News from DH

Well, I have not been posting about events from the field of Digital Humanities for some times. I am therefore very pleased to mention here a conference that will be held in Lausanne next September. As I know one of the organisers, it is even a greater pleasure for me.
The conference is about the changes and opportunities Virtual Research Environments creates for the study of ancient manuscripts. This is a fascinating topic I am observing, more indirectly than directly, for some time.

Virtual Research EnvironmentsJanuary2020

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François Lasserre at the ISR

I had the great opportunity to work at the Swiss Institute in Rome for my PhD. It is quite a while ago! But I still remember the library from François Lasserre that I could use at the ISR. It was a marvellous tool and I found many treasures for my work among the books the great scholar assembled. It is therefore with great pleasure that I mention the conference organised in his honour here.  I would have loved to be back in Rome for the occasion. Unfortunately, I will attend another conference. So I will have to wait for an next opportunity to return to the ISR.

Here is the programme for the conference. You find further details on the Website of the ISR


H15:30 – Giardino d’inverno
Accueil par les organisateurs.
Allocution de Mario Annoni, président du Conseil de Fondation de l’Istituto Svizzero.

Présentation par la Dott.ssa Romina Pallotto, bibliothécaire de l’Istituto Svizzero, du Fonds Lasserre et  du facsimilé du palimpseste de Strabon de la main de François Lasserre et de quelques pièces de ses archives.

H16:30 – Sala conferenze
Présidents de séance: Prof. Philippe Mudry et Prof. Claude Calame.
Allocution de Joëlle Comé, directrice de l’Istituto Svizzero.

Prendront ensuite la parole:

Jacques Lasserre, au nom de la famille de François Lasserre.

Prof. Jean-Jacques Aubert, Université de Neuchâtel, président de l’Académie suisse des sciences humaines.

Prof. Danielle van Mal Maeder, présidente de l’Institut d’archéologie et des sciences de l’Antiquité de l’Université de Lausanne.

Prof. Anne Bielman, Université de Lausanne et Prof. Stefan Rebenich, Université de Berne, respectivement  membre et président de la Commission scientifique de l’Istituto Svizzero.

Prof. Pierre Ducrey, ancien recteur de l’Université de Lausanne, membre associé étranger de l’Académie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres, directeur de la Fondation Hardt.

Prof. André Hurst, ancien recteur de l’Université de Genève.

Dr. Patrick Maxime Michel, Université de Lausanne, président de l’Association des membres et des amis de l’Istituto Svizzero.

Autour de la carrière de François Lasserre et du palimpseste de Strabon

Prof. Claude Calame, Université de Lausanne et EHESS Paris, De l’alphabet grec à la poésie de Sappho : l’enseignement de François Lasserre.

Prof. David Bouvier, Université de Lausanne, François Lasserre et la figure d’Eros dans la poésie grecque.

Dr. Timothy Janz, scriptor graecus et directeur du département des imprimés de la Bibliothèque vaticane, Angelo Mai et les palimpsestes de la Bibliothèque vaticane.

Prof. Didier Marcotte, Sorbonne – Université, François Lasserre : un Grec à Rome.

Dr. Aude Cohen-Skalli, CNRS, Aix-Marseille Université, François Lasserre et le livre XIV de Strabon.


Dr. Victor Gysembergh, CNRS, Centre Léon Robin, Présentation d’un nouveau projet d’imagerie multispectrale appliquée aux palimpsestes.

Prof. Francesco Prontera, Università di Perugia, François Lasserre e la cartografia ellenistica.

Prof. Jacques Jouanna, Sorbonne – Université, membre de l’Académie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres, directeur de la Collection des Universités de France Série grecque, François Lasserre et les études hippocratiques.


Un apéritif dînatoire clôturera la rencontre.

La rencontre est organisée en collaboration avec la Faculté des lettres et l’Institut d’archéologie et des sciences de l’Antiquité de l’Université de Lausanne ainsi que l’Association des membres et des amis de l’Istituto Svizzero que nous remercions pour leur soutien.

Going back home and beyond!

On the last week-end of September I could have been at three different places. Unfortunately I had to decide for one of them. It was a very good choice to have accepted the invitation to go back to my home university, and to attend a small but convivial venue celebrating the retirement of a very dear friend and former colleague.

It was simply great to be back after more than 10 years:  what a pleasure meeting former colleagues, students and teachers! Moreover, I was really moved to see the presentations of the two current PhD-students. It was with much excitement that I discovered their topics and I could not, of course, avoid remembering the days when I was myself working on my PhD-thesis and when I had a great time with my fellow PhD-students.

One of them works on intertextuality and uses the new digital technologies to represent the multiple connections between her primary text and a vast network of reference texts.  The second works on a collection of riddles and brings forward, through his intelligent analyses, the complex but ingenious ordering principles used by its author. I am very much looking forward to seeing their finished PhD-theses!

Also the other presentations would be worth mentioning, but a lengthy summary would certainly not be able to bring back the nice and genuinely friendly mood of the venue. Please have a look at the programme below.

As many agreed, the joviality of the gathering was certainly due to the open-minded and inspiring personality of the colleague who was honoured. I was really lucky to have had him as one of my teachers! Let’s hope that I may still benefit from his wisdom.

Well, but for the time being,  I wish him all the best, much satisfaction, and a whole range of new and rewarding projects in this new chapter of his life!



Ovid in the Newspaper!

A few days ago I spotted a well-balanced contribution in the German newspaper die Zeit. It was about Ovid and how challenging contents of his works should or could be dealt with in the classroom.

It was written by Katharina Wesselmann, who is now professor at the University of Kiel. I remember very well her talk last summer during the 24. Aquilonia in Jena. She demonstrated how previous, often old-fashioned translations of ancient texts could be used fruitfully in a school environment. They are more than simple aids for learners of ancient languages. The choices of words in the target language reveal cultural values of a given time, and especially if the words do no longer belong to the current language of students, they may lead to important questions about how scholars from different periods projected their experiences and specific cultural backgrounds onto Antiquity.

In her present piece, she shares her thoughts about how upsetting scenes of sexual violence, which are present in many ancient texts not only in Ovid, can contribute to lively debates about present-day issues related to acceptable and/or unacceptable gender behaviours. She argues that they should not be excluded from the classroom because teachers feel uncomfortable about them –a tendency that is wide-spread. It would lead to a false image of Greco-Roman realities and negate the influence these appalling passages exercised during the ages, at the same level as more pleasant ones. It would therefore deprive new generations of a tool that would help them to tackle long lasting behavioural traditions.

But please read the well written paper for yourself!

Capture d’écran 2019-09-17 à 23.48.20

Two Interesting Venues

The first, Digital Editing in the Classics, takes place in Munich on September 25th to 27th 2019. You find the programme here.

The second, Linked Pasts 5: Back to the (re)sources, will be held in Bordeaux on December 11th to 13th 2019. Here the call for participation is still open. The deadline is October 15th 2019. For more detail see here. For the programme and further details on the venue, you may check the main menu of the homepage.

Coming back from the Pillars of Hercules

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to visit the South of Andalusia. The trip was not focusing in particular on the region’s ancient heritage, but I was nonetheless  very excited to be able to see the Pillars of Hercules. Actually, I even went beyond and could visit Cádiz and Bolonia with the ruins of Baelo Claudia. Both places are mentioned for instance in Strabo (3.1.8) and I am very happy to share here some images of the places.

First comes Baelo Claudia with its remains of garum factories. It is close to one of Spain’s nicest beaches, but it had its own baths of which you can still see the hypocaust system.


When moving to Cádiz the situation is quite different. As the city has been inhabited continually on very small space, there are no ruins to be seen. Nonetheless, it was trilling to be in such an old place! Moreover its location is amazing, surrounded by the sea, and the old town is worth seeing with its lovely architecture.

Finally, even if the images do not represent adequately the grandiosity of the Strait of Gibraltar, you find here a picture of  each of the pillars. On the African side you have Mount Jebel Musa…


whereas on the Spanish side, you have the Rock of Gibraltar.






Interesting Venue on Quotations!

If you happen to be in Lausanne at the end of September and if you are interested in quotations, you may want to attend the collogue on quotations in medical writings. It will be held on September 23rd-25th at the University of Lausanne. Moreover, there is a call for poster that is still open until the 1st of July. For this, have a look here :

call for poster

Capture Medecine

As far as I am concerned, I will unfortunately not be there. I will probably attend another conference held almost simultaneously in Leipzig. For this venue, see the details here:

Sicut commentatores loquuntur: Authorship and Commentaries on Poetry.

Colloquium Atticum V

Please have a look at the nice programme from the Department of Ancient History in Hamburg!



You may find further information on the homepage of the Department of Ancient History.

Hippocrene – Mythological Society

A couple of weeks ago I have been contacted via email about this new initiative. Hippocrene is an intellectual society, started by young Belgian academics, that focuses on mythology with the aim to bridge the gap between academia and the public at large. It uses the channels of social media (Facebook: Hippocrene – Mythologisch genootschap) to release its outputs, which take the form of short notes on different subjects related to mythology. I find it particularly promising that the collected material is not restricted to Greco-Roman mythology and that the project also focuses on artistic creations inspired by mythology. Indeed objects of art representing mythological topics are often neglected, especially with regard to contemporaneous art, although they belong to the public space and bear witness to the still vivid reception of ancient mythological lore. I experienced this myself while working on the mythological quiz Antike Heute in Hamburg developed in collaboration with the Hamburg Open Online University (HOOU).

I have been asked to contribute to the society’s rubric on literature dedicated to mythology. It will contain a list of works on mythology or religious studies where the society’s followers will find a whole range of texts providing further readings about mythology. I am looking forward to making my choice about three works that I find particularly noteworthy.

Your may read the society’s own presentation in these posters:

Interesting Call for Papers

While reading this call for paper in one of my mailinglists, I just wondered whether “travelling with Demetrios” may imply going as far….

Call for papers
20. 7. 2019 “Fly me to the moon”. The moon in human imagination
University of Genova (Italy)
December 12th-13th 2019

Co-directors: Lara Nicolini, Luca Beltrami, Lara Pagani

From October 2018 through December 2022, NASA will mark the 50th anniversary of the Apollo Program that landed a dozen Americans on the moon between July 1969 and December 1972.

All kind of events, activities, exhibits, seminars dedicated to celebrating the first moon landing are understandably spreading everywhere and we want to join the celebrations in our own way.

The moon has always been a source of mystery and enchantment to people of all times and has lit up our imagination for centuries: : for writers and poets, the moon has been at one moment a beneficent and comforting presence offering refuge in nocturnal and idyllic landscapes, at the next a silent confidante to secret loves, but also a witness of misdeeds, crimes and mysterious adventures, as well as power capable of generating werewolves and creatures of the night. From ancient times to modern Western art and literature, the Moon is a recurring subject of poetry and all sorts of artistic treatments, an inspiration for mythologies and mysticism, the object of scientific inquiries and a crucial destination for science-fiction fantasies. We might say that the attraction our satellite exerts on literature is at least as powerful as its pull on the tides.

The importance of the Moon as a source for the visual arts and literature in all times has long been recognized and although the theme has been explored before, its influence is inexhaustible

An international conference would be -in our view- an excellent opportunity for researchers in many different fields to keep exploring our various images of the Moon and to exchange ideas and share experiences and research methodologies.

The University of Genova, and in particular its Departments of Classics and Italian studies (DAFIST and DIRAAS), invites submissions of articles on the subject of the Moon to be presented at an international conference to be held in Genova on 12-13 December 2019.

The deadline for submission is July 20th 20:17 UTC (date and time when the lunar module Eagle landed on the lunar surface).

Using the Moon as a source of inspiration, we invite scholars of Classical Studies, Medieval and Renaissance culture, Modern and Contemporary Literature, History and Philosophy, Music and Musicology, Cinema and Media Studies, to explore and discuss the many different ways that writers, poets, historians, artists, film makers have tried to capture the image of our satellite.

We welcome submissions from scholars of all seniorities but especially encourage doctoral and advanced students.

Please send a brief curriculum vitae, and a proposal of approximately 500 words to,,

Topics of interest include, but are not limited to, the following topic areas:

  • the Moon in mythology / lunar myths / the Moon and the Poets
  • the Moon in Ancient and Modern Novel and in Scientific literature
  • the Moon in Greek and Roman Literature
  • the Moon in Religion and History of religions
  • the Moon in Linguistic / Sociology etc. / Questioning the Grammar: Genre and Gender of the Moon
  • Science of the Moon / Knowledge and Science about the Moon (from Aristotle to Galileo to NASA)
  • Animals and the Moon
  • Iconography of the Moon (from the ancient times to space-age art) / Moon in Art History / Moon and Moonlight in the visual arts / Lunar landscapes / Visions of the night
  • the Moon in Science fiction, Cinema and media studies (from Verne to Hollywood)
  • Music by Moonlight: the Moon in the Music / Songs about the Moon

Submission guidelines

Authors from all over the world are invited to submit original and unpublished papers, which are not under review for any other conference or journal. All papers will be peer reviewed by the program committee and selected on the basis of their originality, significance, and methodological soundness.

Submitted abstracts can be written in Italian or English (the same goes for the papers).

The length of contributions must be between 4 and 8 pages (about 20/25-minutes papers). Submission implies the willingness of the author to attend the conference and present the paper.

The organizing committee looks forward to welcoming you all to a fruitful conference with open discussions and important networking opportunities.


Submission deadline for abstracts: 20 July 2019

Author notification: 30 September 2019

Conference dates: 12-13 December 2019

Conference venue

Genoa is one of the most beautiful Italian cities and a Mediterranean seaport. It embraces different cultures and traditions from the past, combined in a unique and original architecture. Its vast old town is an intricate maze of narrow alleys extending up to the seafront of the Old Harbour. In the center Medieval buildings coexist with rich Renaissance noble palaces a (UNESCO World Heritage Site), museums and several churches hosting important art masterpieces, in a unique cohesion of past splendor and contemporary everyday life.

For more information and the original call for paper, see