Ἀρχή and origo: The Power of Origins
(Newcastle University, 2-4 May, 2019)
Origins have a particular power. Arguments referring back to the first beginnings and relating them to the present tend to be especially attractive. When we’re in a new place or confronted with new phenomena, we have a natural urge to learn about their origins. Stories of this kind – the so-called aitia – can convey a sense of education, of venerable antiquity, of continuity, of religious awe, or they can just be entertaining. In any case, they are as prominent nowadays as they were in antiquity.
In this interdisciplinary conference we want to shed light on the fascination with origins from different perspectives: how is the power of origins employed in historiography, in literature ancient and modern, in art, in religious contexts, in philosophy, or in political debate? We are interested in exploring a wide range of case studies, in order to reflect on our overarching question: what is it that holds the different forms of aitia together? How can we… read more