Narratives of Virgin Sacrifice in Ancient and Renaissance Poetry on the Nature of the Universe
HWL Visiting Faculty Fellow Caroline Stark is a professor of classics at Howard University whose work focuses on ancient cosmology and the reception of classical antiquity in later periods and other cultures. As her year at Duke nears its end, she will present a talk on the narratives of virgin sacrifice that feature prominently in didactic hexameter poems about the nature of the universe, specifically Lucretious's De rerum natura, Manilius's Astronomica, and Lorenzo Bonincontri's De rebus naturalibus et divinis II. The tragic and vivid accounts of the sacrifice of these maidens and the triumph of their respective heroes are programmatic and represent the symbolic ritual reenactment of the successful expurgation of society's evils according to the principles outlined in the poems.
The talk is happening Tuesday, April 25, 11:45-1pm in the Carpenter Room, 249 Rubenstein Library. Lunch will be provided.
Stark's fellowship has allowed her to tap the expertise of professors Clare Woods and Gregson Davis in Classics and lend her expertise to Story Lab. She has concentrated on two projects. The first is a digital resource called "The Io Project." It will serve as a gateway for scholars, teachers, students, and the public at large to engage with the art, literature, and scholarship of Africa and the African diaspora in dialog with the ancient Mediterranean. Her second project is an electronic edition of the first commentary of Manilius' Astronomica, a 1st c. CE astronomical poem. It will link the commentary to other extant evidence of Manilius' influence in the cultural and intellectual history of the fifteenth century since the poem was rediscovered in 1417, drawing on letters, poems, artwork, scientific data, and other material.