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Animals Monsters and Demons: a Comparative Approach

A two day conference, to be held  in the School of Classics, University of St Andrews. on 22nd - 23rd January 2015.

Organisers: Dr Samantha Newington (University of Aberdeen) and Dr Sian Lewis (University of St Andrews)

The workshop will take a cross-cultural approach to the place of animals, monsters and demons in the traditions of the Mediterranean, the Near East and the biblical tradition. Our focus will be on the representation of animal, hybrid and monstrous creatures in literary narratives and visual forms, in particular on definitions of monstrosity and animality, and on issues of cultural contact, influence and adaptation.

We intend to publish papers from both this and our previous workshop as a single thematic collection. 


Thurday 22nd January 2015

09:00 - 09:20 Arrival and opening remarks

I Visual Monsters from East and West
(Chair - Dr Sam Newington)

09:20 - 10:00 Lorenz Winkler-Horaçek (Freie Universitat Berlin)
Monsters between East and West: The Evidence of Visual Signs in Early Greek Art
10:00 - 10:40 Desire Di Giuliomaria (Italian Archaeological School in Athens)
The Architectural Monsters: Sphinxes, Gorgons and Winged Horses as Roofing Decoration in the Mediterranean Ancient World
10:40 - 11:00 Discussion
11:00 - 11:20 Coffee

II Sonic Monsters
(Chair – Dr Sam Newington)

11:20 - 12:00

Guy Kirkham-Smith (University of Birmingham)
The Sound and Fury: Phonic Portrayals of Monsters in Greek and Mesopotamian Literature

12:00 - 12:40

Hannah Silverblank (University of Oxford)
Monstrous Soundscapes in Greek Tragedy

12:40 - 13:00 Discussion
13:00 - 14:00 Lunch

III Centaurs – A Comparative Approach
(Chair – Dr Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones)

14:00 - 14:40

Jeremy McInerney (University of Pennsylvania)
Centaurs and the Uses of Hybridity

14:40 - 15:20

Jessica Doyle (University College Dublin)
The Hunting Centaur in the Arts of Early Iron Age Greece and the Ancient Near East: A Comparative Perspective

15:20 - 15:40 Discussion
15:40 - 16:00 Coffee

Keynote Speaker
(Chair - Dr Sian Lewis)

15:50 - 16:30

Ingvild Saelid Gilhus (University of Bergen)
Animals in Late Antiquity and Early Christianity

16:30 - 17:00 Discussion
  Followed by drinks reception and dinner

Friday 23rd January 2015


IV The Monstrous versus the Divine
(Chair - Dr Sian Lewis)

09:20 - 10:00

Desmond Durkin-Meisterernst (Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften)
Animals in Zoroastrian Dualism

10:00 - 10:40

Dr Sam Newington (University of Aberdeen)
The Monstrous and the Demonic in Near Eastern and Biblical Narratives

10:40 - 11:00 Discussion
11:00 - 11:20 Coffee

V Man and Monstrous Might
(Chair - Dr Lorenz Winkler-Horaçek)

11:20 - 12:00

Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones (University of Edinburgh)
Man the Monster

12:00 - 12:40

James Ryan (King’s College London)
Humbaba, the mighty Humbaba, the King: Presentations of Royal Power in the Gilgamesh Tradition

12:40 - 13:00 Discussion
13:00 - 14:00 Lunch

VI Monsters of Conflict and Death
(Chair – Dr Desmond Durkin Meisterernest)

14:00 - 14:40

Ellie Mackin (King’s College London)
White Teeth, Terrible-Faced, Grim, Blood-Red, Dreadful, Engaged in Conflict: Monsters on the Battlefield in Homer and elsewhere

14:40 - 15:20

Talila Michaeli (Tel Aviv University)
Real and Fantastic Animals in Funerary Art in Israel: Role and Meaning

15:20 - 15:40 Discussion
15:40 - 16:00 Coffee

Keynote Speaker
(Chair – Dr Sam Newington)

14:00 - 14:40

Professor Robert Segal (University of Aberdeen)
The Scapegoat – in the Bible and in Frazer and Girard

16:40 - 17:30 Round-table Discussion


Bookings should be made using the online shop.

Registration costs for £20 for the two days, including tea, coffee and lunches.

The conference dinner will be held on 22nd January in a local restaurant; the cost is £26.

Further enquiries to


Events Enquiries


Research Seminars

Please direct enquiries to

Tom Geue, 
School of Classics,
University of St Andrews,
St Andrews KY16 9AL.


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