Dr. Bronwen Wickkiser to Present Slater Lecture

October 19, 2015

ALLIANCE, Ohio — Dr. Bronwen Wickkiser, Theodore Bedrick assistant professor of classics at Wabash College, will present the Slater Lecture at 7 p.m. on Thursday, October 29 in the Gallaher Black Box Theatre of the Giese Center for the Performing Arts.

Wickkiser will present, “Therapeutic Topographies: The Unusual Case of a Mysterious Round Building in an Ancient Greek Healing Sanctuary.”

During the lecture, Wickkiser will discuss the bustling sanctuary of the healing god Asklepios at Epidauros, which underwent massive expansion in the early fourth century BCE. One of the most impressive and sophisticated structures at that time was a mysterious round building positioned in the very center of the sanctuary. Since its excavation, scholars have proposed a wide range of interpretations for this building, from a tomb of Asklepios to a fountain house, or a dining hall, or even a residence for Asklepios’s sacred snakes. During her presentation, Wickkiser will propose that the building functioned as a space for musical performance and that this sacred music may have served a therapeutic role.

Wickkiser is a specialist in ancient Greek history and culture, especially the intersection between religion and medicine. She has published a book on Asklepios and co-edited a volume on Greek cult practice. Wickkiser’ s other interests within classics range widely from sacred spaces to the poetry and art of Augustan Rome to classical reception, and her work includes articles on Ovid and Augustus and a current study of the Confederate Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery and its use of classical references. 

Her latest book project, “Circularity, Spectacle and Performance: Fourth-Century Tholoi and the Changing Landscape of Greek Ritual,” examines musical performance and the development of a particular type of architecture (enclosed circular buildings) in Greek sanctuaries as the political landscape of Greece rapidly shifted. 

Wickkiser earned a Bachelor of Arts degree at Oberlin College and Master of Art and Doctor of Philosophy degrees at the University of Texas at Austin. She has received fellowships from the American School of Classical Studies in Athens, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Loeb Classical Library Foundation.

The Thelma Tournay Slater Classics Lecture is made possible through a gift of the late Thelma E. (Tournay '42) Slater. Slater's lifelong passion for the classics began at Mount Union. 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.

The event is free and open to the public. A reception will follow the lecture.

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