Century CE Rome, Oxford (OUP) 2013. Commentators Anne Chen (Brown University) and Irene SanPietro (Columbia University). Location: Schermerhorn Hall 930, Columbia University. Please see below Professor Borg’s description of the project.

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Tombs and burial customs are an exquisite source for social history, as their commemorative character inevitably expresses much of the contemporaneous ideology of a society. This book presents, for the first time, a holistic view of the funerary culture of Rome and its surroundings during the third century AD. While the third century is often largely ignored in social history, it was a transitional period, an era of major challenges–political, economic, and social–which inspired creativity and innovation, and paved the way for the new system of late antiquity.

Barbara Borg argues that during this time there was, in many ways, a return to practices known from the Late Republic and early imperial period, with spectacular monuments for the rich, and a large-scale reappearance of collective burial spaces. Through a study of terraced tombs, elite monuments, the catacomb nuclei, sarcophagi, and painted image decoration, this volume explores how the third century was an exciting period of experimentation and creativity, a time when non-Christians and Christians shared fundamental ideas, needs, and desires as well as cemeteries, tombs, and hypogea. Ambition continued to be a driving force and a determining factor in all social classes, who found innovative solutions to the challenges they encountered.

In its Classical Dialogues series, the interdepartmental Classical Studies Graduate Progam CLST at Columbia University invites authors of recent work in ancient studies that is exemplary for the kind of study that CLST aims to foster. All faculty and students at Columbia and beyond are cordially invited. CLST students are required to read carefully at least one chapter or article in advance and prepare questions and comments for discussion.

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