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Tag: The Penn Museum

Beasts in the Night Sky: The Constellation Myths of Greece and Rome

In this lecture, Dr. Patrick Glauthier talk about monsters, Aries the Ram, Taurus the Bull, Cetus the Sea-monster – there are no shortage of mythical animals among the constellations of ancient Greece and Rome. Why do such creatures populate the heavens in the first place? And what did they mean to the societies that first …

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Penn Museum: Megan Kassabaum | Underwater Panthers and Their Place in the Native American Cosmos

Dr. Megan Kassabaum describes the ‘Underwater Panthers’ of ancient the American mythology in this Pennsylvania Museum lecture, part of the ongoing series ‘Great Beasts of Legend’. Archaeologists generally agree that certain beliefs about the cosmos are broadly shared among indigenous peoples of the Americas. Though the details vary wildly, the world is generally seen as …

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Penn Museum: Great Beasts of Legend: Centaurs, Sirens and Chimaera: The Greeks and their Monsters

Dr. Jeremy McInerney, Davidson Kennedy Professor Department of Classical Studies, University of Pennsylvania The Greek imagination was populated with all sorts of hybrids and monsters, from the half-horse, half man centaur to the chimaera, a blend of lion, snake and goat. What function did these creatures play in Greek culture? In this lecture we’ll look …

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Penn Museum: Great Beasts of Legend: Anzu the Lion Headed Eagle

Dr. Steve Tinney, Associate Curator, Babylonian Section, Penn Museum The Penn Museum’s popular monthly evening lecture series kicks off with a fresh theme: Great Beasts of Legends. Throughout history, great beasts and monsters fabled or not have terrorized, enchanted, and eluded humans. Join leading Penn scholars on an exploration of some of the best stories …

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Penn Museum: Great Myths and Legends: Warrior Women: Amazons and the Greek Imagination

Dr. Jeremy McInerney, Professor of Classical Studies, University of Pennsylvania This lecture considers the Amazons in Greek legend and art. Who were these warrior women and why did they remain a source of curiosity, wonder and fear in the Greek imagination?

Penn Musem: The Queen of Sheba in History and Legend

Best known from the Bible’s account of her marriage to the wise king Solomon, the Queen of Sheba has attracted the curiosity of Jews, Christians, and Muslims for millennia. The lecture traces tales about her from Israel to Ethiopia, and explores how traditions about her have traveled between different religions and connected different regions.  

Penn Museum: The Golden Age of King Midas

Midas was indisputably the most famous ruler of the Phrygian kingdom in central Turkey, and his Golden Touch made him an especially favorite subject in Greek legend. His first monumental project as king was a colossal tomb for his father (ca. 740 BCE) that was excavated by the University of Pennsylvania in 1957, and the …

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Penn Museum: Hero Twins of the Americas: Myths of Origin, Duality, and Vengeance

Myths concerning the “hero twins” are widespread from Canada to South America. In the archetypal Maya myth, a pair of twin brothers battle with a range of monsters and death deities as they seek to make the world safe for humankind. Instead of defeating their enemies in trials of strength, they outwit them in games …

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Penn Museum: Great Myths and Legends | Imhotep | From Architect to Deity to Villain

The historical figure Imhotep designed the remarkable Step Pyramid complex at Saqqara built during the reign of King Djoser (circa 2687–2668 BCE). After his death, Imhotep was regarded as a great sage and was later deified one of the few human beings to join the Egyptian pantheon. As a god, Imhotep was regarded as a …

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Penn Museum: Adam Smith | Great Wonders | The Great Walls of China

Another lecture in The Penn Museum series “Great Wonders” and this time around about the great wonder The Great Walls of China. The lecture is given by Adam Smith. The Great Wall is most familiar to us as the massive masonry fortifications snaking dramatically over the mountains north of Beijing. These were constructed in the …

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Penn Museum: Simon Martin | Great Wonders | Chichen Itza: An Alien City in the Maya Lowlands

This is another lecture in The Penn Museum series “Great Wonders”, this time around about the Chichen Itza, the ancient Mayan city. The lecture is given by Dr. Simon Martin, Associate Curator and Keeper of Collections, American Section at The Penn Museum.  

Penn Museum: Brian Rose | Great Wonders | The Mausoleum of Halicarnassus and its Successors

Each of the “wonders” in the ancient world was intended to symbolize the builder’s political and economic power, and to serve as a template for future monuments to such power. In most cases they succeeded: the statue of Olympian Zeus was used as a model for portraits of Napoleon and George Washington, while the Colossus …

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Penn Museum: Thomas Tartaron | Great Wonders | The Statue of Zeus at Olympia

The Statue of Zeus at Olympia, in southern Greece, was counted as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and was even singled out for the awe it inspired in all who beheld it. It was a monumental work of art ­– more than 40 feet tall, made of gold and ivory over …

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Penn Museum: Jennifer Houser Wegner | Great Wonders | The Lighthouse at Alexandria: The Pharos

Lecture given by Jennifer Houser Wegner, Ph.D., Associate Curator, Egyptian Section. Founded by Alexander the Great in 332 BCE, the city of Alexandria grew to become one of the most important cities in the ancient world. Alexandria was a hub of intellectual, commercial, political and religious activity, and its Mediterranean harbors were bustling centers of …

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Penn Museum: Grant Frame: Great Wonders | Searching for the Hanging Gardens of Babylon

Grant Frame, Ph.D., Associate Curator, Babylonian Section. The Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar II (604–562 BCE) is infamous in the Bible for having destroyed the Temple of Jerusalem in 586. However, he is famous in classical sources for having built the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. During his reign, …

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Penn Museum: Colin Renfrew: Before Silk: Unsolved Mysteries of the Silk Road

Colin Renfrew speaks on the Unsolved Mysteries of the Silk Road at the Silk Road Symposium held at the Penn Museum held in March 2011. The extent of contact between east (China) and west (Europe and Western Asia) in the prehistoric period has been much debated but remains little understood. In 1921 John Gunnar Anderson’s …

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Wolf-Dietrich Niemeier: Greece and Asia in the Late Bronze Age | The Historical Background of Homer’s Iliad

Dr. Wolf-Dietrich Niemeier, Director of the German Archaeological Institute at Athens, speaks. In 1924, Swiss archaeologist Emil Forrer announced a new discovery relating to the Trojan War. After examining texts found at Hattusa, once the capital of the Hittite empire in Asia Minor, he identified the Hittite words for Troy (Wilusa) and Mycenaean Greece (Ahhiyawa), …

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Clark Erickson: Great Wonders | The Monumental Geoglyphs of Amazonia

Traditionally, the archaeologists have the vast Amazon region of South America to be a cultural backwater compared to the better-known civilizations that developed in the Americas. Scholars stress the limitations of tropical environments and lack of critical technological innovations to sustain civilizations. In recent years, the documentation of intensive agriculture, black earth, managed forests, hydraulic …

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David Silverman: Great Wonders: The Great Sphinx and the Pyramids of Giza

Dr. David Silverman, Curator-in-Charge, Penn Museum, Egyptian Section, presents the opening lecture in the Great Wonders Lecture Series. The most recognized of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, Giza’s pyramids and Sphinx have fascinated humankind for more than 5,500 years. At 240 feet long and almost 70 feet high, the Sphinx is Egypt’s largest …

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Derek Gillman: Chinese Buddhist Art During the 10th-12th Centuries

Derek Gillman, Executive Director and President of the Barnes Foundation, considers a famous Penn Museum artifact as a jumping off point for this talk. The celebrated glazed earthenware luohan in the Museum’s Chinese Rotunda belongs to the most important surviving (although incomplete) set of Chinese Buddhist ceramic sculptures. These life-sized figures were discovered during the …

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