by Tom Palaima
FSA 2007- MacArthur fellow 1985-90
Robert M. Armstrong Centennial Professor of Classics
Director, Program in Aegean Scripts and Prehistory
On November 8, 2019, I presented a seminar on Tn 316 and the Ta tablets at the Harvard Center for Hellenic Studies at the invitation of Greg Nagy and on the occasion of Mycenaean scholar Rachele Pierini being in residence as a junior fellow. You will see in the recent summary that Rachele sent out that what is now known as MASt@chs is celebrating its first birthday. Our first on-line report contains contributions and discussion by Palaima, Pierini, Elizabeth Barber and Brent Vine.
The next meeting on Friday November 6 has main contributions by Vassilis Petrakis on “The relationship between stirrup jars, kingship, and the economic and political landscape in Crete” and Anne Chapin on “Textiles in Aegean Bronze Age Mural Paintings” and a minor contribution by me on “Observations on Terminology and Ideology for Joining in Linear B and Later Greek.”
The idea is to promote open discussion of significant work in progress with publication of quick detailed summaries so as to inspire feedback and further thought.
The MASt@CHS project
by Rachele Pierini
Coordinator and Chief Editor
Hosted by the Harvard’s Center for Hellenic Studies, MASt is a new project aiming to boost discussion and debate among specialists on topics and problems in Bronze Age Aegean studies and then to disseminate the latest results to the wider audience of classicists. To achieve this, the MASt project has designed a twofold strategy: specialist seminars up to 20 participants and substantial reports on the online journal Classical Inquiries.
MASt, which stands for Meetings on Aegean Studies, has been co-founded at the CHS by Gregory Nagy, Tom Palaima, and Rachele Pierini. Pierini acts as Coordinator as well. The project took its earliest steps in Fall 2019, when Pierini, as Research Fellow at the CHS, and Nagy, as Director of the Center, organized a seminar that Palaima offered on November 8, 2019. The fortunate presence in the same period of scholars such as Roger Woodard, Leonard Muellner, and Eric Cline has quickly resulted in on-line Zoom reunions to discuss ongoing research. In just a couple of months, our friendly reunions have grown so much that a more structured framework was required, while maintaining the friendly and collaborative atmosphere of the earliest encounters. A signature element of the CHS, cooperation has played a key role in the construction of this framework as well. Pierini’s discussion with philosophy research fellow, Simona Aimar, for example, resulted in ideas for the project, including the use of an acronym as a name. At the start of 2020, MASt@CHS became a reality.
The MASt seminars now take place online every quarter (January, April, July, and November). Our community networks with a wide array of international speakers from all over the world. In addition to the already mentioned Nagy, Palaima, Pierini, Woodard, Muellner, and Cline, our steady participants include Brent Vine and Sarah Morris (UCLA), Marie-Louise Nosch (Denmark), Richard Firth (UK), Georgia Flouda (Greece), and Doug Frame (CHS). In a two-hour time frame, we usually have up to three speakers presenting their ongoing research. Subsequently, we publish on Classical Inquiries substantial reports of our discussions. Pierini and Palaima act as editors.
Here, for example, is our latest report of presentations and discussion by Pierini, Palaima, Elizabeth Barber and Brent Vine: https://classical-inquiries.chs.harvard.edu/mast-chs-friday-june-26-2020-summaries-of-presentations-and-discussion/. Also, here is a piece that our MASt seminar inspired Nagy to write: https://classical-inquiries.chs.harvard.edu/about-a-perfect-start-for-a-world-wide-web-of-song/.
On November 2020, MASt@CHS will celebrate one year of seminars on Mycenaean Studies.