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CALL. 05.09.2015: Teaching Through Images: Imagery in Greek and Roman Didactic Poetry - Heidelberg (




LUGAR/LOCATION/LUOGO: Internationales Wissenschaftsforum Heidelberg (Heidelberg, Germany)

ORGANIZADOR/ORGANIZER/ORGANIZZATORE: Jenny Strauss Clay; Athanassios Vergados



Abstracts are invited for the international conference "Teaching Through Images: Imagery in Greek and Roman Didactic Poetry" to be held in Heidelberg (Internationales Wissenschaftsforum Heidelberg) on July 1-3, 2016.

In ancient didactic poetry, poets frequently make use of imagery – similes, metaphors, acoustic images, models, exempla, fables, allegory, personifications, and other tropes – as a means to elucidate and convey their didactic message. In the proposed conference we will investigate such phenomena and explore their functions to make the unseen visible, the unheard audible, and the unknown comprehensible, but also to muddy the waters. Possible topics for discussion include: At what point and in what context is such imagery deployed? How does it function in relation to the audience's experience and expectations? For instance, Hesiod's fable, Empedocles' clepsydra, Lucretius' troop formations, and Vergil's political bees, all draw on a variety of sources and have complex relations to the teachings in which they are embedded and aim at engaging their readers and addressees in different ways. Imagery introduced by one didactic poet, such as Hesiod’s metallic races, may form an intertextual tradition exploited by subsequent poets for diverse purposes. But such tropes can also sometimes render the poet’s message riddling or cryptic, e.g. Hesiod’s kennings in the Works and Days—how can the employment of such means further the poet’s didactic program?

If you are interested in participating, we would ask you to send us an abstract of circa 250 words by September 5 that engages with some aspect of this topic in relation to didactic poetry. It may deal with one or multiple works and involve both Greek and Roman literature. Notification regarding the status of your abstract will be sent by September 15. We would like to circulate the papers one month in advance of the conference and envision a 45 min. session per participant, in which she/he will summarize the pre-circulated paper in 10 mins., with 35 mins. of discussion to follow. An application for funding to cover (part of) the travel and lodging expenses is pending. We envision the possibility of publication.

Please send your abstracts to both Jenny Strauss Clay ( and Athanassios Vergados ( by September 5, 2015.

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