Play and Games in Antiquity. Definition, Transmission, Reception

Ouvert au grand public Colloque / Congrès / Forum

This international conference is part of the ERC project Locus Ludi. The Cultural Fabric of Play and Games in Classical Antiquity, based at the University of Fribourg (PI Véronique Dasen). It is organised in collaboration with the Swiss Museum of Games in La Tour-de-Peilz (Ulrich Schädler) and the University of Lausanne (Michel Fuchs).
Play and games provide a privileged access to past societal norms, values, identities, and collective imaginary. People play all over the world and throughout history, but they do not play the same games, nor do they attribute the same meaning and function to play. The aim of this pluridisciplinary conference is to investigate how this past patrimony can be methodologically reconstructed.
Three sessions will address first how the Ancients defined play and games by analysing their vocabulary in order to reconstruct an emic definition. Beyond the common association of child and play (in Greek, paidia, ‘game’, pais, the child, and paideia, ‘education’, share the same root, in Latin ludus means ‘play’, ‘school’ and ‘rethorical games’), the views are more complex and nuanced. Identifiying ludic material and practices archaeologically as well as in iconography is also a debatable issue. The second session concerns the sources available and their bias associated with literary genre, such as oniromancy, proverbs and the lexicon of Pollux. A major challenge is the reconstruction of a mostly oral patrimony, of lost children’s lore and agency. The third session examines the transmission process of these practices from one generation to the next, addressing crucial issues about continuities and discontinuities, as well as about the definition of a “traditional” game.

Contact Prof. Véronique Dasen (Unifr), Dr. Ulrich Schädler (Musée suisse du jeu), Prof. Michel Fuchs (Unil)
Véronique Dasen
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