Experiencing the Oecumene. Aspects of Touristic Travelling in the Ancient Mediterranean
Call for Papers
Heidelberg, October 7–9, 2024
Tourism is not an exclusively modern phenomenon. Famous sites and sights such as the first cataract in Upper Egypt – 'frontier of the world' – attracted travellers from all over the Mediterranean even in ancient times. Numerous sources bear witness to the astonishing wanderlust of the people of that time: archaeological remains of hostels and rest stops or souvenirs; touristic graffiti, papyri and literature, including travel guides and reports as well as poems about travelling. Although the sources provide diverse information about the phenomenon of ancient tourism and promise overarching insights into travel as a basic human need, the topic has received little attention in research to date.
The planned symposium will serve as a platform for intellectual exchange and collaboration, allowing participants to present their research, engage in stimulating discussions, and foster connections with fellow academics, and bring together for the first time the sources on ancient touristic travelling from various disciplines (Ancient History, Epigraphy, Archaeology, Egyptology, Papyrology, and Classical Philology). Divided into three panels, the symposium aims to clarify conceptual, social, political, and infrastructural aspects of ancient touristic travelling. While we are generally interested in case studies discussing the local impact of touristic travelling, possible questions to be put up for discussion across disciplines include but are not limited to: Who were the travellers and where did they come from? What travel destinations and motives can be discerned? What made a place a place of interest in antiquity? What did it do to a place that it became a ‘sight’? How was travel documented and reflected in the discourse? Answering these questions also requires addressing some fundamental methodological challenges. For example, it needs to be clarified what distinguished touristic travelling from other forms of mobility (such as business travel and pilgrimage) and whether a strict separation makes sense at all.
The conference will take place from 7th–9th of October 2024 (arrival: 6th of October). The venue will be the International Academic Forum (IWH), University of Heidelberg, located in the old town of Heidelberg, directly beneath the castle and close to the University (Hauptstraße 242, 69117 Heidelberg).
We plan to publish the proceedings of this conference. Accommodation and catering in Heidelberg will be provided. There will be a bursary (up to 200 €) for young scholars to help with traveling costs. To apply for the bursary, please include an application letter (300–400 words) in your response until December 1, 2023.
Phone: 0049 6221 54 15854
Phone: 0049 6221 54 15856
Seminar für Alte Geschichte und Epigraphik