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CANCELLED: Pourdavoud Lecture Series: Robert Rollinger

May 1 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Royce 306,

Due to recent events on campus resulting in the cancellations of classes at UCLA today, Professor Robert Rollinger’s lecture has been canceled. We apologize for any inconvienence and thank you for your understanding. We look forward to hosting you at one of our upcoming events soon.

The “Persian Wars”: An Alternative Perspective?

The “Persian Wars” are still regarded by many scholars and the interested general public as one of the major events in western history. The instructive and captivating narrative of Herodotus’ Histories became a pillar of Greek historical consciousness which, after some breaks, was transformed into a western European culture of remembrance since the 19thcentury. Scholarly literature on this event is abundant and flourishing. The underlying subtext of a permanent confrontation between allegedly well-defined blocks of cultural identities, East and West, Europe and Asia, Orient and Occident, and their charged markers of liberty vs. tyranny, democracy vs. despotism, truthfulness vs. shrewdness, luxury vs. simplicity, bravery vs. cowardness, and individualism vs. collectivism, have entered popular culture as well. If we look at the never-ending stream of contributions to the topic by modern scholarship one cannot avoid the conclusion that all “histories” of the “Persian Wars” are still more or less witty and erudite reproductions of Herodotus’ Histories. The basis of this approach is the adamant conviction that Herodotus was able (and willing) to separate fact from fiction and that his Histories by and large report what essentially had happened. The lecture tries to demonstrate the serious problems related to such an approach and to propose an alternative way to explore the topic.

About the Speaker

Robert Rollinger is Professor of Ancient History and Ancient Near Eastern Studies at the University of Innsbruck, Austria, where he has been holding, since 2005, the Chair for “Cultural Interactions between the ancient Near East and the Mediterranean” in the Department of Ancient History and Ancient Near Eastern Studies. Dr. Rollinger’s scholarly interests are wide-ranging and encompass the cultural expanse between the Aegean world and the ancient Near East, with a special focus on ancient historiography, the comparative history of empires, and the Achaemenid Empire in particular. Dr. Rollinger is also known for his numerous publications and important editorial work: he has been (co-) editing among others the prestigious series: Oriens et Occidens (Franz Steiner Verlag); Classica et Orientalia (Harrassowitz); Studies in Universal and Cultural History (Springer); Philippika(Harrassowitz); (The Proceedings of the) Melammu Symposia(Austrian Academy of Science); and Empires Through the Ages in Global Perspective (de Gruyter). More recently, he published together with Bruno Jacobs the Blackwell Companion to the Achaemenid Empire (Blackwell 2021), which shall serve as the new work of reference in the field. He is a member of numerous academic organizations and research groups, among them: the Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW); the German Archaeological Institute (DAI); and the Academia Europaea.

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May 1
4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
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Royce 306