“Human/Nature in Antiquity,” with Kerill O’Neill

October 27, Tuesday at 7:00 in Lovejoy 100

witchNo different from people in our times, the Greeks and Romans exhibited a wide range of behavior vis-à-vis the natural world: awe at its majesty, greed for its resources, and fear of its secrets. The witches of antiquity, however, laid claim to special status because they said that they could control, dominate, and destroy nature. What dread powers did they claim to possess? How and why did ordinary people turn to them for help? What connection did Roman poets share with these purveyors of spells?

O’Neill (Classics, Colby) is Director of the Center for the Arts and Humanities. His teaching and research interests span Latin literature (especially the influence of love magic on love poetry), Greek tragedy, and Bronze Age Archaeology. He is the Field Director of the Mitrou Archaeological Project.

Student Discussions:

  • Witchcraft December 15, 2015 Sophie SuechtingIn Kerill O’Neil’s talk on Human/nature in antiquity, he explored many topics including witchcraft, sorcery, and sexuality. In many instances he discussed these topics in a gendered way. It was ...
  • Love and Magic December 12, 2015 Kathryn ChowIt’s interesting to see how mating rituals have developed throughout time. These days, courtship is a mixture of being straightforward about one’s feelings, while also playing hard to get. But ...
  • Man or God? December 5, 2015 Jessica TregidgoThe relationship between man and nature is a long one. In the evening lecture, Human/ Nature in Antiquity, human’s relationship to the earth can be seen in their relationships to ...
  • The Myth and Art of Nature December 1, 2015 Kate KerinBefore we had so much science that proved how and how not nature functions, we had myth. Myth is what explained everything that happened in an imaginative and easy way ...
  • Myth or Magic: Fire and Brimstone November 9, 2015 Jay ArrBeginning with the Scientific Revolution, the general worldview began to progress towards a mechanistic view. That is to say that humans began to believe that all phenomena had a logical ...
  • The power of magic on nature November 8, 2015 Jack FlynnIn Professor O’Neill’s lecture on the human/nature conflict in society, he described how magic was used to control nature in relation to human feelings. He used several examples of love ...
  • Love in Antiquity November 8, 2015 ErnestoMagic is something we’ve all seen in Disney movies and have heard of in fairytales. There is no doubt that I sometimes think that life would be much more easier ...
  • Metamorphoses November 4, 2015 Silvia RizzoThere is a strong connection between mythology and nature. Professor O’Neill pointed out how ancient civilizations were subject to natural changes and how much they relied on nature. They loved ...
  • Nature in Art November 3, 2015 Grant LowensohnLast week’s lecture centered on how nature is depicted in art. A corollary to the discussion was on the depiction of the gods in art. For most of the pieces ...
  • Magical Manipulation November 3, 2015 Maya MeltsnerThe practice of magic in antiquity is an interesting manipulation of nature. I had never considered that magic is a way of dominating nature. However, it makes sense. Casting spells, ...