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Maddalena Scarperi

I joined the Graduate Group in Ancient History at Penn in Fall 2020. Before then, I gained my BA and MA in Classics at the University of Trento. There I was an active member of the Laboratorio di Scienze dell’Antichità, and I worked on two different research projects under the supervision of Maurizio Giangiulio and Elena Franchi. I first dug into the religious history of Sparta, focusing on the festival of the Hyakinthiai and on the crucial role it played in the periodic renovation of the civic body and collective identity of the Spartan polis. During my master I broadened my interests to include Herodotus’ Histories, and in my Master thesis I attempted a close reading of some passages of the text (those related to the Spartan king Cleomenes I), trying to shed light on the intricate interplay between Herodotus’ declared intent of “telling what he had been told” and his active reworking of the material at his disposal so as to make it fit into his broader interpretation of history and of the role played by humans within it, a process which becomes particularly evident, I believe, in his accounts of powerful leaders. Since 2021, I have been a member of the steering committee of the Herodotus Helpline, a world-wide community of scholars dedicated to the study Herodotus and his work (you can check out the Herodotus Helpline’s past and upcoming seminars, publications, call for papers and other activities here). During my time at Penn, I have expanded my research interests to include Mediterranean mobility and post-colonial approaches to the history of marginalized and silenced communities, with an emphasis on Laconia and Magna Graecia. I am currently preparing a dissertation on Metapontum, where I look at both textual sources and material evidence to explore the lives of Metapontine local dwellers from a post-colonial, multi-scalar, and gender-based perspective (more about my dissertation project here).