Malcolm Bell III, professor emeritus of Greek art and archaeology with the McIntire Department of Art, University of Virginia, will deliver an Archaeological Institute of America lecture on Thursday, February 26, at 6 pm at the Nashville Parthenon in Centennial Park. In his lecture, entitled “Sicily in the Age of Archimedes,” Bell will examine works of art and architecture from Syracuse and the outlying cities, including Morgantina in east central Sicily where he has conducted fieldwork since 1980.
The Sicily of Archimedes consisted of the Hellenistic kingdom of Syracuse in the eastern third of the island. Before falling to Rome in 212 BCE, the Syracusan kingdom had enjoyed a productive half-century of peace, which was a period of innovation and invention in many areas. The royal administration of King Hieron II created rational new political relationships with the cities of the kingdom based on fairness, and contemporary material culture, as seen in architecture, sculpture, and mosaics, was characterized by striking innovation. The intellectual character of the age was influenced by the thought and discoveries of the great scientist and mathematician Archimedes, who was killed in the siege of Syracuse.
The AIA Norton Lecturer for 2014-2015 and director of the excavations at Morgantina, Bell holds his degrees from Princeton University. His areas of research are Classical archaeology and Greek and Roman art and architecture, particularly that of Sicily. He has published The Terracottas volume of Morgantina Studies (Princeton, 1982), and is currently working on a volume on the city plan and public buildings in the same series. Bell is also interested in the influence of Classical art and architecture in the United States, and works in progress include a monograph on Vitruvius’ influence on the design of the University of Virginia, and an article on the origins of the plan of Savannah.
Free and open to the public, Bell’s lecture is sponsored by the Nashville Society of the Archaeological Institute of America, the Conservancy for the Parthenon and Centennial Park, and Vanderbilt’s Department of Classical Studies and Department of History of Art. Those who plan to attend the AIA lecture on February are encouraged to call the Nashville Parthenon at 615.862.8431 to reserve a seat.