CALL FOR PAPERS – 2022 Symposium Cumanum

“Dido Unbound: Queen of Carthage before, in, and after Vergil”

Co-Directors: Zara Torlone (Miami University), Giampiero Scafoglio (University of Nice)

Tentative Dates: June 21-25, 2022

The figure of Vergil’s Dido has long engaged writers and scholars alike in debates about her historicity, notions of female power, and issues surrounding the concept of eros-nosos. The complexities of Dido’s character in Vergil afforded rich insights into the nature of Roman view of the East evoking in the readers’ minds parallels to Cleopatra and contemplation of causes for Punic wars. Beyond the Roman context, however, across the centuries and cultures the figure of Dido inspired awe and mistrust, pity and condemnation, as numerous writers adopted her for their own cultural framing and cultural craving.

This year’s theme invites diverse approaches to Dido, Queen of Carthage, both inside and outside of Vergil’s epic. It also aims to stimulate new connections between study of Dido in antiquity and broader context of that study that resonated through the centuries after Vergil. Topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • Historical origin of Dido’s character and its African sources, as well as Greek and Latin sources on African history and culture that address the figure of Dido.
  • The figure of Dido in pre-Vergilian literature (notably in Naevius’ Bellum Poenicum and Ennius’ Annales).
  • The character of Dido in the Aeneid in the context of Vergil’s sources, intertextuality, psychological introspection, treatment of female in power (dux femina facti) and gender perspective, moral and ideological issues (related to Roman history and to the opposition between Roman/Augustan and anti-Roman/anti-Augustan interpretations of the poem), tragic influence and generic interplay in the Aeneid.
  • Reception of Dido in post-Vergilian culture, beginning with Ovid’s Dido, through Late Antiquity and Middle Ages (e.g. Tertullian, Saint Jerome, Saint Augustine, Dante, Petrarch, Boccaccio), up to modern and contemporary literature and art (Christopher Marlowe, Alexandre Hardy, Henry Purcell, Pietro Metastasio, Giuseppe Ungaretti, Joseph Brodsky, Anna Akhmatova), including music, opera and ballet (e.g. Salvatore Viganò,Gioachino Rossini), as well as cinema (Barbara Willis-Sweete, Franco Rossi, Pier Luigi Pizzi, François Roussillon).

Confirmed Speakers:

  • Alessandro Barchiesi
  • Sergio Casali 
  • Jim O’Hara 
  • Sophia Papaioannou 
  • Giampiero Scafoglio
  • Richard Thomas
  • Zara Torlone
  • Barbara Weiden Boyd

Please send abstracts of roughly 300 words to torlonzm@miamioh.edu by December 1, 2021. Papers will be 20 minutes long, with time for discussion after each. We hope to gather an inclusive group of speakers from multiple backgrounds and academic ranks, and especially encourage submissions from scholars belonging to communities underrepresented in the field. Participants will arrive on June 21 and leave on the 25th; we are planning to hold the conference at the Villa Vergiliana in Cuma, and enjoy visits to Vergilian sites alongside presentations and discussion. We hope for an in-person Symposium. That said, in light of the uncertainties COVID-19 continues to present, we are leaving open the option for a virtual symposium, to be determined as events proceed. Whatever form it will eventually take, we look forward to seeing many of our colleagues in June 2022.

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