CfP “Hellenistic Spatialities – Patterns Between Transformation and Resilience”

14.06.2024 - 15.06.2024 Ganztags

In the early Hellenistic period, the way humans perceived and interacted with the landscape and the built urban environment underwent signicant transformations. While displaying an inherent spatial dimension, such changes manifested themselves paradigmatically in the advances and professionalization of mathematical theory at the Hellenistic royal courts in the areas of geometry and visual perception, on one hand, and of urban planning and design as well as modes of landscape appropriation, on the other hand, which both fields served as prominent and prestigious areas of royal initiative in the Hellenistic kingdoms that were unprecedented in scale and ambition. As both spheres reflect characteristic modes of human-landscape interaction and relate it to theoretical conceptualizations as well as to material manifestations, the question arises whether and, if so, how, in particular scientific, knowledge was translated into, or reflected within, contemporary pragmatic application, e.g., in urban planning as well as in subsequent developments of cityscapes.

By bringing together these two spheres that occupied such a prominent place within Hellenistic culture and society, we aim at shedding light upon the potential transmission of scientic knowledge and its real-world impact. Of particular interest are the interrelation between, reconcilability of, and even interdependency of the practical and theoretical dimensions of the transformations on their various scales and levels. We look forward to contributions that explore these facets of Hellenistic spatialities by addressing the following two interconnected areas that were decisive in shaping the transformations, ideally by integrating the perspectives of the other area and in so doing identifying relevant and characteristic patterns of change:

  1. Concepts of visual perception and their potential impact: in which way did such new concepts as put forward, e.g., by Euclid’s Optics and within mathematical theory in general inform contemporary perceptions of and perspectives on landscape or urban environments?
  2. Urban planning and urban spatialities: were urbanistic concepts and literary representations of ‘the urban’ influenced by transformations within the conceptualization of the human-landscape interaction and do they even indicate their integrative interplay – also in the subsequently developing cityscapes?

With this cross-disciplinary approach to theoretical transformations that took place in the areas of optics and visual perception, on one hand, and the potential sphere of practical application and material manifestation as exemplied by urban planning and built environments, on the other hand, we seek to address perspectives on transformations of spatiality in the Hellenistic world.

We invite scholars interested in addressing aspects of the topics sketched above to submit a short abstract (max. 250 words) with a working title until April 12th, 2024 to one of the organizers named below.

Notice of acceptance will be sent by April 15th. Papers should be 25 minutes, followed by a discussion. The conference language is English. Financial support for travel and accommodation will be provided for contributing participants by the CRC 1266 “Scales of Transformation – Human-Environmental Interaction in Prehistoric and Archaic Societies”.

Prof. Dr. Patric-Alexander Kreuz, Classical Archaeology (

Prof. Dr. Lutz Käppel, Greek Philology (

PD Dr. Claas Lattmann, Greek Philology (