17 September 2018 Start
19 September 2018 End
Swiss Swiss Museum of Games, Rue du Château 11 -1814 La Tour-de-Peilz

Play and Games in Antiquity

17-19 September 2018

ERC Project Locus ludi and the Swiss Museum of Games would like to invite you to the international conference ‘Play and Games in Antiquity. Definition – Transmission – Reception’. It takes place on 17-19 September 2018 in La Tour-de-Peilz, Switzerland.

This international conference is part of the ERC project Locus Ludi. The Cultural Fabric of Play and Games in Classical Antiquity, based at the University of Fribourg (PI Véronique Dasen). It is organised in collaboration with the Swiss Museum of Games in La Tour-de-Peilz (Ulrich Schädler) and the University of Lausanne (Michel Fuchs).

Play and games provide a privileged access to past societal norms, values, identities, and collective imaginary. People play all over the world and throughout history, but they do not play the same games, nor do they attribute the same meaning and function to play. The aim of this pluridisciplinary conference is to investigate how this past patrimony can be methodologically reconstructed.

Three sessions will address first how the Ancients defined play and games by analysing their vocabulary in order to reconstruct an emic definition. Beyond the common association of child and play (in Greek, paidia, ‘game’, pais, the child, and paideia, ‘education’, share the same root, in Latin ludus means ‘play’, ‘school’ and ‘rethorical games’), the views are more complex and nuanced. Identifiying ludic material and practices archaeologically as well as in iconography is also a debatable issue. The second session concerns the sources available and their bias associated with literary genre, such as oniromancy, proverbs and the lexicon of Pollux. A major challenge is the reconstruction of a mostly oral patrimony, of lost children’s lore and agency. The third session examines the transmission process of these practices from one generation to the next, addressing crucial issues about continuities and discontinuities, as well as about the definition of a “traditional” game.

Here below the final program of the three-day conference:

Monday 17th September

10:15 OPENING – Véronique Dasen, Michel Fuchs, Ulrich Schädler

In Search of Ancient Games and Play


10:30 Mark Golden, Winnipeg

Play, Dance, Sport, War: Ancient Greek Bodies in Motion

11:15 Stephen Kidd, Brown University (by skype)

Is play an Emotion? An Inquiry into Greek Paidia

11:45 Christian Laes, Antwerp

Ludus and Education

12:30 Miguel Herrero de Jáuregui, Madrid

Early Christian Attitudes to Child Playing

13:15 Brunch

14:15 Anton Bierl, Basel

Choral Dance as a Play: paizein in Greek Drama

15:00 Karin Schlapbach, Fribourg

Ludus as Dance and Bodily Movement

15:45 Break


16:15 Marco Vespa, Fribourg

L’origine du jeu: récits grecs sur l’invention des pratiques ludiques entre Palamède,

Prométhée et Theuth

17:00 Cleo Gougouli, Patras

The Search for Cultural Continuity in Studies of Modern Greek Children’s Games:

Some Methodological Questions

17:45 Break

18:15 Francesca Berti, Tübingen

Meanings of tradition in the Context of Play


19h15 Katarzyna Marciniak, Warsaw (ERC Our Mythical Childhood)

Du Rubicon à la chambre d’enfants ou à la réception de l’expression Alea iacta est dans

la culture des jeunes / From Rubicon to the Children’s Room, or the Reception of the

Alea iacta est Motif in Youth Culture

Tuesday 18th September


09:00 Regine Fellmann, Kantonsarchäologie Aargau, Brugg

Games and Toys From Vindonissa – An Overview

Barbara Pfäffli, Augusta Raurica

Augusta Raurica – Play in the Town

10:00 Break

10:15 Chiara Bianchi, Milano

“Alexandrian Counters”: Finds in Archaeological Contexts

11:00 Clare Rowan, Warwick (ERC Token Communities in the Ancient Mediterranean)

Sorting Fun From Fiction: Were “tesserae” Gaming Pieces?

11:45 Charles Doyen, Louvain

Osselets ou poids ?

12:30 Brunch


13:30 Vicky Sabetai, Athènes

Playing at the Festival: aiora, a Swinging Ritual

14:15 Michel Fuchs, Lausanne

Jeux d’Eros et jeux d’enfants : la corde, le dé et l’osselet en messagers du temps

15:00 Break

15:15 Nikolina Kei, Paris

Ancient Drawing, Fictive Play

16:00 Arnaud Zucker, Nice

Les proverbes relatifs aux jeux chez Pollux et les parémiographes

16:45 Visit of the Swiss Museum of Games

18:00 Event Festival Images : Official opening of the artwork by Saype in the

context of the Festival Images Vevey


19:15 Michel Manson, Toulouse

Un érudit inattendu : Louis Becq de Fouquières, le premier historien des jeux et jouets

de l’Antiquité

Discutant : Louis-Aimé de Fouquières

Wednesday 19th September


9:00 Simone Beta, Siena

Studiare la lingua e la letteratura greca divertendosi: gli indovinelli greci nelle scuole

di Bisanzio/ Etudier la langue et la littérature en s’amusant: les devinettes grecques

dans les écoles de Byzance

09:45 Renzo Tosi, Bologna

Pollux et les noms des jeux

10:30 Andromache Karanika, Irvine

Midas and the “Pot” Game: Intertextual Insights into an Ancient Game

11:15 Break

11:30 Salvatore Costanza, Fribourg

Pollux témoin des jeux : continuité, survie et réception dans la culture ludique


12:15 Barbara Carè, Athens

Appropriating the Past: New Perspectives on Game Studies. The Ancient and Modern

Game of Astragals

13:00 Lunch

Final discussion – conclusions

Avenue: Swiss Museum of Games, Rue du Château 11 -1814 La Tour-de-Peilz