Morphogrammata / The Lettered Art of Optatian

Figuring Cultural Transformations in the Age of Constantine and Beyond

Ort: Internationales Kolleg Morphomata, Universität zu Köln, Weyertal 59 (Rückgebäude: dritter Stock), 50937 Köln

Konzept: Michael Squire & Johannes Wienand

Kontakt Thierry Greub

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This three-day workshop explores one of the most complex, historic and momentous of all western cultural transformations: the Christianization of the Roman principate in the fourth century AD. It does so, however, through the kaleidoscopic lens of one of antiquity’s most fascinating (and most maligned) artists: Publilius Optatianus Porfyrius. ‘Optatian’ is hardly a household name among classicists, literary critics and cultural historians. But as the workshop sets out to explore, Optatian’s picture-poems uniquely figure the cultural dynamics of this period.

To have any hope of understanding Optatian’s highly lettered artefacts, a whole range of critical perspectives is required. The Morphomata-workshop consequently aims to stimulate a new sort of interdisciplinary dialogue, bringing together historical, literary, philosophical, art historical and theological viewpoints to assess Optatian’s poetics.


Michael Squire (London): Morphogrammata: The Lettered Art of Optatian

Jan Kwapisz (Warszawa): Optatian Porfyry and the Order of Court Riddlers

Anna-Lena Körfer (geb. Glanz) (Gießen): Lector ludens: Spiel und Rätsel in Optatians Panegyrik

Ulrich Ernst (Wuppertal): Versus intexti: Optatianus Porfyrius und seine Wirkung auf die mittelalterliche und...

Marie-Odile Bruhat (Lille): Le traitement de l’espace dans la poésie d‘Optatianus Porfyrius

Martin Bažil (Prag/Rostock): Textus (in)textus: Der Textbegriff bei Optatianus

Aaron Pelttari (Edinburgh): A Lexicographical Approach to the Poetry of Optatianus Porfyrius

Thomas Habinek (University of Southern California): Optatian Porphyry: Explorations in Ontology?

Petra Schierl/Cédric Scheidegger Lämmle (Basel): Herrscherbild und Deutungsmuster: Optatian und die...

Jesús Hernández Lobato (Salamanca): Rethinking Optatian from Contemporary Art: Keys to an Intersystemic Dialogue