HelRAW 6.5.: Sanni Kiesiläinen, ’Vertebrate Fossils and Classical Mythology’ and Jamie Vesterinen, ’Τo δiκαιον δαιμoνιον: guilt and divine justice in ancient dream reports’

Uutisen lähde: linkki.

”The final Helsinki Research on the Ancient World seminar (HelRAW) takes place with two speakers: Sanni Kiesiläinen (University of Helsinki) and Jamie Vesterinen (University of Helsinki), on the 6th of May at 17:15 in Topelia D112 (Unioninkatu 38, 1st floor).

You are warmly welcome to join our speakers at Topelia or Zoom (link below)!

Sanni Kiesiläinen: Vertebrate Fossils and Classical Mythology

The idea that ancient Greek and Roman societies had discovered animal fossils and understood their organic origins has been widely accepted since paleobiologist Othenio Abel (1875–1946) theorized that Greek stories about cyclopes and giants were at least partially based on the skulls of prehistoric dwarf mammoths that inhabited the Mediterranean islands. In the last couple of decades, the idea of fossils as inspiration for ancient myths has been deepened and widely popularized by Adrienne Mayor, a research Scholar at Stanford University, in her book The First Fossil Hunters: Dinosaurs, Mammoths, and Myth in Greek and Roman Mythology (2000).

My presentation will mainly focus on classical interpretations of large vertebrate fossils from the ancient Mediterranean. I will explain against this background the topic of my PhD dissertation, in which I will be diving deeper into the theme by examining how the fossils of prehistoric whales have affected Greco-Roman dragon and serpent mythology. I believe I will be able to find a connection between the known sites of whale fossils and the places which the ancient Greek and Roman societies believed dragons and other mythical serpents inhabited. I will focus especially on the fossils of prehistoric odontocetes, or toothed whales, and how their habitats correspond to the habitats of the mythical serpents, and how their physiologies correspond to how the mythical serpents have been described in classical literature and art.

About the speaker:

I am a PhD researcher in the Programme of History and Cultural Heritage at the Faculty of Arts at the University of Helsinki. My background is on classical philology and especially Latin and Roman literature. My main research interests include scientific literature in classical antiquity, and especially the ways in which science and mythology have intersected in the ancient world. I began looking into classical interpretations of fossils while I worked on my master’s thesis, which focused mainly on invertebrate fossils and their uses in magic and medicine.

Jamie Vesterinen: Τὸ δίκαιον δαιμόνιον: guilt and divine justice in ancient dream reports

Ancient literature includes many references to dreams that are associated with moral transgression. These dreams either precede an act of transgression and may warn against it, or occur, sometimes repeatedly, after an offensive deed has been committed. In this paper, I will investigate how the cause and origin of such dreams are presented in Greek and Latin sources. I will focus especially on dreams that haunt moral transgressors and explore how the themes of a guilty conscience and retribution effected by gods or the dead are present in these narratives and sometimes intertwined. Associated concepts such as ἀσέβεια / εὐσέβεια, ὕβρις, and ἀδίκημα offer insight into the nature of the moral transgressions that evoked a dream response.

About the Speaker:

Jamie Vesterinen is a doctoral candidate in the Doctoral Programme of History and Cultural Heritage at the University of Helsinki. He holds a Master’s degree in Greek Language and Literature. His doctoral dissertation explores dream reports in Greek literature.

When: Monday, May 6th, 17:15 (UTC +3 EEST)

Where: Topelia, D112, Unioninkatu 38, 1st floor

or in Zoom https://helsinki.zoom.us/j/61816077453?pwd=bnZVY05ieXlmNTIyUkNQcmJOOFZ3UT09 

Meeting ID: 618 1607 7453

Passcode: 887970″