Call for Papers: "Screening the 'Political Animals' of the Ancient Mediterranean"


Classical Antiquity: Screening the “political animals” of the Ancient Mediterranean world

An area of multiple panels for the 2018 Film & History Conference:

Citizenship and Sociopathy in Film, Television, and New Media

November 7-12, 2018

Madison Concourse Hotel and Governor’s Club, Madison, WI (USA)

Full details at:

DEADLINE for abstracts: 1 June 2018 

Aristotle famously defined humans as “political animals”: organizing themselves within the social structure of the polis and its codes of conduct, defining members from outsiders and different types of member in relation to each other and to the whole. From the time of the city’s foundation, Romans were no less concerned with the civitas and citizen status — increasingly so as Roman imperium expanded to encompass ethnic “Others.” The narratives generated and consumed by these societies both acknowledged and questioned the clarity of these theoretical concepts: the Odyssey marks Penelope’s aristocratic suitors as morally base and condemns them to divinely-authorized death worthy of enemies; Herodotus and Thucydides observe the increasingly despotic behavior of democratic Athens, as compared to both “barbarian” and other Greek adversaries; Livy emphasizes how abducted Sabine women stopped a war by asserting their own status and moral authority as Roman wives. Perhaps Julius Caesar would have been reviled as a traitor for his march on Rome, like the failed insurrectionary Catiline, had Caesar’s heir Octavian not gained control over the state, proclaiming the assassinated dictator in perpetuo divine and himself princeps.

All depictions of socio-political relations within the frameworks of kingdom, ethnospoliscivitas, and empire in the ancient Mediterranean world have been shaped and reshaped through the lens of subsequent interest—both in antiquity and in modernity. The Classical Antiquity area solicits abstracts for papers that discuss how film, television, video games, and other screen media represent these relations and frameworks, on topics including but not limited to:

--how representations help modern audiences to imagine those social relations through dramatization — or promise to, despite reshaping ancient accounts to modern tastes

--how representations radically re-envision ancient accounts of political actors and communities to suit contemporary purposes (e.g. the noble rebel Spartacus in Kubrick’s 1960 film or the vengeful survivor Artemisia in 2013’s300: Rise of an Empire)

--how modern social constructs (e.g. race, sexuality, gender) have been retrojected into depictions of ancient communities and individuals’ relations to each other and that whole

--how depictions of epochal shifts (e.g. constitutional, epistemological) redefine enfranchised/disenfranchised, subversive/revolutionary, patriot/traitor, barbarian/civilized

--how a “bad ruler/system” is critiqued by focus on a good/conscientious community member, or a “good ruler/system” is destroyed by criminality/sociopathy

--“rise and/or fall” narratives that turn on revolution, civil war, tyrannical coup, restoration

--use of ancient Mediterranean societies to stage modern romance with e.g. democracy, republicanism, fascism, imperialism

Proposals for complete panels of three related presentations are also welcome, but should include an abstract and contact information (including email) for each presenter.

Please e-mail your 200-400-word proposal to the area chair:

Meredith Safran

Trinity College


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


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The SCS is requesting comment from its members on the proposed Statement on Research and Cultural Property.

The initial statement, along with links to supporting materials and how to comment, can be found here: Research and Cultural Property Statement

This comment period will end on March 15th.


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

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Mon, 01/29/2018 - 9:35am by Erik Shell.

Winckelmann’s Victims. The Classics: Norms, Exclusions and Prejudices

Ghent University (Belgium), 20-22 September 2018

CONFIRMED KEYNOTE SPEAKERS: Michelle Warren (University of Dartmouth) – Mark Vessey (University of British Columbia) – Irene Zwiep (University of Amsterdam)

“Der einzige Weg für uns, groß, ja, wenn
 es möglich ist, unnachahmlich zu werden, is
die Nachahmung der Alten.”
Johannes Winckelmann

Classics played a major and fundamental role in the cultural history of Western Europe. Few would call this into question. Since the Carolingian period, notably ‘classical’ literature has served as a constant source and model of creativity and inspiration, by which the literary identity of Europe has been negotiated and (re-)defined. The tendency to return to the classics and resuscitate them remains sensible until today, as classical themes and stories are central to multiple contemporary literary works, both in ‘popular’ and ‘high’ culture. Think for instance of Rick Riordan’s fantastic tales about Percy Jackson or Colm Tóibín’s refined novels retelling the Oresteia.

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Thu, 01/25/2018 - 9:41am by Erik Shell.
"Joe Farrell," Ann de Forest, unpublished

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.

Joe Farrell is the president of the SCS, and Professor of Classical Studies at Penn.

View full article. | Posted in on Thu, 01/25/2018 - 12:00am by Ayelet Haimson Lushkov.

Latin Epigraphy Program in Rome in Summer 2018

The American Academy in Rome is pleased to offer in June 2018 an intensive introduction to the study of Latin and Greek inscriptions in the city of Rome.

AAR Summer Program in Roman Epigraphy, June 18 – June 29, 2018

Application Deadline: 31 January 2018

Instructor: John Bodel, Brown University

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Tue, 01/23/2018 - 7:52am by Erik Shell.

(Submitted by Paula Debnar, Professor of Classics, Department of Classics and Italian, Mount Holyoke College)

M. Philippa (Forder) Goold, longtime professor of classics and department head at Mount Holyoke, died on March 29, 2017, after a short illness. She was 84.

Philippa was born in Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia (now Harare, Zimbabwe) in 1932. After taking degrees at both the University of Cape Town and Cambridge University—where her housemates at Newnham’s Whitstead Cottage included Sylvia Path—she returned to Salisbury in 1956 to begin teaching at the University College of Rhodesia and Nyasaland (now the University of Zimbabwe). In 1967 she came to the U.S. to join the faculty at Mount Holyoke, but left in 1973 when her husband, George P. Goold, was named Professor of Latin at University College London. When George accepted a professorship at Yale in 1977, Philippa returned to Mount Holyoke, where she continued to teach, eventually holding the chair of Professor of Classics on the Alumnae Foundation, and lead the department until her retirement in 1996.

View full article. | Posted in In Memoriam on Tue, 01/23/2018 - 7:39am by Erik Shell.


February 10-11, 2018

The ethical and political issues treated in Cicero's major philosophical writings have been a topic of lively interest in modern scholarship. With funding from the Matariki Network, from the University of Durham, and from Dartmouth College, this conference brings together an international group of scholars who are actively working on Cicero's ethical and political thought.

Jed Atkins    

Cicero on the Justice of War 

Nathan Gilbert

Cicero against Lucretius De morte

Margaret Graver

The psychology of honor in Cicero’s De Re Publica

Sean McConnell

Old Men in Cicero’s Political Philosophy

Geert Roskam

Nos in diem vivimus: Cicero’s approach in the Tusculan disputations

Malcolm Schofield

Iuris consensu revisited

Katharina Volk

Towards a Definition of Sapientia: Philosophy in Cicero's Pro Marcello

Georgina White

Skepticism and Fiction in the Academica

Raphael Woolf

Cicero on Rhetoric and Dialectic

James Zetzel

Cicero's Platonic Dialogues

For information on the venue please contact


View full article. | Posted in Conferences, Lectures, and Meetings on Mon, 01/22/2018 - 1:03pm by Erik Shell.

(Written by Sarah E. Cox, and shared with the SCS by Ofelia N. Salgado-Buttrey)

Theodore V. Buttrey, Jr.

29 December 1929 – 9 January 2018

Renowned educator, numismatist and classicist, Theodore V. (“Ted”) Buttrey, Jr., died on January 9, 2018, eleven days after his 88th birthday.  Born in Havre, Montana, as a child he attended the Peacock Military Academy in San Antonio, Texas, where he first encountered the coins of Mexico, a life-long interest.  His secondary education was at the Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire, after which he entered Princeton University, graduating magna cum laude in 1950 in Classics.  In the summer of 1952, he participated in the inaugural Summer Seminar in Numismatics conducted by the American Numismatic Society, an experience that may well have been pivotal in setting the later course of his career.  In 1953, still at Princeton, he completed his Ph.D. thesis on a numismatic subject, “Studies in the Coinage of Marc Anthony,” a chapter of which was condensed and published as “Thea Neotera on Coins of Antony and Cleopatra,” ANS Museum Notes 6 (1954), pp. 95-109.  There followed a Fulbright scholarship to study in Rome.

View full article. | Posted in In Memoriam on Fri, 01/19/2018 - 2:06pm by Erik Shell.

The Roman Civil Wars of 49-30 BCE: Analysing the Breakdown of Models

Córdoba, Spain
21-23 June 2018
Deadline for abstracts: 15 February 2018

 Publications (e.g. Armitage 2017) and conferences (e.g. Kavala 2014) dedicated to the theme of Roman civil wars have been constantly on the increase in recent years.  If intellectual life reflects its historical moment, then the phenomenon may be a consequence of both the disappearance of a bipolar international model and the breakdown of the twentieth-century socio-economic basis for the consensus needed for stable parliamentary government.  Reflecting upon the current moment, but limited to a discussion of the Roman civil wars of 49-30 BCE, the proposed conference aims to gather scholars from around the world to discuss the breakdown in political and cognitive models that is associated with that particular moment in history.  This is a discussion that can usefully be undertaken by widening the scope of investigation and focussing upon not only “minor” characters (e.g. Roucillus and Egus), but also people’s documented difficulty in distinguishing between true and false reports (e.g. Caesar’s alleged descent upon Rome with his Gallic cavalry) as they sought to determine what course to take.

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Fri, 01/19/2018 - 2:03pm by Erik Shell.
Alan Cameron

Institute of Classical Studies (University of London)

24 March 2018 at 2.30pm
Room 349, Senate House

Everyone is invited to celebrate the life and work of Professor Alan Cameron FBA (1938-2017) with friends, former colleagues and family on 24th March in room 348 of Senate House from 14.30 until 18.00 with a reception following.

Alan Cameron read Classics at New College, Oxford and then went on to teach Latin at the University of Glasgow before coming to London in 1964, where he was first a Lecturer and then a Reader at Bedford College and then from 1972 as Professor of Latin at Kings. In 1977 he moved to Columbia University of New York where he was Anthon Professor of Latin Literature and Language until his retirement in 2008. His books included studies of Hellenistic poetry, of circus factions in Byzantium, of Greek mythography and the magisterial Last Pagans of Rome that appeared in 2011.

A number of friends and colleagues will offer reminiscences of Alan and appreciations of his work. Among the confirmed speakers are Arianna Gullo, Gavin Kelly, Oswyn Murray, John North, Peter Wiseman and members of his family.

The event is free and all are welcome.


(Photo: "Alan Cameron" used with permission)

View full article. | Posted in Conferences, Lectures, and Meetings on Thu, 01/18/2018 - 11:12am by Erik Shell.

January 15, 2018

Dear Members,

Looking back on the recently concluded Annual Meeting, I’m of two minds. For those who took part, I think it was a big success. Newer-format events, like Career Networking and Ancient Maker Spaces, were really lively and well attended, especially by younger members. Georgia Nugent’s presidential panel on the PhD as a launching pad for careers other than college teaching was really inspiring. And the Program Committee’s special session on “Rhetoric: Then and Now” brought our professional responsibility to be political into the spotlight in a way that I feel was both fruitful and long overdue.

The success of these events is all the more impressive because every one of them underwent major changes at the last minute when key participants simply could not make it to Boston because of the weather. Amazingly few sessions were actually cancelled. But if you couldn’t get to Boston, it wasn’t a good convention for you. I’m very sorry for those whose travel plans were thwarted, and I’m extremely grateful to all those got there in spite of the extra effort, expense, and delay that it cost. Frankly, your success in doing so probably saved the convention from being a total disaster.

(Speaking of expense, Helen Cullyer and her staff are working with those who couldn’t get in to mitigate their financial exposure. Everyone affected has now received instructions on requesting refunds.)

View full article. | Posted in Presidential Letters on Mon, 01/15/2018 - 8:37am by Helen Cullyer.


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