Poetry at the Post: Music & Vergil

Passages from Virgil’s First Georgic
I. Until Jove let it be, no colonist
Mastered the wild earth; no land was marked,
None parceled out or shared; but everyone
Looked for his living in the common world.

“Cumae Cave of the Sibyl AvL” by AlexanderVanLoon – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons –


Music in the Time of Vergil Symposium Cumanum 2016 June 21-24, 2016

Director: Timothy J. Moore (Washington University in St. Louis)

The Vergilian Society invites proposals for papers for the 2016 Symposium Cumanum at the Villa Vergiliana in Cuma, Italy.

The last twenty-five years have seen a marked increase in scholarship dedicated to ancient Greek and Roman music. These studies have tended to concentrate on music in the Greek world, or to Rome of the early to mid-Republic, the time of Nero, or late antiquity. Yet music clearly played a highly significant role in the life and literature of Augustan Rome. Vergil and his contemporaries refer repeatedly to singing and to musical instruments; the Augustan age marked important developments in pantomime, which was to become the most popular form of musical entertainment in the Empire; images of music appear often in Augustan art; and this period witnessed refinements in the music that accompanied private convivia. This conference will bring together scholars from across the world to evaluate the musical context of Vergil’s poems.

Virgil Reading the Aeneid to Augustus, Octavia, and Livia by Jean-Baptiste Wicar, Art Institute of Chicago
Virgil Reading the Aeneid to Augustus, Octavia, and Livia by Jean-Baptiste Wicar, Art Institute of Chicago

Papers might address topics such as theatrical music, music in Augustan literature, archaeological evidence for music, ways in which Augustans responded to the musical influence of Greece, or musical performances of Vergil’s works.

Papers will be 20 minutes long with ample time for discussion. The symposium will include three days of papers, discussion, and visits to Vergilian sites.

Jupiter and Juno, by Annibale Carracci.
Jupiter and Juno, by Annibale Carracci.

Presenters will include Andrew Barker (Keynote Address), Timothy Power, and Eleonora Rocconi.

Interested scholars should send an abstract of no more than 300 words to tmoore26@wustl.edu by December 1, 2015.

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