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  • Exploring Antiquity in Debrecen

    The largest three-day conference in the nation on the study of antiquity was kicked off at the end of May in as many as nine different sections at the University of Debrecen.
    The conference called Hungarian National Conference on the Study of Antiquity, in fact, the most prestigious professional forum for local researchers of this time period, was held here for the twelfth time. This event can be hosted only by institutions that offer courses in classical studies, Latin, Old Greek, and the history of the antiquity.
    Exploring Antiquity in Debrecen 
    Two out of the nine “basic departments” of the Faculty of Humanities, Languages, and History of Debreceni Magyar Királyi Tudományegyetem (the old name of UD), which was founded in 1912, used to specialize specifically on instructing ancient languages (Department of Greek Classical Philology and Department of Latin Classical Philology), while one other (Department of Universal History) tangentially offered instruction in subjects related to the notion of antiquity. Teaching at the independent Department of Ancient History was launched in June 1918.
    “Between May 26 and 28, the University of Debrecen is honored to host this event for the third time in its history, with the previous occasions dating back to ten and twenty years ago respectively. This time, we are proud to welcome more than a hundred participants to give papers at the conference,” said Péter Forisek, Head of the hosting Department of Classical Philology and Ancient History.
    Attendance at the lectures presented at the three-day conference is free not only for participants but also for the general public in all nine sections.
    “The papers and presentations delivered here not only give an insight into the world of antiquity but they also contribute to an enhanced popularity of several academic fields focusing on ancient history, including archeology, linguistics, literature and philosophy. The rich thematic texture of the conference ranging from the ancient eastern states to the survival of late antiquity aptly illustrates that this academic field continues to be a lively and active discipline even today, which can hugely benefit from the findings of other academic areas of research as well,” said Elek Bartha, Vice Rector of the University of Debrecen, in his opening address.
    Péter Forisek added that there was going to be an exhibition related to the conference opened in the university library, which was intended to give an overview of the history of the Department of Classical Philology and Ancient History at UD from 1914 to 2016. Some of the exhibits on display include the works of local researchers published during the past one hundred and two years.
    At the opening plenary lecture of the conference, a retired professor of the University of Debrecen, Tamás Gesztelyi talked about the “adventures” of the so-called Seuso collection, elaborating on the analysis of the mythological portrayals on one of the salient pieces called Meleagros plate. As the Seuso collection comprised pieces used for special feasts only, it could remain extant to us in such a good condition, although none of the cutlery to go with it has surfaced yet. As a consequence, it is assumed that there are still pieces of the original collection somewhere to be identified in the future.
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