Live Webcast: Undergraduate Research Symposium

Live Webcast: Undergraduate Research Symposium

Join us on Saturday, December 7 for a live webcast of the Sunoikisis Undergraduate Research Symposium. The stream will be available at rtsp://, viewable with VLC Media Player or Quicktime. To connect via VLC, go to “File”>”Open Network” and past the link into the URL field. For Quicktime, go to “File”>”Open URL” and paste in the link.

Session 1, 2:00pm-3:30pm (EST)

“The Athenian Decadrachm and the Athenian Arkhē
Adam Kasarda, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
Faculty mentor: Thomas J. Figueira

“From the Ground Up: Archaeology and Landscape in the Xanthos Watershed”
Kristin Otto and Genevieve Flynn, DePauw University
Faculty mentor: Pedar Foss

“Derrida and Oral Tradition: Echoes of the Homeric Pithoi of Zeus and the Hesiodic Pithos of Pandora”
Maxwell Gray, Rhodes College
Faculty mentor: Joe Jansen

Session 2, 4:00-5:30pm (EST)

“Brasidas: the Spartan Nautikos”
Zak Garriss, Reed College
Faculty mentor: Ellen Millender

“Martial Exhortation Poetry: Dealing With Combat Trauma”
Luke Madson, Knox Colllege
Faculty mentor: Danielle Fatkin

“Cicero and Adams: Architects of the Founding”
Garrett Lysford, Concordia College
Faculty mentor: Heather Gruber


The Athenian Decadrachm and the Athenian Arkhē

This paper discusses the Athenian decadrachm coin, including its origins and its possible cultural significance.  I argue that the source of resources for the minting of Attic decadrachms was the victory at allied Eurymedon. Implicated as well are Athenian victories in Thasos and in Thrace.  These expeditions created the political and economic conditions for Athens to mint decadrachms.  Athenian decadrachms, not only immediately larger than standard tetradrachms, are also distinctly differentiated in their rearrangement of the symbols on the reverse of the tetradrachm. I discuss symbolic and economic usage of the decadrachms, by assessing several conflicting hypotheses.  For example, Wolfgang Fischer-Bossert starts with the suggestion that coins may have served as symbols of ostentation since they are not found in Athenian contexts.  He asserts that the increasing democratization of Athens militated for limiting large-value coins in the households of wealthy Athenians.  The paper criticizes the idea of such inhibition of ostentation. While the decadrachms were not commemorative in our sense of the term, their minting was a manifestation of growing economic power of the Athenian arkhē as a gesture of visual aggrandizement. Our critical parallel is the Demarateion coins of Syracuse, which must be adduced as another example of a coinage that was a graphic allusion to a military victory. Decadrachms were possessed in tangible evocation of participation in a glorious act of anti-Persian resistance.  In short, I try to address the minting and cultural valence of Athenian decadrachms as they relate to progressive Attic imperialism in the mid-fifth century.

From the Ground Up: Archaeology and Landscape in the Xanthos Watershed

During the summer of 2013, Kristin Otto and Genevieve Flynn, students from DePauw University, accompanied classical studies professor Pedar Foss to the Lycian region of Turkey to research the relationship between archaeological sites and the ancient landscape. The ultimate goal of the study tour was to comprehend the ways in which the Lycian peoples in the ancient Xanthos River watershed utilized the unique topography of the region to build successful settlements and to understand the relationships between the various sites in this area. In preparation, the students created a Google Map for plotting the positions of sites and waypoints, and conducted background research on specific sites. Once in Turkey, the research team visited plotted archaeological sites each day, focusing on the relationship between the site and the landscape. The team added relevant points to the Google Map, which created a preliminary visual of the lifeways in region. Site observation provided the basis for developing a project utilizing the collaboration of Professor Pedar Foss, Professor Allan Greaves, a classical archaeologist, Professor Neil Macdonald, a geomorphologist, both of the University of Liverpool, as well as Bülent Arikan of Istanbul Technical University. The pending project, From the Ground Up, seeks to allow them to research the flows and dams of peoples and resources throughout the Lycian region, and will be groundwork for an AHRC-NSF grant proposal. The researchers hope to utilize GIS technology to model interactions such as carrying capacity, settlement density, population estimates, and energy costs within the region.

Derrida and Oral Tradition…”in a given set”:  Echoes of the Homeric Pithoi of Zeus and the Hesiodic Pithos of Pandora

Classicists working on oral tradition have largely written off Derrida’s textual philosophy.  Clinging to a dichotomy of the oral poet and his oral tradition, the poet is considered either to be effaced by his tradition or to work his tradition and its references towards his own ends and neither consideration gets at the relationship at hand.  In contrast, by an application of Derrida’s notion of the machine – “the durable institution of the sign” as “the only irreducible kernel of the concept of” language (Of Grammatology 44) — I will explore the communication of the Homeric pithoi of Zeus and the Hesiodic pithos of Pandora and in doing so investigate some macro-dynamics of oral tradition — specifically, the dynamics of a single relationship of the Homeric and Hesiodic traditions as well as of the two and a common, Indo-European, oral tradition.

By way of the myths of the pithoi of Zeus and the pithos of Pandora, the Homeric and Hesiodic traditions necessarily echo each other.  However, the two traditions, by way of the myths, are necessarily not echoes of each other.  Utterances are exchanged between the Homeric pithoi and the Hesiodic pithos; the two pass through the machine and into each other, through and within the play of language.  It is the “through” by which the two traditional myths necessarily echo each other and the “within” by which the two are necessarily not echoes of each other.  And what is uttered is the pithos as this very machine in which oppositions are married.

Brasidas: the Spartan Nautikos

Scholars have long struggled to situate the character of Brasidas within Thucydides’ History. This solitary hoplite shatters the stereotype of the Spartan myopic military tradition displayed throughout the Archidamian War. Unlike the unimaginative Spartans lambasted by the Corinthians at the debate in Book One, Brasidas wins victories through decisive action (2.25). He witnesses defeats at sea (2.91) and learns from them, becoming a naval counselor whose radical voice goes unheeded to disastrous effect (2.93, 3.79). When he finally breaks out on his own, Brasidas brings new tools to bear on the fighting in Thrace, wielding rhetoric and deception along with violence to keep Sparta afloat in the war (4.70-116). He dies in sacrifice, defeating the Athenian Cleon despite disadvantageous circumstances, earning heroification by the Amphipolitans (5.10). Swift, cunning, and eloquent, by the end, he seems decidedly unSpartan.

To understand the value of the Brasidas character, one must look to its narrative throughout the History and the lessons it tells. What this paper argues is that the Brasidas narrative from Books Two through Five substantiates Thucydides’ claims regarding war’s ability to force the human temperament to adapt to changing circumstances (3.82.2). Brasidas represents the process by which war thrusts opposing cultures against each other in brutal conflict that changes each participant. He becomes an exemplar of the dangerous consequences such conflicts create. To survive against the imperial might of Athens, Sparta itself must change. Brasidas embodies such change, one that prolongs the war and drives Sparta onward to increasingly desperate circumstances.

Martial Exhortation Poetry: Dealing With Combat Trauma

Martial poetry of the 7th century BCE provides evidence for military developments in archaic Greek city states. Rather than analyzing the fragments of Archaic poets for details, e.g., speculating exactly when and how the phalanx developed, we can move beyond this debate to discuss the social structures which served to facilitate warfare and, furthermore, created an emerging exoteric hoplite ideology, as opposed to the esoteric ideology of aristocrats, e.g., the one found in Pindar.

Much has been made of the negative incentives in phalanx warfare and the consequences of “losing one’s nerve” in battle; however, I suggest that this negative system portrayed by martial poets also facilitated positive group identity and a way of dealing with combat stress. At a time when battles were joined on a semi-seasonal basis, and in which the winner lost on average 5% and the loser 14% (Krentz, 1985), it would be impossible for a hoplite not to face psychological trauma.

In this presentation, I will propose that the extant fragments of martial poetry provide traces of a greater system of dealing with combat trauma. (The term PTSD comes with modern connotations; however, these poems maintained morale and dealt with violence in battle.) Through a close reading of Callinus 1, I will offer an examination as to how a local social system or ethnicity (i.e., Ionic) developed a method of coping with military stress. We might then be able to carry arguments over to other ethnic identities/social groups and corresponding poetry.

Cicero and Adams: Architects of the Founding

This paper examines the influence of the political thought of Cicero upon the Founding Fathers, with a particular emphasis on John Adams’ role in the drafting of the Constitution. Cicero was profoundly influential upon the moral and political thought of the Framers. His key works, De Re Publica, De Legibus, and De Officiis outlined why a republic is the most desirable form of government and how an ideal republic should be structured. John Adams held Cicero’s works in the highest regard and cited them extensively in his Defence of the Constitutions of the United States of America. This work defined his political dream for a republic that rested on the principle of res publica res est populi. The Defence offered his opinion in absentia to those at the Convention of what kind of government was best and it was critical in pushing elite and public opinion in favor of the Constitution. Among his most important ideas were that America should be an imperium legum, not an imperium hominum, and it should utilize the virtues of the three orders of government, namely the democratic, aristocratic and monarchical. Scholars to this point have failed to fully examine the profound influence of Cicero upon the Fathers beyond merely noting their admiration for the ancients.

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