Call for Papers: "Learning in the Late Republic and the Augustan Age"

Call for Papers for the 2018 Symposium Cumanum:
rerum cognoscere causas: Learning in the Late Republic and the Augustan Age

June 26–30, 2018

Co-Directors: T. H. M. Gellar-Goad (Wake Forest University) and Christopher B. Polt (Boston College)
Confirmed speakers: Barbara Weiden Boyd, Monica R. Gale, Steven J. Green, Alison Keith, James J. O'Hara, and Alessandro Schiesaro

The Vergilian Society invites proposals for papers for the 2018 Symposium Cumanum at the Villa Vergiliana in Cuma, Italy.

Learning and teaching were fundamental to Roman literature from the start: Livius Andronicus, the primus auctor of Latin letters, was first a teacher whose pedagogic experiences profoundly shaped his own writing (Feeney, Beyond Greek). Instruction becomes a special interest in the culture and literature of the late Republic and Augustan periods, when attitudes towards education find complex, fluid, and multivalent expressions (Bloomer, The School of Rome). This symposium aims to interrogate the varied, shifting roles that teaching and learning play in this pivotal period, especially with reference to the literary milieu in which Vergil was educated and to which he contributed.

While teaching and learning were esteemed in the time of Vergil, and while didactic verse represents the most familiar incarnation of poetic teaching and learning, this distinct form of literature long lacked recognition as a formal genre (Sider, "Didactic poetry: The Hellenistic invention of a pre-existing genre"). Indeed, its ambiguous status has increasingly exercised the attentions of scholars, who struggle to define what sets didactic literature apart (Effe, Dichtung und Lehre; Dalzell, The Criticism of Didactic Poetry). What motivated ancient poets to become professed teachers and compose defined lessons in such an ill-defined "genre"?

Poetry occupies an ambiguous role in teaching and learning. Vergil ranks among history's most influential teachers, even with his non-didactic work: grammatici used his Aeneid as a core school-text for elite Roman boys and many viewed it as a source of prophetic learning (the sortes Vergilianae). Vergil's authority as epic teacher led Dante to select him as tour guide in Hell and resulted in an early modern "cult of Vergil" as supreme didact, especially among the Jesuits (Haskell, Loyola's Bees). But Vergil also learned at the knees of others: Ennius, Lucretius, and Philodemus, whose Epicureanism profoundly influences Augustan-age poets. Scholars have noted Vergil's debt to prose authors such as Varro (Thomas, Vergil; Horsfall, The Epic Distilled), who offered both material and methodological approaches adapted to new purposes.

Recent years have also seen the development of frameworks for the philosophical, ethical, and cultural implications of didactic (Nelson, God and the Land; Kronenberg, Allegories of Farming from Greece to Rome), but its boundaries and generic status remain contested (Itsumi, "Didactic Poetry: A Generic Tradition?"), as have the relationship between prose and poetry that claims to teach (Atherton, Form and Content in Didactic Poetry; Hutchinson, "Read the Instructions") and the dynamics between teacher and student in ancient literature and culture (Schiesaro et al., Mega nepios).

This symposium aims to continue these investigations and to open up new fields of inquiry related to ancient teaching and learning. Papers might focus on topics including (but not limited to):

  • interactions between Vergil and his didactic predecessors/successors
  • the teacher-student relationship in Vergil's Georgics and elsewhere
  • Roman cultures of learning and ancient learning communities
  • translating Greek teachings for Italian audiences
  • how ancient education practice informs poetic production
  • ethical and philosophical implications of teaching through poetry
  • contact between "scientific" work and didactic literature
  • didacticism outside traditionally didactic poetry
  • the later reception of Vergil and other ancient authors as educators

Papers will be 20 minutes long with ample time for discussion. The symposium will include three days of papers, discussion, and visits to Vergilian sites.

Interested scholars should send an abstract of no more than 300 words to by January 15, 2018.


(Photo: "Handwritten" by A. Birkan, licensed under CC BY 2.0)


Follow SCS News for information about the SCS and all things classical.

Use this field to search SCS News
Select a category from this list to limit the content on this page.



Leuven, 17 May 2018

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Thu, 03/15/2018 - 10:28am by Erik Shell.
Hellen Cullyer

A Day in the Life of a Classicist is a monthly column on the SCS blog written by Prof. Ayelet Haimson Lushkov celebrating the working lives of classicists. If you’d like to share your day, let us know here.

Hellen Cullyer is Executive Director of SCS.

There are days when I am traveling, days when I spend hours in front of my computer because of a looming deadline, and days when I am on the phone  / email / Skype most of the day dealing with a crisis. However, a typical day is something like the following on Monday-Thursday. Friday is different, as I explain below. On the average Monday-Thursday, I wake up early and have a quick breakfast before running out of the house to get my train. My work day starts as soon as I sit down on the train. I look at the to-do list that I have written the night before, and take stock of the whole state of the organization and figure out if there is anything crucial that I am forgetting to do. I also catch up on email during this time. Emails may be from members, directors, officers, committee members. At the moment, I have multiple email threads with President Joe Farrell in any given day. For his sake, I hope things will calm down a bit soon.

View full article. | Posted in on Wed, 03/14/2018 - 4:30pm by Ayelet Haimson Lushkov.

The deadline for the SCS's Ludwig Koenen Fellowship for Training in Papyrology is March 28th, 2018.

The competition is open to graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and untenured faculty. Applicants must be SCS members, and the selection committee will make awards of at least $600 but no more than $1,800.  The application should consist of:

  • One-page single-spaced typed narrative description of the training to be undertaken and the funding amount requested.
  • Current curriculum vitae.
  • One letter of recommendation from someone who can address the importance of the training in papyrology for furthering your current research.
  • A list of any other sources of funding applied for with amounts requested.

Applications must be submitted as e-mail attachments to Executive Director Helen Cullyer at


View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Wed, 03/14/2018 - 12:24pm by Erik Shell.

HIPPOCRATES AND HIS MEDICAL SCHOOL: Tracing the roots of Bioethics back to the ancient Philosophers -Physicians

Ancient Olympia and Zacharo, Greece
July 29th-31st, 2018

Call for Abstracts and Papers

Hippocrates is most remembered today for his famous Oath, which set high ethical standards for the practice of medicine. The congress invites scientists, scholars and researchers to discuss Hippocrates’ revolutionary foundation in a multidisciplinary way and/or present relevant workshops.

We welcome submissions from a wide range of disciplines, including bioethics, biotechnology, politics, health and life sciences, law and philosophy as well as philosophy and fine arts, and/or other relevant disciplines and fields. Comparative studies (submissions) on the ancient Philosophers-Physicians before and after Hippocrates will be highly appreciated.

The conference aims at providing a platform for in-depth analysis and discussion of all above related areas.

Suggested Thematic Units:

  • Hippocrates Medical School applications
  • Ancient Philosophers –Physicians background
  • Bioethics
  • Fine arts therapeutic impact


April 30, 2018:  Abstract is due (300-500 words)

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Mon, 03/12/2018 - 9:54am by Erik Shell.

Authors: Celia E. Schultz (University of Michigan), Carole E. Newlands (University of Colorado), Ruth R. Caston (University of Michigan)

One night over dinner at the SCS in Toronto (2017), conversation turned to one of the more frustrating parts of standard graduate programs in Classics: the surveys of Greek and Latin literature. Students see these courses as great hurdles to leap over, and faculty (well, at least we) felt that their necessarily selective approach is undesireable and that the courses cannot possibly do justice to all the important goals set for them: improving students’ command of the languages and their speed in reading, preparing students for exams, giving students a sense of the chronological development of the classical literary tradition, and introducing them to important trends in scholarship.  Perhaps spurred on by the wine, we decided to see if anyone else felt the same way and to see if we could get a conversation started about how to improve the experience of survey for everyone. 

View full article. | Posted in on Sun, 03/11/2018 - 7:16pm by Celia Schultz.

The deadline for submitting:

  • All proposals for panels, workshops, seminars, and roundtable discussions.
  • Reports from organizers of committee, organizer-refereed, and affiliated group panels who have issued their own CFPs.
  • Proposals for organizer-refereed panels for 2020.
  • Applications for new affiliated group charters and for renewals of current charters.

is April 9th, one month from today. Individual abstracts are due April 25th.

Anyone hoping to submit an abstract or another proposal can do so on our program submission website.


(Photo: "_DSC7061" by rhodesj, licensed under CC BY 2.0)

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Thu, 03/08/2018 - 8:40am by Erik Shell.
Terracotta plaque with King Oinomaos and his charioteer, 27 B.C.–A.D. 68. Terracotta. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Fletcher Fund, 26.60.31. Licensed under CC BY 1.0.

In the thirteen years I have been active as an independent scholar, I have learned that the independent scholar is in effect the mirror of an independent scholarly readership composed of individuals who are dedicated consumers of scholastic literature without being either presently matriculated students or academics themselves. I have come to believe that we cannot speak of the genuine flourishing of independent scholarship without taking this into account.

View full article. | Posted in on Wed, 03/07/2018 - 5:09pm by Edward P. Butler.

SCS is calling for members to volunteer for SCS committees and leadership positions.

These positions include many current SCS committees as well as the newly-formed Graduate Student Committee which will make recommendations about issues that concern graduate students, including the curriculum and preparation for a variety of teaching, research, and other careers.  Descriptions of various positions and offices can be found here.

To volunteer, you can fill out the form linked on the Members Only page of our website. You must log in to the site to access this page. The deadline to apply for the Graduate Student Committee is April 12.  All other volunteer deadlines are May 2.  The graduate student committee will start work as soon as all members appointed.  Other appointed committee members will begin their terms in 2019.  Most elected offices will begin in 2020. 

If you have any questions about what might be expected of you feel free to email and we can put you in touch with the relevant committee chair or Vice President.


View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Wed, 03/07/2018 - 2:54pm by Erik Shell.

Call for Contributors: Tacitus Encyclopedia

Prof. Victoria Pagán, in contract with Wiley-Blackwell Press, is seeking contributors for an encyclopedic volume on Tacitus.

"Entries offer in-depth treatment of the content and contexts of Tacitus’ history and reception from antiquity to the 21st century. The Tacitus Encyclopedia will be published in two volumes in print and also online. It will comprise approximately 1,000 entries."

You can find a full description of the program here.


(Photo: "Handwritten" by A. Birkan, licensed under CC BY 2.0)

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Tue, 03/06/2018 - 12:26pm by Erik Shell.

Congratulations to Melissa Y. Mueller (Associate Professor of Classics, University of Massachusetts Amherst) for winning the ACLS's Burkhardt Residential Fellowship for Recently Tenured Scholars.

Her project is "Sappho and Homer: A Reparative Reading" and will take place at the National Humanities Center in 2019-2020.

The full list of Fellowship recipients and their projects can be seen here.


(Photo: "library" by Viva Vivanista, licensed under CC BY 2.0)

View full article. | Posted in Awards and Fellowships on Mon, 03/05/2018 - 10:28am by Erik Shell.


Latest Stories

Calls for Papers
SCS Announcements
Calls for Papers
SCS Announcements

© 2017, Society for Classical Studies Privacy Policy