Symposia Peregrina 2023

Soriano nel Cimino (Viterbo), Italy
June 23 to June 26, 2023

Origines gentium
The Origins of Greeks, Etruscans, Romans, and Others

Call For Papers 2023

Organizers: Francesca Ceci, Patricia A. Johnston, Attilio Mastrocinque, Elena Santagati, Gaius Stern, and László Takács

Some ancient peoples and cities knew what their origin was, others had only vague memories. By going back in time precise information was missing. We, nowadays, are still looking for information about our remote prehistory and the movements of tribes all around the continents.

The Corinthian origins of the Syracusans were known by everybody but the origins of the Corinthians and the foundation of their city were lesser known, and even less were the origins of the Greeks as an Indo-European people. Often, instead of historical research, the ancients preferred a choice, i.e., they decided to have a precise origin and precise kinship with other peoples. Even in the 19th century the German (i.e. Frankish) vs. Roman origins of the French people were debated and this depended on a choice that depended, in turn, on the opinions of the emperor Napoleon. Similarly, Herodotus preferred to describe his homeland, Halicarnassus, as a Dorian city, instead of Carian, and Dionysius of Halicarnassus described Rome as a Greek city.

The question of ethnicity in the Greek and Roman world has been dealt with often and this problem has been singled out from the topic of historical migrations of peoples and the archaeological search for traces of migrations of ancient tribes.

The model of well known historical migratory journeys had a noteworthy influence on the ancient historiography and even on the modern scholarly debate, sometimes with fruitful results, sometimes not. The model of the Greek colonization was largely used, for example, to reconstruct true or fictitious kinships between cities and the model of migrations of “barbarians” toward the Roman Empire has been a model for many other true or supposed migrations in a distant past.

The ver sacrum, autochthony, ethnogenesis, and the Greek concept of syngeneia are all topics to consider.

Greeks and Romans are, as always, the focus of the symposium, but the Roman Empire included a number of peoples whose origin is of interest. Phoenicians, Jews, Celts, Samnites, Persians and other peoples often featured accounts concerning their origins following their relationships with the Greeks and, later on, the Romans. The idea of hellenismòs derives from the relationships of Jews with the Greeks and the definition of the origins went along with phenomena of acculturation or, on the contrary, differentiation. The concession of Roman citizenship under Caracalla, instead, gave new value to many local foundation myths, especially in the East.

We also welcome panels of new opinions on the origins of major issues, such as the thesis of Herodotus’s Histories, the origins of the Persian Wars, or the Roman civil wars, or other major conflicts in human thought and society. We would consider a topic on the origin of a mythological topos, such as the sowing of dragon’s teeth into a field of warriors (Cadmus, Jason, others).

All conference papers will be read in English. If you need help translating into English, Gaius and Patricia will help you translate (for free) before the conference. Please do not wait until the last minute to take advantage of this offer. Publications in English now reach a wider audience than in any other language, therefore it is wise to publish in English. Please feel free to contact the organizers with any questions.

The organizers will inform the participants about facilities to reach Soriano and excursions to sites of interest.

History of the Symposium Peregrina

These Symposia began in 2013, and many of the collected papers have been published by Acta Classica in Hungary.  Before that, they were "Symposia Cumana--held at the Villa Vergiliana for the Vergilian Society.  (Now we move around Europe--hence the name "Peregrina."  Many of the earlier collections were also published in Acta Classica.