Monday, November 01, 2010


Interdisciplinary conference, Jesus College Oxford, 21-22 May 2011. Speakers include David Norbrook and Blair Worden


Ancient Rome was a source of endless fascination to the early moderns.
Historians, politicians, divines, and imaginative writers looked to the
Roman example for models and inspiration. The aim of the conference is to
reassess the place of ancient Rome in the literary and political culture of
late Tudor and early Stuart England. In what ways did the translation and
reception of the Roman classics stimulate the native literary tradition or
influence its political outlook? What was the impact of the Roman precedent
on attitudes towards constitutional change, the rights and wrongs of empire,
and the law? How did it influence ecclesiastical policy and, more generally,
the views of the relationship between church and state? In what ways did
Roman historiography, political writings, and rhetoric shape the language
and substance of public argument? What was the trajectory of circulation in
manuscript and print of the Roman classics? What were the uses and topical
appeal of the Roman models in the wider public world and in education? How
did the Roman legacy compare with that of ancient Greece?

Our aim is to foster dialogue among literary scholars, classicists,
political and intellectual historians, historians of religion, specialists
in the history of the book, and historians of historiography. Bringing
together scholars representing diverse disciplines and approaches, the
conference will encourage reconsideration of much received wisdom about the
place of ancient Rome in early modern England's literature and political
imagination. It will, we hope, raise new questions about, inter alia, the
shaping influence of the Roman example upon formal properties and topical
undercurrents of imaginative literature, sermons, and polemical writings;
upon conceptions of public institutions and the individual's relationship to
them; upon views of foreign policy and international relations as also
military theory and practice; upon emergent confessional divisions and
incipient notions of religious toleration; and, finally, upon perceptions of
social relations in urban, above all metropolitan contexts. No less
important will be to assess the utility and pervasiveness of romanitas
before and after the union with Scotland, and compare the situation in
England with major European states, in particular, France, Spain, Italian
principalities, and the Netherlands.

We invite proposals for 30-minute papers. Please e-mail abstracts of no more
than 500 words to Felicity Heal ( or Paulina
Kewes ( by 30 January 2011.

The Oxford gathering is a follow-up to the conference on 'Ancient Rome and
Early Modern England: History, Politics, and Political Thought' to be held
at the Huntington Library, 21-22 January 2011. For further information,
please contact Carolyn Powell (


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