The Getty Villa
Patt Morrison moderates a panel discussion at the Getty Villa

The Villa Council Presents is an annual program related to the theme of antiquity made possible by the generous support of the Villa Council. Founded in 2001, the Villa Council is comprised of dedicated supporters of the arts who believe strongly in the mission and goals of the Getty Villa and the J. Paul Getty Museum. The unifying thread among its members is their enthusiasm for the ancient world and a conviction of its continued relevance to our lives today. The Council aims to support a variety of interdisciplinary programs at the Getty Villa, including exhibitions, conservation, education, public programs, and research.

All presentations are free and take place in the Auditorium at the Getty Villa.

Lucretius and the Toleration of Intolerable Ideas
Stephen Greenblatt

Date: Thursday, June 5, 2014
Time: 7:30 p.m.


How does one take in concepts that are initially alien or offensive? Pulitzer Prize-winning author Stephen Greenblatt considers why and how Lucretius' great poem On the Nature of Things—the core ideas of which were utterly repugnant to the Christian culture of fifteenth- and sixteenth-century Europe—eluded the period's tight web of censorship and violent repression. Never a tolerant age, the Renaissance was heir to the conviction that dangerous beliefs, like poisoned bread, should not be allowed to circulate. Yet it was also an age in love with beauty, and that love, as Greenblatt shows, turns out to have played a crucial role.

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About Stephen Greenblatt
Stephen Greenblatt is Cogan University Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He is the author of twelve books, including The Swerve; Will in the World; and Hamlet in Purgatory and serves as general editor of The Norton Anthology of English Literature and The Norton Shakespeare. His honors include the 2012 Pulitzer Prize and the 2011 National Book Award for The Swerve, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation's Distinguished Humanist Award, Yale University's Wilbur Cross Medal, the William Shakespeare Award for Classical Theatre, two Guggenheim Fellowships, and the Distinguished Teaching Award from the University of Califronia, Berkeley. He has held visiting professorships at universities in Beijing, Kyoto, London, Paris, Florence, Torino, Trieste, and Bologna.

Previously in the series

Masters of Command: Alexander, Hannibal, Caesar and the Genius
of Leadership

April 4, 2013
Historian Barry Strauss tells the story of three great soldier-statesmen of the ancient world—Alexander the Great, Hannibal, and Julius Caesar—and discusses what they can teach us today about ambition, leadership, strategy, and more.

Watch video of this event.

Did the Ancient World Decide the Fate of the Modern World?
March 1, 2012
Noted archaeologist, classicist, and historian Ian Morris of Stanford University delves into the themes of his critically acclaimed 2010 book Why the West Rules—For Now: The Patterns of History, and What They Reveal About the Future and takes a fresh look at what ancient history meant for subsequent world history, comparing global developments from the Ice Age to the twenty-first century.

Watch video of this event.

The Revolutionary Architecture of the North Baths at Morgantina, Sicily
March 2, 2011
Archaeologists Malcolm Bell and Sandra Lucore share their research on the ancient city of Morgantina, Sicily: its history, art and architecture, and the excavation of the North Baths, where a new form of thermal architecture, including domes and vaults, appears for the first time.

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Tracking the Cosmos: the Technology of the Antikythera Mechanism
March 4, 2010
Jo Marchant, author of Decoding the Heavens, and science historian and physicist James Evans join moderator Patt Morrison to discuss the Antikythera Mechanism, a unique object recovered from the wreck of a Greek ship lost 2,000 years ago. For over a century, its function intrigued scholars, and only recently have modern imaging techniques revealed the purpose of this unusual mechanical device.

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Balancing Fact and Fiction: The Ancient World of HBO's Rome
March 5, 2009
Classical historian and documentary filmmaker Jonathan Stamp spoke with award-winning journalist and author Patt Morrison about his experiences as the historical consultant on Rome, the celebrated HBO series that chronicled the fall of a republic and the creation of an empire.

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Writing Historical Fiction: The Ancient World in Modern Literature
March 6, 2008
In the inaugural event of the series, celebrated authors Steven Saylor and Steven Pressfield joined award-winning journalist, author, and local commentator Patt Morrison to discuss the art of writing historical fiction set in antiquity and the challenges of interpreting the classical past for modern audiences.

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How to Get Here
The Getty Villa is located at 17985 Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, California, approximately 25 miles west of downtown Los Angeles. See Hours, Directions, Parking for directions and parking information.