Marjorie Venit

"Style as Content: Classical Contributions in Egyptianizing Tombs in the Graeco-Roman Chora"

Marjorie VenitProfessor Emerita, University of Maryland, Dept. of Art History & Archaeology

Friday, March 18, 2016
6:30 pm: Pre-Lecture Reception ($5.00/person)
7:00 pm: Lecture (Free)

1619 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington, DC, 
Johns Hopkins School of International Studies, Rome Auditorium
On Street Parking FREE after 6:30 pm


The period from the third-century bce through the mid-third century ce marks a dramatic change in Egypt. Alexander the Great’s conquest in 331 bce — and Egypt’s subsequent rule by Greeks (and then Romans) and the immigration that resulted — generated intellectual interaction far beyond that experienced from former political alliances and economic relationships. I have previously discussed at length Monumental Tombs of Ancient Alexandria: The Theater of the Dead and elsewhere, (including, briefly, with the ARCE DC chapter) Egyptian architectural, stylistic, and iconographic devices in Alexandrian tombs that sequestered Greeks. In this talk, I focus on Greek contributions — style, content, and (possible) religious practice — in tombs in the Egyptian chora whose pictorial programs, despite these anomalies, indicate that they were constructed for persons who wished to be buried in the Egyptian manner. I argue a rhetorical intentionality animating the inclusion of these foreign images and their stylistic execution and maintain that by enriching Egypt’s visual vocabulary and its representational range, these Classical contributions of style and content permitted a new rhetorical depth and allowed a more expansive negotiation of “the radical alterity of death.”

Also at the lecture:

During the Pre-Lecture Reception, there will be a raffle for items such as journals, jewelry, DVDs, etc. ARCE-DC members receive an extra raffle ticket.

Meet-the-Speaker & Networking Dinner: 

Immediately after the lecture, join ARCE-DC members and guests for a dinner with the speaker. We meet at the Beacon Bar & Grill-- located across the street from the lecture site, on Rhode Island Ave. Each attendee pays for their own dinner and contributes an extra $5.00 to defray the cost of the speaker's dinner.  RSVP to Carol Boyer at  


        Professor Emerita Marjorie S. Venit specializes in the art and archaeology of the ancient Mediterranean world with an emphasis on the Greek center and its periphery, both geographically and temporally. She is particularly interested in the intersection of cultures and ethnicities, and has excavated at Tel Anafa, Israel, and Mendes, Egypt. Professor Venit is the author of numerous scholarly publications, including Visualizingthe Afterlife in the Tombs of Graeco-Roman Egypt, MonumentalTombs of Ancient Alexandria: The Theater of the Dead, and contributions to The Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece and Rome. Her articles on monumental tombs and on Greek vases and sculpture, which consider the social, religious, economic, and political context and implications of the monuments, have appeared in the American Journal of Archaeology,Hesperia, Antike Kunst, the Journal of the American Research Center in Egypt, and in other periodicals. Support for her research has come from National Endowment for the Humanities, the J.P Getty Trust, and others. Among her other national awards are a Fulbright-Hayes Fellowship and fellowships from the American Research Center in Egypt, the American Association of University Women, and the American Philosophical Society. Professor Venit has been the recipient ― in two consecutive years ― of the University of Maryland College of Arts and Humanities Student's Outstanding Teacher Award.Additionally, she has served four years as President of the Washington Society of the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) and was its webmaster for fourteen years.