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'Classical' music at heart of next archaeology lecture

04/04/2012
Peter Schultz, chair of the classical studies department at Concordia College in Morehead, Minn., will present an archaeology lecture at Monmouth College on April 10 at 7:30 p.m. in the Morgan Room of Poling Hall.

Titled “Music, Healing and Sacred Space in Classical Greece: A New Interpretation of the Thymele of Epidauros,” the talk is free and open to the public. It is sponsored by MC’s classics department, in cooperation with the Western Illinois Society of the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA).

Around 380 B.C., the citizens of the small Peleponnesian city Epidauros launched a massive building program at the nearby healing sanctuary of Asklepios. One of the most impressive and sophisticated structures belonging to this program was an elaborate, mysterious round building known in the ancient sources as the thymele.

At that time, and for its size, the thymele was the most costly and ornate building in all the Peleponnese. Since its excavation in the 19th century, archaeologists have proposed a wide range of interpretations for the thymele, and Schultz will weigh in on the topic during his talk.

“In addition to many other possible functions, the thymele at Epidauros also served as a space for musical performance,” he speculates. “Its design, specifically its elaborate structure, served to amplify and resonate sacred music performed within the building’s cella.”