Research Conversations Hilary Term 2020

The second Research Conversations of the academic year, organised by Professor Martin Goodman, will take place on Friday 28 February from 1pm in the Spalding Room.

Dr John Lowe will be in conversation with Professor Bjarke Frellesvig about his upcoming ERC project on the ancient Indian grammatical tradition and the discovery of interactions, influences and connections with modern linguistic thought.

Pāṇini’s grammar the Aṣṭādhyāyī is widely recognized by linguists as the most sophisticated grammar of any language ever devised, at least before the second half of the 20th century. Yet beyond this recognition, modern Western linguistics has very little knowledge of the millennia of linguistic insights and analyses developed in India. Dr Lowe’s project aims to systematically explore and analyse the neglected riches of ancient Indian linguistic thought, and to build on lost insights to create innovative approaches to contemporary issues in modern linguistics.

Professor Maren Schentuleit will be in conversation with Professor Martin Goodman about her new book project on the economic history of Dimê, an ancient settlement in the desert north of Lake Fayum. A large temple once dominated this place, which the Greeks called Soknopaiou Nesos—the ‘Island of Soknopaios’, i.e. the crocodile-headed god Sobek in his local form as the ‘Lord of Pai’. Impressive ruins of the temple of this Sobek are still preserved, the remains of a building probably erected between 100 BCE and about 50 CE.

Egyptian temples were not only places where religion crystallised, but also economic centres, and Dimê offers like hardly any other place a rich material basis for the study of the temple economy of Egypt in the Hellenistic and Roman periods. The majority of the texts, which are written in Greek as well as in Demotic, date from around 50 BCE to 250 CE. Study of the Greek material began shortly after the first excavations at the end of the 19th century, but most of the Demotic sources still await publication. This research conversation, will focus on the so-called henu agreements, which furnish, together with accounts, receipts and contracts, the basis for further analyses of the administrative and economic system of Dimê in the Roman period.

Tea and coffee will be available, and you are welcome to bring your own lunch. All are welcome to attend.