Advanced Seminar in the Humanities 2011-2012

Literature and Culture in the Ancient Mediterranean: Greece, Rome, and the Near East

From October 29 to November 3, 2012, Università Ca’ Foscari Venezia, in cooperation with Venice International University, will offer the second session of the advanced seminar on “Literature and Culture in the Ancient Mediterranean: Greece, Rome and the Near East”.

The Program

The program is conceived as a two year commitment over two successive years (2011 and 2012).


The first session (November 21 - December 2, 2011) consisted of lectures by scholars with a seminar approach on the origins and development of literary genres and literacy in Ancient Greece, Rome and the Near East. Some of the lectures ran simultaneously and were devoted respectively to the interpretation of specific classical and near eastern texts, with more focus on textual analysis.
The lectures alternated with a series of site visits, for example, to the Marciana Library, the Library of San Lazzaro degli Armeni, and the Basilica of Saint Mark. 

The aim of the program is firstly to investigate the relationship between themes, motifs and structures of the texts, starting with the early examples of epic poetry and of wisdom and didactic literature; secondly, to examine the processes involved in their transmission and preservation in both oral and written forms. A variety of issues concerning the history of literate cultures will also be reviewed, such as, for example, the textual traditions, the creation and organization of libraries, the classification of genres, and the relationship between literature and politics.

During the first session the fellows identified a research project according to their own scholarly interests and under the supervision of one of the faculty. The research project will be presented in the form of an essay of about 20 pages in the second session of the seminar, which will be held on October 29 - November 3, 2012.

The second session will also host a number of lectures by invited speakers. The invited speakers in the last session of the seminar (2008 - 2009) were Mario Frederick Fales (Università di Udine), Philip Hardie (Trinity College), Richard Martin (Stanford University), Franco Montanari (Università degli Studi di Genova) and Niek Veldhuis (UC Berkeley).


The invited speakers in the second session of the program will be: Dr. Heather Baker (Universität Wien), Prof. Giambattista D'Alessio (King's College London), Prof. Suzanne Said (Columbia University) and Prof. Victoria Rimell (Sapienza Università di Roma).


The Faculty

The faculty consists of scholars active in the field of Greek, Latin and Ancient Near Eastern literature, including: Alessandro Barchiesi (Università di Siena - Stanford University); Ettore Cingano (Università Ca’ Foscari Venezia); Joy Connolly (New York University); Mario Frederick Fales (Università di Udine); Joan Goodnick Westenholz (New York University); Richard Hunter (Trinity College, Cambridge); Lucio Milano (Università Ca’ Foscari Venezia); Dirk Obbink (Christ Church, Oxford); Alessandro Schiesaro (Università di Roma La Sapienza); Gebhard Selz (Universität Wien); David Sider (New York University).


Knowledge of Greek and Latin, and/or of some of the ancient Near Eastern languages, is expected. Lectures will be in English. A good knowledge of spoken and written English is also a prerequisite.


The lectures will take place at Venice International University, on the Island of San Servolo, in Venice (Italy).

Fellows and faculty will be hosted in the residential halls on the island of San Servolo. Fellows will share twin rooms with ensuite bathroom or 3-bed rooms with 2 ensuite bathrooms.
Lunch and dinner will be served at the cafeteria on the Island of San Servolo.
The program will cover room and board for the fellows accepted.

For the second session of the program, participants will be able to check in on October 28 and check out on November 4, 2012.

More information on the session will be provided soon.

Who is it for?

The program is open to 20 fellows who are either in an advanced stage of doctoral research, or recently completed Ph.D.s. The candidates will be selected by a committee whose decision will be final.


Ettore Cingano, professor of Greek Literature, Università Ca' Foscari Venezia
Lucio Milano, professor of Ancient Near Eastern History, Università Ca' Foscari Venezia

For more information:
Venice International University
Ref: Literature and Culture in the Ancient Mediterranean: Greece, Rome and the Near East
Isola di San Servolo
30100 Venezia - Italy
Tel. +39 041 2719 511
Fax +39 041 2719 510
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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