Friday, January 24, 2020

> *Translation and the limits of Greek-Latin bilingualism in Late Antiquity
> (ca. 300-600 CE)*
> Panel at the 13th Celtic Conference in Classics, Lyon 15-18 2020
> Abstract submission deadline: *March 20, 2020*
> *Confirmed speakers:​*
> Eleanor Dickey (University of Reading)
> Adam Gitner (*Thesaurus Linguae Latinae*, Bayerische Akademie der
> Wissenschaften)
> Bruno Rochette (Université de Liège)
> Alison John (Universiteit Gent)
> Alan Ross (Columbia University)
> Bilingualism between Latin and Greek sits at odds with the major scholarly
> re-evaluations of Late Antiquity that characterize this period as an age of
> cultural, political and religious transformations, as opposed to an era of
> decline and fall. Being expert *utraque lingua* ‘in both languages [i.e.
> Latin and Greek]’, had been an integral part of Roman intellectual culture
> and identity since the late Republic; but, according to conventional
> interpretation, by the end of the fourth century CE, the decline of Greek
> education in the west (evidenced by the rise in Latin translations of Greek
> texts, especially by Christians), and the relegation of Latin to the
> language of law and the bureaucracy in the East, were inescapable signs of
> cultural decline. By the fifth century, a linguistic divide reinforced the
> political division of the empire between east and west, Greek and Latin
> (Millar, 2006; Riché, 1976; Jones, 1964; Marrou, 1948). When bilingualism
> in Late Antiquity has recently been studied more positively, it has been
> often been from a multilingual perspective, between Latin or Greek and
> other languages of the Mediterranean world, Coptic, Syriac, or Punic
> (Rigolio 2019; Mullen and James, 2012; Adams, Janse, and Swain, 2002).
> In the absence of any sustained study of Greek-Latin bilingualism and
> translation practice in the late antique period, this panel seeks to
> examine the function and prevalence of Greek-Latin bilingualism and to
> explore the connections between language communities and intellectual
> cultures across the empire from the Tetrarchy to the reign of Justinian.
> Particularly it wishes to question the assumed negative correlation between
> a decline in bilingualism and a rise in translation, and to do so from the
> perspective both of Latin in a Greek context and Greek in Latin.
> Proposals are sought for papers that approach the topic from a wide range
> of perspectives: not just linguistic but literary, codicological, legal,
> political or historical. Papers that address one or more of the following
> questions would be especially welcome:
> ·      How regionalized or uniform were changes in educational practices
> in Greek and Latin language-learning? How did these change between the
> fourth and sixth centuries?
> ·      What counts as ‘being bilingual’ in Late Antiquity?
> ·      What effect did the increase in the imperial bureaucracy in the
> fourth century have upon the extent of the knowledge and use of Latin in
> the east?
> ·      As bilingualism became rarer, to what extent did it become a
> sought-after skill? Did any new opportunities present themselves for
> someone expert *utraque lingua*? How did such opportunities affect normal
> power relations, e.g. between a monolingual emperor or governor and a
> bilingual advisor?
> ·      What were the motivations for translation, and why were certain
> works deemed necessary for translation and others not?
> ·      How were newly translated texts received by other (monolingual)
> authors, and to what extent did they inspire subsequent compositions?
> ·      To what extent did linguistic translation also entail cultural
> translation between Greek and Latin, east and west, or vice versa (cf.
> Jerome’s statement that in translating Eusebius’ *Chronicle* he also
> added western events omitted by the eastern Eusebius)?
> ·      How closely implicated was a decline in bilingualism with societal
> problems, e.g. doctrinal conflicts between Christians, or problems of legal
> interpretation and practice?
> ·      How do Greek texts composed in the West, or Latin texts composed in
> the East affect our picture of changing levels of bilingualism or
> expectations of their initial audiences’ linguistic skills?
> ·      How was scribal practice affected by changes in bilingualism?
> ·      To what extent does evidence for bilingualism or translation in the
> epigraphic and material record align with that of literary texts?
> We welcome proposals for papers of 35 minutes. Please submit an abstract
> of approximately 400 words and a proposed title by *March 20, 2020*.
> Papers may be in either English or French. Please include your
> institutional affiliation in your email.
> Submissions and questions can be directed to either Alison John ( or Alan Ross (
> <>).
> For more information about the Celtic Conference in Classics:
> The panel convenors,
> Alison John (Universiteit Gent, Belgium)
> Alan Ross (Columbia University, New York)

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