Conference: Frames and Framing in Antiquity

Sven Günther's picture
October 16, 2020 to October 18, 2020
Subject Fields: 
Ancient History, Archaeology, Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Communication, Research and Methodology

Conference: Frames and Framing in Antiquity

16-18 October 2020

Online via Zoom (all times Central European Time, i.e. UTC+2)

Registration under:

Key-note speaker: Prof. Dr. Hartmut Leppin (University of Frankfurt)

Organizers: Sven Günther (Institute for the History of Ancient Civilizations, Northeast Normal University, Changchun) & Elisabeth Günther (Institute for Digital Humanities, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen)


Frames and framing have entered the public discourse already before covid-19 but have recently become a hotly debated issue due to the styling of news, for instance in social media, that partly replace other possibilities of social communication at the moment. Based on models from the field of sociology, psychology, and communication studies, “frames” describe how people understand, react to, and are influenced by situations and activities (frame analysis). The phenomenon of “framing” assesses how individuals or institutions might use, modify, or challenge existing frameworks by creating new frames, or add new slots and fillers to common frames. Thus, the concept of framing is a useful tool for a broad range of disciplines since communication is viewed as a complex entanglement of sender, receiver, and medium and their related frames and not as a one-directional process of sending information from A to B.

In recent years, frame analysis has also gained attention in the field of ancient studies, particularly in ancient history and linguistics as well as classical archaeology with a specific focus on visual studies. However, the model’s full potential is yet to be exploited as it is still not comprehensively tested against the various ancient sources. Hence, the conference attempts to fill this obvious gap by assessing the theoretical tool-set as well as the application of such models to case-studies.


The dimensions of frame and framing models will be discussed in five panels, with each paper lasting 5-7 minutes followed by a respondent and an open question slot:

Panel I: From Theory to Practice

Panel II: Greek Frames and Modern Perception

Panel III: Greek and Roman Frames

Panel IV: Framing Strategies in the Late Roman Republic and Early Empire

Panel V: Framing Narratives in Archaeology


The key-note speech will be given by Professor Hartmut Leppin (University of Frankfurt) on the concept of parrhesia (“free speech”) in antiquity.

We warmly welcome participants to register under: to receive the link to the online platform (Zoom) and further information as well as abstracts of the conference papers.


Program (all times are Central European Time, i.e. UTC+2)

Friday, 16 October 2020

14.00-14.20: Opening and greeting words


Opening Remarks

Elisabeth Günther (Institute for Digital Humanities, University of Göttingen)

How to understand an owl in armor: frames and framings in ancient studies


Key-note Lecture

Hartmut Leppin (University of Frankfurt)

Parrhesía and the framing of expectations in the social worlds of antiquity


Saturday, 17 October 2020

Panel I: From Theory to Practice


Sven Günther (IHAC, NENU, Changchun)

Frames and framing theory avant la lettre? Johann Gustav Droysen’s Historik and the future of ancient studies


Martina Sauer (Institute of Image and Cultural Philosophy, Bühl)

Promise of happiness, security and community − frames and framing in a new light

Respondents: Ben White (Günther), Elisabeth Günther (Sauer)


Panel II: Greek Frames and Modern Perception


Riccarda Schmid (University of Zurich)

Frames and framing in Attic rhetoric


Sven-Philipp Brandt (Special Collection “Amploniana”, University of Erfurt)

Sustainability as a framework? The concept of αὐτάρκεια in late classical Athens


Jelle Stoop (Brussels / University of Sydney)

Taste in early Greek poetry: production versus consumption


Guendalina Taietti (University of Liverpool)

Framing the Macedonians, becoming Greek: on the importance of Ancient Macedon in the nation-making of the Hellenic state

Respondents: Guo Zilong (Schmid & Stoop), Sven Günther (Brandt & Taietti)


Panel III: Greek and Roman Frames


Hendrikus A.M. van Wijlick (Peking University)

Re-framing friendship in the late Republic and early Principate: the personification of φίλος-epithets


Guo Zilong (IHAC, NENU, Changchun)

Framing the Delphic oracle, institutionalizing the Olympian Games: a case study on Phlegon of Tralles’s Olympiads (FGrH 257 F 1)


Xu Zhenhuang (IHAC, NENU, Changchun)

Framing accusations against prosecutors: multi-level images of delatores in the 1st and 2nd century AD

Respondents: Sven Günther (van Wijlick & Guo Zilong), Francesco Ginelli (Xu Zhenhuang)


Sunday, 18 October 2020

Panel IV: Framing Strategies in the Late Roman Republic and Early Empire


Jan Lukas Horneff (TU Dresden)

How to treat cunnilingus – Framing in Apuleius’ Apologia


Zhang Hongxia (IHAC, NENU, Changchun)

From Chinese perspective: frame and framing theory, Cicero’s Pro Cluentio, and Chinese modes of perception


Francesco Ginelli (Università degli Studi di Verona)

«...rem publicam a domination factionis oppressam in libertatem vindicavi». Frame analysis, ancient life writing, and political propaganda

Respondents: Hendrikus van Wijlick (Horneff & Zhang Hongxia), Elisabeth Günther (Ginelli)


Panel V: Framing Narratives in Archaeology


Amy Smith (Curator, Ure Museum of Greek Archaeology / Department of Classics, Reading)

Unpeeling the Pan Painter’s pictures


Ben White (University of Nottingham)

Porticus, keys, and brackets: towards a Goffmanian framework for exploring the colonnades of ancient Rome

Respondents: Martina Sauer (Smith), Amy Smith (White)


Final Discussion

Contact Info: 

Prof. Dr. phil. Sven Günther, M.A.

Vice-director of the Institute for the History of Ancient Civilizations (IHAC)

Institute for the History of Ancient Civilizations (IHAC) 

Northeast Normal University

5268 Renmin Street

130024 Changchun

Jilin Province

People's Republic of China  

phone: +86 18843178024 

Email: /


IHAC- and JAC-homepage: 


Elisabeth Günther, M.A.

University of Göttingen

Institute for Digital Humanities

Heinrich-Düker-Weg 12

37073 Göttingen


Contact Email: