Call for Papers: Symposium Campanum 2019

Reading the City: Inscriptions of the Bay of Naples
October 23-27, 2019

Directors: Jacqueline DiBiasie-Sammons (University of Mississippi) and Holly M. Sypniewski (Millsaps College)

The Vergilian Society invites proposals for papers for the 2019 Symposium Campanum at the Villa Vergiliana in Cuma, Italy.

This symposium investigates the role of inscribed materials in the cities, towns, and villas of Campania. Unlike the nearly bare walls of today’s ruins, the written word had a vibrant presence in antiquity. From the large, stone inscriptions on buildings and monuments, to the small, nearly invisible graffiti in private homes, writing was ubiquitous. The goal of the symposium is to investigate the role of inscriptions in the Bay of Naples. How did everyday people interact with the writing on their walls, tombs, statues, and buildings? Does the presence and quantity of writing inform our understanding of ancient literacy? What is the potential and limitations of inscriptions to illuminate aspects of Roman society, or their limitations?

Recent scholarship on epigraphical material has focused on examining inscriptions in light of other types of evidence: artistic, archaeological, literary. We, therefore, invite papers that synthesize multiple strands of evidence and expand epigraphical study beyond the inscriptions themselves. Papers could, for example, contextualize evidence from inscriptions within the social, economic, or political fabric of the city. We are especially interested in papers that focus on the possible writing of the unfree, women, and the lower classes.

Another recent turn in epigraphical research has been to contextualize inscriptions within their physical environments. Graffiti, especially, responded to each other and the spaces in which they were written. The location of the Symposium Campanum provides an ideal venue for considering the contextualization of inscriptions. With this in mind, we plan to invite interested scholars to present their research on-site, in a building or area that pertains to their paper, if logistics permit.

The symposium will include three days of papers and discussion. Papers will be 30 minutes long with time for discussion. The schedule will also include visits to selected sites nearby. Meals and housing will be provided by the Villa Vergiliana. There will be a moderate fee (ca. $400) to cover registration, room, and board. Participants should plan their arrivals on Wednesday, Oct. 23 and departures on Sunday, October 27, 2019.

Interested scholars should send an abstract of no more than 300 words to by February 1st, 2019.

Participating scholars: Virginia Campbell, Sarah Levin-Richardson, Polly Lohmann, Kristina Milnor, Heikki Solin, and Eeva-Maria Viitanen