Archive for the 'classical studies' Category

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
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 ».

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 ? »

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

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

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

E-University and Online Seminars

Yesterday, while assisting a Conference on Scientific Cooperation between Greece and Germany held at the University of Hamburg, I heard a convincing presentation about the Open University of Cyprus. Antonis Petridis, assistant professor there, explained the advantages of this form of University.
As a nice coincidence I also received yesterday an advertisement for a “Webinar”, actually a online seminar on ancient letters that will be given next term conjointly between the University of Heidelberg and the University of Würzburg.

Open University of Cyprus
Heidelberg-Würzburg Webinar

Interesting observation about our attitude towards digital tools

Last week, at the last session of a series of conference about new approaches to Classics (Alte Texte – neue Ergebnisse), Prof. Markus Friedrich from the University of Hamburg talked about the reception of new technological inventions in the Humanities (Exzerpt, Photoauftrag, Datenbank: zur Entwicklung und Bedeutung technischer Hilfsmittel in der Geschichtswissenschaft). He focused in particular on the ways scholars had access to the primary sources and how they started to use devices enabling them to transport the information these documents contained to their working places where they could explore them further.

First he discussed the advent of photography which allowed scholars to move beyond copying manually the texts and get more accurate documents to work on once they left the library or the archive where the primary sources were. As a second step he mentioned the usage of photocopies and other ways of reproducing faithfully a great number of sources and documents. Finally in a third step he dealt with the digital tools that are available now.

However, it is not so much this tripartition which is striking, but his observation that it is actually this third step that raised the most vigorous criticism from scholars. He was himself rather surprised by his findings and wondered whether there may be witnesses of such a suspiciousness against the technologies used previously. However, if his observation is correct, it may also raise the question of that would be so peculiar about the currently available digital tools and technologies to be more subjects to criticism than previously used tools.

Should I change the title of my blog?

Just before Christmas, on December the 17th, I passed the viva of my Habilitation-thesis on Demetrios of Scepsis. So it seems that the research for which I started the blog comes to an end. The book is written!!

It is entitled “Demetrios of Scepsis and his Τρωϊκὸς διάκοσμος. A New Evaluation of the Remaining Fragments” and it has been approved by the University of Hamburg. I can now start to think about publishing these first results. GREAT, isn’t it!?

But actually I don’t feel like have got rid of Demetrios during this process. There is still plenty to say and to do about this scholar and his book. So I guess it is not the right moment to think about ending the blog: maybe just a little change in the title while exploring what may come next so that we can enjoy “travelling beyond Demetrios of Scepsis”…