The A.G. Leventis Foundation
The Leventis Foundation
The A. G. Leventis Foundation has generously funded research, teaching and public engagement in Classics and Ancient History at Exeter for twenty-five years. This has included numerous doctoral studentships, enabling a sequence of promising scholars to embark on academic careers, as well as support for a Leventis Lecturer in the Impact of Greek Culture and several post-doctoral researchers. We are delighted to announce that a recent £1.2 million gift from the Foundation has established the A. G. Leventis Chair in Ancient Greek Scientific and Technological Thought. The first holder of the post will be appointed to start in 2022.
There are three recipients of Leventis Studentships currently pursuing doctoral study in Classics and Ancient History:
- Laura Stops is researching the roles and significance of city gateways in early Imperial cities of the western provinces. So far her research has focused on the city of Rome during the Augustan period, and studying the changes to the gates of the Republican city walls during that period.
- Nicola Ernst’s thesis, ‘The Sons of Constantine and Ecclesiastical Politics: A.D. 337-361’, is focussed on the relationship between Constantine I’s three sons, Constantine II, Constantius II, and Constans with the Church and its bishops in the mid-fourth century. In particular, her thesis has been reconsidering the traditionally accepted ‘orthodox’ presentations of the period, and has presented new readings into a time of great imperial and ecclesiastical tension.
- Toni Clark (2020-23) is examining the social and cultural contexts of carved ivory in the period 300–700 CE. Her research will explore how ivory objects were crafted, exchanged, displayed and re-used across the Mediterranean and Europe in the late Roman to early mediaeval period.
The Leventis Initiative
During 2010-18, the Foundation established the Leventis Initiative on the impact of Greek on non-Greek culture in antiquity. This included financial support for a sequence of postdoctoral research associates and a full-time lecturer, Dr Dan King, whose position has now been made permanent by the University, thereby ensuring that the work of the Initiative will continue at Exeter. Dan King works on the history of the classical body, with particular focus on the body in ancient science, and its reception beyond antiquity. Since 2018, the Foundation has also funded two other postdoctoral research positions in Hellenic Studies: a three-year post (2018-2021), held by Dr Maria Gerolemou, whose research focuses on ancient technology, especially on automatic theatre and technological animation; and a two-year position (2019-2021), held by Dr. Irene Salvo, who is currently working on a project entitled: Divine Knowledge: Religion, Gender, Ethnicity, and Access to Power in the Hellenistic and Imperial Greek World.
Former staff linked to the initiative include: Dr Myrto Hatzimichali (now Senior Lecturer in Classics at the University of Cambridge), whose research focuses on intellectual life and scholarship in first century BC Alexandria and its influence in the Mediterranean World; Dr Boris Chrubasik (now Associate Professor of Greek History and Classics at the University of Toronto), who works on the history of the Eastern Mediterranean from the Achaemenid to the late Hellenistic period, with a particular focus on the history of power from both a central and a local perspective; Dr Gaelle Coqueugniot, who works on public centres, administration and archives in the Hellenistic world, especially in the Seleucid kingdom; and Dr Erica Rowan (Lecturer in Classical Archaeology at Royal Holloway, University of London), whose research examines diet and food pathways in the ancient Mediterranean, including the archaeological and archaebotanical remains from Herculaneum.
The Foundation’s generous funding has also enabled the holding of a number of conferences on themes related to the research of the Leventis Lecturer and postdoctoral researchers:
- Dialogues between Greece and the East, 9-12 September 2013. Proceedings published as Boris Chrubasik and Daniel King (eds.), Hellenism and the Local Communities of the Eastern Mediterranean, 400 BCE - 250 CE. Oxford University Press, 2017.
- Greek Diet, Health, and Medicine in the Roman World: Integration and Analysis of the Archaeological and Literary Material, 9-11 September 2015.
- Pain in the Ancient World, 4-6 April 2018. Co-organised with Prof. Han Baltussen (Adelaide University) and Dr Jacqueline Clarke (Adelaide University). Proceedings to be published as Baltussen, H., Clarke, J., & King, D., (edd.) Narrating Pain in the Ancient World. Brill. (forthcoming).
- Subversive Suffering, University of Liverpool, Friday 28 June, 2019 (hosted jointly with Centre for the Humanities and Social Sciences of Health, Medicine and Technology, University of Liverpool).
- Technological Animation in Classical Antiquity, University of Exeter, 6-7 December 2019. A collective volume, which explores cases of artificial animation created exclusively as a result of technical procedures, is now under contract with Oxford University Press (edited by Maria Gerolemou, Tatiana Bur and Isabel Ruffell).
There have also been a number of other research events associated with Leventis funding at Exeter:
- 1st Technosomata Workshop: Sexuality, Gender, Reproduction and Technology (7 June 2019). Proceedings to be published as Gerolemou, M., Chesi, G.-M., Body Technologies in the Greco-Roman World: Technosôma, Gender and Sex, Liverpool University Press.
- Ancient Medicine and Technology: Online Series Lectures (September 2020-July 2021). Organised by Maria Gerolemou and George Kazantzidis (University of Patras).
- The Sensoaesthetic Aspect of Ancient Materials (1st-2nd of July), organised by Maria Gerolemou and Thilo Rehren (The Cyprus Institute).
- 4th Technosomata Workshop: Technosomata. Transhistorical and Intersectional Perspectives Symposium (July 5th and 6th, 2021).