Call for Papers "Evil, Progress and Fall"

Evil, Progress, and Fall. Moral Readings of Time and Cultural Development in Roman Literature.

As the title itself suggests, the main purpose of the volume will be to explore and reassess Latin texts where the cultural representation of time, in a literary and anthropological sense, plays a prominent role. It is a matter of fact that during its multi-faceted development Roman literature produced a wide range of interpretations of time, usually denoting peculiar views of cultural history. The striking multiplicity of Roman reflections on this matter seems to require further investigations taking into proper account the different ideological inputs involved. On the one hand, it is clear that like many other Mediterranean civilizations, Rome elaborated (and tended to reproduce) a culturally embedded conception of time, which made a remarkable impact on traditional values and social patterns. On the other hand, the complex processes of transformation which Roman culture underwent over the course of its long history inevitably affected (and reshaped) traditional chronological categories. Of course, several concurrent factors contributed to such processes, and all of them seem to have exerted an influence on the Latin writers' reading of time as a morally significant object. Philosophical trends, literary orientations and religious beliefs, in particular, introduced substantial changes to previous representations of time, and this was seen, by turns, as a circular, linear or hybrid dimension.

The envisaged volume is intended to gather individual chapters focusing on different aspects of such a challenging theme. Special preference will be given to proposals which try to overstep the boundaries of literary analysis, in the strictest sense, resorting to relevant disciplinary areas such as cultural and cognitive anthropology, science history, and sociology.

Potential lines of research to be developed by individual contributions include, but are not limited to, the following:


  • Saturnus' Kingdom and the Golden Age: Pessimism, Moralism, and Palingenetic Expectations between Poetry and Prose

  • Where does Evil come from? Roman Debates on the Sources of Cultural Degeneration

  • Vita, si uti scias, longa est: Ethics of Time between Late Republic and Imperial Age

  • Across the Ages: Patterns of Temporality in Roman Historiography

  • Measuring Eternity: Theories on Time, Space, and Change in Roman Science

  • Holy Hopes: Providential Views of History before and after Christianity


Submissions should include the author's name and affiliation as well as the paper's title and a brief abstract (300-500 words). An essential bibliography may also be added.

Queries and proposals can be addressed to the editors, Rosa Rita Marchese ( and Fabio Tutrone (

The deadline for submission of proposals is 30 September 2013, and the editors will make their decisions by 21 October 2013.

ISSN: 2281-3209                DOI Prefix: 10.7408

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