Philo’s Mission to Rome: A Historical Archaeological View. Lecture in Berlin by ICS Directors Annewies van den Hoek & John J. Herrmann, Jr. (December 7, 2017)

Philo's Mission to Rome: A Historical Archaeological View - Lecture (in English) by Annewies van den Hoek (Harvard University) and John J. Herrmann, Jr. (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston)
Thursday, December 07, 2017, 6:00 pm, in the Theological Faculty of Humboldt University, Burgstr. 26, 10178 Berlin, seminar room 117  Vortrag_vdHoek_071217 (invitation pdf)

Abstract: In spite of its highly rhetorical character, Philo’s Legatio ad Gaium reflects a historical situation with real people and real places. New light can be shed on Philo’s embassy to the emperor Caligula in 38-39 CE by coupling the fields of archaeology and philology. Archaeologists have used Philo’s account in his Legatio to interpret excavated remains in Rome, and these remains can in turn offer some new perspectives on the philosopher-ambassador’s rhetoric. The emperor wanted veneration from the Jews and pampered Philo with access to his private retreat. However, Philo’s response to the luxurious setting, while not entirely indifferent, was not what the emperor expected.

Annewies van den Hoek taught at Harvard University (1989-2016) and is now retired. She wrote a monograph on Clement of Alexandria and Philo (1988), a Greek text edition of Clement's Stromateis IV (2001), and co-authored with John Herrmann: Pottery, Pavements, and Paradise (2013). She is currently preparing a commentary on Philo's De Cherubim.

John J. Herrmann, Jr. is Curator of Classical Art Emeritus of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and vice president of the Association for the Study of Marble and Other Stones in Antiquity (ASMOSIA). His articles, books, and contributions to catalogs catalog Greek, Roman, and Early Christian art and architectural decoration.