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‘The Other Classical Past: Germans and Romans 1800-1819’

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Helen Roche.

Following the CRDG ’s extremely successful colloquium on ‘German philhellenism’ at the end of the Michaelmas term, we are delighted that Hanna Weibye will be able to give us some perspective on a less well-known and appreciated aspect of Germany’s engagement with the Classical past:

Deutsches Volkstum (1810) is one of the founding texts of German nationalism, written by a man (Friedrich Ludwig Jahn) who was also famous for founding a nationalist gymnastics movement. Jahn frequently reaches for the Classical past to construct his argument about Germany’s future, but his preference is not (as the prominent history of German philhellenism in this period might lead us to expect) for Athens and Sparta: rather, he chooses examples from Roman history. This paper seeks to examine Jahn’s engagement with Rome and then to ask some larger questions about the relationship of Germans to the ‘other’ Classical past in the first decades of the nineteenth century.

This talk is part of the Cambridge Classical Reception Seminar Series series.

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