Classical Controversies (Hardback)
Reception of Graeco-Roman Antiquity in the Twenty-First Century
Modern receptions of Graeco-Roman Antiquity are important ideological markers of the ways we envisage our own twenty-first-century societies. An urgent topic of study is: what kinds of narratives – sometimes controversial – about Antiquity do people create for themselves at this moment in time, and for what reasons? This volume aims to showcase a number of illustrative examples, and thus to provide a deeper understanding of twenty-first-century reception of Antiquity.After a general introduction in Part I, the volume focuses on two main fields: controversies referencing ancient and modern literary works; and controversies surrounding heritage ethics. Part II takes literary evidence from the USA to Italy as its starting point: it shows how metaphors about early Christianity find their way into American conservative discourse; how Sparta is evoked in right-wing thinking in the USA, Germany, France and Scandinavia; and how Aeneas plays a role in recent Italian debates on migrations. The last paper discusses the depiction of classicists in modern novels. Part III focuses on heritage ethics and material culture, in first instance taking practices at the Dutch National Museum of Antiquities (Rijksmuseum van Oudheden) – on the display of death, queering and orientalism - as case studies. The last paper delves into the history of the Via Belgica to show how antiquity has been weaponised for political aims for many centuries. Together, these papers show that academics should engage with the receptions of antiquity in the recent past and present. If they want their research and museum displays to be part of current reception, they should make their voice heard.