Université de Lausanne

Couple relationships in antiquity

Looking for real-life experiences

Description and organization

Organizer: Claude-Emmanuelle Centlivres Challet; Anne Bielman Sánchez; Charlotte Golay

The topic of the conference is the quest for real-life experiences of ordinary couples in Greco-Roman antiquity. The couples studied are heterosexual adults belonging to lower and middle classes as well as to civic elites. Hellenistic queens and kings, Republican triumvirs, Roman emperors and members of the imperial family will not be considered. The conference hopes to examine male-female relationships in synchronic and diachronic ways, and seeks to glimpse the various ways the real-life experiences of couples is expressed in literary, epigraphical, papyrological, and iconographical sources from the 3rd century BC to the 4th century AD.

Keynote speakers : Bonnie MacLachlan (UWO), Amy Richlin (UCLA)

Topics include, but are not limited to:

– affective bonds and the dynamic of emotions within the couple

– the distribution of daily public and private chores

– the dynamic of couple relationships depending on socio-economic status – realism and idealisation of couple relationships depending on the genre of the sources

This conference is part of a three-year research project (2016-2019) funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation, the aim of which is to study and compare the functioning of ordinary and exceptional couples in Greco-Roman antiquity (https://www.unil.ch/iasa/projetcoupleen). A conference on exceptional couples – in which one of the partners was a head of state – took place on the 9th and 10th of November 2017 in Lausanne.

We invite the submission of abstracts of 300 words or less, to be sent by the 22th of January to claude-emmanuelle.centlivreschallet@unil.ch


Jeudi 8 novembre 2018 Le vécu des couples ordinaires dans l’Antiquité

8:45 Thé/café

9:00 Accueil

9:15 Keynote B. MACLACHLAN (University of Western Ontario) Mind the gap: evidence (?) for non-elite couples in the Hellenistic period

10:15 Pause

10:45 A.-S. VALTADOROU (University of Edinburgh) Athenian couples and erotic love: an examination of male-female relationships through vase-paintings associated with marriage ceremonies

11:15 J. PORTER (University of Nottingham) Reconstructing the everyday lives and strategies of an independent slave couple in Menander’s Epitrepontes

11:45 Ch. GOLAY (Université de Lausanne) Le vécu des couples dans les épigrammes funéraires hellénistiques

12:15 Repas

14:15 R. FALLAS (Open University) The tale of two couples: infertility and marriage in antiquity

14:45 M. PARCA (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) Ordinary couples in Greek papyri

15:15 C. TOSI (Università degli Studi di Ferrara) Te volo, uxor, conloqui. Family routines in Plautine comedies

15:45 Pause 16:15 J. FABRE-SERRIS (Université de Lille) Modèles littéraires et sociaux à l’épreuve du réel : l’amour conjugal selon Ovide dans les Tristes et les Pontiques

16:45 I. G. MASTROROSA (Università degli Studi di Firenze) « Unis pour le meilleur et le pire » : les relations conjugales des écrivains au premier siècle de l’Empire

17:15 Pause et présentation des posters

17:45 Discussions

19:00 Repas des orateurs, oratrices et organisatrices (sur le campus)

Vendredi 9 novembre 2018 Le vécu des couples ordinaires dans l’Antiquité

8:45 Thé/café

9:00 Keynote A. RICHLIN (University of California Los Angeles) Mixed marriages in the Roman Empire

10:00 Pause

10:30 M. HARLOW & L. LARSSON LOVÉN (University of Leicester/University of Gothenburg) Ordinary Roman couples in text and image

11:00 J. HALLETT (University of Maryland) Vilicus and vilica in De Agri Cultura: the elder Cato’s script for a farming couple

11:30 K. K. HERSCH (Temple University) Worth her weight: coupling and eating in Petronius’ Satyrica

12:00 Repas

13:30 M. CARUCCI (Independent researcher) At home with the Baker and his Wife: the couple that is meant to be?

14:00 M. THOMA (University of Athens) Material aspects of marriage: economic transactions between spouses in Roman Egypt

14:30 N. ZWINGMANN (Independent researcher) On the way – Roman magistrates and their wives travelling to and in the provinces

15:00 Pause

15:30 C. CASPERS (Murmellius Gymnasium, Alkmaar) What a girl wants: female subjectivity, sexuality and couplehood in the postclassical Graeco-Roman world

16:00 G. NATHAN (San Diego Mesa College and University of New South Wales) A reconsideration of Augustine of Hippo’s relationship with his unnamed concubine

16:30 Pause

17:00 Discussion générale

19:30 Repas des orateurs, oratrices et organisatrices (en ville)



(Text by the organizers)



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