Tuesday, May 27, 2014

‘Words and wishes of the gods’

Morbid Anatomy will continue its Death and the Occult in the Ancient World lecture series next month with another illustrated presentation. This one will be in Manhattan, rather than Observatory’s Brooklyn location. From the publicity:

Possession and Prophets
Illustrated Lecture
with Ava Forte Vitali
of the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Thursday, June 12 at 8 p.m.
Morbid Anatomy Museum
424A Third Avenue (at Seventh Street)
$8 per person—click here

The new year festival of Opet.

On the ancient Mediterranean, the words and wishes of the gods were handed down through a number of different conduits – some human and some not. What were the vehicles for prophecy and how were they interpreted in ancient Egyptian society? From omens to offerings to the ancient equivalent of ‘phone a friend,’ the manner in which the living communicated with their deities varied, across economic levels and with the development of time. We often see instances of both godly and demonic possession, and will discuss the different vehicles through which the gods could speak, including statues, smells, wind, light, and humans and animals, briefly expanding our dialogue to include neighboring Greece and Rome.

Ava Forte Vitali
Ava Forte Vitali completed her Master’s Degree in Art History and Archaeology, with a specialization in the Egyptian and Classical World, at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. Her research interests include the interaction of the physical and spirit world in Ancient Egypt, archaeology of the household, and Ancient Egyptian domestic and ancestor cults, on which her Master’s focused. She has excavated at sites in Egypt and Turkey, and is a Collections Manager for Greek and Roman Art at the Metropolitan Museum. She is currently writing a contribution on the Arts and Archaeology of Ancient Egypt, for an upcoming textbook on the introduction to Art History.

Death and the Occult
in the Ancient World Series

Death and the Occult in the Ancient World is a new series of monthly lectures, workshops, and tours that aim to examine the way people along the ancient Mediterranean interacted with the unseen forces in the world. While many basic ancient myths and mortuary traditions are known to most people with a casual interest, often this barely scrapes the top of a rich wealth of information and long history of interesting, engaging, and surprisingly weird traditions and beliefs. Through illustrated lectures, guided tours, and occasional workshops, we will strive to understand the different approaches that the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans had to explain the world around them and challenge popular misconceptions held by the public today.

Through this series we hope to bridge the gap that often exists between academic disciplines and the public audience, bringing the two together in an approachable forum. Led by a trained archaeologist and art historian Ava Forte Vitali of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, this series will expand on topics including religion, art, archaeology, and texts, to further our understanding of both our world and theirs.

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