Call for Papers 15th Groningen Workshop on Hellenistic Poetry: Crisis and Resilience in Hellenistic Poetry

The Department of Greek and Latin at the University of Groningen (Netherlands) hereby announces the fifteenth workshop in the series “Workshops on Hellenistic Poetry” to be held in Groningen on 15-17 September 2021 (Wednesday–Friday). We will ensure that an online version of the conference is organized in parallel. This will allow the conference to go ahead online in case of possible travel restrictions related to Covid-19, but will also enable more participants to follow proceedings online if the conference takes place in physical form.

The theme of this workshop will be Crisis and Resilience in Hellenistic Poetry.

Crises come in many forms. War, famine and illness plague humanity, and severe personal crises (conflict, rejection, loss) are also an integral part of human condition. The challenge for individuals has always been to overcome crisis, both on a global and on a personal level. In different ages, such resilience has looked different. It can take the form of increased religiosity, superstition, or even attempts at magic, increased violence and revenge or attempts at reconciliation, and we also see a turn to different forms of philosophy. The Hellenistic age is especially famous for its philosophical schools (most notably Epicureanism and Stoicism) that propagate peace of mind through ataraxia (serene calmness) and apatheia (freedom from emotions). These philosophies influenced the literature of the age: it has been suggested that Epicureanism influenced Theocritean poetry, and it has been established that Stoic backgrounds colour Aratus’ Phaenomena and Kleanthes’ Hymn to Zeus. But beyond philosophy, all sorts of individual emotional coping mechanisms can be imagined in response to crisis. They range from practical solutions to global crises (migration, rebuilding of cities, peace treaties) to emotional responses to personal crises (e.g., denial, agression, apology, appeasement, forgiveness and mourning rituals).

This issue of the Groningen Hellenistic Workshop will focus on the theme of crisis and resilience as it is depicted in Hellenistic Poetry. To what extent can we find echoes of this topic in Hellenistic poetry, and what realities do they reflect? We can think, for instance, of epic depictions of the aftermath of personal and political conflict and revenge, flight and ritual purification (Argonautica), attempts to reach peace of mind after heartbreak (Theocritus, epigram), or the appeasing of angered divinities (Callimachus’ hymns).

Some potential key issues are: the extent of influence of philosophical tenets on depictions of (personal) resilience in Hellenistic poetry; the role of Ptolemaic ideology in finding new ways of coping with crises; the role of gods and religion in crises and their aftermaths; the diverse emotional and rational mechanisms that emerge as a response to crises; intertextual approaches to earlier treatments of crisis and resilience; the metapoetical dimensions of resilience (to what extent is poetry a solution to personal and other crises?). But of course the theme is not limited to this, and we welcome further suggestions along these lines.

Scholars who wish to contribute a paper to the workshop are requested to send an e-mail to with the title of their paper and a brief abstract (1 page) by 31 December 2020 and, when their offer is accepted, to send a PDF of the complete text of the paper by 1 May 2021, so that it can be distributed among the participants well in advance of the workshop. During the workshop itself there will be time for a short introduction (ca. 10 minutes) followed by extensive discussion of the paper (ca. 35 minutes). The papers will be published in a volume of the series Hellenistica Groning­ana by Peeters (Leuven). They should not be longer than 20 pages.

Those who wish to take part in the discussions without contributing a paper or wish to act as a respondent are requested to send an e-mail to  before 1 April 2021.

Speakers are requested to seek funding for travel and accommodation from their own institution first. We hope to be able to cover part of the travel and accommodation expenses of speakers whose universities are unable to cover their costs in full. Should this situation apply to you, please let us know once your abstract has been accepted. Other participants (including respondents) should provide their own funds and budget for a conference fee of €100 (€50 for students), which covers catering (tea, coffee and lunches) and documentation.


Demetrius the Besieger

Demetrius the Besieger offers the first historical and historiographical biography of Demetrius Poliorcetes (336-282 BC) to be published in English. Also known as ‘The Besieger of Cities’, Demetrius is an outstanding, yet enigmatic figure who presided over the disintegration of Alexander the Great’s Empire after 323 BC, and the most fascinating and high profile of the Diadochoi, or Successors to Alexander the Great. His campaigns, initiatives, and personal life bestride the opening forty years of the so-called ‘Hellenistic’ age and are pivotal in its formation as he became the first of the Hellenistic Kings. 

As his name suggests, Demetrius was prodigious in his military adventures, and profligate in his private life, rendering him an icon for artists, writers, politicians, and soldiers for many centuries. He was especially famous for his spectacular siege operations against enemy cities, and gained his unique nickname from his innovation in building gigantic siege engines, which became legendary in the ancient world. However, much of Demetrius’ life was enigmatic, oscillating wildly between successful and catastrophic ventures, and his intrinsic qualities remain debatable to this day. What is indisputable is that he presided over a formative period in history marked by great flux and enormous change. His endeavours resulted in the fusion of Asiatic and Greek cultures, producing the hybrid Hellenistic kingdoms which dominated the ancient world for some 200 years until the rise of the Roman Empire. The period is of crucial importance in ancient Greek history, and marks the point from which Hellenistic influence became fundamental in the development of modern Western culture.


Content :

List of Maps and Figures
List of Abbreviations
1: The Young Demetrius Poliorcetes
2: Demetrius and Phila
3: A Diadoch’s Apprenticeship
4: Demetrius in Syria, 315-312 BC
5: The Battle of Gaza
6: The Aftermath of Gaza
7: Demetrius in Babylonia
8: The Silent Years: 310-308 BC
9: The Antigonid ‘Liberation’ of Athens in 307 BC
10: Demetrius in Athens
11: The Antigonid Campaign in Cyprus, 306 BC
12: The Fruits of Victory: Kingship, Lamia, Africa
13: The Great Siege of Rhodes
14: Demetrius’ Return to Greece, 304-303 BC
15: The Mysteries and the League
16: The Campaign of Ipsus
17: Demetrius’ Flight
18: The Besieger Alone
19: Demetrius and Athens. Again
20: The Acquisition of Macedonia
21: King of the Macedonians
22: Demetrius the Living God
23: A New Anabasis?
24: Wolves at the Door: 288-285 BC
25: Demetrius’ Fortunes Unravel
26: The Final Campaign
27: The End of the Reign of Demetrius Poliorcetes
28: Conclusion
Appendix 1: The Colossus of Rhodes
Appendix 2: Chronology of the Life of Demetrius Poliorcetes (336-282 BC)

Féminités hellénistiques: voix, genre, représentations

ISBN: 9789042940697
E-ISBN: 9789042940703
PAGES: VIII-630 p.
C. Cusset, P. Belanfant, C.-E. Nardone (dir.)

Si le statut de la femme évolue de manière sensible entre l’époque classique et l’époque hellénistique, si certaines femmes jouent un rôle politique important, peut-on dire que dans l’univers poétique alexandrin la place de la femme se transforme ? Cette place de la femme dans la poésie alexandrine concerne les modalités de la prise de parole féminine et les conditions dans lesquelles un discours féminin est prononcé.

Les 25 communications réunies ici s’interrogent sur la dimension politique du discours féminin, sur l’influence du statut familial des femmes dans leur prise de parole, sur la divinisation de la femme de pouvoir, sur la femme comme figure d’altérité, sur les intertextualités du discours féminin marqué par le souvenir de Sappho ou d’Érinna, sur les occupations et fonctions féminines et leurs valeurs symboliques pour dire notamment l’activité poétique assumée par les poétesses et sur l’utilisation du bi-culturalisme gréco-égyptien dans les représentations hellénistiques.