Archive for the 'classical studies' Category

Digital Humanities: one year ago

While in Köln DH people gather for the DHd 2018 conference, under the nice title “Kritik der digitalen Vernunft”, I have been reading a nice contribution from Prof. Pierre Chiron from the Université Paris-Est Créteil, who I happened to meet one year ago, while being in Paris, actually at the very moment when he published the article. So, it is a pity that I had to wait one year before discovering this piece of writing!

You find the contribution at la vie des Classiques.

It is an interesting essay on the advantages and the challenges of the digital technologies to which we are now used, often without fully understand the ways they may influence our behaviours in the long term. His focus lies on the educational environment and, perhaps a little surprisingly, he finds a way back to one of the ancient systems of rhetorical education (the progymnasmata) to describe his vision of new learning practices, where digital tools may play a crucial role.


Conference on Prosgymnasmata

Let’s start the year with the announcement of a conference!

This one is on the prosgymnasmata, a term which designate a series of handbooks containing instructions for rhetorical exercises. This kind of works are also highly relevant with regard to ancient quotation practices.

Programme Colloque 2017 DEF

Here the programme:

Thursday 18th January
 I Premiers aperçus des pratiques : les documents papyrologiques
 9:45 Raffaella CRIBIORE: The Versatility of Progymnasmata: Evidence from the Papyri and Libanius
10:15 Lucio DEL CORSO: Rhetoric for Beginners (and Dummies) in Graeco-Roman Egypt. A Survey of Papyrological Evidence
10:45 Pause
11:00 José Antonio FERNANDEZ DELGADO & Francisca PORDOMINGO: La pratique des Progymnasmata dans les sources papyrologiques (et leur présence dans la littérature)
12:00 Jean-Luc FOURNET: Éthopées entre culture profane et christianisme
 II Pratiques progymnasmatiques et cognition 
14:30 Emmanuelle DANBLON: Les exercices de rhétorique à l’école de Bruxelles
15:00 Julie DAINVILLE & Benoit SANS: L’éloge paradoxal : regards croisés sur deux expériences bruxelloises
16:00 Pause
16:15 Victor FERRY: Exercer l’empathie : une limite de l’ethopoeia et une méthode alternative
16:45 Jeanne CHIRON & Pierre GRIALOU: « Connais-toi toi-même », les Progymnasmata comme entraînement métacognitif
Friday 19th January
III Les Pratiques entre passé et présent
9:15 Danielle VAN MAL-MAEDER: Des Progymnasmata dans la déclamation – des Progymnasmata à la déclamation
9:45 Sandrine DUBEL: Défense et illustration de la paraphrase
10:15 Anders ERIKSSON: Writing and teaching a contemporary progymnasmata textbook 10:45 Pause
11:00 Natalie Sue BAXTER: Imitatio, Progymnasmata, Paideia, and the Realization of Ancient Ideals in Modern Education
11:30 Jim SELBY: Aphthonius, Coherence, and Cohesion: The Practice of Writing
12:00 Ruth WEBB: L’exercice de l’ekphrasis : des Progymnasmata aux étapes ultérieures de la formation de l’orateur
 IV Pratiques contemporaines
14:30 David FLEMING: A role for the Progymnasmata in U.S. postsecondary English Education today
15:00 Marie HUMEAU: Pratiquer les Progymnasmata à l’université aujourd’hui : de l’exercice de style à la réflexion sur le discours
15:30 Christophe BRECHET: Les enjeux des Progymnasmata pour les humanités, ou pourquoi les humanités doivent refonder la formation rhétorique dans l’enseignement supérieur
Saturday 20th January
V Parcours : les pratiques à travers les siècles 
9:15 Silvana CELENTANO: Quintilien et l’exercitatio rhétorique : entre tradition et innovation
9:45 Rémy POIGNAULT: Exercices préparatoires pour éloquence princière dans la correspondance de Fronton
10:15 Eugenio AMATO: La pratique des Progymnasmata dans l’école de Gaza
10:45 Pause
11:00 Marcos MARTINHO: Emporius : les Progymnasmata entre exercice scolaire et outil oratoire
11:30 Luigi PIROVANO: Emporius and the practice of Progymnasmata during Late Antiquity
12:00 Marc BARATIN: La place et le rôle de la traduction latine des Progymnasmata du Ps.-Hermogène dans l’œuvre de Priscien
VI Parcours : les pratiques à travers les siècles (suite)
14:30 Francesco BERARDI: Diversité des pratiques didactiques en Grèce et à Rome : réflexions sur le lexique des Progymnasmata
15:00 Jordan LOVERIDGE: The practice of the Progymnasmata in the Middle Ages: Education, Theory, Application
15:30 Diane DESROSIERS: An muri faciendi ? La pratique des Progymnasmata dans l’œuvre de François Rabelais
16:00 Pause
16:15 Trinidad ARCOS-PEREIRA: The presence of Progymnasmata in Spain in the 16th century
16:45 María Violeta PEREZ-CUSTODIO: Teaching more than Rhetoric: Progymnasmata Handbooks in Spain during the Renaissance
17:15 Manfred KRAUS: La pratique des Progymnasmata dans les écoles du XVe au XVIII e siècle au travers des traductions latines d’Aphthonios
17:45 Discussion et conclusions
The poster can be found here and the summaries of the papers here.

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
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