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Ancient World Seminar: Rebecca van Hove (Groningen University), "Go(o)d Luck: Theoi and tyche in Greek inscription headings"

When:Tu 14-12-2021 16:15 - 17:30
Where:Hybrid, at the Courtroom, Oude Boteringestraat 38, and online

The lecture will be organised in a hybrid format. We ask everyone who wishes to attend physically to register with the following form: j8NMwomzUEYGHzrF6. Sadly, there will be no drinks or dinner afterwards. 


This paper examines the theoi (‘gods’) heading which appears regularly, yet sporadically, on inscriptions in the ancient Greek world. Long noted, the heading has also long been passed over, often considered so formulaic as to lack much significance. Yet what did it really mean to insert this divine reference at the top of an inscription? How does the heading relate to the inscribed text which follows? What exact role are these ‘gods’ here assigned? In my paper I will explore the consequences of taking theoi seriously as a reference to the divine.  I will pay attention to the variety of ways in which theoi and the singular form theos appear, as well as its relationship to the agathe tyche heading. I hope to show that the non-specificity of theoi/theos is crucial to our understanding of it and that the heading in the first place should be understood as a recognition of the presence of the divine.

 About the speaker

Rebecca Van Hove is Assistant Professor in Ancient History at Groningen, where she arrived earlier this year. Previously, she held postdoctoral fellowships in Paris and Ghent. She completed her PhD at King's College London in 2018 with a study on the construction of religious authority in Attic oratory.