16th Nebenzahl Lectures: Ancient Perspectives: Maps and Their Place in Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, and Rome

Thursday, November 8, 2007Saturday, November 10, 2007
Kenneth Nebenzahl, Jr., Lecture Series

This series examined recent trends in the study of the mapmaking by the ancient cultures ringing the ancient Mediterranean Sea. The series was organized for the Smith Center by Dr. Richard Talbert (University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill), and included seven papers on topics ranging from urban to cosmological mapping. In honor of the occasion the Newberry Library mounted an exhibition titled “Ptolemy’s Geography in the Renaissance,” featuring the Newberry’s stellar collection of early printed editions of the great 2nd-century geographical manual by the Claudius Ptolemy.

List of Speakers

  • Alexander Jones (University of Toronto), “Ptolemy’s Geography: Mapmaking and the Scientific Enterprise”

  • Francesca Rochberg (University of California – Riverside), “ ‘By Means of Maps’: The Expression of Terrestrial and Celestial Order in Ancient Mesopotamia”

  • David O’Connor (New York University), “From Topography to Cosmos: Ancient Egypt’s Multiple Maps”

  • Georgia Irby-Massie (College of William and Mary), “Mapping the World: Greek Initiatives”

  • Michael Lewis (Hull, U.K.), “Greek and Roman Surveying and Surveying Instruments”

  • Richard Talbert (University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill), “Urbs Roma to Orbis Romanus: Roman Mapping on the Grand Scale”

  • Benet Salway (University College, London, U.K.), “Putting the World in Order: Mapping in Roman Texts”

The lectures were followed by a special presentation by Tony Campbell (Former Map Librarian, The British Library) titled “Holding the History of Cartography Together: Words, People and Resources.”

The Ancient Perspectives lecture series will be published by the University of Chicago Press in a forthcoming volume.