Lecture on Persian Empire – Monday, April 30th, 2012

April 30, 2012
3:00 P.M. – 5:00 P.M., 212 University Club Building
Matt Waters
Classics and Ancient History, UW-Eau Claire

Of Lies and Bizarre Tales: Ctesias and the Persian Empire

The Achaemenid Persian Empire (c. 550-330 BC) at its height stretched from the Danube to the Indus and from the Himalayas to the Sahara. The Greek Ctesias served as a doctor to the Persian king Artaxerxes II (reigned 404-358 BC) and wrote an extensive history of the Persian Empire, the Persica, to his time. Only fragments of this work survive, scattered in various ancient authors and in a severely-truncated epitome by the Byzantine patriarch and scholar Photius (9th century AD). Ctesias’ work has been largely marginalized in light of the fundamental problems of reliability with the extant account. As recent work has emphasized, however, such criticism often stems from a misguided approach to what his work may offer us. This seminar will discuss some preliminary observations based on analysis of Near Eastern influences on Ctesias’ work.

Matt Waters is a UW-System fellow, Professor of Classics and Ancient History at UW-Eau Claire. He received his Ph.D. in Ancient History (Near Eastern and Greek) from the University of Pennsylvania. His main research interests are Achaemenid history and Greek historiography. He was the winner of the Greenfield Prize from the American Oriental Society in 2006 and has been awarded fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies as well as Harvard University’s Center for Hellenic Studies and Loeb Classical Library Foundation. Recent published work includes numerous articles on various aspects of first millennium BC history, especially Greek-Persian relations. Other works in preparation include a survey of Achaemenid Persian history (Cambridge U Press).

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Arabic, Persian, Turkish Language Immersion Institute – Summer 2012

The UW-Madison Arabic, Persian, and Turkish Language Immersion Institute (APTLII) is an eight-week intensive summer language immersion program for undergraduates, graduate students, and professionals. Courses are offered for academic credit at the beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels (depending on sufficient enrollment). Outside of the classroom, students commit to using their target language at all times – in their shared living space on campus, at meals, and at co-curricular activities that combine to create a language immersion experience.

Each language class is equivalent to two semesters of study, with full academic year credit. Instruction is given in small groups taught by native speakers and experienced language teachers. The classes are intensive, involving a minimum of 4.5 hours contact hours Mondays through Fridays, plus extra hours for homework.

In addition to formal classes, on most afternoons and evenings students participate in co-curricular activities covering a range of topics relating to the history and culture of the region. This combination of formal classes, cultural and language activities, movies, field trips, and language tables provide students with opportunities to expand their vocabulary and practice using the language in different settings.

Visit the website for more information about this exciting language immersion opportunity.