Classics Conferences in Groningen

The Many Faces of Artemis

Saskia Peels-Matthey Michael Kerschner


The aim of this conference is to explore the diversity of conceptions, cults and sanctuaries of the Greek goddess Artemis. In an interdisciplinary and holistic approach, we seek to further topical discussions on Greek polytheism, and we take up recent renewed scholarly interest in studying individual gods. In modern scholarship, various attempts have been made to find an overarching ‘mode of action’ for Artemis, stressing her connections with untamed nature, with transitions and the dangerous. These are sensible suggestions, yet they cannot capture all manifestations of Artemis. 


This conference brings together philologists, epigraphists, archaeologists, linguists and religious scholars to examine Artemis from different angles, by investigating local, regional, and panhellenic aspects of the goddess diachronically. Various epithets show that Artemis is incorporated in different (local) traditions and is associated with various goddesses; and the votive spectrum and sacrificial rituals point in the same direction. We aim to understand the variety of manifestations of the goddess, and develop an understanding of the coherence of her perceived personality. While the majority of written evidence comes from only a few places, first and foremost Athens, the archaeological evidence opens up many parts of the Greek world. Written and iconographical sources provide insights into the ancient ideas of the goddess and her identities. Votive offerings tell us about the concerns that the worshippers associated with Artemis' spheres of competence, animal remains about the sacrificial practices. By taking this multi-angle approach, we hope to understand Artemis better as a case study of the complexities of ancient Greek polytheism.


Groningen Workshop Hellenistic Poetry: Beyond Alexandria

Jacqueline Klooster


Alexandria and the poets associated with its Ptolemaic court (foremost among them Callimachus, Theocritus, Apollonius and the epigrammatists) have dominated the scholarship on Hellenistic poetry to such an extent that the indication ‘Hellenistic Poetry’ is often in fact shorthand for ‘Alexandrian poetry of the Hellenistic era’.

But there was poetry beyond Alexandria. Much of it was written at the courts of the competitors of the Ptolemies, but poets also operated beyond the royal sphere: not only in places like Athens, Rhodes and Sicily, but also in the context of philosophical ‘schools’: the Cynic Crates of Thebes, or Cleanthes of Soloi (Hymn to Zeus). Epigrammatists were active throughout the Greek-speaking world and Hellenistic drama flourished not just at Athens (Menander) but also in a Jewish context (Ezekiel). Finally, there are many anonymous inscribed poems from across the Hellenistic world. A good portion of this literature has been unlocked by modern scholarship, such as the 2006 Hellenistica Groningana volume ‘Beyond the Canon’


The 2023 workshop Beyond Alexandria seeks to take up where 'Beyond the Canon' left off. How do writings ‘beyond Alexandria’ react, compete or otherwise interact with what was happening in Alexandria at the time? In what sense is court poetry beyond Alexandria in conscious dialogue with its Alexandrian counterpart, and  can we find a radically different aesthetics in this poetry? How do different cultural, religious and linguistic backgrounds influence poetic form, genre and styles in recently ‘Hellenised’ regions? Questions such as these will take focus during this workshop. 


On 15 September, we are furthermore organising a workshop to mark the retirement of Dr Jan Willem Drijvers, which will be followed by a farewell lecture by Jan Willem himself.

The workshop is open to the public, but we ask you to register in view of the capacity of the room. Lunch may be available at cost (c. 10-15 Euros).  Registration for attendance/lunch before 5 September via this form.

Location: Doopsgezinde Kerk, Oude Boteringestraat 33, 9712 GD Groningen