Universiteit Leiden

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Greek Literary Criticism and Latin Texts: Connections and Interactions

7 December 2017 - 8 December 2017
Gravensteen Building
Pieterskerkhof 6
2311 SR Leiden
Conference poster

This conference will explore the relationship between Greek literary criticism and Latin texts. A substantial part of ancient Greek literary criticism and rhetorical theory was produced in a world dominated by Rome. Philodemus, Dionysius, Longinus, Dio of Prusa, Plutarch, Lucian, Aelius Aristides and Hermogenes were deeply engaged with the Greek literature of the distant past; but most of these authors were also actively involved in Roman society. They addressed their works to Roman patrons, they taught Roman students, and some of them were actually based in Rome. Greek critics were, however, reluctant to cite and to examine Latin texts.  Caecilius of Caleacte was heavily criticized for his stylistic comparison of Demosthenes and Cicero. The Greek silence about Latin texts partly explains why the interaction between Greek critics and contemporary authors of Latin prose and poetry has received little attention in classical scholarship. Greek critics like Dionysius, Longinus and Hermogenes are traditionally studied as part of a purely Greek tradition that connects them with Plato, Aristotle, Theophrastus, and Aristoxenus. However, recent scholarship on Philodemus and Latin poetry and similar work on Dionysius and Horace demonstrate that Greek scholars and Latin authors are part of one intellectual world. Greek scholars and Roman writers participated in a continuous dialogue, exchanging ideas and contributing to a common discourse of poetics, rhetoric and literary criticism.

This conference will explore all possible kinds of connections and interactions between Greek literary criticism (Greek scholia, Philodemus, Dionysius, Longinus, Hermogenes, but also relevant works of Plutarch, Dio, Lucian, Aelius Aristides, etc.) and Latin literary theory and practice in poetry and prose. The conference aims to identify parallels, echoes, allusions, dialogues, and intertextual relationships.


Thursday 7 December

Venue: Gravensteen 1.11, Pieterskerkhof 6

9.00-9.30        Coffee and Registration                  

9.30-10.15      Casper de Jonge (Leiden University)

                          Greek Literary Criticism and Latin Texts: Introduction

10.15-11.00    Adam Gitner (Bayerische Akademie der Wissenschaften)

                        How Not to Talk Like a Greek Critic: The Case of Horace's Ars                  


Coffee and Tea


11.30-12.15    Alex Purves (UCLA)

                          Body and Form in Horace and Greek Literary Criticism

12.15-13.00    Nancy Worman (Columbia University)

                        Tragedy Fat and Thin




14.00-14.45    Malcolm Heath (University of Leeds)

                        Cicero from Caecilius to Longinus

14.45-15.30    Caroline Bishop (Texas Tech University)

                        Densior ille, hic copiosior: Bilingualism in the Demosthenes-Cicero Syncrises

Venue: Vossius Conference Room Leiden University Library, Witte Singel 27


Coffee and Tea at the Vossius Room


16.00-17.00    Stephen Halliwell (University of St. Andrews)

                          Longinus and Quintilian: Greco-Roman Perspectives on the Nature of Criticism

17.00-19.00    Drinks at the Faculty Club

                          Rapenburg 73

19.00               Dinner (for speakers and chairs) at Restaurant Wielinga

                          Nieuwe Rijn 28

Friday 8 December

Venue: Gravensteen 1.11, Pieterskerkhof 6


 8.45-9.15       Coffee and Registration

 9.15-10.00    Joseph Farrell (University of Pennsylvania)

                        Apollonian Scholarship in Vergil and his Ancient Critics

10.00-10.45    Damien Nelis (Université de Genève)

                        Parthenius the Go-Between


Coffee and Tea


11.15-12.00    Verena Schulz (LMU München)

                        The Voice of the Orator in Rhetorical Treatises: Greek vs. Latin Approaches                   

12.00-12.45    Christoph Leidl (Universität Heidelberg)

                        The Language of Criticism: Imagery in Cicero's and Dionysius’ Literary Criticism




13.45-14.30    Steven Ooms (Leiden University)

                        The Art of Composition in Rome: Cicero and Dionysius on Artistic Word

14.30-15.15    Marianne Schippers (Leiden University)

                        Dionysius and Quintilian on Imitation and Emulation


Coffee and Tea


15.45-16.30    Judith Mossman (Coventry University)

                        Code-Switching in Plutarch

16.30-17.15    Lawrence Kim (Trinity University, San Antonio)

                        Classicism in Greek and Latin Literary Critics of the Trajanic Era

17.15-17.30    Closing Remarks

17.30-19.00    Drinks at Café De Keyzer

                        Kaiserstraat 2-4

19.00               Dinner (for speakers and chairs) at Restaurant Prentenkabinet

                        Kloksteeg 25

More information

  • Location: Gravensteen 1.11 (Pieterskerkhof 6, Leiden)
  • Costs: 15 euro per day (including lunch and coffee)
  • Registration: a.k.wallien@hum.leidenuniv.nl

Public Transport

The Faculty of Humanities is a 10-minute walk from Leiden Central Station.
Alternatively you could take bus 1 from the train station and get off at 'Paterstraat', or bus 5 or 6 and get off at 'Noordeinde'. For public transport planning see ns.nl (for trains) and 9292.nl (for all public transport).


If you come by car, please do not use the visiting address for your car navigation: the Cleveringaplaats has no streetlevel parking. The most convenient car parks are located at the Haagweg (€ 2 p/h) and the Maliebaan (street level parking, €2 p/h).
From the Haagweg car park you can walk to the University buildings at the Witte Singel in about 6 minutes. If you need to go to the city centre, a free bus will take you there from the Haagweg parking.


If you are flying to Schiphol Amsterdam Airport (AMS), the easiest way to travel to Leiden is by train.

The airport includes an underground railway station, with frequent services to Leiden (as final destination, or en route to The Hague/Den Haag, Rotterdam, or Vlissingen). From the airport to Leiden by train takes 15-20 minutes. For more details see the above section on public transport.