An Evening In the Shadow of the Ancient Roman Elite Explored at Mount Union College Slater Lecture

April 01, 2010

Mount Union College presented An Evening in the Shadow of the Ancient Roman Elite as part of its Thelma Tournay Slater Classics Lecture series on Wednesday, January 17 at 7 p.m. in Presser Recital Hall.

During the presentation, musical pieces and readings by Mount Union College faculty, students and other invited guests brought to life the works of the art exhibit In Stabiano, Exploring the Ancient Seaside Villas of the Roman Elite, currently on display at the Toledo Museum of Art.

In Stabiano, Exploring the Ancient Seaside Villas of the Roman Elite is an art exhibition that consists of more than 70 works of art and artifacts recovered from five ancient Roman villas located in Stabiae, a resort community of lavish summer homes overlooking the Bay of Naples. The display features 26 remarkably well-preserved fresco wall paintings and 11 wall reliefs made of stucco originating from five partially excavated villas. The frescoes are among the very highest quality ever recovered from Roman history. Most notably the exhibition includes an entire triclinium (three-couch dining room) frescoed with scenes of Dionysus, god of wine and other reveling gods. This exhibition is the first ambassadorial long-term loan of cultural property from Italy to the United States.

The lecture brought to campus guests Sandra Knudsen, associate curator of ancient art at the Toledo Museum of Art and Dr. Niall W. Slater, Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Latin and Greek at Emory University and Marian Senter Nixon Visiting Professor of Classical Civilization at the College of Wooster. Knudsen offered two presentations ' Landscape/Architecture-Interior Decoration/Life and Public Spaces-Intimate Spaces. Slater read from the Letter to Tacitus 6.16 by Pliny (61-112).

Other readings were presented by Mount Union faculty members Justin Hastings, instructor of English, who read excerpts from Metamorphosis by Ovid (43 B.C.-17 A.D.) and Dr. Judith Makens, associate professor of English, who read excerpts from Book VI of Aeneid by Virgil (70-19 B.C.). Mount Union senior Aubrey Bowser, an English major from Beaver Falls, PA, also presented excerpts from Metamorphosis.

Members of the Mount Union faculty also presented a number of musical pieces including selections from Carmina Burana by Carl Orff (1895-1982), performed by Janelle Phinney, soprano and lecturer of music; Karen Perone, flute; Rosalima Valdez, piano and the Treble Choir from the Mount Union Collegium Musicum. Dr. Patricia Boehm, soprano and assistant professor of music, Phinney and Valdez performed Pur ti miro, pur ti godo from L'Incoronazione di Poppea by Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643) and Boehm, Perone and Valdez joined to present Solitudine avvene, apriche colli'notte, cantata for soprano with flute obligato, by Alessandro Scarlatti (1659-1725).

The Mount Union 'Fire-Engine' Choir, under the direction of Dr. Scott Dorsey, associate professor of music, was on hand to perform Carnival of the Animals by Adriano Banchieri (1557-1634).

The Thelma Tournay Slater Classics Lecture is made possible through a gift of Mrs. Thelma E. (Tournay '42) Slater. Mrs. Slater's lifelong passion for the classics began at Mount Union College. The gift supports student enrichment through an increased appreciation of the civilization and cultural achievements of ancient Greek and Rome that stand at the core of a liberal arts education.

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