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Numbers and Numeracy in Classical Greece

  • Serafina Cuomo (Birkbeck, London)
  • Stephen Johnstone (University of Arizona)
  • Lisa Kallet (Oxford)
  • Athena Kirk (Cornell)
  • Robin Osborne (Cambridge)
  • Catherine Rubincam (Toronto)
  • Richard Seaford (Exeter)
  • Josine Blok (Utrecht)
Friday 2 September 2016 - Saturday 3 September 2016


Numbers, quantification, and calculation are ubiquitous in the historical record of Classical Greece and exhibit a range of ideological and communicative meanings. This conference will bring together the growing number of scholars working on numbers in contexts of mass communication – both real (inscriptions, oratory, drama) and imagined (e.g. speeches in historiographical contexts), and those working on ancient numeracy. Our aim will be to explore the ideological meanings and communicative functions of numbers in classical Greece, and democratic Athens in particular. To this end, we would welcome papers from both established researchers and graduate students dealing with any of the following questions:

- What communicative situation and communicative relationship does the use of numbers presuppose?

- What is the relationship between the presentation of numbers (whether as quantification or calculation) and their communicative function? Is the communication purely ‘utilitarian’ or
  are other values such as accountability, transparency, expertise, or objectivity being communicated?

- What is the relationship between the mass communication of numbers and numerical calculation in daily life (e.g. economic exchange, political organisation)?

Friday 2 September: Gravensteen room 0.11
Saturday 3 September: Lipsius room 227

For further information or please contact the conference organisers

Robert Sing (University of Cambridge) rjs234@cam.ac.uk

Tazuko van Berkel (University of Leiden) T.A.van.Berkel@hum.leidenuniv.nl

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