University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Darwin College Humanities and Social Sciences Seminars > All virtue, war and honour? On the early phase of Latin literature and the evolution of a concept of play in republican Rome

All virtue, war and honour? On the early phase of Latin literature and the evolution of a concept of play in republican Rome

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Dr Stefanie Ullmann.

Speaker bio: I am a third-year Classics PhD student, focussing on Latin literature and Roman culture. Before coming to Cambridge, I finished my teaching degree for the subjects Latin, English and Psychology in Germany. During teacher training, I realised that constantly revising the same rules of Latin grammar with mildly interested teenagers can be a pain, so now I am here 😉

Abstract: In my talk, I’ll present pieces of my PhD project, which revolves around a specifically Roman notion of play, and tries to combine literary analysis with the broader framework of a cultural history of the Roman republic. My focus will be on how Greek ways of thinking and their different social practices are transported to Rome by literary writers in the process of Rome’s ‘literary turn’. This process of acculturation process generates an enriched, more complex but also paradoxical Roman imagination, in which the deep-seated ideologies governing Roman culture are frequently at odds with the Greek heritage that is appropriated into a Roman frame of reference. Play is such a concept that sits uneasily with many of the underlying assumptions and cultural practices prevalent in Rome and yet starts bedding down in a culturally specific way from the beginning of Rome’s interest in literary production. I am going to trace some of these developments by looking at texts of Plautus and Lucilius, and by giving an anticipatory snapshot of my final case study, Cicero.

This talk is part of the Darwin College Humanities and Social Sciences Seminars series.

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