Hay Festival Abu Dhabi 2020 Programme

Hay Festival Abu Dhabi 2020 has now taken place. Thank you for joining us.

Art

Event 13

Lydia Wilson

Word History

Venue: Tolerance Majlis

From the hieroglyphs on the walls in Medina to mobile txt-speak, the Arabic scholar and broadcaster previews clips from her forthcoming documentary film series tracing the development of alphabets and script in human civilisation.

Chaired by Carlo Pizzati, author, political analyst for la Stampa and professor of theory of communication at the Asian College of Journalism. His most recent memoir is Bending over Backwards (Harper Collins '19).

English
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Event 18

Bettany Hughes

Venus & Aphrodite: History of a Goddess

Venue: Tolerance Majlis

Through ancient art, evocative myth, exciting archaeological revelations and philosophical explorations, the classicist and broadcaster shows why the goddess endures in the 21st century, and what her journey through time reveals about what matters to us as humans.

Charting Venus’ origins in powerful ancient deities, Hughes demonstrates that Venus is far more complex than would at first appear. Beginning in Cyprus, the goddess' mythical birthplace, she decodes Venus' relationship to the Greek goddess Aphrodite, and, in turn, Aphrodite's mixed-up origins not only as a Cypriot spirit of fertility and of procreation – but also as a descendant of the prehistoric war goddesses of the Near and Middle East, Ishtar, Inanna and Astarte.

English
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Bettany Hughes

Event 51

Jerry Brotton

The Centre of the World: Al Idrisi’s Map

Venue: Tolerance Majlis

Brotton, author of A History of the World in Twelve Maps, introduces the map of the world made by the 12th-century Islamic cartographer Al-Idrisi for Roger II of Sicily. This was a masterpiece of mapping that remained the most technically sophisticated world map for 300 years after its production. Drawing on several centuries of Islamic cartographic research, Al-Idrisi produced both a book of 70 maps covering the surface of the known world, and a single, round map engraved onto a silver disk and set into a wooden table, with Mecca at its centre. The silver disk is now lost, and the Entertainment for those wanting to discover the world ('Nuzhat al-mushtāq fi'khtirāq al-āfāq'), survives only through later copies. But in a groundbreaking project, Factum Foundation has undertaken to recreate Al-Idrisi’s fabled map. Neither facsimile nor copy, this recreation nonetheless combines painstaking historical research with advanced digital techniques and the highest levels of craftsmanship, paying tribute to the lost original and offering yet another layer to add to the complexity of its transmission.

English
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Jerry Brotton

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