Tuesday, March 10, 2020

A reminder that abstracts are due on March 20.

Translation and the limits of Greek-Latin bilingualism in Late
Antiquity (ca. 300-600 CE)

Panel at the 13th Celtic Conference in Classics

Lyon, France

July 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. Paper 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)

Alan Ross (Columbia University, New York)


Dr Alison John
Postdoctoral Researcher (Leverhulme Trust)
Ghent University - Department of History
Sint-Pietersnieuwstraat 35
9000 Ghent- Belgium

No comments: