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“


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 ? »


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.


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.

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

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

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:

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

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

Kuklos Hellenikos : a Strange Experience!

During the month of September I could stay in Paris thanks to a one-month scholarship from the Fondation Maison des Sciences de l’Homme (FMSH). During this stay, I was affiliated to the AOROC research centre from the Ecole nomale supérieure. But, I also received a very warm welcome from the members of staff from the Department of Classics. They invited me to several venues they organised at the beginning of term. One of the more memorable was certainly the invitation to joint the Kuklos Hellenikos.

This is a group of students and members of staff who decided to speak in ancient Greek! They choose a text, most of the time a piece of narrative writing in prose, and instead of translating it, they try to explain or paraphrase its content in ancient Greek. Before attending the first meeting, I was rather sceptical, but the atmosphere was so friendly and relaxed that it was a real pleasure to take part. This is certainly due to the enthusiasm of the two organisers (Anne-Catherine Baudoin and Charles Delattre) and I am looking forward to the session next Tuesday, even if this will be my last day in Paris.

For further reading, see:
Charles Delattre, Kuklos Hellenikos: une pratique orale du grec ancien, dans P. Hummel (éd.), Translatio. La transmission du grec entre tradition et modernité. Actes de la journée d’étude du 3 octobre 2008, Paris 2009, 53-65.

Summerschool on the Deltas in Antiquity

I am back from a very interesting and well-organised summerschool that was held in Romania, in the Danubian Delta. The venue was well chosen, as the topic focused on deltas in Antiquity. So we learned a lot about the evolution, perception and human appropriation of ancient deltas. Besides the Danube which was the subject of several talks, especially on the last day, the Nile, the Indus, the Ganges, as well as other rivers emptying in the Mediterranean Sea were discussed.

The papers focused on two main themes: the first could be summarised as the interaction between the human settlements and the natural environment of the delta, its transformation (through human influence or not), and the human responses to the changes in the structure of the delta. The second theme dealt with the human perceptions of a delta, the way the concept came into usage and the modern research methods which help researchers to see the several layers of the geomorphological evolution of the deltas. This gives a much larger perspective in which the ancient descriptions of the delta-environments (such as the one from Strabo and other ancient geographers) can be put alongside with the modern ones in a time span going from the prehistoric millenniums to the present day.

You may find the programme here

A further highlight were the many excursions that accompanied the conference. We could visit the archaeological museums of Constanta and Tulcea as well as the sites of Histria, Enisala, Orgame and Halmyris.

Ancient Histria

Ancient Histria

Many thanks to the organisers and the participants for this fabulous week!

Globalized Classics

The August Boeck Antike Zentrum is organising this summer a Summer University entitled Globalized Classics at the Humboldt-University in Berlin.


The initiative illustrates the current trend in Classics to brings together participants from all around the world in order to discuss Antiquity and the diversity of modern approaches to the study of this topic. The project is divided into three parts: a seminar (August 10-21), a summer school (August 24-Sept. 2) and a final conference (Sept. 4-5).

The topic of the seminar:

  • Methodological questions for Globalized Classics

The topics of the summer school:

  • Wisdom literature in East and West
  • Interrogating the Antique Visual Tradition and Its Legacy
  • Medicine and concepts of the body in ancient Greece
  • Pre-modern society in global comparison
  • Reading the Rigveda from the Inside Out

And for the programme of the Conference, please see here

News about Demetrios of Scepsis

In the last volume of ZPE 194 (2015) Marco Perale and Stefano Vecchiato published a new article on P.Oxy. 5094, where Demetrios seems to be quoted among other authorities. The article is divided into three parts.

A first part gives a summary on the scholarly discussion which fragment 1 raised. The preserved evidence suggests that the passage belonged to a discussion about the paternity of Hecabe, in which Demetrios is quoted for having known an additional hexameter line about the issues.

The second part of the article, which is the main part, consists in a new palaeographical analysis of fragment 4, which leads to an attempt to reconstitute the mythographical background of the deciphered elements and provides new readings for the preserved lines. At the beginning of the fragment a further author seems to be quoted (Araethus of Tegea). Furthermore, if this reading is correct, the mention of this author points to a discussion about Arcadian matters, as he is known to have written an Arcadica. Such a hypothesis could also be confirmed by the fact that the name of Phylonome, who is the mother of the two mythological rulers of Arcadia, occurs in the following line. This, together with other elements from the remaining lines, suggests that the basic arrangement of the preserved comment may have followed the outline of a genealogical presentation of the topic.

In the last part the two authors reconsider the hypothesis, stated in the publication of the editio princeps, that the fragment could be an extract from a work by Apollodorus of Athens. They evaluate the pros and cons, but have finally to acknowledge that this attribution has to remain a hypothesis. Both, our incomplete knowledge of Apollodorus works as well as the many lacunas that still remain in the understanding of P.Oxy. 5094, prevents them to go any further.

The publication about P.Oxy. 5094:
PERALE, M. – VECCHIATO ST., More on P.Oxy. 5094: Hecuba’s Father, Stesichorus, and a New Fragment of Ar(i)aethus of Tegea. ZPE 194 (2015) 11-27.
TRACHSEL, A., P. Oxy. 5094: Asios, Son of Dymas, or Asios, Son of Hyrtakos? Demetrios of Skepsis on Homonymies in the Iliad. ZPE 188 (2014) 5–11.
LUPPE W., Ein neuer Textvorschlag für den Mythographie-Papyrus P.Oxy. LXXVI 5094 (fr. 1). ZPE 185 (2013) 105-106.
LUPPE W., Zum Mythographie-Papyrus P.Oxy. LXXVI 5094, APF 58 (2012), 8-10.
WEST M.L., The Daughter of Dymas. ZPE 183 (2012) 11–13.
COLOMO, D. – PERALE, M., On P.Oxy. LXXVI 5094 fr. 1. ZPE 181 (2012) 1–3.
PERALE M. – HENRY W.B., 5094. Mythography. The Oxyrhynchus Papyri LXXXVI, London, 172-177.

Focusing on Contexts and Contextualisation

Kontexttagung Potsdam, Programmflyer-1

Just a few days ago I received the programme of a conference that will be held at the University of Potsdam in Mai. I am really looking forward to attend the venue, as it approaches the topics I am interested in from a very interesting angle.

In a first step when dealing with fragmentarily preserved texts, scholars usually try to find out where and how the pieces have been preserved and this involves to focus on the context of transmission. But quite soon it has to be acknowledged that this is only one aspect of the issue. There are several other ways of understanding the concept of context. One could for instance focus on the primary context, either of the preserved item or of the whole work to which it belongs. This can imply the public for which the work was composed, but also the original passage from which the item was taken (if this is still possible to know).

However, from another point of view and especially when focusing on quotations, one could wonder whether or not one may be allowed to believe ancient readers and their understanding of their sources. They must have had some thoughts about their sources before quoting a textual sequence from a given work. To some extent they had more knowledge then we have, as they had more (entire) texts at their disposal. On the other, however, they had other interpretative tools than we have today and this sometimes leads to a shift in the meaning of the passage, which is sometimes seen as a difficulty.

But, as the programme of the conference shows, this double distance, between a text, its many ancient reuses and our modern reading, should not only be seen as problematic. A new context can also reveal a creative way of engaging with a previous author and his views.

1. Die Theorie des Kontextes
Birgit Neumann (Düsseldorf): Text, Kontextualisierung und Assoziierung: Der Eigensinn literarischer Kontexte
René Nünlist (Köln): Kontext und Kontextualisierung als Kategorien antiker Literaturerklärung
Thomas A. Schmitz (Bonn): Kallimachos und seine Musen – Erzähler­instanzen in den Aitien
Ute Tischer (Potsdam): Autor, Erzähler, Figur. Zur Typologie des Kontextes bei der Deutung von Zitaten

2. Fehlender Kontext
Markus Schauer (Bamberg): Kontext und Fragment. Zur Geschichte der Römischen Tragikerfragmente
Alexandra Trachsel (Hamburg): Ein Homererklärer im falschen Kontext? Beispiele aus der Fragmentsammlung des Demetrios von Skepsis
Beate Hintzen (Bonn): Kontextualisierung, De- und Re-Kontex­tu­a­li­sie­rung am Beispiel von Solons Lebensalterelegie (frg. 27 West)
Monica Berti (Leipzig/Tufts University): The Leipzig Open Fragmentary Texts Series

3. Kontextualisierung, Textproduktion, Rezeption
Christopher Whitton (London): Commentary and context: The example of Plinius‘ Letters
Martin Bažil (Prag/Rostock): Neukontextualisierung als Sinnstiftung: Semantische Kontextstrategien in den spätantiken Vergilcentonen
Benjamin Hübbe (Berlin, FU): Von Geiselnahmen und Gefangenschaften –
‚Historisch-kulturelle Kontextualisierungen‘,‚kulturelles Wissen‘ und die Dichtungen des Dracontius
Ursula Gärtner/Karen Blaschka (Potsdam): Gleichnis – Fabel – Topos. Neukontextualisierung als literarische Strategie
Peter Kuhlmann (Göttingen): Kontexte: Seneca und stoische Kernbegriffe im Kontext römischer Werte
Oliver Ehlen (Jena): Chariton von Aphrodisias im Kontext antiker fiktionaler Prosa

For more details, see the flyer below!

Kontexttagung Potsdam, Programmflyer