Elien en contexte!

A few days ago, I attended my first conference on Claudius Aelianus, organised by Arnauld Zucker and Marco Vespa from the University of Nice. As I just started the project, it was a timely occasion to meet scholars, who worked on Aelianus previously. The papers met all my expectations and I learned a lot about this author, the research questions linked to his works and the fascinating context, in which he lived and worked.

affiche_elien_web

First Valentin Decloquement focused on the presence of Homer in Aelianus’ works and showed how Aelianus, like others – for instance Philostratus-,  played with well-known Homeric questions. These authors could take position, more or less parodically, in some of the controversies, and they could even defend their own original answers in others if they liked to. Aelianus’ works allow therefore an interesting view on the reception of the reception of Homer’s poems and this aspect of their works can also be seen as an answer to previous Homeric scholarship, especially the one developed in connection with the library of Alexandria. In this respect, Valentin’s presentation allowed me to see some connections between my previous research on Demetrios of Scepsis and the new one on Aelianus.

Then, there was a whole cluster of interventions on Aelianus’ way of using the animal world to speak about human behaviours. Tim Whitmarsh emphasised the distance Aelianus maintains between the two realms, especially in similes. He compared Aelianus’ approach to the one hinted at in Ps-Lucians, Lucius or the Ass, probably a Greek precursor of Apuleius’ Golden Ass. In allowing a form of metamorphosis, the author of this text, blurs the boundaries between the human and animal world and can experiment about this other world and the lost of identity that this may bring, either on the level of human/animal or concerning, when seen from a different angle,  an individual’s feelings of belonging to the Roman empire (or identity) or not. Emily Kneeborne developed this by comparing Aelianus’ use of the animal world with the one of Oppian. It has often been stated that Oppian’s and Aelianus’ works were close and that they shared common sources, but Emily’s presentation was enlightening as she showed in a well-documented analysis how differently the two authors worked and explored the animal examples to speak about human behaviours. This was then again expanded by Arnauld Zucker. He demonstrated how Aelianus keeps a difference between humans and animals despite the anthropomorphic vocabulary he often uses. The difference Aelinaus draws between the two worlds is much more subtle than acknowledged so far. It is based on a different definition of “animals”, which focuses more on the concept of “sophia” rather on the one of “logos” and this allows us to see how this author’s attitude to the notion of “nature” changed.

Finally, there was the presentation of Lucía Rodríguez-Noriega Guillén. She works on quotations, especially in Athenaeus and Aelianus, which made her contribution particularly relevant to my own project. She showed us, as did Emily, who individually Aelianus could use shared material.  Her case study came from Athenaeus. It has often been stated that in some passages, Aelianus was very close to Athenaeus and that the Deipnosophistai could have been Aelianus’ sources. However, it was used, most of the time, as a critique blaming Aelianus for not having quoted Athenaeus faithfully. Lucia showed, on the contrary, how theses presumed irregularities were actually made on purpose by Aelianus. Changing the reused passages, by adding elements, by modifying attributions, or by merging ideas, allowed him to compose his own statements, despite the permanent references to previous authors and their achievements. She also presented her long-term research project on quotations in the imperial period. The intermediary results can be seen on the website of the project ( inoriega.es ). It is already now an amazingly helpful tool for further research on quotations practices in antiquity! But the project should hopefully be developed in a second phase, where each of the 8’807 collected quotations will be analysed with regard to the purpose for which is what quoted, the relation to the original passage and the degree of literality!

Unfortunately the last speaker  (Lionel Gourichon) could not attend the conference and his paper was read by Marco Vespa. It was, however, meant to open up the perspective and to deal with the animals mentioned in Aelianus’ work. The research focused on birds and compared the evidence archaeologists gathered about the presence and exploitation of birds in Antiquity and what Aelianus told us about them. Comparing the two approaches was very interesting, but also highlighted the fact that, when compared to other works on animals from Antiquity, the one from Aelianus remains a literary endeavour, showing the marks of his time. It was a work of compilation, which was not primarily based on observations. This is of course not a critique, but rather a reminder to see his work as a product of his time.

Finally I would like to thank the organisers for having made possible these enriching encounters!

 

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Last day in Bucharest

I just spent four marvellous months in Bucharest. Here some highlights!

Bucharest and its treasure:

Constanta and the Black Sea:

and finally Transylvania:

I could, of course, add many more, but it is perhaps worth to go and have a look for yourself!

Last weeks at the New Europe College

I had a brilliant time at the NEC during my fellowship there! I particularly appreciated the weekly seminars, during which I learned a lot about many interesting fields that were more or less related to my own topic. It is a very good exercise to see one’s own topic in a broader perspective. Thanks to all who contributed to this! Here a link to some photos from the last seminar FacebookNEC. We received a nice diploma:

As my research project at the NEC was a preliminary study to a longer research that will start in September, I also discovered in Claudius Aelianus a new engaging topic. The works he wrote (huge miscellaneous compilations), the way he presents himself in the prologue/epilogue of one of them (De Natura Alimalium) and the reception he received during the ages make him an author, who can bring a lot to modern readers. It may raise the question of the aesthetic of collages as well as trigger reflections on the notion of collecting and make us consider the link between ordering items and one’s own cultural background, as the transmission of knowledge always implies a selection or a prioritisation. This often remains hidden, but influences the way we see and understand the world around us.

I presented some preliminary ideas at:
The University of Bucharest during the Conferene: “Close, far-away, everywhere, nowhere.Perpetual glosses on the theme of the exile”

Comment s’exiler à Rome? Le choix d’Élien de Préneste à la fin du 2ème siècle apr. J.-C.

The University of Haifa during the Annual Meeting of the Israel Society for the Promotion of Classical Studies

Philostratus and Aelianus on Midas: Quoting, Reusing and Redefining a mythological figure

The University of Hamburg during the 22. Aquilonia

Am Anfang stand nicht das Zitat: Überlegungen zu den ersten Kapiteln der Varia Historia von Claudius Aelianus

While being here, I also discovered a very pleasant city with nice people and many charming places.

Contacts between Latin literature and Greek imperial literature

Next Saturday (10th of June) there will be a very interesting conference at the Université Lille 3. It is about the hidden way imperial authors writing in Greek interact with previous literature written in Latin. I wished I could attend!

Here the programme:
Des Romains aux Grecs. Lecture, réception, intertextualité : la poésie latine dans la littérature grecque d’époque impériale
Morning: Presentations
10h:30: Introduction (Florence KLEIN and Ruth WEBB)

10:40-11:30 :
Bruno ROCHETTE: « De Rome à la Grèce et retour : pouvoir, langue et identité sous l’Empire romain »
11:30-12:20 :
Dan JOLOWICZ: « Were Greeks of the first two centuries C.E. reading Latin for pleasure? »
12:20-12:40 :
Presentation of the Project « Latin to Greek. The Latinity of the Ancient Greek Love Novel » (Ghent University) by Olivier DEMERRE.

Afternoon: Case studies and methodological discussion
14h-15h00:
Romain BRETHES: « Fini de rire! Pragmatique du discours amoureux chez Ovide et Longus »
Florence KLEIN: « Quels marqueurs de l’allusion pour une intertextualité “latente” ? La thématisation des échos cachés / dispersés des Métamorphoses d’Ovide dans l’épisode d’Echo chez Longus ».

15:10-16:10:
Evelyne PRIOUX: « Philostrate l’Ancien, lecteur d’Ovide ? »
Flora IFF-NOËL: « Ariane bacchante : le poème 64 de Catulle, intertexte des ekphraseis de Philostrate et de Callistrate ? »

16:20-17:20:
Valentin DECLOQUEMENT: « Enée sans l’Enéide : La (non-)référence à Virgile dans les textes grecs de l’époque impériale »
Séverine CLEMENT-TARANTINO: Virgile, modèle d’auteurs grecs selon Juan Luis de La Cerda – et nous : le cas d?Oppien (Cynégétiques).

17:20-17:30: Conclusion

see futher under: Des Romains aux Grecs

The History of Humanity

It is now the second time I hear from this huge project of the UNESCO. The first time it was at the GISFOH Sympsion in Potsdam last September. Now, being at the New Europe College in Romania, I attended another paper on this project. It was given by Bogdan C. Iacob, researcher from the project: Turning Global: Socialist Experts during the Cold War (1960s-1980s).

It started in 1947, just after the WW II and had two phases: it was first a History of Mankind and then became a History of Humanity. Both presentations underlined the difficulties the project encountered and the many controversies it fostered as the project struggled to get a global perspective, by taking account of all kind of new players.

At the GISFOH in Potsdam the focus was on the South and the paper presented the rise of Africa in the international context and its claim to have the right to tell its own history.  Last week at the weekly NEC-seminars we learned about how the Balkans got their way back into History.

It is an amazingly large project, with each volume having grown to over 1000 pages, but nonetheless, with all the debates and disagreements among the participants, it reached a conclusion in 2009 and the volume are now available:

  • Volume I: Prehistory and the beginnings of civilizations
  • Volume II: From the Third Millennium to the Seventh Century B.C. 
  • Volume III: From the Seventh Century B.C. to the Seventh Century A.D.
  • Volume IV: From the Seventh to the Sixteenth Century
  • Volume V: From the Sixteenth to the Eighteenth Century
  • Volume VI: The Nineteenth Century
  • Volume VII: The Twentieth Century

Some of them are freely available online and further information can be found on two different websites:
History of Humanity
Learning to Live Together

Of course I had a quick look at volume III, which contains the timespan under which the field of Classics falls! A surprising large number of French Classics scholars took part in the undertaking….

Ovid everywhere!

It is a special year for studies on Ovid. 2ooo year ago the great poet vanished and scholars from all over the place take the opportunity to remember the author and his achievements. Here a list of those I already spotted, or attended:

January: University of Hamburg: Workshop „Neue Forschungen zu Ovid“

ovid-workshop-programm

March: University Paris – Sorbonne: Colloque « Ovide 2017: célébration du bimillénaire de la mort d’Ovide. Le transitoire et l’éphémère: un hapax à l’ère augustéenne ? »

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May:  Historical and Achraeological museum of Constanța: Symposion “Évocations ovidiennes: poésie – mythologie – réalité historique”, programme to be defined.

June: University of Bucharest: International Colloquium “Close, Far-away, Everywhere, Nowhere. Perpetual Glosses on the Exile Theme”. The CfP is still open, deadline 10th May 2017.

also in June: Guangqi International Center for Scholars of Shanghai Normal University: Globalizing Ovid.

September: University of Bristol: international conference “Ovid Across Europe: Vernacular Translations of the Metamorphoses in the Middle Ages & Renaissance”. The CfP is still open, deadline 30th March 2017.

https://i0.wp.com/translatingovid.weebly.com/uploads/7/2/0/3/72036811/ovid-across-1_orig.jpg

And all over the summer a whole range of events in Berlin for which you find the programme at Flyer Gesamtprogramm final.

Plakat Ringvorlesung

Digital Classicist London: 2016 seminars

 

If you happen to be in London this summer….

Digital Classicist London: 2016 seminars
Institute of Classical Studies
Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU
Fridays at 16:30 in room 234

Jun 3 Gregory Crane (Leipzig & Tufts), Philological Education and Citizenship in the 21st Century
Jun 10 Matteo Romanello (Lausanne & DAI), Of People, Places and References: Extracting information from Classics publications
Jun 17 Eleanor Robson (University College London), From the ground to the cloud: digital edition of freshly excavated cuneiform tablets on Oracc
Jun 24 Stuart Dunn (King’s College London), Reading text with GIS: Different digital lenses for Ancient World Geography
Jul 1 Valeria Vitale (King’s College London), The use and abuse of 3D visualisation in the study of the Ancient World
Jul 8 Chiara Palladino (Leipzig & Bari), Annotating geospatial patterns in ancient texts: problems and strategies
Jul 15 No seminar
Jul 22 Stelios Chronopoulos (Freiburg), New Life into Old Courses? Using Digital Tools in Reading and Prose Composition Classes
Jul 29 Silke Vanbeselaere (KU Leuven), Exploring ancient sources with data visualisation

Abstracts available here: digitalclassicist.org/wip/wip2016.html

Classical Philology goes digital

Here is an interesting Call for papers from the University of Leipzig and the University of Potsdam.

Workshop
Classical Philology goes digital
Working on textual phenomena of ancient texts
University of Potsdam, February 16-17, 2017

Digital technologies continue to change our daily lives, including the way scholars work. As a result, the Classics are currently also subject to constant change. Having established itself as an important field in the scientific landscape, Digital Humanities (DH) research provides a number of new possibilities to scholars who deal with analyses and interpretations of ancient works. Greek and Latin texts become digitally available and searchable (editing, encoding), they can be analyzed to find certain structures (text-mining), and they can also be provided with metadata (annotation, linking, textual alignment), e.g. according to traditional commentaries to explain terms, vocabulary or syntactic relationships (in particular tree-banking) for intra- and intertextual linking as well as for connections with research literature. Therefore, an important keyword in this is ‘networking,’ because there is so much potential for Classical Philology to collaborate with the Digital Humanities in creating useful tools for textual work, that a clear overview is difficult to obtain. Moreover, this scientific interest is by no means unilateral: Collaboration is very important for Digital Humanities as a way of (further) developing and testing digital methods.

This is exactly where the proposed workshop comes in: representing several academic disciplines and institutions, scholars will come together to talk about their projects. We have invited Digital Humanists to the discussion who have experience pertaining to special issues in Classical Philology and can present the methods and potentials of their research (including the AvH Chair of DH / Leipzig, the CCeH, the DAI and Dariah-DE). In order to enable intensive and efficient work involving the various ideas and projects, the workshop is aimed at philologists whose research interests focus on certain phenomena of ancient texts, e.g. similes or quotations, and who want to examine more closely how such phenomena are presented and used, including questions of intertextuality and text-reuse. The aim of extracting and annotating textual data as similes poses the same type of practical philological problems for Classicists. Therefore, the workshop provides insight in two main ways: First, in an introductory theoretical section, DH experts will present keynote lectures on specific topics such as encoding, annotating, linking and text-mining; second, the focus of the workshop will be to discuss project ideas with DH experts, to explore and explain possibilities for digital implementation, and ideally to offer a platform for potential cooperation. The focus is explicitly on working together to explore ideas and challenges, based also on concrete practical examples.
This main section will be divided into two sessions based on methods from the Digital Humanities; according to their main focus, projects will be assigned to one of the following groups: 1. producing digital data: computational analysis of ancient texts, detecting textual elements; and 2. commenting on texts: annotation and linking. It is entirely possible that some themes will be more or less important for the different research goals.

The keynotes and project presentations will be classified into the following sessions

I. DH keynote speaker : The workshop begins with keynotes held by invited DH specialists who have expertise in the special issues of Digital Classics. The aim of these lectures is to describe possibilities for implementing information technology for philological purposes, taking into account the specific challenges of ancient texts, their conditions and transmission. By demonstrating best-practice examples, the speakers will provide initial ideas as to what is useful and possible. This session serves as an introduction to the two following sessions that are focusedon the discussion of specific projects.

II. Project presentations
1) Producing digital data: computational analysis of ancient texts, detecting textual elements.
Projects within Session 1 will mainly deal with the question of how specific textual elements that have a more or less fixed structure in a text may be systematically detected: How might the conventional readings of texts and the manual search in various textual resources be combined with automated analyses? How might text-mining and natural language processing techniques be used to supplement a reading? The DH experts will provide insight into such topics as the possibilities of named entity recognition and collections of textual elements in semantically linked datasets that leverage formal ontologies. Networking with already existing resources for ancient texts as well as with similar current projects will be discussed. Questions relating to editing a text, especially to how a text can be presented and preserved for online research, may briefly be mentioned. However, the main focus here is on the extraction of information.
2) Commenting on texts: annotation and linking
Session 2 includes projects that focus on providing a text with metadata. How might the
different parts of a textual element, e.g. specific terms and the syntactic or semantic sentence structure, be explained by annotation? Which open standards for annotating a text may be wisely used? What kind of linking is possible, not only with the primary source text, but also with research literature and lexical entities, for instance? Participants will also talk about how the resulting resources could be used as real research tools for users, e.g. for a comprehensive search of particular terms.

The presentations will be given in German or English, as well as the discussions. Addressing this specific interest in textual philology, the searched projects should deal with certain types of textual elements that have a more or less fixed structure, e.g. figurative language, quotations or special terms. The purpose should be to analyze texts focusing on these forms and to annotate and align passages. The discussions, therefore, will address how to extract and annotate data, i.e. how to work with them in a digital environment.

The Classical Philology department at the University of Potsdam is very well equipped for this kind of joint project. The presentations should not exceed 15 minutes. As the focus of the workshop is on the following discussion, 30 minutes are scheduled for collaborative exchange after each lecture.
Contributions should be submitted by May 15th, 2016, in the form of a short abstract (max.
300 words) along with a brief biography. Digital Humanists are also invited to submit further proposals for lectures in the DH section, which should not exceed 30 minutes in length.

The workshop will take place at the University of Potsdam from February 16th to 17th, 2017.

Important dates:
15/05/16 deadline for abstracts
30/05/16 notification of authors
16-17/02/17 workshop in Potsdam

Organization:
Dr. Karen Blaschka, Klassische Philologie, Universität Potsdam
Dr. Monica Berti, AvH Chair of DH, Universität Leipzig

Contact:
Dr. Karen Blaschka
Klassische Philologie
Universität Potsdam
Am Neuen Palais 10
14469 Potsdam

Dr. Monica Berti
Alexander von Humboldt-Lehrstuhl für Digital Humanities
Institut für Informatik
Universität Leipzig
Augustusplatz 10
04109 Leipzig

Mail to:
karen.blaschka@uni-potsdam.de

Discovering the University of Cyprus

I have been invited to Cyprus for an Erasmus teaching week! I am really looking forward to this visit and to meeting the students and members of staff. One of the highlights will certainly be the research seminars of the Department of Classics and Philosophy. Here the programme:

26/01, Panayotakis S. (Crete), Ibat res ad summam nauseam: Feeling sick in Petronius and Phaedrus

09/02, Skouroumouni-Stavrinou ?. (Cyprus), Euripides onstage: Skeue in Euripidean dramaturgy

23/02, Pavlou ?. (Cyprus), Pindaric Temporalities

01/03, Trachsel A. (Hamburg), Demetrius of Scepsis and his Troicos Diacosmos: Local scholarship on the Homeric text.

08/03, Athanassaki L. (Crete), Euripides’ dialogue with Athenian monumental iconography in the Trojan Women.

15/03, Desmond W. (Maynooth), Dialectic, perspective, and Plato’s democrats

29/03, Demetriou Ch. (Cyprus), Plautus’ Miles Gloriosus: Dicea’s story revisited

05/04, Clay J. (Virginia), How to Recognize a Homeric God

The Journal Polymnia

Here is the link to a new electronical journal! It focuses on mythography and expands the work of the international network with the same name. Please have a look at the first issue…

Polymnia 1.

First edition 2015

Avant-Propos
Minerva Alganza Roldán: ¿Historiadores, logógrafos o mitógrafos? (Sobre  la recepción de Hecateo, Ferécides y Helánico)

David Bouvier: Palaiphatos ou le mythe du mythographe

Jacqueline Fabre-Serris: La pratique mythographique de Parthénius de Nicée et l’usage des Ἐρωτικὰ Παθήματα chez Gallus, Properce et Ovide

Arnaud Zucker: Hygin et Ératosthène. Variation mythographique ou restitution d’un original perdu

Etienne Wolff: Les spécificités de Fulgence dans les Mitologiae

Franck Collin: L’inscription mythographique dans le projet encyclopédiste du De Naturis rerum d’Alexandre Neckam

Gisèle Besson: Pseustis avait-il une chance contre Alithia ? Le regard porté sur la mythologie païenne dans l’Ecloga Theoduli

Consuelo Álvarez Morán and Rosa Iglésias Monteil: Los Diez libros de la Mitologia de Natale Conti en su segunda redacción

Françoise Graziani: La confabulation poétique de Boccace


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