Odyssey BANNER

The International Symposium “The Odyssey between Greece and the Latin West” will take place in the Museum of Modern Art in Ljubljana on 14 and 15 November 2014.

Long before Dante’s Divina Commedia and Joyce’s Ulysses, poets, novelists and philosophers read the Odyssey as an archetypal journey narrative, a metaphor of political and intellectual conquest, or even as an allegorical journey of the human soul. To some, it was a versified discussion about kingship and rule, to others just a picturesque adventure narrative. It could be read as an encyclopaedic arsenal of myths to be put to the service of local patriotism, or as a manifesto of cosmopolitan ideas.

Greek and Roman antiquarians believed that Circe lived in Latium and that she bore Latinus, the eponymous king of the Latins, to Odysseus. Thanks to this fanciful mythographical invention, Rome appeared on the map of Homeric mythology. It was probably to appeal to the pride of the Romans that Livius Andronicus, a Greek from Tarentum, chose to translate the Odyssey into Latin. But after the Greeks had fallen under Roman rule, the map of Odysseus’ wanderings came to converge with the map of the Roman Empire. It was with Odysseus in mind that Virgil interpreted Aeneas’ journey from Troy to Italy as a Reconquista of the West.

The story of Odysseus was passed down to the Western Middle Ages through literature in Latin, and the Latin tradition kept shaping the reception of the poem centuries after the appearance of the first printed edition of the Greek text in 1488. The first complete English translation of Homer by George Chapman (1616) was heavily influenced by the prose Latin versions of the Capodistrian humanist Andreas Divus (1537). For many 17th and 18th century readers who read Latin but not Greek, the choice was between modern adaptations, travesties and faithful translations into Vergilian hexameters. The Latin Homer, who belonged to the European intellectual élite, eventually had to cede his place to widely accessible modern translations. Almost nobody read Homer in Latin in the 20th century, but some insisted. If Ezra Pound, the father of modern poetry, acknowledges his debt to the dry Odyssea ad verbum translata by Divus in the first of the Cantos, he does so not as a bibliophile but to conjure up the prosaic charm, the proto-modernist asceticism of a Renaissance Latin Odyssey:

And he strong with the blood, said then: “Odysseus“
Shalt return through spiteful Neptune, over dark seas,
“Lose all companions.” Then Anticlea came.
Lie quiet Divus. I mean, that is Andreas Divus,
In officina Wecheli, 1538, out of Homer.


Programme of the Symposium:

Friday, 14 November 2014

Opening Addresses

Marko Jenko (Museum of Modern Art, Ljubljana)
Marij Pregelj: Illustrations for the First Slovenian Edition of the Odyssey

Inventing the Latin Homer

Sophia Papaioannou (National and Kapodistrian University, Athens)
The Journey to the West Begins: Livius Andronicus and the First Translation of the Odyssey

Ahuvia Kahane (Royal Holloway College, University of London)
Divine Homer’s Odyssey and the Worldly Andreas Divus

The Odyssey in the Larger Latin World

Andrew Laird (University of Warwick)
Odysseus beyond the Pillars of Hercules

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Roman Memories of the Odyssey

Marco Fernandelli (Università degli studi di Trieste)
Theocritus, Virgil and the Memory of the Odyssey

Marco Fucecchi (Università degli studi di Udine)
L’eroe, il viaggio, il racconto: Enea sulle tracce di Ulisse
The Hero, the Journey, the Narrative: Aeneas in the Footsteps of Odysseus

From Paradigm to Fiction

Massimo Gioseffi (Milano, Università Statale / Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore)
Enea vs. Odisseo. Paradigmi eroici nell‘epica antica
Aeneas vs. Odysseus: Heroic Paradigms in Classical Epic

Marko Marinčič (University of Ljubljana)
Myth Demystified: The Odyssey in Ovid’s Metamorphoses

The Odyssey in the Roman Empire

Luca Graverini (Università degli studi di Siena)
Sub domina meretrice. Circe in the Latin West

Katerina Carvounis (National and Kapodistrian University, Athens)
Leaving Troy: The Odyssey, the Latin Tradition, and Later Greek Poetry

Medieval and Early Modern Odysseys

Edith Hall (King’s College, University of London)
On the European Margins: The Odyssey in Medieval Ireland

Petra Šoštarić (University of Zagreb)
Ulysses in the Latin Odyssey by Bernardus Zamagna

Exhibition opening

Opening words

Hommage to Andreas Divus: The Odyssey in Six Movements
(music and readings in several languages by students of the Department of Classics and Erasmus Exchange Students: Gašper Kvartič, Ana Bembič, Marija Gardina, Shaneen Gorman, Ourania Kaltsa, Matej Petrič, Mateja Počkaj)

Barbara Graziosi (University of Durham)

Homeros Kosmopolites: Homer, Citizen of the World