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The Initiative brings together activities across Yale. We highlight and advertise programs, workshops and events that engage antiquity and the premodern world. We are in the process of creating connections with the Yale Center for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage, the Yale Digital Humanities Group, the Gabii Archaeological dig, and other new projects.

Ancient Societies Workshop and Core Seminar

This interdisciplinary workshop serves as an important meeting ground for those who work on the ancient world at Yale, and is an important forum that allows sustained conversation over a semester or even a year about a common theme.
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Self and Space: Household Identity and Domestic Cult in the Ancient Mediterranean and Near East (April 12, 2014). The goals of this symposium are to facilitate graduate student interaction and discussion with scholars and faculty in a semi–formal environment, fostering dialogue across disciplinary boundaries and creating a space for interdisciplinary dialogue regarding identity, religion, and materiality at the household level.

Home and Away: The Epic Journey (April 25th–26th, 2014). This conference will explore the idea of journeys across time and space, taking as its starting point the paradigm of travel offered by the epic genre. We will look at this theme particularly in the context of journeys to and from home: by defining the cultural-imaginary space in which a character or story operates, the journey provides the structure that allows that person or plot to take on its distinctive character. 

Liturgy’s Imagined Pasts Methodologies and Materials in the Writing of Liturgical History Today (June 15–18, 2014). The 2014 Institute of Sacred Music Liturgy Conference will focus on contemporary challenges in the writing of liturgy’s past. In one form or another, liturgical historiography has long been foundational to scholarly work in liturgical studies, yet has remained under–theorized by historians of liturgy who often simply followed broader historiographic trends. With the 2014 conference, we seek to call attention to the importance of reflecting on the writing of liturgy’s past, taking up questions of methodology as well as contemporary historical research.


Cultures of the Classical ‘Cultures of the Classical’ is a network that draws together scholars at Yale who work on receptions of Greco–Roman Classical Antiquity, and the Classical Tradition (including comparative Classical Traditions and rival antiquities). We are particularly interested in complex plays with the past in which texts and works of art, and indeed whole cultural movements, have appropriated aspects of Classical Antiquity while simultaneously asserting their distance from ancient Greece and Rome.

Greco-Roman Lunch is sponsored by the Classics Department and is held bi-weekly, on the first and third (and sometimes fifth) Mondays of the month in the Fellows’ Room at Saybrook College. The invitation list consists of faculty and graduate students from the Departments of Classics, History, Art History, EALL, Judaic Studies, Religious Studies, and others, and they convene at 12:00 for lunch followed by a presentation by one of their number at 12:30. A presentation of up to 30 minutes is followed by questions. The focus of papers ranges freely from literary to archaeological to cultural. Lunch is provided free to those who are not on a meal plan. To be added to the list, or to volunteer a presentation, contact the convener,

Medieval Lunch Colloquium The weekly Medieval Lunch Colloquium brings together medievalists from a variety of departments in the University for informal presentations and discussion. At each meeting, a speaker presents work-in-progress to an interdisciplinary audience of graduate students, faculty and staff working in medieval studies. Speakers include both Yale faculty and graduate students, with occasional out-of-town guests.

The Hebrew Bible Lecture Series is co-sponsored by the Yale Divinity School and the Program in Judaic Studies. Every year it brings to campus some of the most significant scholars in the field of Hebrew Bible and Second Temple Judaism, both junior and senior, to share their recent research. These lectures make available to the Yale community the breadth of scholarship currently being produced on ancient Israelite and Jewish history, literature, beliefs, and practices. Schedule for 2013-14: Oct. 17, Christine Yoder; Nov. 18, Konrad Schmid; Jan. 30, Judith Newman; Feb. 20, Bernd Schipper; Mar. 27, Gary Knoppers. All lectures will take place at the Yale Divinity School at 5 pm.

The Annual Rostovtzeff Lecture and Colloquium

The lecture honors the legacy of Michael I. Rostovtzeff, a titan of Ancient History and one of the greats of twentieth-century historical scholarship. Rostovtzeff taught at Yale from 1925 until his retirement in 1944. He was a world authority on Hellenistic and Roman history and wrote widely on ancient history, particularly in the field of economic history. The annual lecture brings scholars to Yale who work in areas pioneered by Rostovtzeff, but whose field-changing research takes Ancient History in new directions.
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Please send us your suggestions or let us know what we have missed: