Sound and Auditory Culture in Greco-Roman Antiquity












A convergence of new or newly vital scholarly considerations – including the return to aesthetics, neoformalism, renewed emphases on ancient music, performance studies and the history of embodied practice, the anthropology of the senses, science-studies and media-historiography, not to mention the flourishing interdisciplinary field of sound-studies itself – has made the study of sound and sound culture in ancient Greece and Rome not only viable but also crucially important. How was sound experienced, encoded, communicated, theorized, manipulated or mitigated in antiquity? What patterns of social, cultural, political, and aesthetic behavior shaped ancient auditory experience, and how, in turn, did auditory experience shape these broader areas of concern? In short, what did antiquity sound like? This conference aims to convene a community of scholars with active or nascent interests in sound and auditory culture in antiquity, in order to document current work and explore avenues for future research.


Papers should be 20-30 minutes in length and will be precirculated. Papers should be sent for precirculation to by March 1, 2016. At this time we will also need to know what (if any) AV equipment is required (projector, sound, etc).


Generous assistance has been provided by the Chancellor’s Distinguished Speakers’ fund, the Department of Classical Studies, and the Center for the Study of Oral Traditions.



Friday, April 1






Noises in the Street: Architecture and Acoustics in Ostia

Jeffrey D. Veitch (University of Kent, Canterbury)


Sounding Out Public Space in Antiquity: The Auralization of 3D Models to Reconstruct Auditory Experience in Antiquity

Erika Holter and Sebastian Schwesinger (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin)


The Sound of the Loom

Magdalena Öhrman (University of Wales Trinity Saint David) and Marie-Louise Nosch (Danish National Research Foundation’s Centre for Textile Research)



Timothy Power (Rutgers):

Sounding out the Sacred Way: Space and Sound in Greek Religious Experience



Lunch (Box Lunch provided)



Soundscapes II

The Soundscape of Hades: Timon of Phlius, Silloi (SH 775-840)

Rebecca Lämmle (University of Cambridge)


The Vari Cave as a Vibrant Soundscape

Carolyn Laferrière (Yale)


Sonic Porosity: Sound, Space, and Society in Roman Cities

Jeremy Hartnett (Wabash College)



Shane Butler (Johns Hopkins):

Proud Music of the Storm



Saturday, April 2





Acoustic Materialities


Lucretius on Sound

Pamela Zinn (University of Delaware/Temple University)


The Heartbeat of Nature: Sound in the Elder Pliny

Eleni Manolaraki (University of South Florida)



Andrew Barker (University of Birmingham):

The Pseudo-Aristotelian De Audibilibus



Lunch (Box Lunch provided)




The Sound of the Sublime

Alyson Melzer (Stanford University)


Submorphology and subsemantics: a rhizomatic account of ‘phonosymbolism’ in Latin

William Short and Alistair Welshman (UT SA)


Sounds from the Stage in Fifth-Century Athens

Sarah H. Nooter (University of Chicago)




Pauline LeVen (Yale):

The Erogenous Ear: Mythologies of Listening


6:00 Dinner (Location TBA)



Campus Map, including hotels, university buildings (in red), and restaurants/places of interest (in green)


As is clear from the schedule, you should plan to get to Columbia on March 31, and you should plan to leave on April 3 (we have not put convivial events on the schedule yet, but we do hope to regale you with delightful entertainments). 


You can fly directly into Columbia; all flights go through either O’Hare or Dallas. 


You can also fly to Kansas City or St Louis and take a shuttle from there. Shuttles from both Kansas City and St Louis take about 2 hours and are very reliable. The cost is $120.00 round trip; for this price the shuttle will take you directly to your hotel (or to anywhere else in town you might want to go). the shuttle service can be booked here:



We have allocated rooms (and slightly preferential rates) at two hotels close to campus. The Hampton Inn is a slightly less pleasant walk from the action but less expensive; the Tiger Hotel is very close to campus and to most of the good restaurants but more expensive on Friday and Saturday night.


The deadline to book rooms at both hotels is March 1.  The rates quoted below are not available if you book online; you must call the hotels directly. I recommend you book sooner rather than later; we are meeting on the last weekend of spring break, which tends to be a busy time for visitors.


Reservations for the Hampton Inn:  Call the hotel direct at (573) 214-2222, and ask for UM-Classical Studies block.  The rates are $119 a night.  Breakfast is included. Advice from those with experience working with Hampton Inn is that you should not let the front desk transfer you to reservations. They are someplace else and don’t know anything about special arrangements, but the front desk people who answer the phone are helpful.


Reservations for Tiger Hotel: Call the hotel direct at (573) 875-8888. Ask for the Classical Studies Block. The rates are $119 for Thursday, $144 for Friday and Saturday. There is an extra $20 per night charge for double bed rooms.



Boxed lunches will be provided both Friday and Saturday; there will be coffee and other light refreshments in the morning and mid-afternoon. We will also provide dinner (location TBA) to the speakers and a few invited guests on Saturday after the last talk.


Friday night you are free to explore Columbia. For some ideas of where to eat, Kristin Harper (one of our excellent graduate students) has prepared the following list of options.




Campus Map, including hotels, university buildings (in red), and restaurants/places of interest (in green)


Sycamore – [800 E. Broadway]. A faculty favorite. As local as possible, very fine lunches and dinners.


44 Canteen – [21 N 9th St]. Highly recommended slightly upmarket Bistro.


Bleu – [811 E. Walnut St]. One of the better restaurants in town.


The Heidelberg – [410 S. 9th St.] M-Sat 11am-1:30am Sun 10am-12. The closest pub and restaurant to campus, it boasts a good list of appetizers, burgers, sandwiches, and meals, all with a German-American feel. 


Shakespeare’s Pizza – [225 S 9th St.] Great local pizza spot, just off of main campus.

Broadway Brewery – [816 E Broadway] Local brewery, boasts a good atmosphere, craft beers, and delicious food. 


Pizza Tree – [909 Cherry St] Another great local pizza place, always serve by the slice, but also full pizzas made to order.


Main Squeeze – [28 S 9th St] If you are looking for Vegan & Vegetarian food, look no further than Main Squeeze. They provide a variety of sandwiches and smoothies.


Saigon Bistro – [912 E Broadway # 1]Vietnamese selection. Good Pho and vegetarian options.


Flat Branch – [115 S 5th St] One of the best restaurants in town. Can get crowded on the weekends, but boasts a great selection of American food. Also has its own brewery, so you can pick up craft brews here as well.


International Tap House [308 S 9th St] & 9th St. Publick House [36 N 9th St, Columbia]  – both watering holes featuring a variety of local brews, international beers, etc. but without the food component. I Tap does offer its patrons to bring in their own meals from outside. Great variety & Selection!


UKnead Sweets – [808 Cherry St] Small bakery off the main strip if you are looking for any homemade desserts!


ShotGun Pete’s BBQ Shack – [28 N 9th St] When you are in Missouri, you can’t leave without having tried some local BBQ. Although this place isn’t in Kansas City, they have a variety of sauces and boasts good KC flavor.



Lakota [24 S 9th St]

Kaldi’s [29 S 9th St #1]

Coffee Zone [11 N 9th St]

Fretboard Coffee [1013 E. Walnut St]

Shortwave Coffee [915 Alley A]




Stephen’s Lake Park – [2001 E Broadway] A wonderful park on the east side of town with good trails around a small pond.


Rock Bridge – [5901 South Hwy. 163] A place a bit outside of town with great hiking trails, the Rock Bridge stone formation, and a cave.


Shelter Gardens – [1817 W Broadway] If you don’t see the botanical gardens on Mizzou’s campus, you should check out these gardens downtown.

Ragtag Cinema – [10 Hitt St] A cute theater, complete with furniture that makes you feel at home, accompanied by some of the most popular independent films. Located inside Uprise Bakery, which becomes a pub by night. 


Artlandish Gallery – [1019 E Walnut St] Local artists display and sell their artwork here. There are a variety of different artists and styles available. It is worth a look!


University Attractions


Museum of Art History and Archaeology – [115 Business Loop 70 W] Currently located at Mizzou North, on Business Loop 70, the building is visible to the south from I-70 between West Blvd and Providence exits. The Cast Gallery is open, along with the 15,000 piece exhibits. There is also a restaurant on the ground floor. You can take Mizzou’s shuttle to get to this location if you are without a car. The Museum’s hours are Tuesday - Friday 9AM-4PM and Saturday and Sunday, noon until 4PM. Please call 573-882-3591 for more information about Tours or to request a docent. Here is more information on the shuttle:


Museum of Anthropology – [115 Business Loop 70 W] Guided tours are available upon request. If you would like one, please contact Candace Sall, Associate Museum Curator, email:, 573-882-3573.


Reptile Exhibit – [202 Stewart Hall] University of Missouri is the home for one of the most unique exhibits of native Missouri reptiles, including the various species of snakes found in the state.


The Botanic Gardens – Mizzou’s entire campus consists of these Botanic Gardens. While walking around campus, take time to look at the different flora which surrounds the buildings. If you are interested in anything in particular, here is a link to a map of the gardens:


The Columns – In front of Jesse Hall (the center building on the quad) you will find the historic columns. For more information on their history, please see the following website:


State historical society of Missouri – [1020 Lowry St] Located on the side within Ellis library, this Historical society boasts a collection of manuscripts, newspapers, artwork, and biographies of famous events and people of Missouri.


For more information and for other things to do, please look at the website: