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CANCELLED "The Dark Side of the Nile: Nonnus of Panopolis and his world"

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Lunch Lecture


March 9, 2020

Event Subtitle / Short Description

Please RSVP by Wednesday, March 4th to

Speaker & Affiliation

Gianfranco Agosti, Sapienza University of Roma


12:00 pm - 1:20 pm
161 East Pyne


“Within the framework of a broader research project on Greek and Coptic culture in Late Antique Egypt (5th -7th century), this paper deals with the relations between Greek highbrow literary production (namely the poems by Nonnus of Panopolis) and Coptic literature, considered as two sides of the same coin. Indeed, rather than asking ‘trans-cultural’ questions, I propose to adopt an ‘intra-cultural’ approach, in order to shed an unusual light on the multicultural society of Late Antique Egypt. The comparison of apparently distant texts, like epic poems in Greek and Coptic homilies, can be helpful, in my submission, to better understand the attitude to classical paideia in Late Antique society, and to dismiss the old interpretive model of ‘the high vs the low’, too often declined as ‘Greek vs Coptic’. In the second part I will come back on the question of Nonnus and Ethiopia, providing new documents suggesting a different interpretation of a vexed Nonnian passage and the relation between Egypt and the kingdm of Aksum”