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Power and Pathos: Bronze Sculpture of the Hellenistic World Symposium, VIII: Writing, Reading, and Thinking in Alexandria

David Sider, professor of classics, New York University. The exhibition Power and Pathos: Bronze Sculpture of the Hellenistic World, on view at the National Gallery of Art from December 13, 2015, through March 20, 2016, presents some 50 bronze sculptures and related works, dating from the fourth century BC to the first century AD. They span the Hellenistic period, when the art and culture of Greece spread throughout the Mediterranean and lands once conquered by Alexander the Great. The exhibition provides a unique opportunity to witness the importance of bronze in the ancient world, when it became the preferred medium for portrait sculpture. In this public symposium held on March 18 and 19, 2016, in conjunction with the exhibition, David Sider concentrates on how contemporary science and art appear in the poetry of this period. The deservedly well-known mathematicians Archimedes and Eratosthenes each wrote technical epigrams on mathematical problems, perhaps the most technical examples of one of Hellenistic poetry’s most famous genres, didactic poetry. Sider also focuses on Posidippus, his published book of epigrams, and his ekphrastic poems on statues and carved gems.