From November 23 to December 4, 2015 Università Ca’ Foscari Venezia, in cooperation with Venice International University, will offer an advanced seminar on “Literature and Culture in the Ancient Mediterranean: Greece, Rome and the Near East”.

The Program

The program is conceived as a two year commitment over two successive years (2015 and 2016). The first session (November 23 – December 4, 2015) will consist of lectures by scholars with a seminar approach on the origins and development of literary genres and literacy in Ancient Greece, Rome and the Near East. Some of the lectures will run simultaneously and will be devoted respectively to the interpretation of specific classical and near eastern texts, with more focus on textual analysis. Two or three evening lectures by special guests are also under consideration.

The lectures will alternate with a series of site visits, for example, to the Marciana Library, the Library of San Lazzaro degli Armeni, and the Basilica of San Marco.

The aim of the program is firstly to investigate the relationship between themes, motifs and structures of the texts and/or of the myths involved, starting with the early examples of epic poetry and of wisdom and didactic literature; secondly, to examine the processes involved in their transmission and preservation in both oral and written forms. A variety of issues concerning the history of literate cultures will also be reviewed, such as, for example, the textual traditions, the creation and organization of libraries, the classification of genres, and the relationship between literature and politics, and between literature and religion.

During the first session the fellows will identify a research project according to their own scholarly interests and under the supervision of one of the faculty. The research project will be presented in the form of an essay of about 20 pages in the second session of the seminar, which will run between September and October 2016 (an eight day slot, still to be determined).

The second session will also host a number of lectures by invited speakers. The invited speakers in the last session of the seminar were Antoine Cavigneaux (Université de Genève), Marco Fantuzzi (Università di Macerata/Columbia University), Mark Geller (Freie Universität Berlin), Johanna Hanink (Brown University), Michele Lowrie (University of Chicago), Douglas Olson (University of Minnesota) and Suzanne Said (Columbia University).

The Faculty

The faculty consists of scholars active in the field of Greek, Latin and Ancient Near Eastern literature, including: Alessandro Barchiesi (Università di Siena – Stanford University); Ettore Cingano (Università Ca’ Foscari Venezia); Joy Connolly (New York University); Richard Hunter (Trinity College, Cambridge); Dirk Obbink (Christ Church, Oxford); Alessandro Schiesaro (Università di Roma La Sapienza); David Sider (New York University); Antoine Cavigneaux (Université de Genève); Yoram Cohen (Tel Aviv University), Rocio Da Riva (Universitat deBarcelona) and Dina Katz (Nederlands Instituut voor het Nabije Oosten).


Good knowledge of Greek and Latin, and/or of some of the ancient Near Eastern languages, is expected. Lectures will be in English. Good knowledge of spoken and written English is also a prerequisite.


The lectures will take place at Venice International University, on the Island of San Servolo, in Venice (Italy).

Fellows and faculty will arrive on Sunday, November 22; they will be hosted in the residential halls on the island of San Servolo. Fellows will share twin rooms with ensuite bathroom or 3-bed rooms with 2 ensuite bathrooms.

Lunch and dinner are served at the cafeteria on the Island of San Servolo.

The program will cover room and board for the fellows accepted.

Who is it for?

The program is open to 20 fellows who will be either in an advanced stage of doctoral research, or recently completed Ph.D.s. The candidates will be selected by a committee whose decision will be final.

Day of arrival: Sunday, November 22 (or Saturday, November 21)

Day of departure: Saturday, December 5

Application deadline: Monday, June 15

Application forms are available on-line at

The completed form together with the requested documents should be sent by e-mail, fax or regular mail to Venice International University (see address below) and must reach our offices no later than Monday, June 15, 2015.

For information, please contact: Ms. Silvia Casalini, E-mail: [email protected]

Venice International University

Ref: Literature and Culture in the Ancient Mediterranean: Greece, Rome and the Near East; Isola di San Servolo; 30100 Venezia – Italy

Tel. +39 041 2719 581 / +39 041 2719 511; Fax +39 041 2719 510