The Florence of the Medici: Commerce, Power, and Art in Renaissance Italy

Herbst Theatre, San Francisco

Out of a small but fiercely competitive city of some 60,000 inhabitants there erupted, between the 14th and 17th centuries, a torrent of artistic and intellectual creativity that transformed western culture. The wealth of the city, and especially of its rulers, the Medici, whose patronage and influence embraced much of Italy and beyond, made possible an outburst of artistic and intellectual innovations that had consequences throughout Europe. Home to Dante, Toscanelli (the geographer who inspired Columbus), Michelangelo, Machiavelli, and Galileo, Florence in these years was at the cutting edge of changes that eventually were to shape the modern world.

Humanities West Board Fellow Dimitrios Latsis has archived selected program materials, including audio of lectures and performances if available, at the non-profit Internet Archive here.

Moderator: Theodore Rabb, PhD
(History), Emeritus, Princeton University

Friday, April 30, 2010

8:15 pm until 10:15 pm

“For the glory of God and the honor of the city, and the commemoration of myself:” Cosimo de’ Medici’s Patronage of Art
Keynote Address.
Dale Kent (History, UC Riverside).
Cosimo de’ Medici achieved power in his lifetime and fame beyond it through his outstanding skills in business and politics—civic, Italian, and international. But he captured the imagination of his contemporaries and has remained an almost legendary figure of history largely because he devoted much of his wealth to patronage of the greatest artists of the early Renaissance. This lecture will examine the image that Cosimo’s commissions expressed; his dedication to family, friends and city, his concern for salvation after death, and his pleasure in the cultivated enjoyment of this life.

Public Sculpture in the Florence of the Medici
Loren Partridge 
(Art History, UC Berkeley).
The extraordinary marble and bronze freestanding figures embellishing the public spaces of Florence constitute some of the greatest glories of Renaissance art. Bold and inventive, thanks to the intense pressure of public scrutiny and artistic rivalry, these monumental works represent some of the most significant aesthetic achievements within Medicean Florence. They register and construct the city’s shifting political discourse across two centuries. Works discussed include Donatello’s gilt bronze St. Louis of Toulouse (1422-25), Verrocchio’s bronze Christ and Doubting Thomas (1467-83), Michelangelo’s marble David (1501-04), Bandindelli’s marble Hercules and Cacus (1534), Cellini’s bronze Perseus Beheading Medusa (1554), Danti’s marble Cosimo I as Augustus (1572-73), and Giambologna’s Equestrian Monument to Cosimo I (1594).

Saturday, May 1, 2010

10:00 am until 12 noon & 1:30 to 4:00 pm 

Creating the Uffizi: The Medici and Their Museum
Paula Findlen 
(History, Stanford University).
The Uffizi gallery is one of the most enduring legacies of the Medici. This lecture traces the multiple transformations of the Medici collections, from the origins under Cosimo il Vecchio to the creation of the gallery in the sixteenth century and its reinvention as a public museum in the eighteenth century. What was the meaning of this collection for the Medici? How did it become one of the most famous and visited museums in the world?

The Birth of a New Politics
Theodore Rabb (History, Princeton University).
Even as Florence alternated between the rule of the Medici and a more broadly-based republican structure, two of her citizens were rethinking the very nature of politics and political destiny. Machiavelli and Guicciardini were neighbors; both served the city’s government; and both were experienced diplomats. Both, too, were students of history. But Guicciardini’s conclusions were deeply pessimistic. Machiavelli, on the other hand, fashioned a way of thinking about political life that offered scope for human action, and his ideas were to influence thought and behavior for generations.

Musical Performance.
The rich and florid secular music of the courts of the Italian trecento. Susan Rode Morris(soprano), Michelle Levy and Shira Kammen (vielles and medieval harp), present a selection of compositions from this era of astonishing and gorgeous musical styles. The songs concern love and politics, and the instrumental dances represent a spicy and highly ornamented repertoire.

Michelangelo and the Medici: A Forced Relationship?
Morten Steen Hansen 
(Art History, Stanford University).
At the funeral of Michelangelo (1475-1564) in Florence, orchestrated by the newly founded Accademia del Disegno under the patronage of Duke Cosimo I, Michelangelo was praised as the Florentine genius who had perfected Tuscan style. Nurtured in the sculpture garden of Lorenzo de Medici, Michelangelo had made the school of Florence superior to any other artistic school, and his art was taken to prove Tuscan cultural hegemony inseparable from the Medici family. The same Michelangelo had, however, carved a Brutus in celebration of the assassination of Alessandro de Medici, the first duke of Florence. This lecture explores the conflicted relationship between artist and the Florentine family.

Panel Discussion with all Presenters


Clifford (Kip) Cranna (PhD, Musicology, Stanford) is Director of Musical Administration at San Francisco Opera. He has served as vocal adjudicator for numerous groups including the Metropolitan Opera National Council. For many years he was Program Editor and Lecturer for the Carmel Bach Festival. He lectures and writes frequently on music and teaches at the SF Conservatory of Music. He hosts the Opera Guild’s “Insight” panels and intermission features for the SF Opera radio broadcasts, and has been a Music Study Leader for Smithsonian Tours. He was Il Cenacolo’s 2006 “Man of the Year.” In 2008 he was awarded the SF Opera Medal, the company’s highest honor.

Paula Findlen is Professor and Chair of History; Co-Director of the Center for Medieval and Early Modern Studies; Co-Director of the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology Program; all at Stanford. Her interest lies in understanding the world of the Renaissance, with a particular focus on Italy. She is “fascinated by a society that made politics, economics and culture so important to its self-definition, and that obviously succeeded in all these endeavors for some time, as the legacy of such figures as Machiavelli and Leonardo suggests. Renaissance Italy, in short, is a historical laboratory for understanding the possibilities and the problems of an innovative society.” Some publications include “Historical Thought in the Renaissance,” in Companion to Historical Thought, ed. Lloyd Kramer and Sarah Maza (Blackwell, 2002); “Building the House of Knowledge: The Structures of Thought in Late Renaissance Europe,” in Tore Frangsmyr, ed., The Structure of Knowledge: Classifications of Science and Learning since the Renaissance(Berkeley, 2001); (ed.) The Italian Renaissance: Essential Readings(Blackwell, 2002). “Men, Moments and Machines” special on the History Channel: “Galileo and the Sinful Spyglass.”

Morten Steen Hansen is Assistant Professor Art History, Stanford University (PhD Johns Hopkins University). While his research primarily concerns 16th century Italy he teaches courses within a broad range of the visual culture of Europe from the 15th through the 17th century. He has held post-doctoral fellowships from the Villa I Tatti, the Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies, Florence, and the Carlsberg Foundation. His pre-doctoral work was supported by grants from Fulbright Foundation, Kress Foundation, Fondazione Lemmermann, and the Danish Academy in Rome. His forthcoming book examines the imitation of Michelangelo in Italian Mannerism and issues of artistic latecoming in light of that artist’s increasingly controversial status during his lifetime. Hansen’s publications on the Cinquecento consider church patronage as self-representations by ethnic minorities, artifice used to defend cult images against protestant assumptions, and pictorial imitation in the service of artistic self-fashioning. In Italian archives he has found and published contracts and other unknown documents related to church patronage in the Papal States.

Andrea Husby began her studies at the University of San Francisco where she received a BA and MA in English Literature. While living in Paris and The Hague, she began her study of the Fine Arts. Dr. Husby received a MA in Art History from Hunter College in New York City in 1992 and a PhD in Art History from The Graduate Center of The City University of New York in 2003. Since returning to California, she has taught Art History at Pacific Union College and Santa Rosa Junior College, and the Fromm Institute at the University of San Francisco.

Multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Shira Kammen has spent well over half her life exploring the worlds of early and traditional music. A member for many years of the early music Ensembles Alcatraz and Project Ars Nova, and Medieval Strings, she has also worked with Sequentia, Hesperion XX, the Boston Camerata, the Balkan group Kitka, the Oregon, California and San Francisco Shakespeare Festivals, and is the founder of Class V Music, an ensemble dedicated to performance on river rafting trips. She has performed and taught in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Europe, Israel, Morocco, and Japan, and on the Colorado, Rogue and Klamath Rivers.

Shira happily collaborated with singer/storyteller John Fleagle for fifteen years, and performs now with several new groups: a medieval ensemble, Fortune’s Wheel: a new music group, Ephemeros; an eclectic ethnic band, Panacea; as well as frequent collaborations with performers such as storyteller/harpist Patrick Ball, sopranos Anne Azema, Susan Rode Morris, medieval music expert Margriet Tindemans, and in many theatrical and dance productions. She has played on several television and movie soundtracks, including ‘O’, a modern high school-setting of Othello. Some of her original music can be heard in an independent film about fans of the work of JRR Tolkien. The strangest place Shira has played is in the elephant pit of the Jerusalem Zoo.  Shira Kammen grew up in the SF Bay Area. After receiving her music degree from UC Berkeley, Shira studied vielle with Margriet Tindemans, a specialist in early music.

Dale V. Kent, Professor of History, UC, Riverside, has been a Visiting Professor at the Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies and has held fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, National Humanities Center of the United States, Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and the Getty Center for the History of Art and the Humanities. Her research, concerned with patronage in all its senses – personal, political, and artistic- with a particular focus on the fifteenth-century Medici family of Florence, combines history and art history. Her publications include The Rise of the Medici: Faction in Florence 1426-1434, Oxford, 1978; Cosimo de’ Medici and the Florentine Renaissance: The Patron’s Oeuvre, Yale University Press, 2000; Friendship, Love and Trust in Renaissance Florence, Harvard University Press, 2009. She was chief consultant for the recent PBS special on the Medici, and is working on a new book, Fathers and Friends: Patronage and Patriarchy in early Medicean Florence, showing how society, politics and culture were linked, structurally and ideologically, through patronage practices and patriarchal ideals.

Michelle Levy studied classical viola with Consuelo Sherba and David Rubenstein as well as Old Timey fiddle/banjo with Professor Jeff Titon at Brown University. After receiving a scholarship to Valley of the Moon Scottish Fiddling School, she fell in love with the spontaneity of folk music and began a career focused on accompanying vocalists, improvising, and performing ancient music from Europe, Scandinavia & the Middle East. She is continuing her musical studies on medieval vielle with Shira Kammen and performs throughout the country with an eclectic variety of ensembles. Most recently she co-created an ecologically-minded musician community-house in Berkeley, CA.

Susan Rode Morris is a singer of unusual versatility whose accomplishments encompass a wide range of repertoire and musical styles. A native of the San Francisco Bay Area, she has received much critical acclaim for her expressiveness and naturalness in singing, as well as her communicative presence. She is a founding member of Ensemble Alcatraz and has sung with many ensembles including Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, American Bach Soloists, Sequentia Koln, Sex Chordae Consort of Viols, Foolia!, Magnificat!, Women’s Philharmonic and others in North America and Europe. She has premiered numerous works of Bay Area composers, including opera and theatre pieces. Performances include appearances at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C, Metropolitan Art Museum in New York City, the Cloisters, Bellas Artes in Mexico City, and in such cities as Boston, Seattle, Phoenix, New Orleans, Portland, Pittsburgh, London, Regensberg, Vancouver, and at such universities and colleges as Stanford, the University of California, Berkeley, and Davis, Oberlin College, and Washington State. She has enjoyed collaborations with artists including Shira Kammen, Phebe Craig, Judith Nelson, Alasdair Fraser, Paul Hillier, John Dornenburg, and others. In 1992 she founded a recording company called Donsuemor which has released four compact discs, including songs of Henry Purcell and three recordings of the songs of 18th century Scottish poet Robert Burns. For many years she has studied voice with the legendary Lilian Loran. A special love is teaching children the joy of singing. She owns a baking company (Donsuemor) which supplies the U.S. with fresh madeleines. She divides her time between the San Francisco Bay Area and the Sierra Foothills.

Loren Partridge is Professor of the Graduate School in History of Art, UC Berkeley. He has taught Italian Renaissance painting, sculpture, and architecture at UC Berkeley for over forty years as well as chaired intermittently the History of Art Department for thirteen years and the Art Practice Department for five years. He has been awarded fellowships from the American Academy in Rome, Kress Foundation, Institute for Advanced Studies in Princeton, Fulbright Program, Guggenheim foundation, and the Getty Foundation. Aside from numerous articles and reviews in professional journals, his major publications include: A Renaissance Likeness: Art and Culture in Raphael’s “Julius II”, co-authored with Randolph Starn (Berkeley: UC Press,1980); Arts of Power: Three Halls of State in Italy 1300-1600, co-authored with Randolph Starn (Berkeley: UC Press, 1992); Michelangelo: The Sistine Chapel Ceiling, Rome (NY: Braziller, 1996) The Art of Renaissance Rome, 1400-1600 (NY: Abrams, 1996); Michelangelo, Last Judgment: A Glorious Restoration, with contributions by Fabrizio Mancinelli and Gianluigi Colalucci (NY: Abrams, 1997); and most recently Art of Renaissance Florence 1400-1600 (Berkeley: UC Press, 2009). In progress is a monograph on the late sixteenth century Villa Farnese at Caprarola north of Rome.

Theodore Rabb, Emeritus Professor of History, Princeton University (PhD Princeton), is a specialist in Renaissance and Early Modern European History. He has been on the Princeton faculty since 1967, where he has taught a variety of courses in European history both within the department and in the interdisciplinary area of Humanistic Studies. He has been the editor of theJournal of Interdisciplinary History since 1970 and has published and edited a number of books including: Renaissance Lives (1993, paperback 2000);Jacobean Gentleman (1998); The Struggle for Stability in Early Modern Europe (1975); The Last Days of the Renaissance (2006); Enterprise and Empire (1967). He has written dozens of articles and reviews for many publications, including Past & PresentTimes Literary Supplement, and New York Times. He has directed Princeton’s Community College Programs since 1984 and has chaired the National Council for History Education and the New Jersey Council for the Humanities. He is currently engaged in a long-term study on the response of artists to warfare, from ancient Assyria to Guernica.

Richard Savino’s performances and recordings have been praised by critics throughout the world. In addition to receiving a Diapason d’Or from Compact ( Paris) and a 10 du Rèpertoire (Paris), the latter has also placed his Boccherini recordings in their “Great Discoveries” category which they deem as essential to any classical music collection. He has also recorded the romantic guitar music of Johann Kaspar Mertz (HM) virtuoso sonatas by Paganini and Giuliani with violinist Monica Huggett, and sonatas for flute and guitar with flutist Laurel Zucker. In 1998 Koch International released his recording of an extensive collection of 18th century guitar music from Mexico by Santiago de Murcia (4 Stars: Goldberg) which the Public Radio International program The World featured as its “Global Hit,” and in September 1999 Mr. Savino was the subject of a one hour special on the PRI program Harmonia.

With El Mundo he has recorded Venice Before Vivaldi, a Portrait of Giovanni Legrenzi and Villancicos y Cantadas (sacred music from Spain and Latin America) and with Ensemble Galatea he has recorded the music by Barabara Strozzi (Emanuella Galli, mezzo soprano), Biagio Marini (with Monica Huggett) and Giovanni Buonamente (with Monica Huggett and Bruce Dickey). In recent years Koch released his recording of the first period instrument versions of the Boccherini Guitar Symphonia and the Op. 30 Concerto for Guitar by Mauro Giuliani with Ms. Huggett and the Portland Baroque Orchestra.

His most recent recordings (2006-07) include The Essential Giuliani Vol. 1 (Koch), Music Fit for a King (solo baroque guitar music by Robert De Viseé and Françios Campion) and Baroque Guitar Sonatas (1696) of Ludovico Roncallii (Dorian). As a continuo player and accompanist Mr. Savino has worked with some of the world’s most important performers and is a principal performer with the Houston Grand Opera, New York Collegium, Portland Baroque Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Santa Fe Opera, San Diego Opera, Opera Colorado, Dallas Opera and Glimmerglass Opera. From 1986-98 Mr. Savino directed the CSU Summer Arts Guitar and Lute Institute. Presently he is director of the ensemble El Mundo, and in 1995 and 2005 he was Visiting Artistic Director of the prestigious NEH sponsored Aston Magna Academy and Music Festival at Rutgers University. An avid writer, Mr. Savino has had articles and editions published by Cambridge University Press, Editions Chantarelle and Indiana University Press. He is a lecturer and instructor at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and a Professor of Music at CSU Sacramento where he has been the only music professor to receive “outstanding and exceptional” and “best” sabbatical awards. Mr. Savino’s instructors have included Andres Segovia, Oscar Ghiglia, Albert Fuller and Jerry Willard. He received his Doctorate from SUNY at Stony Brook.


Alexander/Alexandria: The Flowering of Hellenistic Culture

Herbst Theatre, San Francisco

Alexander conquered the vast Persian Empire and founded Alexandria before dying
in his 33rd year, in 323 BCE. In the aftermath, Greek literature, learning, and art
intermingled with Egyptian, Iranian, Babylonian, and Hebrew cultures. Nowhere did
this convergence of cultures emerge more dramatically than in Alexandria, which became
the royal seat of Hellenistic Egypt. Its Great Library and Museum and its Lighthouse—
one of the ancient wonders of the world—became magnets for travelers from the
Mediterranean and beyond. Though Alexandria’s original Library was destroyed long ago,
another has risen from its ashes, and the luster of Hellenistic Civilization that flourished
for three centuries after Alexander still endures.

Moderator: William S. Greenwalt
(Professor of Classics, Director of University Honors, Director of Lead Scholars, and
Director of Fellowships, Santa Clara University)

Humanities West Board Fellow Dimitrios Latsis has archived selected program materials, including audio of lectures and performances if available, at the non-profit Internet Archive here.

Friday, February 5, 2010 8:00 until 10:15 pm

Introduction: Patricia Lundberg and Moderator William Greenwalt’s Overview of Program

Alexander the Great: Agent for Change?

Keynote Address
Eugene N. Borza
 (History, Pennsylvania State University).
Two things are certain about Alexander the Great. One is that he is among the greatest military commanders of all time. The other is that the eastern Mediterranean and western Asian worlds were transformed because of his passage, resulting in the penetration of Greek culture into previously non-Hellenic parts of the world. To what extent was the introduction of Greek culture into Egypt and the East the result of a deliberate policy of Hellenization? Did Alexander, a pupil of Aristotle who himself had made clear distinctions between Greeks and “barbarians,” have a deliberate policy of introducing Greek culture into the “barbarian” world? How do we go about attempting to answer these questions? And following from this, one must ask to what extent Hellenic culture—whatever its source—actually penetrated deeply into native cultures such as Ptolemaic Egypt during the Hellenistic Era.

Picturing Ptolemaic Egypt: The Nile Mosaic from Praeneste

Andrew Stewart (Art History, UC Berkeley).
The huge and spectacular Nile Mosaic from Praeneste (ancient Palestrina) in Italy, discovered in 1600, transferred to Rome in 1626, returned in 1640, and now heavily restored, remains our best guide not to Ptolemaic Egypt as such, but to Ptolemaic attitudes to Egypt. Labeled in Greek, it faithfully pictures many key elements of Ptolemaic material culture from drinking vessels to temples, and must echo a Ptolemaic painting of the third or second centuries BCE. This lecture examines its threefold image of the country: the Hellenized Delta; the Egyptian chora; and the wilds of Nubia.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

10:00 am until 12 noon & 1:30 pm to 4:00 pm

Recap of Friday. William Greenwalt, Moderator

The Ancient Library at Alexandria: Facts and Fictions
Susan Stephens
 (Classics, Stanford University).
Founded by Alexander in his conquest of the eastern Mediterranean and ruled by a line of his successors, the Ptolemies, Alexandria was the city from which Greeks now ruled over the land of the pharaohs. It was also a city in which Greek and Egyptian cultures must have mixed. The famous Alexandrian library is a case in point. To what extent was it inspired by previous Greek models? Could Egyptian temple libraries have played a role? What was the scribal culture like that enabled the collection and maintenance of so many books? What roles did scholar-poets like Callimachus or Apollonius play in shaping the culture of the early city? What happened to the library? Did the Romans destroy it by accident? The Christians? The Muslims? Or simply time itself?

Jewish Culture in Alexandria: The Hebrew Bible in Greek
Erich Gruen (History, UC Berkeley).
A wonderful and witty legend has it that Ptolemy II, the Hellenistic ruler of Egypt, summoned the most learned Jewish scholars from Jerusalem to his court to render the Hebrew Bible into Greek. The scholars performed that task with precision, earning the gratitude of the Greek-speaking Jewish community, and Ptolemy added the sacred translation to the shelves of his magnificent library in Alexandria. This lecture employs this tale, however fictitious it may be, as an illuminating window on the place of Jewish culture in the life of Alexandria and on the relationship between Jewish intellectuals and the Hellenistic monarchy in Egypt.

Alexandria, the City of Imagination: Cavafy and the Ptolemies
The poetry of C. P. Cavafy set in Ptolemaic Alexandria. Readings and translations by Martha Klironomos (English and Modern Greek Studies, San Francisco State University).

Alexander’s Pictorial Legacy
Ada Cohen (Art History, Dartmouth College).
Textual and visual sources suggest that Alexander the Great was not just a brutal conqueror but that he also possessed and exhibited a certain human complexity. The impression that he also aspired to the life of the mind contributes to his fame. This lecture addresses various layers of complexity embedded within works of art depicting Alexander or other “model” men of his cultural environment, which often highlight aggression. It also demonstrates the longevity of visual paradigms that became dominant in Alexander’s era and explores aspects of the evolution of Alexander’s image over time.

Synthesis and Panel Discussion with all Presenters and Written Questions from the Audience


Eugene N. Borza is Professor Emeritus of Ancient History at The Pennsylvania State University, where he served on the faculty from 1964 until his retirement in 1995. He has held distinguished visiting professorships at the University of Washington, Trinity University, and Carleton College, and has been a visiting professor and special research fellow at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens. He has lectured widely on the history and archaeology of ancient Macedonia, and has chaired the Lecture Program Committee of the Archaeological Institute of America, for which he has been an annual lecturer since 1975. From 1984 to 1990 he was President of the Association of Ancient Historians. Among his publications are numerous articles about the history and archaeology of ancient Macedonia, and the history and historiography of Alexander the Great. He is the author of In the Shadow of Olympus. The Emergence of Macedon (Princeton, 1990, 1992),Makedonika: Essays by Eugene N. Borza (Association of Ancient Historians, 1995), and Before Alexander: Constructing Early Macedonia (Association of Ancient Historians, 1999).

Ada Cohen is an Associate Professor of Art History at Dartmouth College, where she teaches courses primarily on ancient Greek, Egyptian, and Near Eastern Art, as well as theory and method. A native of Greece, she received her BA from Brandeis University and her MA and PhD from Harvard University. She is the author of The Alexander Mosaic: Stories of Victory and Defeat, and co-editor of and contributor to Constructions of Childhood in Ancient Greece and Italy. Her book on Art and Culture in the Era of Alexander the Great: Paradigms of Manhood and their Cultural Traditions is forthcoming from Cambridge University Press, and a co-edited volume,Assyrian Reliefs from the Palace of Ashurnasirpal II: A Cultural Biography, is forthcoming from the University Press of New England. Her current project is on beauty and ugliness in ancient Greece.

William S. Greenwalt received his BA, MA and PhD from the University of Virginia. He received the Santa Clara Summer School Excellence in Teaching Award, the Santa Clara University Brutocao Award for Teaching Excellence, the Logothetti Teaching Award for Teaching Excellence in the College of Arts and Sciences, the Santa Clara University Brutocao Award for Curricular Innovation, and the Arnold L. & Lois Graves Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2005, 2001, 1999, 1995 and 1991 respectively. In addition to being a Professor of Classics, he is also a Professor (by courtesy) in the department of History. He offers a number of courses from an introduction to classical culture to seminars in Greek and Roman History. His publications have focused on the early development of ancient Macedonia, in which area he continues to be active. He also serves as Santa Clara University’s Director of Honors, the Lead Scholars Program, and, the Office of Fellowships.
Erich S. Gruen, Gladys Rehard Wood Professor of History and Classics, UC Berkeley (PhD Harvard) was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, twice a Guggenheim Fellow, Member of the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, and Visiting Fellow at Merton College, Oxford. His awards include Distinguished Teaching Award, UC Berkeley, and the James H. Breasted Prize (for The Hellenistic World and the Coming of Rome, 1984). Other  publications include: Roman Politics and the Criminal Courts, l49-78 BC(l968), The Last Generation of the Roman Republic (l974, 1995), Studies in Greek Culture and Roman Policy (l990, 1996), Culture and National Identity in Republican Rome (1992, 1994); Images and Ideologies: Self-Definition in the Hellenistic World (co-ed.) (1993); Hellenistic Constructs: Essays in Culture, History, and Historiography (co-ed.) (1997); Heritage and Hellenism: The Reinvention of Jewish Tradition (1998); Diaspora: Jews amidst Greeks and Romans (2002); Cultural Borrowings and Ethnic Appropriations in Antiquity (ed.) (2005).

Andrew G. Jameson holds a Ph.D. in history from Harvard University and a doctorate in history from the Sorbonne (University of Paris), a Master of Science degree in library science from Simmons College in Boston, and a degree in archival management from Radcliffe College. He retired after forty-two years of academic teaching (Byzantine, Near Eastern, African history) and administration at Harvard, where he was Senior Tutor, and the University of California, Berkeley, where he was Assistant Vice Chancellor.

He is Director Emeritus of Books for Asia of The Asia Foundation and President Emeritus of the Academy of Art San Francisco. He served for many years as consultant to the American Publishing Industry for charitable book projects in Africa and Asia, and he was advisor to the National Libraries of Nigeria and China.

Professor Jameson has lived, taught, and traveled extensively in the Near East and Africa and has led study groups to Greece, Turkey, Morocco, Iran, India, China, and Southeast Asia and continues to lecture and write on African and Asian cultures and on the history of libraries. He is the author of historical works on libraries and the Orthodox Church and monasteries and is researching a book on the history of the Nicene Creed and on the history and lore of the camel.

He is a member of Harvard’s Graduate Council and a trustee of the William Saroyan Foundation. He was visiting professor of history at Bosphorus University of Istanbul and advisor to the library of Ecumenical Patriarchate of the Orthodox Church in Istanbul-Constantinople. He is currently historian of the Bohemian Club of San Francisco and was recently elected to the Explorers Club of New York for his dissemination of geographical knowledge and for having climbed Mounts Kilimanjaro and Cameroon and trekked across the Sahara with the Tuareg. He is also Destination Lecturer for the Seaborn and SilverSea Cruise Lines and has returned to school to pursue a degree in theology.

A World War II veteran of the Infantry, he earned a Bronze Star with Cluster and a Purple Heart with Cluster for his participation on the Battle of the Bulge.

Martha Klironomos, Professor of English and Modern Greek Studies, is the Director of the Center for Modern Greek Studies, the Nikos Kazantzakis Chair, at San Francisco State University where she has been teaching courses in Modern Greek language and literature as well as Comparative and English literature courses since 1996. She previously held an appointment as Assistant Professor in Modern Greek literature at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, from 1994-1996 and was a Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada Postdoctoral Fellow at the Seferis Chair at Harvard University from 1993-1994. She received her PhD from The Ohio State University. Her research areas include the poetry of the two Nobel Prize-winning authors George Seferis and Odysseas Elytis, British and American 20th century travel writing to Greece and contemporary Greek American literature. She is working on a book-length study on memory and historicism in the work of George Seferis and his generation of writers. Currently, she is the Associate Editor of the Arts and Humanities of theJournal of Modern Greek Studies, a refereed interdisciplinary journal published by Johns Hopkins Press. She is also serving as Secretary of the Modern Greek Studies Association, the largest professional organization of faculty, graduate students and researchers in Modern Greek Studies in the U.S. and Canada.

Susan Stephens is Professor of Classics, Stanford University (PhD Stanford). Stephens’ current research is on the political and social dimensions of Hellenistic literature. Publications include editions of literary and documentary papyri belonging to the Oxyrhynchus (P.Oxy. 45) and the Yale (P. Yale II) collections. Ancient Greek Novels: The Fragments (with Jack Winkler, 1995); Seeing Double: Intercultural Poetics in Ptolemaic Alexandria(2003); Classics and National Cultures (With Phiroze Vasunia) will appear this year.

Andrew Stewart, Nicholas C. Petris Professor of Greek Studies and Professor of Ancient Mediterranean Art and Archaeology at UC Berkeley, directed the UC Berkeley excavation team at Tel Dor, Israel, from 1986 through 2006, and currently chairs UC Berkeley’s Graduate Group in Ancient History and Mediterranean Archaeology. He specializes in ancient Greek art and archaeology, the Greeks in the East both before and after Alexander the Great, and the Renaissance and later reception of Greek and Roman sculpture. His awards include UC Berkeley’s Distinguished Teaching Award; Guggenheim, Getty, and American Council of Learned Societies Fellowships; and the Wittenborn and Association of American Publishers awards for hisGreek Sculpture: An Exploration (1990). His other publications includeSkopas of Paros (1977); Attika: Studies in Athenian Sculpture of the Hellenistic Age (1979); Faces of Power: Alexander’s Image and Hellenistic Politics (1993); Art, Desire, and the Body in Ancient Greece (1997); Attalos, Athens, and the Akropolis: The Pergamene “Little Barbarians” and their Roman and Renaissance Legacy (2004); and Classical Greece and the Birth of Western Art (2008).


Copernicus, Galileo, and Kepler: Redefining Our Place in the Universe

Herbst Theatre, San Francisco

Commemorating the 400th anniversary of modern astronomy and Galileo’s first use of the telescope in 1609.

For centuries, religious belief and philosophical reasoning had placed man and his earthly home at the center of the universe. Changing that deep-seated and psychologically compelling conviction took courage, persistence, and a dedication to new methods of scientific observation and measurement on the part of three provincial scholars from Toruń in Poland, Pisa in Italy, and Weil der Stadt in Germany. It also took more than 150 years of controversy and confrontation spanning most of the 16th and 17th centuries, from Copernicus’ life work first published as De revolutionibus orbium coelestium in 1543 to Newton’s Principia in 1687. Those years of controversy succeeded beyond belief, leading to today’s astronomical shifts in understanding an expanding universe that may contain millions of life-supporting planets in our galaxy alone.

Moderator: Alexander Zwissler
Executive Director, Chabot Space & Science Center, Oakland

Humanities West Board Fellow Dimitrios Latsis has archived selected program materials, including audio of lectures and performances if available, at the non-profit Internet Archive here.

Friday, October 2, 2009

8:00 pm until 10:15 pm

Introduction: 25th Anniversary Season (Patricia Lundberg) and Moderator Alexander Zwissler’s Overview of the Program

Keynote Address: The Copernican Revolution.
Roger Hahn (History, UC Berkeley).

Nothing was so bizarre and more contradictory to evidence in 16th century Christian Europe than removing man and the earth from its central position in the cosmos. Yet this was the revolution in thought that Copernicus initiated. How it happened and why it took another century and a half to be fully absorbed in Newton’s era is the amazing story to be told. The twists and turns will take us from Copernicus’ Poland to an island observatory in the Danish Sound where Tycho Brahe compiled data Kepler tested out to establish the elliptical orbits of planets; to Northern Italy where Galileo created a furor with Catholic authorities; and to Cambridge University where the reclusive Newton set forth the forces that held the new solar system together.

The Music of the Spheres.
Kip Cranna
 (San Francisco Opera) discusses why star-gazers from Pythagoras to Kepler believed that mathematical laws producing musical harmony on earth also determine the movements of heavenly bodies, creating a universe ordered by a kind of celestial harmony.

The Star Dances.
Kathryn Roszak’s Danse Lumiere
. Introduced by Bethany Cobb (UC Berkeley).
An original choreography inspired by Kepler’s “Music of the Spheres.” The dances take inspiration from the latest star/planet mapping by astronomers at UC Berkeley. Music includes Holst’s “The Planets” for two pianos.


Redefining Our Place in the UniverseThe Star Dances [Danse Lumiere]. Premier Performance: Choreography by Kathryn Roszak. A commissioned dance premiering at HW, with Hally Bellah-GutherRita Dantas ScottDamon MahoneyLissa Resnick. The Star Dances take inspiration from Kepler’s “Music of the Spheres” and star/planet mapping by UC Berkeley astronomers. The elegant simplicity of Satie’s music creates an atmosphere for two and then three female dancers as the Three Graces, who echo the harmony of the spheres. Holst’s energetic two-piano version of “The Planets” provides a striking score for the more volatile activity of the stars. Computer models of colliding galaxies, unfolding anemones in space, provide inspiration for a duet.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

10:00 am until noon & 1:30 until 4:00 pm

Recap of Friday and Introduction of Saturday Program (Patricia Lundberg)

Galileo and the Telescope: The Instrument That Changed Astronomy.
Paula Findlen
 (History, Stanford University).
In 1609 an Italian mathematics professor, Galileo Galilei, devised a telescope based on reports of a spyglass that could magnify things at a distance. He turned it on the heavens and saw things no one had ever seen before: the imperfections of the moon’s surface, the composition of the Milky Way, and the hitherto unknown satellites of Jupiter. Galileo’s report of these discoveries, the Sidereal Messenger (1610), became a landmark publication in the history of astronomy and made him one of the most important and ultimately controversial astronomers of his time. How did Galileo and his instrument change astronomy? What is the significance of his accomplishment at the distance of 400 years?

Galileo Meets Darwin: The Search for Life in the Universe.
Geoff Marcy
 (Astronomy, UC Berkeley).
Science fiction assumes that our Milky Way Galaxy abounds with habitable planets populated by advanced civilizations engaged in interstellar commerce and conflict. Even Kepler wrote a science-fiction work about travelling in the solar system. Back in our real universe, Earth-like planets and alien life have proved elusive. Has science fiction led us astray? This year, astronomers launched the first searches for Earth-like worlds around other stars, using bizarre, extreme telescopes for the task. For the first time, these telescopes have fundamentally superseded Galileo’s historic little scope. A wild race for signs of inhabited worlds and extraterrestrial life is about to begin.

Performance: Copernicus Comments on Modern Astronomical Ideas

George Hammond (SF Attorney and Author) impersonates Copernicus, wryly commenting on the “hot ideas” of 21st Century cosmology, dismissing those that look like “yet another epicycle dead end” and passionately predicting those that will lead to the next Copernican Revolution.

Dark Energy and the Runaway Universe.
Alex Filippenko
 (Astronomy, UC Berkeley). Observations of very distant exploding stars (supernovae) show that the expansion of the Universe is now speeding up, rather than slowing down as would be expected due to gravity. Other, completely independent data strongly support this amazing conclusion. Over the largest distances, our Universe seems to be dominated by a repulsive “dark energy,” stretching the very fabric of space itself faster and faster with time. The physical nature of dark energy is often considered to be the most important unsolved problem in physics; it probably provides clues to a unified quantum theory of gravity.

Panel Discussion with all presenters and written questions from the audience


Clifford (Kip) Cranna is Director of Musical Administration at San Francisco Opera, where he has been on the staff since 1979. He has served as vocal adjudicator for numerous groups including the Metropolitan Opera National Council. He holds a BA in choral conducting from the University of North Dakota and a PhD in musicology from Stanford University. For many years he was Program Editor and Lecturer for the Carmel Bach Festival. He lectures and writes frequently on music and teaches at the SF Conservatory of Music. He hosts the Opera Guild’s “Insight” panels and intermission features for the SF Opera radio broadcasts, and has been a Music Study Leader for Smithsonian Tours. He was named 2006 “Man of the Year” by Il Cenacolo, a SF men’s Italian cultural organization. In 2008 he was awarded the SF Opera Medal, the company’s highest honor.

Alex Filippenko received his PhD in Astronomy from Caltech in 1984 and joined the UC Berkeley faculty in 1986, where he is a leading authority on exploding stars, active galaxies, black holes, gamma-ray bursts, and cosmology. He has coauthored nearly 600 scientific publications, is one of the world’s most highly cited astronomers, and has won numerous prizes for his research, most recently the 2007 Gruber Cosmology Prize. He was the only person to be a member of both teams that discovered the accelerating expansion of the Universe, which was selected as the “Top Science Breakthrough of 1998” by the editors of Science. He has won the highest teaching awards at UC Berkeley, where students have voted him the “Best Professor” on campus six times. In 2006, he was named the Carnegie/CASE National Professor of the Year among doctoral institutions. The recipient of the 2004 Carl Sagan Prize for Science Popularization, he has appeared in numerous television documentaries, produced four astronomy video courses, and coauthored an award-winning textbook.

Paula Findlen is Professor and Chair of History; Co-Director of the Center for Medieval and Early Modern Studies; Co-Director of the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology Program; all at Stanford University. Her interest lies in understanding the world of the Renaissance, with a particular focus on Italy. She is “fascinated by a society that made politics, economics and culture so important to its self-definition, and that obviously succeeded in all these endeavors for some time, as the legacy of such figures as Machiavelli and Leonardo suggests. Renaissance Italy, in short, is a historical laboratory for understanding the possibilities and the problems of an innovative society.” Some publications include “Historical Thought in the Renaissance,” in Companion to Historical Thought, ed. Lloyd Kramer and Sarah Maza (Blackwell, 2002); “Building the House of Knowledge: The Structures of Thought in Late Renaissance Europe,” in Tore Frangsmyr, ed.,The Structure of Knowledge: Classifications of Science and Learning since the Renaissance (Berkeley, 2001); (ed.) The Italian Renaissance: Essential Readings (Blackwell, 2002). “Men, Moments and Machines” special on the History Channel: “Galileo and the Sinful Spyglass.”

Roger Hahn is an emeritus professor of Graduate Studies in the History Department at UC Berkeley, where he has taught history of science to hundreds of students for over 45 years. At Berkeley he was Director of the Office for History of Science and Technology and has published widely on related cultural and scientific issues. He is the author of a biography of the mathematician and astronomer Laplace.Currently he is Vice-President of the Académie Internationale d’Histoire des Sciences. He was educated at Harvard University (AB and MAT), Cornell University (PhD), and at the École Pratique des Hautes Études in Paris. Roger and his wife have been long time supporters of Humanities West, and he has been Moderator as well as presenter for a number of Humanities West programs.

George Hammond is known to Humanities West audiences for his previous presentations on Mark Twain in 2005, Plato in 2006 as part of the Sicily seminar, and Pythagoras in 2008. George is a San Francisco corporate attorney who specializes in international mergers and acquisitions. He is also the author of four novels, a collection of short stories and six philosophical books on issues in rational idealism, theoretical physics, Plato’s theory, early Christianity, the Soviet Union, psychology and constitutional law. His indebtedness to Pythagorean thought is pithily expressed in the name of his website: pythpress.com.

Geoffrey W. Marcy is a professor of astronomy at UC Berkeley and an adjunct professor of physics and astronomy at San Francisco State University. He is also the director of Berkeley’s “Center for Integrative Planetary Science,” a research unit that studies the formation, geophysics, chemistry and evolution of planets. Marcy’s research focuses on the detection of extrasolar planets and brown dwarfs. His team discovered the majority of the 350 known planets around other stars, including the first multiple-planet system, the first Saturn-mass planets, and the first Neptune-mass planet. His goal is to discover the first earth-like planets and to find other planetary systems like our own solar system. Marcy is the recipient of numerous awards, including the prestigious Shaw Prize in 2005, Discovery Magazine’s Space Scientist of the Year in 2003, the NASA Medal for Exceptional Scientific Achievement, the Carl Sagan Award, the Beatrice Tinsley Prize, and the Henry Draper Medal from the National Academy of Sciences. He is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences.

Kathryn Roszak is Artistic Director, Danse Lumiere. She previously created choreography to music based on star maps at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco. Danse Lumiere (formerly Anima Mundi) was founded in 1995 and creates dance theater linking the arts, environment, and humanity. The company has collaborated with visual artists, composers, scientists, and writers. Recent productions have included writers Maxine Hong Kingston, Michael McClure, and Gary Snyder. The company has won many grants and awards, including from Laurance S. Rockefeller, Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation, Phyllis C. Wattis Foundation, Fleischhacker Foundation, Guzik Foundation, and Zellerbach Family Foundation. Danse Lumiere has been presented locally at Theater Artaud, Grace Cathedral, Cowell Theater, University of San Francisco, Yoshi’s Jazz House, Asian Art Museum, and in New York by La MaMa Theater. The company’s collaboration with mathematicians was presented by Copenhagen Cultural Festival in Denmark. The company was also invited to perform at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West and at Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC.

Kathryn Roszak trained on Ford Foundation Scholarships at Balanchine’s School of American Ballet in New York and at the SF Ballet School. She received her theater training with the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art and with American Conservatory Theater’s MFA Program. She danced with the SF Opera Ballet and has choreographed and taught for the SF Opera Center and ACT. Her original choreography has won awards from the Carlisle Choreography Project and from the Djerassi Resident Artists’ Program. She writes on dance for Theater Bay Area Magazine and teaches for the Lines Ballet/Dominican University BFA in Dance Program and for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UC Berkeley.

Alexander Zwissler is Executive Director/ CEO of the Chabot Space and Science Center in Oakland California (www.chabotspace.org). The Center, a Smithsonian Affiliate, is an interactive Science Center whose mission is to inspire and educate students of all ages about the Planet Earth and the Universe. Prior to Chabot, Zwissler was Executive Director of the Fort Mason Foundation in San Francisco from 1999 to 2006. Earlier, Zwissler had a 17-year career in the cable television and telecommunications industry. He was a Director of ComTel, the United Kingdom’s fourth largest cable television and Telephone Company, with responsibility for Internet products, interactive services and digital television. Previous positions include General Manager of Oxford Cable Ltd., Oxford, England, President of Ventura County Cablevision, President of Las Cruces TV Cable, and President of Concord TV Cable. The American companies were all divisions of Western Communications, the Cable Television arm of the SF Chronicle Publishing Company. Zwissler was born in Stuttgart Germany, moved to California with his family, and was raised in Oakland. There he attended public schools before earning a BA in Political Science, with Honors, at UC Berkeley. After graduating, Zwissler was a Postgraduate Research Fellow at the Centre for Mass Communication Research at the University of Leicester, England, conducting research on the development of international satellite broadcasting. Zwissler serves currently on the Board of Directors for the San Francisco Market Street Railway, Tau Kappa Epsilon at UC Berkeley, and the Non Profit Centers Network.  Zwissler has also served on the Boards of the Oxfordshire Foundation, the Conejo Future Foundation, the SF Business Arts Council, the National Park Service Friends Alliance and the American Southwest Theatre Company.