CFP – Ricerche a Confronto XIX 2024 Ravenna

[Italian version here]

The Rodopis Cultural Association, in collaboration with the Department of Cultural Heritage of the University of Bologna – Ravenna Campus, is organizing the 19th cycle of seminars entitled Hybrid Kingship in the East from Alexander the Great to the Sasanian Empire. The seminars will take place at the Department of Cultural Heritage, in Palazzo Corradini (via Angelo Mariani 5), on November 26-27, 2024. We aim to promote encounters and discussions among young scholars with different interests and backgrounds.

The time allotted for presentations is 20-25 minutes, followed by a Q&A session. Furthermore, to stimulate a fruitful dialogue, the seminars will conclude with a round table discussion chaired by professors acting as moderators. Selected candidates must send a draft of their paper by November 15, 2024, to be circulated among the speakers and moderators before the seminars begins. Contributions may be presented in Italian or English to enable the participation and involvement of all interested persons. Should the need arise, speakers will be able to present remotely.

The conquest of the vast Achaemenid empire by Alexander the Great allowed the Greek world to become acquainted with a large part of the almost unexplored Asian continent. Although Alexander’s successors immediately exported Greek language, religion, literature, and technical knowledge across the Taurus Mountain range to the Indus River, they found themselves ruling over very ancient, culturally rich, and constantly dynamic territories. This interaction left its mark for centuries to come. In this edition of Ricerche a Confronto, we intend to investigate the forms of hybrid kingship that developed in the geopolitical landscape following Alexander’s death, resulting from the intermingling of Greek and local elements. In the regions of Asia affected by Alexander’s campaigns, a rich framework of cultural interactions emerged, generating a dialogue between the Greeks and seemingly irreconcilable groups, such as the nomads of the steppes and of the semi-desert regions, or the Indian tribes. In this perennial ideological encounter/clash, the rulers adopted numerous strategies to legitimize their rule through various media. An example of this is the coin (Figure 1) chosen to present this series of encounters, which features the Graeco-Bactrian ruler Demetrius I (c. 190-185/180 BC) wearing an elephant headdress, symbolizing his conquest of part of the Indian subcontinent while still identifying himself as an heir to Hellenistic traditions. The constant dialogue between rulers and subjects highlights the communication strategies used to address a diverse array of languages, cultures, and religions through iconography, inscriptions, works of art, and hybrid architecture, resulting in highly original solutions. These solutions were experimented with or adopted by numerous players who interacted on the Asian stage over the centuries, not only through direct contacts but also via trade routes. Indeed, it was not only the Hellenistic kingdoms, particularly the Attalids, Mithradatids, and Seleucids, that were influenced by the Asian civilizations they dominated and interacted with, but also those entities that emerged from the rebellions and fragmentation of Greek power in Asia, such as the Graeco-Bactrian kingdoms, the Indo-Greeks, and various nomadic or semi-nomadic groups that, over time, adopted varying degrees of Greek kingship traits: the Parthian empire (and its territorial specifics, such as Armenia or Commagene) and the future Sasanians; the Indo-Scythians; the Kushans; the Sogdian potentates; the Indo-Parthians, and the Satraps of Gujarat. In this multifaceted context, one cannot exclude Rome’s contribution in offering or receiving stimuli from the Eastern world around kingship.

Within the chronological framework between the age of the Diadochi and the Sasanian Empire, papers are welcome that relate to the geographical space between Asia Minor and the Indian subcontinent, encompassing philological-literary, art-historical, archaeological, numismatic, epigraphic, papyrological, anthropological, and historical-religious studies. Particular attention will be paid to proposals that integrate methodologies and approaches from an interdisciplinary perspective.

PhDs, PhD students, postdoctoral researchers, as well as postgraduate students and recent graduates, are invited to submit an abstract of 200-250 words. Abstracts should be submitted in PDF format and anonymously (file name: first three words of the title) by September 22, 2024, to ricercheaconfronto2024@gmail.com (subject line: RAC 2024 abstract). The proposals will be evaluated by a scientific committee selected from within the Rodopis association. The authors of the selected abstracts will be contacted by October 7, 2024. Publication of the seminars proceedings is planned. Any travel and accommodation expenses will not be covered, but the organizers will provide speakers with all necessary information to find comfortable accommodation near the university premises where the meetings will be held. At the end of each day, an informal meeting will follow, providing an opportunity for further discussion. Upon request, the Rodopis Association will issue speakers with an informal certificate of participation in the series. For any further information, please write us at: ricercheaconfronto2024@gmail.com.

The organizers,

Generoso Cefalo and Alessandro Magnani

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