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Play and Games in Antiquity. Definition, Transmission, Reception - 17-18-19/09/2018, La Tour-de-Peilz (Switzerland)




This international conference is part of the ERC project Locus Ludi. The Cultural Fabric of Play and Games in Classical Antiquity, based at the University of Fribourg (PI Véronique Dasen). It is organised in collaboration with the Swiss Museum of Games in La Tour-de-Peilz (Ulrich Schädler) and the University of Lausanne (Michel Fuchs).

Play and games provide a privileged access to past societal norms, values, identities, and collective imaginary. People play all over the world and throughout history, but they do not play the same games, nor do they attribute the same meaning and function to play. The aim of this pluridisciplinary conference is to investigate how this past patrimony can be methodologically reconstructed.

Three sessions will address first how the Ancients defined play and games by analysing their vocabulary in order to reconstruct an emic definition. Beyond the common association of child and play (in Greek, paidia, ‘game’, pais, the child, and paideia, ‘education’, share the same root, in Latin ludus means ‘play’, ‘school’ and ‘rethorical games’), the views are more complex and nuanced. Identifiying ludic material and practices archaeologically as well as in iconography is also a debatable issue. The second session concerns the sources available and their bias associated with literary genre, such as oniromancy, proverbs and the lexicon of Pollux. A major challenge is the reconstruction of a mostly oral patrimony, of lost children’s lore and agency. The third session examines the transmission process of these practices from one generation to the next, addressing crucial issues about continuities and discontinuities, as well as about the definition of a “traditional” game.


FECHA /DATE/DATA: 17-18-19/09/2018


LUGAR/LOCATION/LUOGO: Musée suisse du jeu (La Tour-de-Peilz, Swiss)

ORGANIZADOR/ORGANIZER/ORGANIZZATORE: Verónique Dasen; Michael Fuchs; Ulrich Schädler. ERC Project Locus Ludi; Musée suisse du jeu ; University of Lusanne.








Monday 17th September


10:15 OPENING - Véronique Dasen, Michel Fuchs, Ulrich Schädler

In Search of Ancient Games and Play



10:30 Mark Golden, Winnipeg

Play, Dance, Sport, War: Ancient Greek Bodies in Motion


11:15 Stephen Kidd, Brown University (by skype)

Is play an Emotion? An Inquiry into Greek Paidia


11:45 Christian Laes, Antwerp

Ludus and Education


12:30 Miguel Herrero de Jáuregui, Madrid

Early Christian Attitudes to Child Playing


13:15 Brunch


14:15 Anton Bierl, Basel

Choral Dance as a Play: paizein in Greek Drama


15:00 Karin Schlapbach, Fribourg

Ludus as Dance and Bodily Movement


15:45 Break




16:15 Marco Vespa, Fribourg

L'origine du jeu: récits grecs sur l'invention des pratiques ludiques entre Palamède,

Prométhée et Theuth


17:00 Cleo Gougouli, Patras

The Search for Cultural Continuity in Studies of Modern Greek Children’s Games:

Some Methodological Questions


17:45 Break


18:15 Francesca Berti, Tübingen

Meanings of tradition in the Context of Play




19h15 Katarzyna Marciniak, Warsaw (ERC Our Mythical Childhood)

Du Rubicon à la chambre d’enfants ou à la réception de l’expression Alea iacta est dans

la culture des jeunes / From Rubicon to the Children’s Room, or the Reception of the

Alea iacta est Motif in Youth Culture



Tuesday 18th September



09:00 Regine Fellmann, Kantonsarchäologie Aargau, Brugg

Games and Toys From Vindonissa – An Overview


Barbara Pfäffli, Augusta Raurica

Augusta Raurica – Play in the Town

10:00 Break

10:15 Chiara Bianchi, Milano

“Alexandrian Counters”: Finds in Archaeological Contexts


11:00 Clare Rowan, Warwick (ERC Token Communities in the Ancient Mediterranean)

Sorting Fun From Fiction: Were “tesserae” Gaming Pieces?


11:45 Charles Doyen, Louvain

Osselets ou poids ?


12:30 Brunch




13:30 Vicky Sabetai, Athènes

Playing at the Festival: aiora, a Swinging Ritual


14:15 Michel Fuchs, Lausanne

Jeux d’Eros et jeux d’enfants : la corde, le dé et l’osselet en messagers du temps


15:00 Break


15:15 Nikolina Kei, Paris

Ancient Drawing, Fictive Play


16:00 Arnaud Zucker, Nice

Les proverbes relatifs aux jeux chez Pollux et les parémiographes


16:45 Visit of the Swiss Museum of Games


18:00 Event Festival Images : Official opening of the artwork by Saype in the

context of the Festival Images Vevey



19:15 Michel Manson, Toulouse

Un érudit inattendu : Louis Becq de Fouquières, le premier historien des jeux et jouets

de l’Antiquité

Discutant : Louis-Aimé de Fouquières



Wednesday 19th September




09:00 Simone Beta, Siena

Studiare la lingua e la letteratura greca divertendosi: gli indovinelli greci nelle scuole

di Bisanzio/ Etudier la langue et la littérature en s’amusant: les devinettes grecques

dans les écoles de Byzance


09:45 Renzo Tosi, Bologna

Pollux et les noms des jeux


10:30 Andromache Karanika, Irvine

Midas and the “Pot” Game: Intertextual Insights into an Ancient Game


11:15 Break


11:30 Salvatore Costanza, Fribourg

Pollux témoin des jeux : continuité, survie et réception dans la culture ludique



12:15 Barbara Carè, Athens

Appropriating the Past: New Perspectives on Game Studies. The Ancient and Modern

Game of Astragals


13:00 Lunch


Final discussion - conclusions



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