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Knowledge about Ovid Essential for Understanding Modern European Culture

Numerous Events Scheduled at Freie Universität Berlin during the 2017 Ovid Year

№ 040/2017 from Mar 02, 2017

Numerous events have been scheduled to take place at Freie Universität Berlin to mark the 2000th anniversary of the death of the Roman poet Ovid. Latin classics scholar Prof. Dr. Melanie Möller from Freie Universität has put together a varied program of panel discussions, readings by prominent actors, dramatic performances, and a couple of lecture series. "Ovid was far ahead of his time, and he has significantly shaped our ideas about art and literature, especially the autonomy of aesthetics," says Prof. Dr. Melanie Möller. That is why she says that anyone who wants to understand modern European culture must take Ovid into consideration. The events will take place at Freie Universität and other locations in Berlin. They are public, and except for the Theater Anu, they are free of charge.

Overview of the Events:

Ovid and "European Phantasy"

During a panel discussion on March 3, 2017, researchers from Germany and other countries will discuss the role of Ovid's works in European intellectual history. The panelists will be: Prof. Dr. Hartmut Böhme, a professor of literature and cultural studies at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin; the writer Durs Grünbein; Prof. Dr. William Fitzgerald, a classics studies scholar at King’s College London; Prof. Dr. Valeska von Rosen, a historian at Ruhr-Universität Bochum; and Prof. Dr. Jürgen Paul Schwindt, a classics studies scholar at the University of Heidelberg. The discussion will be moderated by journalist Heike Schmoll (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung).

Deconstructing Gender? Ovid and Women

In a series of public lectures, scholars from Germany and other countries will address the poetic role of strong women or the treatment of transsexual identities and other gender-related topics in the works of Ovid. The current educational policy debates in the English-speaking world about the prohibition of fairy tales containing violence, in particular with regard to metamorphosis, as well as Ovid's lack of "political correctness" are also topics to be addressed.

Ovid Forum. Readings & Lectures

In the Forum, representatives from science, art, and literature will read aloud their favorite metamorphoses or prominent phases of their reception or will comment on them by giving personal interpretations.

Theater Anu: „Ovids Traum“

On several evenings in July and August, on the Tempelhofer Feld, the Enemble Theater Anu will perform selected stories from Ovid's Metamorphoses in a theater installation consisting of dance, sculpture, and sound collage.

Between Canon and Censorship: Ovid as a Subject in Schools

Workshop in cooperation with Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin: The participants will discuss the educational and didactic reception of Ovid from both positive and negative perspectives, from the criticism during antiquity of Ovid's conceit to an almost unrestrained enthusiasm during the Renaissance, the objection in Romanticism to his lack of originality, his banishment from curricula in the Nazi era, and the triumphant return of his inclusion in school curricula since the 1970s.

Excessive Writing: Ovid in Exile

An international research group "La poésie augustéenne" will address the topic of Ovid in exile at a conference to be held at Freie Universität from December 14 to 16, 2017. Through lectures and discussions, the participants will analyze the texts written during Ovid's assumed exile, whereby the situation of his exile will be a central aspect. They will examine the generic and poetic dimensions as well as the aesthetic and psychological, social and political dimensions of Ovid's texts. Finally, they will look into what extent Ovid's exile can be traced back to his aesthetic conception of writing as a life-style and its modern potential. The writer Christoph Ransmayr will read aloud from his novel Die letzte Welt (1988), which is a poetic fusion of Ovid's writings from exile and his Metamorphoses.

Further Information

Time and Location

  • Panel discussion: Ovid und "die europäische Phantasie"
    Friday, March 3, 2017, 6:15 p.m.
    Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities, Jägerstraße 22, 10117 Berlin.
  • Lecture series: Deconstructing Gender? Ovid und die Frauen
    Thursdays, April 20 to July 20, 2017, 4 p.m.
    Freie Universität, Habelschwerdter Allee 45, Room J 32/102, 14195 Berlin.
  • Ovid Forum: Lesungen & Vorträge
    Friday, June 16, to Saturday, June 17, 2017
    Freie Universität, Habelschwerdter Allee 30 (basement), 14195 Berlin
  • Theater Anu: Ovids Traum
    July 27 - 29 and August 3 - 6, 2017, 9:30 p.m.
    Tempelhofer Feld, entrance at Columbiadamm
  • Workshop: Zwischen Kanon und Zensur
    Friday and Saturday, September 15-16, 2017
    Senatssaal der Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Unter den Linden 6, 10099 Berlin.
  • Conference: Excessive Writing: Ovid in Exile
    Thursday, December 14, to Saturday, December 16, 2017
    Freie Universität Berlin


  • Prof. Dr. Melanie Möller, Institute of Greek and Latin Languages and Literatures, Freie Universität Berlin, Tel.: +49 30 838-71955, Email: mmoeller@zedat.fu-berlin.de
  • Martin Bisse, Institute of Greek and Latin Languages and Literatures, Freie Universität Berlin, Tel.: +49 30 838-72683, Email: latinistik@klassphil.fu-berlin.de