Lecture in Toronto on January 14th
- Heron's Invisible Thaumata Devices:Religion and Deception in Roman EgyptThe first-century CE engineer Heron of Alexandria left a diagrammatic body of literature describing ways in which science can be used to supplement temple-based religion, through the use of `wonder' devices (e.g. mechanically autonomous statues, automatic fire altars, sacred water dispensers, etc.). Given the absence of material evidence, one is left to wonder whether these devices were ever really put to practical use, or are simply theoretical examples of how devices could supplement a wider socioreligious program which itself has significant implications on our understanding of temple-based religion in the period.Ancient Alexandria was the intellectual centre of the ancient Mediterranean world, and native son Heron was one of its brightest lights. His work followed in the footsteps of Ctesibius of Alexandria, first head of the Museon, where it is likely that Heron too was an instructor. The word "thaumata" means "miracle" or "wonder", and is a term that contemporaries might well have applied to Heron's inventions. To read more about Heron, visit http://www-history.mcs.st-and.ac.uk/Biographies/Heron.htmlThis event is free. All welcome.
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About The Speaker: REUBEN ZARAMIAN is a graduate student in the Faculty of Information at the University of Toronto. He is the 2010 Hilda Wilson Fellow in Technology, Information, and Culture. In 2008 he completed his undergraduate degree in Classics and Religion at the University of Toronto. In 2009, he received his MLitt from the School of Classics in St. Andrews University, UK.Reuben's current research is in orality in antiquity, the classical foundations of the Toronto School of Communication, and digitization projects in humanities scholarship. He works with a professor in the Dept. of Classics at U of Toronto as one of a team of researchers for a digital text analysis project on metalinguistic patterns in Greek and Latin literature. He is a teaching assistant for a course on "Mass Media in Culture and Society" for St. Michael's College and is also Managing Editor of the Faculty of Information Quarterly. He has previously presented on the society of ancient Alexandria at last year's Archaeological Institute of America student conference in Toronto