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Mirrors and Monsters

Greek mythology is famous for its hideous monsters, hybrid entities like Cerberus, the Hydra, the Chimaera, and the Sphinx.  These creatures are not merely suitable foils for majestic gods and valorous heroes; the Greeks also believed that monsters held up a mirror to humans, revealing to us our own complexities and our multiple natures.  Nor were Greek monsters always too terrible to behold.  In fact, they were a favourite subject of ancient art, finding room on some of the most unlikely objects:  party bowls, perfume bottles, and cosmetic mirrors.  This talk will trace the development of the snaky-haired Medusa in particular, how her artistic and literary representation changed from that of a hideous Gorgon to a sympathetic and beautiful (if still monstrous) female.

Bio: James Hume (B.A., M.A.) is an Associate Professor (Teaching) in the Department of Classics and Religion at the University of Calgary.  His career as an instructor in ancient Greek and Latin languages and literature, as well as in pre-Christian Hellenistic and Roman religions, has always made room for the study of mythology, too.  He has contributed articles on Greco-Roman mythology and on various Greek and Roman gods to the Cambridge Dictionary of Classical Civilization (2006) and has given public lectures on topics ranging from monsters to the ancient Orphic and Eleusinian mystery cults.  

In almost every academic year for the past three decades, Professor Hume has been behind the podium in one of the larger theatres at the University of Calgary, delivering lectures on Classical Mythology and Literature to upwards of three hundred students at a time.  In other words, he loves the subject and is pleased to share his passion and knowledge with CALL. 

When: Monday March 4, 2024
Time:  1:00 - 2:30 p.m. Doors open at 12:30 p.m.
Where: Scott Hall, Varsity Acres Presbyterian Church
  4612 Varsity Drive NW
Parking Info: Click Here
Speaker: James Hume

Members of the public are welcome to attend at a cost of $5, collected at the door.

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