Inscriptions and their uses in Ancient Literature

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Call for papers


25-26th JUNE, 2009

Inscribing written documents on permanent media such as bronze and stone was among the most distinctive and enduring practices of Greek and Roman antiquity. The extant material evidence of inscriptions offers a huge body of material with which to investigate the ancient deployment of the written word in both public and private contexts. But it provides only part of the evidence: ancient Greek and Latin literary texts also offer insight into the deployment and interpretation of inscriptions. Ancient literary authors, both poets and prose-writers, discussed and quoted inscriptions (both real and imaginary) as ornamental devices; as alternative voices to that of the narrator; to display scholarship; to make points about history, politics and morality; and for a whole range of other reasons.

Over the past  couple of years, a number of scholars have been exploring the possibilities (and impossibilities) of research into the appearance of inscriptions in  ancient Greek and Latin literary texts. The subject offers a good deal to scholars interested in the epigraphic habit, the literary implications of the deployment of epigraphy, the reception of particular documents, and the circulation and canonisation of particular texts.

This conference aims to explore the possibilities which the literary record of ancient inscriptions offer both to those interested in understanding ancient attitudes towards inscriptions and to those interested in exploring the broader relationship (and overlaps) between epigraphical and non-epigraphical modes of expression from a range of literary, historical and epigraphical angles.

Confirmed speakers include J. K. Davies, Damien Nelis and Jocelyn Nelis-Clement, Matthias Haake, Michael Squire, Julia Lougovaya, Andrej Petrovic, Martin Dinter, Yannis Tzifopoulos, Andrew Morrison and David Fearn.

We are also inviting offers of papers on themes which we consider central to this subject:

1. The deployment of epigraphy (real, hypothetical or imaginary) or epigraphic language in particular authors or genres.

2. The reception  of inscribed documents (individual documents or types of document) in literary texts.

3. The inscribing of already-circulated literary texts on permanent media.

4. The relationship of 'inscribed documents' to 'uninscribed documents' in literary texts.

The deadline for titles and abstracts (of 300 words) is 15th August, 2008.

All enquiries and offers of papers should be sent to the conference organisers, Polly Low ( Cette adresse email est protégée contre les robots des spammeurs, vous devez activer Javascript pour la voir. ) or Peter Liddel ( Cette adresse email est protégée contre les robots des spammeurs, vous devez activer Javascript pour la voir. ).

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