Jenifer Neils Gives Slater Lecture

November 15, 2013

ALLIANCE, Ohio – Jenifer Neils, the Ruth Coulter Heede Professor of Art History and Classics at Case Western Reserve University, presented “The Parthenon Sculptures and Periklean Policies” at the Slater Lecture on Thursday at the University of Mount Union.

Neils spoke about both the traditional and newer, innovative elements of the Parthenon. Older themes in the temple include the birth of the Greek goddess Athena and the fight between the Greeks and the Amazons. Newer themes apparent in temple sculptures involve wedding scenes and the strife between Athena and Poseidon.

“The Parthenon is exceptional,” Neils said.

Neils also mentioned an event that created “solidarity among people,” chariot race competitions.

“Athletics was just as big in ancient Athens as it is in Alliance, Ohio,” Neils said. “The equivalent to the [Purple Raiders] football team was chariot races.”

Neils concluded the lecture by relating the newer themes of the temple to Pericles, one of the most influential statesman and generals in Athens.

According to, Neils graduated Magna Cum Laude and with honor, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in classical and near Eastern archaeology at Bryn Mawr College. She went on to earn a Master of Arts degree with first class honors from Sydney University and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in classical art and archaeology from Princeton University.

Neils has written several books. Some of her recent work includes Striving for Excellence: Greek Childhood and the Olympic Spirit, co-authored and edited in 2004; Coming of Age in Ancient Greece: Images of Childhood from the Classical Past, co-edited with John Oakley in 2003 and The Games at Athens, Agora Picture Book 25, American School of Classical Studies at Athens, with Steve Tracy. The Parthenon: From Antiquity to the Present, is currently in progress.

The Thelma Tournay Slater Classics Lecture is made possible through a gift of 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.

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