Monthly Archives: December 2013

On Thursday 23 October 2014: RU Classics hosts CIC graduate conference “Ancient Adornment”


The Department of Classics at Rutgers University is pleased to announce Ancient Adornment, the first Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC) graduate student conference on the ancient world. The one-day conference will be held on Thursday 23 October in Brower Commons (145 College Avenue) on Rutgers’ New Brunswick Campus.

This interdisciplinary conference on personal adornment in the ancient Mediterranean world offers an opportunity for graduate students in a wide spectrum of disciplines from participating CIC universities to exchange ideas and explore topics of broad interest—in this case, the modalities and significance of antique personal adornment. The graduate students of Rutgers Classics are organizing the conference, led by David Wright and Scott Barnard.

ANCIENT ADORNMENT SCHEDULE (THURSDAY 23 OCTOBER) [all sessions in Brower Commons Rooms A + B (second floor)]. Please note revised schedule for Paper Session II, to accommodate campus-wide union-organized protests (scheduled 12.30-1.30) at Rutgers.

8.45am Registration and coffee

9.30-11.00 PAPER SESSION I   Chair: Brian Hill (Rutgers)

T. Corey Brennan (Rutgers University, faculty), “Body Signs in Classical Antiquity: The Case of Baldness”

Laurie Porstner (Rutgers University), “The Agris Helmet from Iron Age Votive Deposit to Cultural Icon”

11.30-12.15, 1.45-2.30 PAPER SESSION II   Chair: Isaiah Clough (Rutgers)

(11.30) Emily Mohr (University of Maryland), “Deceptive Adornment in Euripides’ Helen and Aristophanes’ Thesmophoriazousai

[12.15-1.45 BREAK]

(1.45) Adam Kozak (University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana), “The Adornment of Identity in Martial’s Epigrams

2.30-4.30 PAPER SESSION III   Chair: Katheryn Whitcomb (Rutgers)

Rob Santucci (University of Maryland), “De Togis Perlucentibus: A Senecan Guide to Men’s Fashion”

Jessica Wells (University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana), “Adornment in the Epithalamia of Late Antiquity”

5 PM KEYNOTE PRESENTATION   Introduction: David Wright (Rutgers)

Janet Stephens (Baltimore, MD) “Truthy or Falsish: Sculpting the Language of Ancient Roman Hair” (with demonstration)

The conference will be free and open to the public, but pre-registration at is encouraged to ensure participation. A reception follows the conference.

Noted experimental archaeologist Janet Stephens will deliver the keynote presentation to close the conference on the evening (5 PM) of Thursday 23 October 2014. Stephens has published her pioneering work on ancient hairdressing techniques in the Journal of Roman Archaeology and Journal of Experimental Archaeology, and seen her studies featured by the Wall Street Journal, NPR and the BBC.


Ancient Adornment keynote speaker Janet Stephens. Credit: BBC News Magazine

Why this conference? The study of ancient personal adornment opens lines of inquiry into a vast array of cultural, socio-political, and literary spheres. In antiquity, a person’s dress, hairstyle, cosmetics, jewelry, armor, religious accoutrements, and other accessories centrally contributed to their role in society and cultural symbolic capital.

Iconographic representations of personal adornment are found in every imaginable artistic medium. And many ancient writers specifically treated the topic, ranging from Ovid to Tertullian to Synesius. Of course, numerous objects associated with personal adornment have come down to us from antiquity.

Especially in the last decade, there has been much new interest in both recovering the realities and exploring the social functions of Greek and Roman dress and adornment. This area still, however, lends itself to much further study from historical, literary, archaeological, and art historical perspectives.

For questions about the conference, please contact David Wright (


Headquartered in the Midwest, the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC) is an academic consortium of fifteen top-tier research universities, including the members of the Big Ten and the University of Chicago. Its members, in addition to Chicago, are the University of Illinois, Indiana University, University of Iowa, University of Maryland, University of Michigan, Michigan State University, University of Minnesota, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Northwestern University, Ohio State University, Pennsylvania State University, Purdue University, Rutgers University, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

For more than half a century, these world-class research institutions have advanced their academic missions, generated unique opportunities for students and faculty, and served the common good by sharing expertise, leveraging campus resources, and collaborating on innovative programs. Governed and funded by the Provosts of the member universities, CIC mandates are coordinated by a staff from its Champaign, Illinois headquarters. The CIC welcomed the University of Maryland and Rutgers University to membership on 1 July 2013, a year previous to the schools’ admittance to the Big Ten in 2014.