Podcast Season 2, Episode 3 – Portrait of a Palmyran Man: Ancient Syrian Identity with Blair Fowlkes Childs

Photo of Dr. Blair Fowlkes Childs in front of trees and greenery.
Dr. Blair Fowlkes Childs

In Season 2, Episode 3 of the Peopling the Past podcast, we sit down with Dr. Blair Fowlkes Childs, who holds a Ph.D. in classical art and archaeology from the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University. Dr. Fowlkes Childs was a research associate in the Department of Ancient Near Eastern Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art for seven years, and recently completed a fellowship at Yale’s University Institute of Sacred Music. She has also excavated in Italy, Syria, and Cyprus.

Listen in, as Dr. Fowlkes Childs takes us through her exciting research on funerary art from Palmyra in Syria, highlighting some of the important elements of Palmyrene art that emerge from the thousands of portraits stemming from this site.

Interested in learning more? Check out this museum exhibit co-curated by Dr. Fowlkes Childs:

Exhibition website for The World between Empires: Art and Identity in the Ancient Middle East

These Boots were Made for Walking: Women's Mobility and Migration in the Roman Empire with Marie-Adeline Le Guennec Peopling the Past

Travel, displacement, religious pilgrimage – these are just some of the motivations for ancient migration, but how and why did people move from one place to another in antiquity? This week, Chelsea and Melissa are joined by Dr. Marie-Adeline Le Guennec, a historian of Roman mobility and migration. Listen in as Dr. Le Guennec talks about the ways in which women moved around the Roman Empire, the few sources that document this movement, and how modern scholars examine issues of mobility in the Roman world. We guarantee: this episode will really move you! 
  1. These Boots were Made for Walking: Women's Mobility and Migration in the Roman Empire with Marie-Adeline Le Guennec
  2. (Not so) Risky Business: the Potential Perils of Childbirth in ancient Rome with Anna Bonnell Freidin
  3. Not a Puella, Not Yet a Femina: Roman Girlhood with Lauren Caldwell
  4. Do Not Afflict the Widow: the Women of Ancient Nubia with Jacke Phillips
  5. Beyond the Bare Bones: Women in the Osteological Record with Efthymia Nikita
Looking for a transcript of this episode? Click here.
Aerial view of the archaeological site of Palmyra, including the including the Great Colonnade.
Archaeological site of Palmyra (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Relief stele of a reclining man in the foreground, with two smaller attendants carrying vessels at his feet.
Banquet relief of Malku with two Attendants. From Palmyra, Syria. Ca. early third century. Limestone. 46 x 58 x 13 cm. University of Pennsylvania Museum of Anthropology and Archaeology, Philadelphia, Babylonian Expedition to Nippur II, 1890 (B 8902). 
Photo courtesy of the Penn Museum, object no. B8902.

Blair Fowlkes Childs. Forthcoming 2021. “Protecting Libya’s Archaeological and Cultural Heritage a Decade after the Arab Spring.” in Libya in 2021: What Went Wrong, What Comes Next. Perim Perspectives on Middle East Policy, eds. Ethan Chorin and Aya Burweila. Pendle Press. 

Blair Fowlkes Childs. 2016. “Palmyrenes in Transtiberim: Integration in Rome and Links to the Eastern Frontier,” in Rome and the Worlds beyond Roman Frontiers: Proceedings of the 11th Workshop of the International Network Impact of Empire, Impact of Empire 21, eds. Danielle Slootjes and Michael Peachin, pp. 193-211. Leiden and Boston, E.J. Brill

Blair Fowlkes Childs and Michael Seymour. 2019. The World between Empires: Art and Identity in the Ancient Middle East. Exh. cat. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Yale University Press.

Palmyra Portrait Project (with additional bibliography)

Interested in learning more about diverse mortuary practices across the Mediterranean world? Check out this video by Dr. Carrie Arbuckle on Egyptian coffins and this podcast by Dr. Liana Brent on Roman burials and grave reuse.

Published by Peopling the Past

A Digital Humanities initiative that hosts free, open-access resources for teaching and learning about real people in the ancient world and the people who study them.

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