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Headshots of Dr. John Brady Kiesling and Dr. Sheila Dillon

Dr. John Brady Kiesling and Dr. Sheila Dillon will be in Winnipeg this February

Reconstructing monuments helps share history with new generations

Classics lectures link archaeology and public art as windows to the past

January 27, 2020 — 

The Department of Classics invites one and all to join them this February as they welcome two distinguished academics to present the latest installments in their long-standing annual lecture series. Both events are free and open to the public.


8th Annual Lecture in Hellenic Civilization

“Treasurers of the Goddess: Cultural Heritage and Survival in Post-2008 Greece”
Dr. John Brady Kiesling, Independent Scholar
Sunday, February 2
3:00 pm lecture, reception to follow
118 St. John’s College

The Greek state tends to treat monuments and history as bureaucratic leverage, a way to pry loose funds from the European Union and would-be investors. European liberalism’s embrace of 5th century BCE democracy as a weapon against despotism ultimately rescued Greece’s independence struggle after 1821. Two centuries later, as Europe wavered over how far to let the Greek economy collapse, Pericles and Plato played their roles. Patching holes in the Parthenon is not the same as preserving this unique diplomatic and economic capital. As the next generation comes to adulthood in an era of revived nationalism and deep distrust of educated elites, the stories Greece tells, and the means of delivering those stories, must evolve, partly through new technologies that engage the public as active interlocutors not passive worshippers.

Brady Kiesling is a historian, archaeologist, writer and former U.S. diplomat, who now lives in Greece. After studying Classics and archaeology, he joined the U.S. State Department in 1983. In February 2003, he resigned his position, chief of the Political Section of the U.S. Embassy in Athens, to protest the impending war with Iraq. His resignation letter to Colin Powell went viral after it was published by the New York Times. His latest major project is ToposText, a free mobile application organizing ancient primary sources around a detailed map of the ancient Greek world.

The University of Manitoba established the Lecture in Hellenic Civilization in 2012 as a legacy of the Centre for Hellenic Civilization (CHC). The CHC was an interdisciplinary research Centre (1995-2012) established by Professor Michael Cosmopoulos FRSC and devoted to the pursuit and dissemination of knowledge pertaining to any aspect of Greek culture from prehistory to the present. The Centre’s most successful enterprise was the sponsorship of scores of well attended visiting lectures by archaeologists, historians, literary scholars, anthropologists, sociologists, political scientists, legal historians and diplomats, all of whom brought new understanding of Hellenism to the Manitoba academic community and the interested public. The CHC’s endowment is now applied to the permanent and sustainable continuation of this program of visiting expert lecturers.

32nd Annual Edmund G. Berry Lecture

“The Roman Imperial-Period Portrait Statuary from the Library of Pantainos Complex in the Athenian Agora”
Dr. Sheila Dillon, Duke University
Friday, February 28
3:30 pm reception, 4:00 pm lecture
118 St. John’s College

This paper presents the results of the study of the imperial-period portrait sculpture found in the building complex known as the Library of Pantainos in the Athenian Agora. Excavated primarily in the early 1970s, the Library and associated Street Stoa are located in a very prominent position in the Agora, next to the Stoa of Attalos and along the wide processional way that led to the so-called Roman Agora. Most of the portraits found represent local citizens and benefactors. One surprising discovery was the over-lifesize statue of the emperor Trajan, dressed in parade armor, which appears to have been set up by the father of the famous Herodes Atticus. Although very fragmentary (over 40 fragments of the statue have been recovered) this statue is of very high quality, and the lavishly decorated breastplate displays a unique iconography.

Sheila Dillon received a Ph.D. in Classical Art and Archaeology from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. She teaches courses on Greek and Graeco-Roman art and archaeology. Her research interests focus on portraiture and public sculpture and on reconstructing the statuary landscape of ancient cities and sanctuaries.

Edmund G. Berry (1915-2005) is synonymous with classics at the University of Manitoba having spent time as a Professor, Department Head, Assistant Dean and accomplished researcher in his 40 years at the University of Manitoba The annual lecture in his name invites a classicist who addresses a topic that intersects a selection of intellectual interests in the humanities. It is made possible by those who have contributed to The Edmund G. Berry Fund at the University of Manitoba.



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