Department of ClassicsUniversity of Cincinnati
Department of Classics

On Saturday November 16th, the University of Cincinnati's Classics Club, Mu chapter of ΗΣΦ, and members of the Ohio Senior Classical League held a Certamen tournament for local high school Latin students in Junior Classical League in order to support the vibrant high school Latin community in Cincinnati. Certamen is an academic quiz team - but the questions focus on classical history, mythology, and art, as well as Latin grammar, vocabulary, and literature.

The schools that participated were: Summit Country Day, Wyoming, Seven Hills, Mariemont, Madeira, Sycamore, Walnut Hills, Lakota West, Indian Hill, Turpin, McAuley, St. Ursuline, and Covington Latin. The youngest participants were in 6th grade and the oldest were Seniors in high school. The competition was fierce and the questions quite challenging; there were 18 teams competing at the Novice Level, 6 teams competing at the Intermediate level, and 12 teams at the Upper level, with two to four people per team.

The day began with an address by Dr. Joana Mitro, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Affairs, who welcomed the teams to the University of Cincinnati. After several hours of competition, badges of victory and honor were handed out to the victors (pictured below) and all enjoyed pizza while Dr. Lauren Ginsberg from the Department of Classics gave students, parents, and teachers more information about studying Classics at UC.

We look forward to hosting this wonderful event again next year!

Special thanks go to the President of our UC Classics Club, Michelle Martinez, and her team of volunteers who organized the event, kept score, read the buzzer machines, set up and cleaned up the rooms, and helped distribute pizza to the hungry victors. They are: Amanda Angelo (ΗΣΦ, Classics Club) Matt Armbruster Emily Blatz (ΗΣΦ, Classics Club) Austin Chapman (Classics graduate student) Sarah Evans (Classics Club) Connor Ginty (ΗΣΦ, Classics Club) Ashley Johns (OSCL) Logan Nagel (OSCL) Mohammed Patel (OSCL, Classics Club) Alex Patterson (OSCL) Joseph Sparough (Classics Club) Lindsay Taylor (ΗΣΦ, Classics Club) Akshayaa Venkatakrishnan (Classics Club)


The audience and participants


The prizes


Novice winners: 1st place: Seven Hills A (far right), 2nd place: Summit C (middle), 3rd place: Walnut Hills (far left)


Intermediate: 1st place: Combination team of Seven Hills, Summit, and McAuley (far left) 2nd place: Turpin (middle) 3rd place: Indian Hill (far right)


Upper: 1st place: Summit (far left) 2nd place: Combination team of St. Xavier, Indian Hill, and Sycamore (middle) 3rd place: Lakota West A (far right)


In June 2014, Lauren Ginsberg (University of Cincinnati) and Darcy Krasne (University of Missouri-Columbia) will chair the three-day panel Writing About Civil War in Flavian Rome at the ninth biennial Celtic Conference in Classics, this year located in Edinburgh, Scotland. Thirty leading scholars in the field of Flavian literature, from ten different countries, will deliver papers that examine bellum civile from a multitude of angles, in and across the works of Silius Italicus, Statius, Valerius Flaccus, Josephus, Martial, Pliny the Elder, and Frontinus. By putting disparate texts and genres of the Flavian era into dialogue, our panel aims to launch a fresh investigation of civil war's literary representation in the wake of 69 CE.

santen lima

Ann Santen, President of the Cincinnati Society of the Archaeological Institute of America, found out this week that she won the AIA's most prestigious award for commitment to the mission of the AIA, the Martha and Artemis Joukowsky Distinguished Service Award. Her role in initiating and growing our Department Outreach Program formed the basis for the honor. Ann will receive her award at the AIA Annual Meeting in Chicago in early January. Ann is an inspiration to students and faculty alike, and we are lucky to have her in our community. For more on the award: For more on the Classics Outreach Program:


This past summer, the American School of Classical Studies at Athens and the J.F. Costopoulos Foundation held a colloquium in Athens honoring Carl and Elizabeth Blegen. 

Carl Blegen was not just a member of this deparment from 1927 to 1957 (and as Head from 1951-1957), but was also an active participant in the modern history of Greece. He enlisted with the American Red Cross in 1918 and worked in Eastern Macedonia and aided with the repatriation of Greek refugees from Bulgaria. He was decorated by King Alexander of Greece for these efforts.

The Blegen's lived in Athens at Ploutarchou 9, which is now home to the J.F. Costopoulos Foundation.

The various speakers at the colloquium spoke about lesser known aspects of the couple's life and work in Greece and in prehistoric archaeology. 

More information can be found here and a videocast of the colloquium is presented here.

pylos roof

In 2010 Sharon Stocker and Jack Davis of the Department of Classics learned of the need to replace a roof that had been erected over the Palace of Nestor in 1960 to cover Carl Blegen and Marion Rawson's excavations. In 2011 Davis and Stocker began to collaborate with the firm of Kyriakides A.E. in Athens, which produced for UC the architectural and engineering studies required for a new roof. These studies, after approval from the Greek Archaeological Service, resulted in the release of €3.1 million in EU funds for construction. Since October of 2012 Stocker has being directing an international team of archaeologists and students representing the University of Cincinnati in excavations at the Palace of Nestor, in collaboration with a team from the Greek Archaeological Service. This research was necessary to prepare the ground for the new roof.

In the past few years UC Classics has been well represented at the Archaeological Institute of America/American Philological Association (AIA/APA) conference each winter. This year we will have twelve speakers from UC Classics presenting their scholarship.

Natalie Abell: "Establishing a Middle Ground: Social Practice and Intercultural Interaction at Bronze Age Ayia Irini, Kea, Greece"

Recent studies of interaction in the Middle and Late Bronze Age (MBA-LBA) Cyclades have been primarily concerned with explaining the hows and whys of “Minoanization,” the process by which Cycladic islanders adopted aspects of Cretan culture. Although such studies have become increasingly theoretically sophisticated, culture change in the Bronze Age Cyclades is still often viewed as the result of unilateral action or influence from Crete, while diachronic analyses that emphasize variation between Cycladic communities are rare. This paper takes a different perspective, focusing on changes in both Minoanizing and non-Minoanizing ceramic production and consumption patterns at Ayia Irini on the island of Kea.

During the MBA and earlier LBA, Ayia Irini was a major exchange hub that linked culturally distinct regions – the Cyclades, Crete, and mainland Greece. An analysis of changes in ceramics in use at Ayia Irini during this period suggests a complex picture of interaction and influence. Minoanizing pottery and technology were employed at Ayia Irini already in the earlier MBA, a period usually considered to precede Minoanization. During the height of Minoanization, Keian potters continued to manufacture non-Minoanizing vessels, while both Minoanizing and non-Minoanizing ceramics were imported from the Cyclades and mainland Greece. Ultimately, the local repertoire of drinking and eating vessels, although partially Minoanized, was in no period wholly comparable to Cretan or other Cycladic assemblages. It is argued that the idiosyncrasies of the Keian ceramic repertoire were not merely an inevitable consequence of the geographical situation of the site at the intersection of regional exchange networks. Rather, it is suggested that Ayia Irini was a kind of middle ground, where people from different cultural backgrounds were able to join in notionally shared drinking and eating practices and, perhaps, associated values. Participation in such events would have served to reinforce social bonds and to promote trade between locals and non-locals. The adoption of Cretan ways of doing things at Ayia Irini, when situated in this context, may be viewed not just as a reaction to growing Cretan cultural or political power, but as part of active Keian strategies to promote interaction with Cycladic islanders and mainlanders as well.

CWB Box 35 F1 1966 AIAMedal cropped

Carl Blegen accepting the AIA Gold Medal, 1965
Image courtesy of the ASCSA

In 1965 Carl Blegen was awarded the first Gold Medal for archaeological achievement by the Archaeological Institute of America. He was not available to go to the US in December to receive the award, but it was presented to him at the home of the American Ambassador to Greece in Athens the following year. 

The American School of Classical Studies at Athens has digitized the audio of that presentation and we present the short audio here. This same audio was played during the William P. Donovan lecture hosted here in Cincinnati in November.

On November 4 the Department of Classics hosted a conversation with alumnus William P. Donovan. Donovan is a retired professor from Macalester College who spoke about his work during the Blegen excavations of the Palace of Nestor in Pylos in the 1950’s and 1960’s. 

Donovan touched on many issues during his talk. He discussed  the differences in excavation methodology that have occurred over the years, he reminisced about Carl Blegen, and he told us about the early history of this department. His talk includes an audio tape recording from Blegen himself, recorded as he was the first Gold Medal for archaeological achievement from the Archaeological Institute of America.

You can watch the video of the talk below.

You can hear the Blegen audio here.