Historians relive the past

Mercyhurst College hosted the 2011 Annual Meeting of the Association of Ancient Historians (AAH) from Thursday to Sunday.

Tyler Stauffer photo: Lawrence Tritle was the keynote speaker for the Annual Meeting of the Association of Ancient Historians.Tyler Stauffer photo: Lawrence Tritle was the keynote speaker for the Annual Meeting of the Association of Ancient Historians.

Visitors came from all over the world, including the U.S., Canada, Europe and even from as far away as Saudi Arabia and New Zealand to share research on politics and war, two staples of ancient history.

A member of AAH and Associate Professor of History Randall Howarth, Ph.D., has been planning to host this event for five years.
The process to determine where the annual meeting will be held is a lengthy one.

Each year, members of the AAH issue invitations to the rest of the group, citing their desires to host the conference.

The group then votes on a location and the hosting organization begins to decide upon the topics and speakers for the meeting.
The keynote speaker for this year’s conference was longtime AAH member Lawrence Tritle, professor of history at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.

Titled “War & Memory: Abusing the Past?,” Tritle spent the majority of his talk covering the topic of post-traumatic stress disorder and his fear that the retelling of ancient history will soon die out. For one hour, Tritle discussed how war affected the citizens of ancient times and how war was as real thousands of years ago as it is now.

A strong believer that war was just as dangerous and prominent in ancient times as it is today, Tritle said, “War is the father of all things. The story of the human race is war.”

He also talked in great length about the notion of post-traumatic stress and how there is clear evidence of the disorder in ancient times, even though many modern historians tend to disagree with that idea. Overall, Tritle’s lecture was very informative and those who listened agreed.

Freshman Chris Kessler said, “He was very thorough and descriptive in PTSD and how it related to the Peloponnesian War. He was also very informative with his topic and seemed very passionate about sharing his knowledge with others.”

The conference lasted all weekend, with historians from all over the world coming to campus to discuss how ancient history themes are enjoying a revival in popular American culture.