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In Vino Veritas: Wine and Winemaking in Sicily from Antiquity to Today
Sicily (Siracusa), Exedra Mediterranean Centre
22–24 November 2024
Conveners: Athanassios Vergados, Chiara Blanco (Newcastle University)

Wine is ubiquitous in the Greco-Roman world. Attested already in the Mycenaean palace records, it plays an important role in all aspects of ancient culture: it can accompany a Homeric feast or a Hesiodic rustic picnic; the symposion provides the backdrop for the performance of lyric; knowledge about wine can be a distinguishing mark of the cultivated individual already in Archestratus' Life of Pleasure; wine plays an important role in religious and ritual activity; and it is also treated by medical authors. The power of wine can be exalted, e.g., as a means that reveals one’s true colours (οἶνος καὶ ἀλάθεια), but just as its patron god Dionysus, wine can be the object of fear because of the disastrous effects it can have on the individual and the community. Wine production and consumption are represented in the visual arts, while the production and transportation networks have also been the object of study.

In the world of wine Sicily has diachronically played an important role, and its viticultural tradition is alive and thriving. It is for this reason that we propose to host a conference on wine in Sicily. Our aim is to bring together scholars of literature, archaeology, food science, and medical humanities with local wine makers and the general public with the aim to engage in a dialogue on the place of wine and winemaking in the cultural traditions of Sicily from antiquity to the modern days, and to explore continuities as well as moments of rupture or renewal.

We envision academic papers lasting 20 minutes, with 10 minutes for discussion. The academic part of the conference will be supplemented with visits to local wineries and a public event under the auspices of the City of Siracusa. We plan the publication of the proceedings. Confirmed speakers include: Professor Jenny Strauss Clay (University of Virginia) and Professor Paolo Biagio Cipolla (University of Catania).

Please send an abstract of up to 350 words to and by the 7th of July. All abstracts will be acknowledged. We aim to communicate our decisions by the 22nd of July. Selected speakers will be offered reductions for accommodation in the centre of Ortigia.

Call for Papers