Cfp Conference: The Fear and the Fury: Ancient Violence in Modern Imagination (Imagines V)

Marta Garcia Morcillo's picture
Call for Papers
January 31, 2016
Subject Fields: 
Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Classical Studies, Cultural History / Studies, Film and Film History, Theatre & Performance History / Studies

International Conference. Call for Papers


Imagines V, Università degli Studi di Torino, Turin (Italy), Sept. 29th to Oct. 1st 2016.

The Fear and the Fury is the fifth international conference organised by the international cross-disciplinary research project Imagines: Antiquity in the Visual and Performing Arts ( The conference will be held at the Università degli Studi di Torino (Turin, Italy) on September 29th- October 1st 2016.

Violence, fury and the dread that they trigger are factors that appear frequently in the ancient sources. They often feature human violence, wars and natural disasters, but also the inherent violence of mythical figures and stories and their inexorable impact on the life and destiny of mortals.This dark side of antiquity, so distant from the pure whiteness that the classical heritage usually calls forth, has repeatedly struck the imagination of artists, writers and scholars across ages and cultures. Striking examples are the countless depictions of the destruction of Pompeii (i.e. Karl Bryullov’s painting The Last Day of Pompeii, which in turn has become a source of inspiration for several following artists), the works performing the Spartans’ tragic heroism at Thermopylae (the obvious reference is Frank Miller’s 300, and its cinematographic adaptation by Zack Snyder), and the representations of Medea’s fury (from Euripides to Pier Paolo Pasolini and Lars von Trier)

The conference will look at how modern and contemporary performing and visual arts represent the evildoers – those who provoked fear and who were led by fury –, the catastrophic events, the battles and the ancient everyday tragedies as well as the fears they provoke, both in those who found themselves facing such misfortunes and in those who interact with the ancient world and its representations.  

Proposed papers should either focus on a specific post-classical period or follow a cross-temporal perspective. In addition, they can cover one or more artistic languages (painting, book art and graphic design, comics, sculpture, architecture, theatre, opera, dance, street art, photography, cinema, computer animation, videogames etc.) and propose comparative approaches.

Questions addressed in the conference include (but are not limited to) the following:

-How has post-classical imagery staged the conquerors’ violence and the fear felt by the subjugated, from the fall of Troy to the Rape of the Sabine Women and the sack of Rome in 410 A.D.?

-How is human impotence against the forces of the nature (from the storms that have hampered the nostoi of the Homeric heroes to the total destruction of Pompeii caused by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius) perceived and performed in modern imageries?

-How have military powers of the ancient World, from the Macedonian phalanx to the Roman legions, and their acts of conquest and destruction, been translated in forms of contemporary entertainment, such as videogames?

-How is political violence, be it individual of collective, from rebellions against the rulers (i.e. Harmodius and Aristogeitons killing the tyrants) to the struggles for power (i.e. the disorders that tainted the last years of the Roman Republic) staged and performed in modern and contemporary arts?

-Which forms of domestic or private violence – as they have been handed down from Graeco-roman sources – have the greatest echo in the modern and contemporary visual arts? Why?

We welcome proposals for papers of 30 minutes each. The abstracts should have a length of max. 500 words, be written in one of the conference languages (English and Italian) and be sent by January, 31st 2016 to The conference organization will cover the accommodation expenses for all accepted speakers if needed. There are no conference fees.

Contact Info: 

Organiser: Dr Maria G Castello,

Università degli Studi di Torino, Dipartimento di Storia


Further information:

Dr Marta Garcia Morcillo,

Dept. Humanities, University of Roehampton,