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CALL. 01.02.2016: Dis Manibus: (Im)mortality and the Afterlife in the Ancient World. 20th Annual Gra



LUGAR/LOCATION/LUOGO: University of Virginia (Charlottesville, VA, USA)




Keynote Speaker: Professor Jonathan Burgess, University of Toronto

Ancient Greeks and Romans, like everyone else, died. But they also found countless fascinating ways to keep the dead alive. From Roman imagines to Greek ancestor worship, the deceased remained an essential part of family and community life.

But what kind of reality awaited the individual after death? From Odysseus's and Aeneas’s visits to the underworld to Plato’s Myth of Er, the question of the nature of “what comes next” exercised the Greek and Roman imagination throughout antiquity.

At the same time, however, new kinds of immortality constantly proliferated: hero cult, the Eleusinian Mysteries, Orphism, the kleos of poetry, each held out its own promise of a specific key to unlock eternity. We are interested in papers that examine the topic of (im)mortality broadly conceived and from a variety of disciplines. Possible topics include (but are not limited to):

  • The afterlife of Greek and Roman heroes

  • Forms of poetic immortality (e.g. the kleos of epic or epinician)

  • The afterlife of texts (reception and also as physical objects)

  • Archaeological approaches to burial practices, death, and the afterlife

  • Philosophies and narratives of the afterlife

  • The deification of Hellenistic monarchs and Roman emperors and other moments of change/redefinition of the terms of immortality

  • Depictions of death in ancient art and architecture

  • Greek and Roman attitudes toward the death of animals (e.g. the bouphonia and bougonia)

  • Myths that involve catasterisms or any sort of legacy

  • Historical accounts of death and commemoration of the dead

  • Epitaphs or epicedia

  • Views of death and immortality in Greek and Roman religion

Papers should be 15-20 minutes in length. Please send abstracts of no more than 300 words (not counting bibliography) as an attachment to Brett Evans ( by no later than January 15th, 2016.

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