On 17 September, Hylke de Boer’s thesis ‘Roma hospitis patria: Een karakterisering van de hospes in Propertius boek IV’ was awarded the CRASIS Bachelor Thesis Award 2020. With the award comes a prize of EUR 500.
The jury received several submissions this year, from which a top-3 was selected. In addition to De Boer’s work, the top-3 contained theses by Thom Brongers and Selina Bick.
In his ‘What kind of Camel: Using Osteometry to Distinguish Archaeological Dromedaries, Bactrians and their Hybrids Based on Autopodium Bones’, Brongers searches for osteometric criteria to distinguish between camels, dromedaries, and hybrids. The jury appreciated Bronger’s clear writing, which makes a highly specialist topic accessible to non-iniatiated readers, as well as the interdisciplinary set-up of the relative-size method and the way in which Brongers applies this method to shed light on an unknown dataset.
Bick’s ‘Recycling Medea in the Context of the Greek Government-Debt Crisis’ offers a close analysis of Asteris Kutulas’s art project Recycling Medea and compares it to Euripides’s Medea. Bick shows how Medea becomes a figure of universal appeal, which acquires new meanings in new contexts. Bick’s careful description of Kutulas’s project and the comparisons she draws with Euripides impressed the jury, as did the way in which Bick combines this analysis with broader theoretical reflection on reception history.
The winning thesis, by de Boer, analyses the ambiguity of Latin hospes, which means both ‘guest’ and ‘host.’ Applied to Rome, hospes language in Propertius and other authors, such as Vergil, allows its readers to look at Rome with strange eyes—as guests—but also embodies Rome as an asylum of various peoples. De Boer argues that every Roman remains a stranger at heart, whilst at the same time the assimilation of strangers into the city creates a unity out of plurality. The jury was impressed by De Boer’s mastery of the primary sources and his ability to bring them into dialogue with the secondary literature. Not least because of their relevance for modern societies, the themes of diversity and unity are currently of central interest in classics and ancient history, and De Boer offers a creative contribution and self-standing to these debates. A deserved winner!
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