Writing Ancient History in the Interwar Period (1918-1939)

Date / time: 23 January - 24 January, All day

Writing Ancient History in the Interwar Period (1918-1939)

This International Workshop “Writing Ancient History in the Interwar Period (1918-1939)” aims to investigate the role played by the study of Ancient History (especially of Greece and Rome) in the construction of nationalist narratives in the interwar period (1918-1939).

Between the two World Wars, Europe witnessed the propagation of nationalist narratives that heavily relied on idealised images of a distant past. Research in this area has largely focused on the myth of romanità in Fascist Italy and on the reception of Ancient Greece in Nazi Germany. However, scholars have devoted less attention to interpretations of ancient history in other national communities and to possible interactions between different and often competing narratives. By looking at the interactions between Ancient History and nationalism in different geographical areas, this workshop aims to explore the inter-relations of historiographical traditions on a global scale and their impact on political narratives.

The event has been generously funded by the School of History, Classics and Ancient History of Newcastle University, CRASIS (Interdisciplinary Research Institute on the Ancient World, University of Groningen) and Anchoring Innovation (research agenda of the National Research School in Classical Studies, the Netherlands).


Thursday 23rd January 2020

9.00 – 9.45: Registration and Introduction

9.45 – 11: Panel 1

  • Federico Santangelo (Newcastle University): Augustus in Interwar Britain: the pre-Syme consensus
  • Anna Kouremenos (Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen): Cementing a National Identity: Greece and its Past in the Interwar Period (1918-1939)

11 – 11.30: Coffee Break

11.30 – 12.45: Panel 2

  • Stefan Altekamp (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin): Villain and Victim. Punic Carthage in Interwar German History Discourse
  • Andrea Avalli (Università degli Studi di Genova/ Université de Picardie ) “Jules Verne”): Interwar Etruscology and Racism in Fascist Italy

14.30 – 15.45: Panel 3

  • Antonio Duplá Ansuategui (Universidad del País Vasco): From Essentialism towards Professionalisation, and Landing in Ideology: Spanish Historiography on Ancient History in the Interwar Period
  • Bas van Bommel (Universiteit Utrecht): Humanism and Nazification. The Case of Frederik Jzn. Muller (1883-1944)

3.45 PM – 4.15 PM: Coffee Break

4.15 – 5.30 PM: Panel 4

  • Nathalie de Haan (Radboud Universiteit): I nostri antenati. Ancient History, National History: the Italian case
  • Manuel Loff (Universidade do Porto): Grandeur, Empire, Race: Uses of the Past in Salazar’s Portugal (1930-1945)
  • Sergey Karpyuk (Russian Academy of Sciences): The Foundation of the Soviet Journal of Ancient History (‘Vestnik drevnei istorii’) in 1937

5.30 – 6.30 PM: Discussion

7.30 PM: Conference Dinner

Friday 24th January 2020

9.30 – 11 AM: Panel 5

  • Sarah Rey (Université de Valenciennes et du Hainaut-Cambrésis (UVHC) : Jérôme Carcopino, directeur de l’École française de Rome (1937-1940) : ses choix politiques et ses choix historiographiques
  • Ivan Olujić (University of Zagreb): Study of Ancient History in Croatia between the two World Wars
  • Helen Roche (Durham University): Back to the Ancient Greek Future? Greek Antiquity as Paradigm in National Socialist Classical Education

11 –11.30 AM: Coffee Break

11.30 – 1 PM: Conclusions and final discussion

Those interested in attending this event are kindly invited to register via this link:   https://webstore.ncl.ac.uk/short-courses/faculty-of-humanities-social-sciences-hass/history-classics-archaeology/writing-ancient-history-in-the-interwar-period-19191938. Registration is open until 20/01/2020.

Location:  Room 2.49, Armstrong Building, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 7RU.