Reception of Antiquity

Over the last years and decades, the reception of antiquity has significantly gained importance within the classical disciplines. We did not just see an increase in the number of respective projects, publications and conferences - but also in the variety of aspects considered. In the beginning, classical reception studies often focused on singular highlights of "high-brow culture" such as the reception of myths in baroque operas. Since then, new themes have emerged - on the one hand by considering other medias such as comics or computer games, on the other hand as a result of more trans-disciplinary approaches.

Recent studies deal with the mechanisms behind the formation of traditions, the "virtuality" of antiquity and the didactic potential of classical reception. The downside of this increase is a rising complexity of studies, which frequently and (more importantly) unreflectively draw on models from Psychology, Social or Communication Studies. Equally idle is a countermovement, which evaluates classical reception based on its "faithfulness to historical facts". Today, classical antiquity is less present within an educational context or in museums, but rather through films, historic festivals, games, re-enactment or novels. In this situation (and especially within the "exotic" disciplines of classical studies), a joint discussion and a pragmatic approach are essential to fully grasp the phenomenon that is classical reception.

This is where "Reception of Antiquity", a collaborative project of seven classical scholars from four countries, comes in. Its basis is a deliberately broad understanding of terms and concepts, which reaches from the reception of antiquity within antiquity to historic and modern popular reception as well as the meta-level: the history of research and ideas. While we put an emphasis on Classics and its neighbouring disciplines, we are open to any kind of studies dealing with the reception of antiquity. We believe that a multi-layered and complex phenomenon such as classical reception can only by understood based on a deep and broad knowledge of the originals, lines of tradition and contexts of reception within the respective manifestation.

The ideas mentioned above were realized in a workshop conference in November 2012. The results were published in 2013 as start of the new series "Rezeption der Antike", currently consisting of six volumes.