Friday 11th November 2016, 14.00-16.00 BP Lecture Theatre Free, booking essential
One of the most beautiful, colourful and precise of all technical drawings, botanical art has taught us much about the complex world of botany and continues to enthral many of us to this day. Its history is rich and extensive, and the horticultural regions covered is equally vast. As Japan engaged with the West, botanical images of Japanese plants and flowers were relayed back to Europe by Westerners. They appeared as reproductions in much coveted publications such as Philipp Franz Balthasar von Siebold’s Flora japonica (1835–1870) and Engelbert Kaempfer’s The History of Japan (1727), and stoked curiosity and imagination about the flora and fauna of the lands in the Far East. As part of the Toshiba lectures in Japanese art and science, the Sainsbury Institute invites Masumi Yamanaka, one of the most celebrated botanical artists working at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, to provide a guide to the world of horticultural images. Joined by Dr Mark Nesbitt from Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Masumi will explain why botanic art is much more than pretty watercolour paintings.
Monday 24 October, 13.30 BP Lecture Theatre Free, booking essential
Sally-Ann Ashton, University of Huddersfield, offers an overview how African-centred approaches to the study of ancient Egypt can be used effectively, with reference to parallels from other African cultures.
Professor Hartmut Lehmann, Universities of Gottingen, reveals how Martin Luther attempted to discipline the rapidly growing group of his followers after the first, turbulent years of the Protestant Reformation. Beginning in the 1520s, independent thinkers freed themselves from Luther's teachings, believing in the priesthood of all believers. Some practised adult baptism, others criticised the close cooperation of state and church in Protestant territories, and over time developed their own authorities and networks. Within just a few decades, Luther's unruly offspring came of age.
Presented in collaboration with the German Historical Institute, London.
Friday 14 October, 18.30 BP Lecture Theatre £5, £3 members/concessions
14 October marks the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings, when William of Normandy defeated Harold, the last Anglo-Saxon king of England. In this lecture, historian and filmmaker Michael Wood looks at the Norman Conquest in its time, but also about the way it has been seen since in popular culture, down to the Diggers in the English Civil War, the Victorians and even Ladybird books and the Eagle comic. Behind the later stories, he argues, lies the memory of a catastrophe for the English people, though the roots of English governance and culture created before 1066 would in time re-emerge.
Thursday 6 October, 16.00 BP Lecture Theatre Free, booking essential
Pilgrimage to Mecca (the Hajj) is the fifth pillar of Islam – an obligation stated in the Koran for every Muslim sound of body and mind, and with adequate means. In this talk, Claudine Dauphin, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, discusses recent fieldwork investigating the archaeology of two two pilgrim roads in Jordan, running 425km from the Syrian border to the Saudi Arabian frontier. Using RAF aerial photographs of 1953, and applying modern archaeological methods, the main Hajj road was plotted, and six medieval and twelve Ottoman camps and caravanserais were discovered. This study allows us to reconstruct the natural landscapes of Hajj pilgrim resting places in Jordan as ‘sacred landscapes’ – a first in Islamic landscape archaeology.
Thursday 1 September 2016, 13.30 BP Lecture Theatre Free, booking required
In this lecture, Ross Thomas, British Museum, looks at the long history of contact between Italy and Egypt, from early trade to the rise of the Rome, and Egypt eventually becoming a Roman province after Cleopatra’s downfall. He reveals how traces of different cultures can be found within the archaeological record of Egyptian port cities, including Naukratis and Thonis-Heracleion.
Sex is fundamental to society. We cannot think about politics, identity or culture without also thinking about sexuality. In his book Sex: Antiquity and its Legacy, Daniel Orrells, explores how ancient words and ideas have left a significant imprint on present-day ideas about desire and pleasure. In this lecture, he outlines how British Museum objects, including a cabinet of 18th-century wax phalluses, have shaped modern sexual identity.
Friday 7 October, 13.30 BP Lecture Theatre Free, booking essential
The battle fought at Marathon between Athenians and Persians in 490 BC was not a casual skirmish between blind armies clashing in the dark. Its outcome, Athenian victory, has been hailed as a vital node in the history of modern freedom and European civilisation.
In this lecture, Athena Leouissi, University of Reading, explores the afterlife of the battle, celebrated in the Parthenon marbles, and still remembered in marathon races today.
Friday 21 October 2016, 13.30 BP Lecture Theatre Free, booking required
The Ptolemies ruled Egypt between the 4th century BC and the death of Cleopatra in 31 BC. They mastered the art of soft power and spin doctoring, winning the hearts and minds of their multicultural audiences at home and abroad. In this lecture, Heba Abd el-Gawad, Durham University, asks how and why it all worked, and whether modern rulers and governments could benefit from looking at the Ptolemaic system in relation to current multicultural tensions.
Monday 3 October 2016, 13.30 BP Lecture Theatre Free, booking required
The ancient Greeks began to visit and settle in Egypt from the 7th century BC onwards. One of the key centres of contact and exchange was the mixed Egyptian-Greek trading post of Naukratis, 'sister' port of Thonis- Heracleion and the subject of new research at the British Museum. In this lecture, Alexandra Villing, British Museum, reveals how the excavations since 2012 are shedding new light on early encounters and the ensuing long-term exchange, which transformed both Greek and Egyptian culture.