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Najee Olya

Najee Olya

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Najee Olya is a PhD Candidate in the Program for Mediterranean Art and Archaeology (PMAA) at the University of Virginia. His primary research focus is the art and archaeology of Archaic and Classical Greece. A specialist in Greek vase-painting, he is interested in questions of identity, otherness, and cultural exchange in the ancient Mediterranean.

His dissertation, tentatively titled, “Constructing the African in Ancient Greek Vase-Painting: Images, Meanings, and Contexts,” is an exploration of the African figures found in both mythological scenes and everyday life settings in Greek vase-painting from the sixth through fourth centuries BCE.

During the 2019-20 academic year, Najee was a Regular Member and recipient of the Bert Hodge Hill fellowship at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens. Since 2018, he has been a member of the archaeology lab team for the Mt. Lykaion Excavation and Survey Project in Arcadia, Greece.

Herakles in Africa

Herakles in Africa

Confronting the Other in Libya and Egypt

Around the mid-sixth century BCE, Greek vase-painters began depicting mythological episodes involving the hero Herakles set in Libya and Egypt. While these are typically seen as visualizations of Greek preoccupation with barbarian “others,” closer examination reveals a more complex reality.

Written by Najee Olya