Date: 7:30 – 9:00 pm, 06-Mar-2015
Cost: Meetings are Free to members, Guests $5 – Students with ID $2
The Greek historian Herodotus is said to have visited Egypt in the mid-fifth century BCE to research background for his study of the two great wars between the Greeks and the Persians. Book Two of his Histories gives a long and detailed account of Egypt’s political and military exploits from the Bronze Age to the Classical period, and contains the world’s first ethnographic account of a foreign people, their society, and their technologies. The last of these is the focus of this evening’s presentation, which will explore the evidence that Herodotus has left us about Egyptian agriculture, language, and construction. His account of the building of Khufu’s pyramid, for one famous example, is the only ancient written source on the topic, but was hardly contemporary: Herodotus was as far removed from the Fourth Dynasty pharaohs as we are from the Roman conquest of Provence. We’ll try to sort out what was factual from uninformed hearsay.
About the speaker:
John Humphrey recently retired after 41 years of teaching and research in the Department of Greek and Roman Studies at the University of Calgary. Originally a Roman imperial historian, his interests wandered first into archaeology (he spent three decades on excavations in Greece and Turkey) and then to the history of ancient technology (the subject of his two books). He has led dozens of UofC travel study tours to all but four of the Mediterranean countries, including Egypt, Libya, Syria, Greece, and Turkey.
Room EDC 287 in the Education Block at the University of Calgary.