The Battle of Plataea 2.5K

Questions, Contexts, Echoes

Thursday, April 7 | 8:30am – 2:15pm EDT
Friday, April 8 | 8:30am – 3:15pm EDT
Saturday, April 9 | 8:30am – 3:00pm EDT

Taking place 2500 years after the battle of Plataea, this interdisciplinary conference on the battle brings together researchers to examine key problems connected to the battle, its multiple contexts, and its ancient and modern reverberations. The battle of Platea, remarkable for its scale at the time, was arguably the decisive event of the Greco-Persians wars. Its description forms a capstone of Herodotus’ Histories.

The battle’s stunning array of different people of the Achaemenid Empire, including troops from the Greek city-states who chose the Persian side; the outstandingly broad if unstable alliance of the Greek city-states that gathered in opposition; the complexity of the battle’s landscape; the battle’s events, impacted by chance and confusions; the outsized role of oracles and sacrifices; the variant traditions and their contestation of roles of different agents in the battle’s outcome; the rituals, monuments, and poetry that preserved and reshaped the memories of the battle through time: all this constitutes the battle of Plataea in its vivid difficulty.

Please join us in examining the history of the ancient battle, as our own world considers the meanings of freedom and slavery, cooperation and neutrality, tyranny and democracy, the terror of annihilation and the striving for victory.


Thursday, April 7

08:30am – 09:20am Greetings and Introduction: the questions of the battle of Plataea
09:30am – 11:45am The things of the battle: topography, archaeology, iconography
12:30pm – 2:15pm The words of the battle: Herodotus and others

Friday, April 8

08:30am – 10:15am A view from Sparta
10:30am – 12:15pm A view from Thebes
1:00pm – 3:15pm A view from Persia

Saturday, April 9

08:30am – 10:45am The Fighting
11:20am – 2:30pm The memories
2:30pm – 3:00pm Conclusion