Concrete operation of weighing and the required material resources, balances and weights, emerged and developed in ancient times. Concrete acts of weighing over time came to be reflected in iconography and in texts. In the course of the first two millennia the treatments of weighing in such external representation became increasingly abstract. A spectrum is opened whose extremes are marked by proto-scientific abstraction on the one hand and metaphysical interpretation at the other extreme.

These have traditionally been treated as two completely separate realms. Our aim in this workshop is to narrow down the specific ways in which the balance brings together these two domains. While staying close to the archeological and textual source materials this will allow us to approach the larger issue of the relation of science, the history of science, religion and philosophy.

Due to the limited capacity of the venue, registration is asked for under buettner@mpiwg-berlin.mpg.de.

Program

5.10.2017
18:00 - 19:00
The symbolism of weighing scales
Lars AlbinusAarhus Universitet, Denmark
19:00 - 20:00
Reception
6.10.2017
10:00 - 10:45
The weighing of the heart as a mathematical problem in papyrus Northumberland III
Joachim QuackRuprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg
10:45 - 11:30
The balance in Egyptian metaphors
Frank KammerzellHumboldt-Universität zu Berlin
11:30 - 12:00
Break
12:00 - 12:45
The balance as a measuring tool of values
Anna MichailidouNational Hellenic Research Foundation, Athens
12:45 - 13:30
The enchanting scale: liminality, materiality, and sentiment in the ancient Near Eastern balance
Christopher MonroeCornell University, Ithaca, USA
13:30 - 14:30
Joint Lunch
14:30 - 15:15
Balances in the Arthaśāstra
Mark McClishNorthwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, USA
15:15 - 15:30
Break
15:30 - 16:15
Weighing Metaphors and Power in the “Light and Heavy” Chapters of the Guanzi
Griet VankeerberghenMcGill University, Montreal, Canada
19:00 - 21:00
Joint Dinner
7.10.2017
10:00 - 10:45
The iconography of early weighing
David Alan WarburtonExcellence Cluster Topoi
10:45 - 11:30
Modern physics of ancient balances
Jochen BüttnerExcellence Cluster Topoi
11:30 - 12:00
Break
12:00 - 12:30
Closing discussion
12:45 - 14:00
Joint Lunch