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Reading Greek Literature with Frederick Douglass
Professor Edward M. Harris (Durham and Edinburgh)
Visiting Langford Scholar, FSU, Fall 2020

This lecture will offer a new approach to the study of ancient Greek slavery. It starts from a letter, written on lead, discovered during excavations in the Athenian Agora in 1972. The letter was written by a young slave to his mother and describes how he was chained up, whipped and humiliated. This is the only source from Classical Athens that describes the institution of slavery from the point of view of the slave; even though slaves and slavery are often mentioned in the sources, these sources always approach the institution from the perspective of the masters. The lecture will discuss how we can better understand the history of slavery in Ancient Greece from the slave’s perspective by reading The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. It thus fills in what is missing in the ancient sources and helps us to imagine a way of studying Greek History that is more balanced and inclusive.

The lecture is made possible by the Langford Family Eminent Scholar Chair Endowment of the Department of Classics at FSU, with generous support from the American School of Classical Studies at Athens.

Nov 6, 2020 12:00 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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