A Second Gaze. Intertextuality and Transient Meaning in Roman Texts and Objects | 2023

International Conference, November 13–14, 2023, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

Texts and images encapsulate ideas, crystallized within a specific moment, and imbued with particular intentions. When etched into stone, molded in clay, or inscribed upon parchment, they transcend the confines of time and space. Upon exposure to a second glance, they invite reinterpretation and reutilization. In this process, their original meaning may be retained or deliberately hinted at. Conversely, they may lose their initial significance, finding themselves within entirely different contexts, thereby adopting unforeseen and novel connotations.

In the simultaneous consideration of an artifact's primary and secondary use, some might perceive ambiguities of forms, topoi, etc., or perhaps discern an undercurrent of irony. In more disruptive object histories or textual traditions, we might be prone to consider them as 'flotsam', adrift from distant epochs and shores. To what extent are such assumptions and their implications for reception history justified? To what extent do they apply to both written and visual media?

Questions of intertextuality have been raised frequently and forcefully in classical philology in recent years. Archaeology, too, is increasingly asking about ambiguities, the reuse of images and their migration as a crosscultural phenomenon. What lessons might be learned from the mutual exchange of insights between these two disciplines? What new questions arise from an interdisciplinary approach?

The aim of this conference is to bring together scholars from Latin philology and Roman archaeology alike to discuss the phenomenon of secondary meanings.


Scientific organizers:

PD Dr. Matthias Grawehr (JGU)         Jun.-Prof. Dr. Markus Kersten (JGU)