In 2015, the Czech Academy of Sciences launched the so-called Strategy AV21. Through coordinated research programmes, it focuses on problems and challenges of contemporary society, using interdisciplinary and inter-institutional synergy, with regard to trends in global science, social relevance of research, and the National Priorities of Oriented Research. The Centre for Classical Studies has been involved mainly into three of its programmes, with several events and projects carried out each year.
(1) Research programme Europe and the State: Between Barbarism and Civilization
Divine Nakedness. Statues of Venus since Beginnings until Present (Coordinator: Prof. PhDr. Jan Bažant, CSc.). The output of the project will be a manuscript of the book „Divine Nakedness. Statues of Venus since beginnings until present,“ to be published in Czech by Academia and in English by Brill (it is already under contract). The Ancient Greeks and Romans took over the goddess of eroticism and the pictorial type that visualised her from the Middle East in 8th-7th century BC, but from the beginning there were conflicts with religious and social conventions of the ancient state. Conflicts with the same intensity, if from completely different motives, took place after the rise of Christianity in 4th-5th century AD, and a millennium later, when the European Renaissance tried to revive the Greco-Roman art culture. The project traces the transformations of depictions of Aphrodite/Venus on the background of religion, society, and state. The representations of Aphrodite/Venus are analysed from the perspective of a societies’ ideas about themselves, their value systems and needs.
- Verbum caro factum est. Performativity of Czech 14th-century literature from the Perspective of Theatre Studies (Coordinator: Mgr. Eliška Poláčková, Ph.D.). The aim of the project is to make possible the creation of an English edition, significantly modified and revised, of the coordinator’s book, to be published in the ARC Humanities Press, in the series Early Social Performance. The English version will concentrate not on a broader interpretation of medieval performativity, a relatively well-researched topic in Western Europe, but on the genre of Virgin Mary’s laments written in the Czech Lands during the High Middle Ages. The intended book will introduce these texts for the first time ever to international scholarly community; it will also put them in the context of contemporary culture, and thus exemplify the understanding of the literary production of the Czech Kingdom of the time as intrinsically linked with German-speaking cultural space.
Perseus & Medusa, follow up of the original project (Coordinator: Prof. PhDr. Jan Bažant, CSc.).This was a follow up of the original project from 2015 (see below year 2015). The purpose of this project was to rework and translate the award-winning monograph Perseus & Medusa. Representations of the Myth from the Beginning up Today (Prague: Filosofia 2017) from Czech into English, and to prepare it for publication by the Cambridge University Press.
- 27th Summer School of Classical Studies (Kutná Hora, 29. 6. – 3. 7. 2019), European Civilization and Nature (Coordinator: Mgr. Alena Sarkissian, Ph.D.). One of the factors European civilization has been concerned with from the very beginning is the embeddedness of human society in the natural conditions. This vital relation between the Nature and society has shaped European culture significantly as an important source of inspiration for literature, fine arts and sciences from the medicine up to the, for instance, fortune-telling. Natural conditions deeply influence each society, representing on one hand an important source of wealth, but also a potential danger threatening to destroy even the entire civilization, as occurred with the notorious Atlantis. Throughout European history, both these contradictory aspects of Nature have been reflected in the discussion about function and limits of (national) states, both on the synchronic and on the diachronic level. Thus, the outcomes of the workshops and lectures contributed to the discussion concerning the role and distinctive features of states in European history.
Project Output: ASEP
- Fragments of Greek Tragedians in Translations and Studies of Zdeněk K. Vysoký (Coordinator: Mgr. Jakub Čechvala, Ph.D.) Zdeněk K. Vysoký (1903–1979) was a distinguished Czech classicist whose career did not develop in the way that would correspond to his versatile talent due to political reasons. In the former Czechoslovakia, he was the only classicist who pursued reconstructions and translations of Greek tragic fragments, which he considered to be “literary torsos which, however, reflect depths of ancient culture”. In relation to these fragments, Vysoký saw our main Czech translational and exegetical debt which, in fact, continues until the present days. The aim of the project was to publish a commented version of Vysoký’s translations of mostly Euripidean (but also Aeschylean and a few Sophoclean) fragments and so to pay tribute to Vysoký’s rather forgotten effort. Moreover, the project aimed to acquaint the Czech public for the first time with the Greek fragmentary tragedies in connection with complicated textual transmission of Greek tragedies in general and with approaches in textual criticism.
Project Output: Jakub Čechvala (ed.), Fragmenty řeckých tragiků v překladech a studiích Zdeňka K. Vysokého [Fragments of Greek Tragedians in Translations and Studies of Zdeněk K. Vysoký]. Praha: Filosofia, 2019, 367 pp. ISBN 978-80-7007-593-7. ASEP
- 26th Summer School of Classical Studies (Kuks, 30. 6. – 3. 7. 2018), Res Publica: From Plato to Modern Day (Coordinator: Mgr. Alena Sarkissian, Ph.D.). The Summer School of Classical Studies 2018 commemorated the centenary of the foundation of Czechoslovakia. The workshops and lectures focused on discussing ancient ideas of the good management of public affairs, and their influence on later thinking. The participants learnt from the lecturers, delivered by renowned professionals in their respective fields of expertise, how the idea of the state has been changing over the time in relation to the historical, religious and geographical circumstances.
Project Output: ASEP
- Ancient Mythology in the Modern Czech Culture (Coordinators: Prof. PhDr. Jan Bažant, CSc., Mgr. Alena Sarkissian, Ph.D.). The project was focused on both artistic and institutional reception of Greek myth in the Czech culture since Medieval Ages up to the 20th centurz. Czech specifics, exemplified by various media and contexts, were for the first time contextualized by specialists in respective fields within recurring processes of appropriation, selection, and also of creation of a neutral imaginary “mythical” spaces that can serve as scaffolds for new ideologies in response to a totalitarian system.
Project Output: Jakub Čechvala, Eliška Poláčková et. al., Vymyšlená Ithaka: recepce antické mytologie v české kultuře [Imaginary Ithaca: Reception of Classical Mythology in Czech Culture], Praha: Filosofia, 2018, 400 pp. ISBN 978-80-7007-521-0. ASEP
- Zdeněk Brtnický of Wallenstein – A Learned Nobleman and His Journey through the Europe (Coordinator: Mgr. Ondřej Podavka, Ph.D.). The topic of the project was a remarkable personality of the Moravian aristocrat Zdeněk Brtnický of Wallenstein. In his youth, he managed to get a good education: after studying in Moravia he studied at the Silesian town of Břeh (Brzeg, 1594–1596) and at the Academy in Strasbourg (1596–1599). He then set out on a three-year cavalry tour of France, England, Switzerland and Italy. As a result, he was able to master Latin, French, Italian and, to a limited extent, Old Greek in addition to Czech and German. A large number of sources documenting his life survived, such as his memorial, correspondence or speeches (including one poetic). The most valuable one is his extensive, yet unpublished Latin diary from 1597–1603 that documents his education, intellectual interests, perceptions of urban environment and landscape, network of contacts and ties, view of other believers, etc.
Project Output: Ondřej Podavka, Zdeněk Brtnický z Valdštejna. Učený šlechtic a jeho deník z cest [Zdeněk Brtnický of Wallenstein. Learned Nobleman and His Travel Diary], Praha: Vyšehrad, 2017, 265 pp. ISBN 978-80-7429-900-1. ASEP
- 24th Summer School of Classical Studies (Třešť, 1. – 5. 7. 2016), Raise and Come with Us! (Vita Caroli): Literature, Education and Art during the Reign of Charles IV (Coordinator: Mgr. Alena Sarkissian, Ph.D.). The Summer School commemorated the 500th anniversary of the birth of the emperor Charles IV. The workshops and lectures presented the culture of the Charles’ era and answered, among others, the following questions: What did the prayer of canonical hours look like in a medieval cathedral? How did John of Luxembourg, Elisabeth Přemyslid and other Czech kings and queens live their daily lives? What and in what way did a medieval painting, statue or an art object communicate with their original recipients, and how do they communicate with us today? And what about the Vita Caroli?
Project Output: ASEP
- Perseus & Medusa. Representations of the Myth from the Beginning up Today (Coordinator: Prof. PhDr. Jan Bažant, CSc.). The research project analysed a development of a “grammar and vocabulary”, which is connected with representations of Perseus, Medusa, Danae, Andromeda and Pegasus, and it covered the period since antiquity up to the present day. Emphasis was laid not only on continuity of pictorial tradition, but also on discontinuity of meanings carried. The myth of Perseus was chosen as the subject because it is connected – since its appearance in mythology – with a complementary problem of seeing and representation, on which our modern culture is based. The project is the first one of this kind and scale in the Czech context. The resulting monograph was awarded the best scholarly publication of the publishing house Academia for the year 2018.
Project Output: Jan Bažant, Perseus & Medusa. Zobrazení mýtu od počátku do dneška [Perseus & Medusa. Representations of the Myth from the Beginning up Today], Praha: Academia, 2017, 509 pp. ISBN 978-80-200-2658-3. ASEP
(2) Research programme Memory in the Digital Age
- Early Christian History as Historical Memory (Coordinator: Mgr. David Cielontko). The aim of the project is to follow up, develop and deepen the current study of early Christianity with the help of historical (collective, social) memory theory. The activities within the project will create a platform for critical thinking about current applications of theoretical findings in the research into collective memory in early Christianity. The activities will serve to deepen the already existing contacts with foreign scholars active in this area, and will help make the Institute a key focal point for more research in this direction. For this year, the main output will be two international scholarly colloquia that will, thanks to generous time allocation, make possible in-depth discussions of the relevant problems, aiming to deepen critical interdisciplinary dialogue.
- 28th Summer school of Classical Studies (Prague, summer 2020), The Bible: The Inspired Text in the Europeans’ Memory (Coordinators: Mgr. Alena Sarkissian, Ph.D.; Mgr. Bc. Radka Fialová, Ph.D.). This year’s Summer school of Classical Studies will present, through lectures and interactive workshops, the various ways in which the Bible, as a sacred text emanating from a long oral tradition, records memories, reflects the life of the community, and at the same time shapes the community and imposes rules, both legal and moral, upon it. The Christian community further adapts and relabels these rules, and thereby, the Bible is the cornerstone of thinking about history as a collective memory and creates a specific European space and its spiritual, political, and social life. The summer school will pay much attention to translations of the Bible– from the recording of the Hebrew original in writing and its redaction, through the Greek translation of the Septuagint and the Latin Vulgate, to translations of the Bible to vernacular languages.
- The Electronic Encyclopaedia of Hellenism, Post-hellenism, and Early Christianity (Coordinators: Mgr. Radka Fialová, Ph.D.; Doc. Mgr. Jiří Hoblík, Ph.D.). Within the framework of the programme Memory in the Digital Age, the electronic Encyclopaedia of Hellenism, Post-Hellenism, and Early Christianity is being prepared. The planned output is an e-book prepared to be continuously expanded. In the first phase, the encyclopaedia shall contain about 50 in-depth entries with the emphasis on interdisciplinary research into religious and philosophical phenomena influenced by the Hellenistic milieu.
- Portraits of Early Modern Intellectuals (Coordinator: Mgr. Marta Vaculínová, Ph.D.). The aim of the project was to analyse the portraits of intellectuals in Bohemia before 1620 from the point of view of three scholarly disciplines – history of art, history of clothing and classical philology. The manuscript of the prepared book (authors M. Vaculínová, M. Šárovcová, A. Nachtmannová), which is to be published by Academia publishing house, consists of the introductory chapter, three chapters on each discipline, and a catalogue of portraits containing detailed description of each image, accompanying texts and displayed clothing. Besides the portraits in old prints, broadsheets and manuscripts also the medals and epitaphs are used as comparative material.
Project Output: Marta Vaculínová – Martina Šárovcová – Alena Nachtmannová, Portréty předbělohorských intelektuálů [Portraits of Early Modern Intellectuals], Praha: Academia (forthcoming).
2019, 2018, 2016, 2015
- Digital Card Index of the Dictionary of Medieval Latin in the Czech Lands (Coordinator: Mgr. Pavel Nývlt, Ph.D.; 2019, 2018, 2016, 2015). The aim of this long-term project (supported also in years 2015-2016, 2018) is to allow access to a card index, which represents a substantial basis for works on the Dictionary of Medieval Latin in Czech Lands. Creating of the card index originated in 30ies of 20th century and the card index encompass ca 800,000 excerpts and so gives a compact image about variety of expressing means in Latin letters during the Czech Middle Ages. In a digitalized form it thus offers access to an unique corpus of Middle-Latin vocabulary of the Czech provenience, as well as to records from a manuscript collections, which nowadays cover segment A–D, PI–Z.
Project Output: Digital Card Index of the Dictionary of Medieval Latin in the Czech Lands
Database of Performances of Ancient Dramas – www.olympos.cz (Coordinator: Mgr. Alena Sarkissian, Ph.D.). The database (created in 1998–2000) contains basic information about Czech performances of ancient plays by professional, semi-professional and amateur theatres and puppet theatres since 1889 until present, including data about guest appearances of foreign companies since 1960 and data about performances in the Czech Television and the Czech Radio. The project supported technical revisions of the database (update of the system, security, creating of protected access connected with copyright law). At the same time, more than 200 units of image and text material were added to the database, together with dozens of new data and bibliographic references.
Project Output: Database of Performances of Ancient Dramas
- Digital Archive of the Handbook of Humanistic Poetry (Coordinator: Mgr. Marta Vaculínová, Ph.D.). The Archive of the Handbook of Humanistic Poetry includes copies of Latin literary works from different European libraries which were made in connection with the works on the Handbook of Humanistic Poetry in six volumes. The collection has been built deliberately, and thus it includes also the photograps of volumes today unaccessible due to loss or restitution. Its importance to the professionals dealing with different disciplines of the early modern era is beyond dispute. The aim of the project was the digitisation of the archive and the preparation of making it accessible on the web page of the Centre for Classical Studies, which will be carried out in a future project. In total, 44,451 digital images were taken.
- Digital Photograph Archive of the Centre for Classical Studies (Coordinator: PhDr. Josef Förter, Ph.D.). The digital photograph archive of the Centre specialises on contactless digitisation of the cultural heritage of the Czech Lands, especially of written sources created before 1800. During the twenty years of its existence, the archive created a rather extensive pictorial fund which includes digital photographs of works of art, manuscripts and old prints (e. g., the Evangeliary of Zábrdovice, the Codex Franus, Comenius’ maps of Moravia, decorations of the rotunda in Znojmo and of the summer palace Hvězda, the Passion cycle in the St. Wenceslas Chapel in the St. Vitus Cathedral etc.). The aim of the project was to create an electronic database containing all the above mentioned material.
Project Output: Digital Photograph Archive of the Centre for Classical Studies
- The Correspondence of Nicolaus Adauctus Voigt with Gelasius Dobner (Coordinator: PhDr. Josef Förter, Ph.D.). The aim of the project was to publish in the form of a critical edition with a translation and an introductory study a handwritten set of correspondence (National Archives Prague) of two key figures of our Enlightenment science and early phase of the National Revival. The source is an important testimony to the formation of national consciousness and the development of scientific life in the last third of the 18th century. Against the background of individual fates, the main events of scientific life in the Czech Lands (contemporary scientific disputes), issues and problems of a social character, changes in aesthetic norms, as well as everyday moments, resonate in each private correspondence. The result of the project is a printed publication of the correspondence.
Project Output: Josef Förster (ed.), Admodum Reverende, Religiosissime ac Eximie P. Rector! Korespondence mezi Mikulášem Adauktem Voigtem a Gelasiem Dobnerem [Admodum Reverende, Religiosissime ac Eximie P. Rector! The Correspondence from Nicolaus Adauct Voigt to Gelasius Dobner], Praha: Scriptorium 2018, 143 pp. ISBN 978-80-88013-68-6. ASEP
(3) Research programme Forms and Functions of Communication
Conference of the Network of Research and Documentation of Ancient Greek Drama: From Antiquity to Modernity. Performing Greek and Roman Drama, 22. 5. – 26. 5. 2019. (Coordinators: Mgr. Alena Sarkissian, Ph.D.; Mgr. Eliška Poláčková, Ph.D.). The conference, organized in collaboration with the Department of Theater Studies, Faculty of Arts, Charles University, presented the results of cooperation with the European association of researchers and universities associated in the Network of Research and Documentation of Ancient Greek Drama. The researchers of the Centre for Classical Studies were the founding members of the organization in the 1990s. The research conducted within the Network is specific for its interdisciplinary approach to the analysis of theatrical productions of Ancient Greek and Roman Drama conducted not only from the philological or theatrological point of view, but using methods of both of these disciplines. Keynote speakers: Freddy Decreus (Ghent University), George W. M. Harrison (Carlton University, Ottawa), Edith Hall (King’s College, London), Henri Schoenmakers (Universiteit Utrecht & Friedrich Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg). The conference took place under the aegis of the President of the CAS, prof. Eva Zažímalová.
Project Output: ASEP