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.