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Sept. 9, 2008

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. – Later this month, University of Cambridge Professor of Ancient History Robin Osborne will explore the issues surrounding the presentation of gods in human form by classical artists of Ancient Greece.

His talk, "Godsbodies: Imagining and Representing the Divine in Ancient Greece,” is the 19th annual Phyllis Williams Lehmann lecture. It will begin at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 22, in the Carroll Room of the Campus Center and is free and open to the public.

The Greeks thought of their gods as having the same form as humans, but just how similar to humans became a major issue. Plato and others criticized the notion that the gods should be presented as no more moral and no more impervious to passions than men and women.

But this issue of how to properly represent the gods was difficult for the visual arts too. Some argued the statues of the gods needed to make the gods appear humanlike if viewers were to be able to perceive in them a real personality. Others said the images needed to set themselves apart from, and superior to, humans.

A former instructor at Magdalen College and Corpus Christi College at Oxford, Osborne has published widely in ancient Greek history, the history of Greek art and Greek archaeology. He is currently chairman of the Council of University Classical Departments at the University of Cambridge and former president of the Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies. Osborne was elected a fellow of the British Academy in 2006.

The lecture is sponsored by the Archaeological Institute of America's Western Massachusetts Society and honors the late Haydenville resident Phyllis Williams Lehmann, who died in 2004. Lehmann taught at Smith from 1946 until her retirement in 1978.

For more information about the event, contact Jayne Mercier, Administrative Assistant, Interdisciplinary Studies, at (413) 585-3390.

For information about disability access or to request accommodations, call (413) 585-2407. To request a sign language interpreter specifically, call (413) 585-2071 (voice or TTY) or e-mail All requests must be made at least 10 days prior to the event.

Smith College educates women of promise for lives of distinction. By linking the power of the liberal arts to excellence in research and scholarship, Smith is developing leaders for society’s challenges. Smith is the largest undergraduate women’s college in the country, enrolling 2,600 students from nearly every state and 61 other countries.


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Northampton, Massachusetts 01063

Kristen Cole
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