13 Feb 2014 9:30am - 5:00pm CRASSH, Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road, Cambridge CB3 9DT - SG1


Free online registration via the link on the right hand side of the page.


Dr Theodor Dunkelgrün


The explosion of the study of classical and biblical antiquity in the nineteenth century was not the work of armchair scholars alone. From Athos to Alexandria, from Sicily to Sinai, the 19th-century Mediterranean and Levant teemed with scholars and lay adventurers, archeologists and manuscript-hunters, painters and poets, robbers and forgers, missionaries, pilgrims, and spies.

The Greek language and the civilizations that spoke it provided many with a prism through which to understand numerous different layers of the pre-historical, classical and biblical past. Europeans set out on their explorations with different ideas of Greece, in the service of different empires, institutions or Churches, but the collections of books and works of art with which they returned and the libraries and museums they filled challenged established traditions of early modern philology and biblical studies, transformed the scholarly understanding of the histories of the ancient world, the past and present of Christianity and Judaism, and profoundly inspired the visual arts.

This one-day interdisciplinary conference will bring together classicists and historians of art, of scholarship and of religion, to explore the collection of textual, visual and material forms of knowledge about different layers of Greek civilization: Homeric, Attic, Hellenistic, Byzantine; pagan, Jewish, Christian.

Poster image: Corporal J. McCartney, Raising the colossal lion at Cnidus, June 1858, Salted paper print – Copyright © The British Library Board


This event is supported by funding from the European Research Council under the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013)/ ERC grant agreement no 295463.



9.00 - 9.30


9.30 - 10.45

Kate Nichols (CRASSH and Jesus College, Cambridge): 'Mr Leighton's present picture is not Greek, but oriental': painting the people of antiquity

Respondent: Debbie Challis (The Petrie Museum and UCL)

10.45 - 11.15

Coffee Break

11.15 - 12.30

Robin Cormack (Classics and Wolfson College, Cambridge): Opportunism or Design? – The collecting of icons in the 19th century

Respondent: Janet Soskice (CRASSH, Divinity and Jesus College, Cambridge)

12.30 - 13.15


13.15 - 14.30

Gareth Atkins (CRASSH, History and Magdalene College, Cambridge): Collecting churches: Protestant missionaries and the Greek Orthodox Church in the early nineteenth century

Respondent: William St Clair (School of Advanced Study, University of London)

14.30 - 15.00

Tea Break

15.00 - 16.45

Natalie Tchernetska (University of Latvia): Constantin Tischendorf (1815-1874) and his collection of Greek manuscripts

Respondent: Scott Mandelbrote (CRASSH, History and Peterhouse, Cambridge)

17.00 - 17.30

Viewing of Codex Zacynthius in the University Library

17:45 - 18:30

Reception in the Atrium of the Alison Richard Building

Upcoming Events


Tel: +44 1223 766886
Email enquiries@crassh.cam.ac.uk