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CfP: Numa, Numa: The Life and Afterlife of the Second King of Rome

Thursday, July 14, 2016   (0 Comments)

Numa, Numa: The Life and Afterlife of the Second King of Rome

13–14 October 2017, Ann Arbor MI

Organizers: Celia E. Schultz (University of Michigan) and Mark R. Silk (Trinity College)

This conference aims to help correct modern scholarship’s oversight of the second king of Rome, Numa Pompilius — the foundational figure of Roman religion who also enjoyed a remarkably long, varied, and rich nachleben in Western thought, literature, and art. From the first century BCE into the nineteenth century, Numa personified the good monarch and emblemized how religion should (or, in the case of early Latin Christian intellectuals, should not) function in society. His paramour, the divine nymph Egeria, became the ideal for a male leader’s female helpmeet and advisor. Numa appears in genres as disparate as Italian Renaissance and early modern French works on political theory; at least two seventeenth-century operas; paintings by Poussin and Lorain; poems by Milton, Byron, and Tennyson; letters of John Adams; a late eighteenth-century novel by the French writer J.P.C. de Florian, and the important nineteenth-century Icelandic poem, Numa Rimur. We hope to attract papers representing the fields of Classics, Comparative Literature, History, Political Science, Religion, Art History, and Music.

The conference will held at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor on 13–14 October 2017. Among the subjects the conference will address are:

  1. The light Numa’s biography sheds on early Italic religion.
  2. Numa as a model of the good Roman emperor.
  3. Numa the bête noir of the Latin church fathers.
  4. How medieval and Renaissance humanists rehabilitated Numa as the father of civil religion.
  5. The use of Numa to criticize Christianity in the republican tradition.
  6. Numa as an exemplar for the papacy in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries and for Enlightenment monarchy.
  7. The liaison of Numa and Egeria in art, poetry, and fiction.
We invite abstracts (500 words) for papers that will last 25 minutes. Abstracts should to be sent as email attachments to the conference account (numanumaconference@umich.edu) by 15 February, 2017. Notifications will be sent out no later than 15 March, 2017.



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