Classics and Ancient History Conference: The Statue of Zeus at Olympia
3-4 July 2008, University of Queensland, Australia
A conference will be held 3-4 July 2008 at the University of Queensland,
Australia on the Statue of Zeus at Olympia. Further information is
available via the conference website, http://www.uq.edu.au/hprc/index.html?
page=74400&pid=21736. Please contact one of the organizers, listed below,
if you have any questions which are not addressed in this email or on the
Aims of the Conference
i) to produce the first comprehensive treatment of the Zeus in
over fifty years
ii) to extend the analysis beyond matters related to style and the
framework provided by the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World
iii) to contemplate the Zeus as a product of religious thought
before artistic endeavour
iv) to combine the talents of art historians, archaeologists,
historians and literary scholars
v) to employ perspectives from Classical and Hellenistic Greece,
Imperial Rome, and the Byzantine, Renaissance and Modern Periods
vi) to contemplate the place of the Zeus in the cultural imagination
of the ancients; to what degree was it an outstanding example of Greek
culture? who judged it to be so? how did it compare to other examples of
cultural output in the ancient world?
3-4 July 2008 (Thurs.-Fri.)
University of Queensland, St. Lucia, Brisbane. Queensland. 4072. Australia.
Tom Stevenson ([log in to unmask])
Janette McWilliam ([log in to unmask])
Sonia Puttock ([log in to unmask])
John Whitehorne ([log in to unmask])
Length of Papers
30 minutes + 10 minutes for questions (40 minutes total)
Offers of Papers / Abstracts
We would like to receive offers of papers as soon as possible. Please
submit abstracts (max. 100 words) to Tom Stevenson ([log in to unmask])
by 1 May 2008.
For those who are offering papers, please submit a detailed list of your
audio-visual requirements to Tom Stevenson ([log in to unmask]) by 1 May
2008. The registration form, available via the conference website
(http://www.uq.edu.au/hprc/index.html?page=74400&pid=21736), may be used
for this purpose.
Travel and Accommodation
We are asking delegates to organize their own travel and accommodation for
the duration of the conference, though we would like to help in any way
possible. Please see the the conference website
information on travel and accommodation, and please don’t hesitate to
contact one of the organizers for assistance.
Suggested Topics (by no means exhaustive or prescriptive)
1. The importance of Zeus, Olympia, the Olympic Games. Elis and
Pisa, the temple of Zeus.
2. The commission of the statue, the expectation, the resources.
Why choose Pheidias? Other contenders.
3. Planning, construction and appearance. Why a seated statue?
Construction techniques, Pheidias’ team (?), Pheidias’ workshop.
4. Pheidias’ style. Influence of the Zeus on later statues, the
tradition of seated statues of Zeus and others, including Roman emperors.
5. Reactions to the statue in antiquity: Greek and Roman writers. A
religious symbol, a cultural symbol, an incarnation? Religious thought.
6. Care and maintenance of the statue in antiquity. The use of
water and olive oil on chryselephantine statues. The ‘shiners’
(Phaidryntai), temple guards, priests. Deterioration, repairs. Ivory and
wood, sources, unique features.
7. Later history in antiquity. The question of transportation to
Constantinople. Was this feasible? Likely? How would it have been done?
Dismantling the Zeus. The transportation of large statues in stone is one
thing, but the transportation of a chryselephantine giant?
8. The Zeus in Constantinople. The collection of ‘Lausos’,
destruction by fire. Byzantine aims in populating the New Rome with
statues. Political and religious considerations. Location, display
conditions. Was the Zeus transported?
9. Renaissance and modern interest in the Zeus. Paintings,
reconstructions, monuments (e.g. the Lincoln Memorial).
10. The Zeus of Olympia and Cultural Imagination, Ancient and Modern.
Mental frameworks, ways of conceptualizing gods and powers. Religion and
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