Beyond the Skamma: A Symposium on Greek Athletics in Memory of Harold ‘Hal’ Evjen
Venue: College Year in Athens, 5 Plateia Stadiou, Athens
Date: Saturday, 22 June 2024
Time: 10:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Join us at College Year in Athens for a special event dedicated to exploring and celebrating the rich history of Athletics in Ancient Greece. This symposium, titled Beyond the Skamma: A Symposium on Greek Athletics, is held in honor of CYA professor Harold ‘Hal’ Evjen, a distinguished member of our academic community at CYA whose contributions to the study of ancient Greek athletics have inspired students and scholars alike.

The symposium coincides with a series of notable dates: it is held on what would have been Professor Evjen’s birthday, on the eve of the Olympic Day, and just weeks before the Paris Olympic Games. This convergence brings a special significance to our discussions, linking the ancient and modern worlds through the universal thread of athletic competition. 


What to Expect

Insightful Presentations: Hear from renowned scholars who will delve into various aspects of Greek athletics, from its ancient practices and cultural impacts to its lasting legacy in sports and society.
Engaging Discussions: Participate in discussions that explore the role of athletics in ancient societies and their relevance in today’s global sports culture.
Special Tributes: Join us in paying tribute to Professor Evjen’s life, work, and his passion for Greek athletics, which continues to inspire the academic community and beyond.

This symposium promises to be more than just an academic gathering; it will be a celebration of the enduring spirit of competition and the rich tapestry of history that surrounds it. Whether you are a scholar, student, or simply a lover of history and sports, this symposium offers unique insights and perspectives that bridge the ancient past with the present day. We invite you to join us for this momentous occasion as we honor the legacy of Harold’ Hal’ Evjen and the timeless tradition of Greek athletics.



Schedule Overview:

10.30 || Welcome and Introductory remarks

11.00 || Nanno Marinatos (University of Illinois-Chicago/College Year in Athens):
The Monster and the Skilled athlete: A Seal from Marinatos’ Excavations at Routsi, near Pylos (co-authored with G. Rethemiotakis)

11.30 || Thomas Scanlon (University of California, Riverside):
Masculinity and the Popularity of Violent Sport in Ancient Greece

12.00 || Coffee break

12.30 || Nigel Kennell (University of British Columbia):
Dreaming of Victory: Athletes and Athletics in the Oneirocriticon of Artemidorus

13.00 || David Braund (University of Exeter):
Running with horses at the Olympics: kalpe in athletics, geography and mythology

13.30 || Lunch break

14.30 || Olga Palagia (University of Athens):
Posthumous portraits of athletes

15.00 || John Karavas (College Year in Athens):
Greek and Roman Athletics in the Black Sea region: a reappraisal

15.30 || Georgia Tsouvala (Illinois State University):
Female Teenage Athletes in the Graeco-Roman World: Parthenoi as an Age Group

16.00 || Coffee break

16.30 || Robert K. Pitt (College Year in Athens):
Some new inscriptions from Athenian gymnasia

17.00 || Wendy Raschke (University of California, Riverside):
Athletics, Cult, and the coming of Christianity at Olympia

17.30 || Nikos Tsivikis (College Year in Athens and IMS/FORTH):
Late Antique uses of stadia in Greece: the case of Messene

18.00 || Closing Remarks and Reception

Concluding thoughts are followed by a reception where attendees can mingle with speakers and other guests.



The symposium will take place at College Year in Athens, Daphne & George Hatsopoulos Hall, 5 Plateia Stadiou, Athens (2nd floor).

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Harold Evjen was an esteemed academic and a cherished member of the College Year in Athens (CYA) community, known for his profound dedication to classical studies and inspiring approach to education. As a distinguished professor, he was deeply respected for his unique course on Ancient Greek Athletics, which became a student favorite at CYA. This course explored the origins of competitive athletics in ancient Greece and included a significant field trip to Olympia, highlighting his commitment to immersive learning experiences. Hal’s academic prowess was complemented by his athletic achievements; while a student, he was the captain of his swim team at the University of Arizona, where he graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Classics degree, embodying the spirit of both a scholar and an athlete.

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In recognition of his contributions and to honor his memory, the Harold Evjen Scholarship was established at CYA in 2016, thanks to his family’s generous support, particularly his widow, Professor Hara Tzavella-Evjen. This scholarship supports incoming students who major in Classics or History each semester, helping them experience the transformative education CYA offers. Furthermore, Harold’s legacy is celebrated this year at CYA, on his birthday and the eve of the Paris Olympic games, with a special academic conference that focuses on themes of athletics from the ancient Greek world and beyond, reflecting his passions and academic focus.

Harold Evjen’s influence inspires and shapes students’ lives, fostering a deep appreciation for classical education and athletics aligned with his lifelong values and achievements.

Hal Evjen taught ancient Greek Athletics and Ancient Greek History at CYA from 1994 to 1995 and again from 1999 to 2002.

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For more information, please contact:
Robert Pitt at [email protected]
Angelos Papadopoulos at [email protected]