AMME Seminar 27.04.23: ‘Ancient Thoughts on Robots and Science’

The final Ancient and Medieval Middle East (AMME) seminar of the spring semester will be organised as a hybrid event on Thursday 27 April (16:15-18:00 EEST/Helsinki).

The session will consist of two papers – by Elly R. Truitt and George Saliba – followed by a shared question round and discussion on the seminar specific theme of ‘ancient thoughts on robots and science’. The topics of the talks are:

Servants of Power: Ancient and Medieval Automata (Assoc. Prof. Dr. Elly R. Truitt)

For millennia, humans have dreamed of and labored at creating artificial servants, and they have sometimes succeeded. Automata and other artificial objects appear in centers of power and wealth, in highly socialized environments, and often as servants of those in power. This talk explores the long history of real and imagined artificial servants, from Hellenistic Egypt to Byzantine Constantinople to Gothic France, detailing how these objects have been imagined, designed, experienced, and used.

The Social and Political Value of Entertainment: Robotic Features of Medieval Islamic Mechanical Devices (Prof. Dr. George Saliba)

Abstract tba.

All are welcome, so please share and join us in person or online!

Time: Thursday 27 April at 16:15-18:00 EEST (UTC+3h).

Live venue: Faculty hall (Faculty of Theology, Fabianinkatu 24, room 524).

Virtual venue: Zoom (Meeting ID: 678 8979 2118 /

For a recap of the spring program, see: