Call for Papers

IMT School for Advanced Studies Lucca is launching a Spring School that aims at critically analysing the multifarious notion of movement, with a special focus on the Greek and Roman worlds.

Movement is a way to interact with the external world, independent from chronological and topographic boundaries. The physical placement of a body (both living and inanimate) in space and the mental, emotional and sensational feedback associated with movement are keys to human interaction with external reality. Still, the way humans shape, perceive and interpret the external world is deeply oriented by and depending on cultural, topographic and chronological factors.

Scholars have recently investigated space, movement and interaction within the urban topography (or more in general with the external world), especially dealing with the Roman world (e.g. Laurence and Newsome, 2011; Östenberg, Malmberg and Bjørnebye, 2015; Vermeulen, Zuiderhoek 2021). Movement in the Greek and Italic worlds is a less addressed topic, though not totally ignored, as demonstrated by H. Boman (2003) and the more recent volume edited by S. Montel and A. Pollini (2018). Nevertheless, there is much still to be analysed to achieve a clearer and broader comprehension of the theoretical and practical meanings that movement acquired from the Greek-archaic period onwards. The need for a more articulated discourse on movement in the ancient world dramatically emerges by considering the much deeper investigation of Latin literary sources (e.g. Varro, Horace, Martial, Juvenal) compared to Greek sources, which deserve attention for their possible importance in defining the role of movement before the Hellenistic period. Similarly, whereas movement in public (fora, streets, thoroughfares, compita) and private (domus, villae, etc.) spaces of the Roman world represents a major research field, less has been done, and with a lower degree of analysis, on the dynamics of movement in the Greek agora and the role played since the Hellenistic period by stoai, series of statues, disposition of images and monuments.

The same holds true for movement and mobility on and by water (sea, rivers, lakes). Whereas scholars have thoroughly investigated commercial, economic, and technological issues concerning ancient navigation, the way artificial elements (e.g. harbours, ports, landing places, naval architecture) and natural agents (e.g. winds, water flows, weather conditions, daylight and darkness, time) affected ancient navigation still needs to be fully explored.

Even in the domain of the representation of movement, as far as the Ancient world is concerned, we can agree with Ernst Gombrich who, in 1964, observed: while the problem of space and its representation in art has occupied the attention of art historians to an almost exaggerated degree, the corresponding problem of time and the representation of movement has been strangely neglected. There are of course some relevant observations scattered throughout the literature, but no systematic treatment has ever been attempted’ (Movement in art, in «JWCI» 27, 1964). It is thus necessary to reconsider ancient Greek and Latin sources, both literary and visual, to analyse the multiple intersections between conceptualisations and representations of movement as well as the values attached to movement and stillness.

The Spring School aims to give a fresh approach on how movement can be analysed, reassessing its definition: movement as a foundational and perceptual mechanism. By providing such a definition it is possible to widening and incorporating a range of multidisciplinary topics and approaches. Starting from recent research on movement and space in the Greek and Roman worlds, the goal of the Spring School is to raise and answer interrogatives on how movement shapes and directs our knowledge and perception of the world. For example:

  • How did monuments, objects, images and their physical and topographical arrangement affect movement?

  • How were monuments, objects, images and spaces affected by specific paths, directions, ritualised or conventional prescribed movements and actions?

  • How was movement influenced by natural elements such as winds, water flows, weather conditions, daylight, darkness, time?

  • How to solve the inevitable tension between freedom and constraints when dealing with mobility on and by land/water?

  • Which tools, methods and senses were active in the attempt to answer the need for movement, intrinsically connected with human nature?

A second and fundamental aspect that the Spring School aims to tackle is related to the ancient attempts at understanding, conceptualising and representing movement. Movement is in fact strictly related to time and change:

  • How were different types of movement (terrestrial, aquatic, and aerial) understood, conceptualised and represented? And how did the conceptualisations of movement affect its representation?

  • How were different artistic productions (e.g. architectural complexes and arrangements, monuments, coins, artworks, luxury items, inscriptions, etc.) perceived regarding their ability to move (or be moved) and circulate?

The Spring School has two main objectives. The first is to foster discussion about the modalities through which different types of movement affected the relationship between humans and space in the ancient world, instantiated in ancient Greek and Roman productions. The second objective is to adopt a wider approach, in which a multifarious set of tools, methods and experiments, not constrained by strict chronological and topographical boundaries, can foster new investigations of movement; specifically, how movement shapes and directs our knowledge and perception of the world.

The overarching goal of the Spring School is to enable MA Graduates as well as junior researchers (PhD Students, Post-doctoral Fellows and Junior Professors) working on the Greek and Roman worlds to reflect on both micro and macro levels of movement (walking, resting, weaving, sailing), as well as on different implications of movement (placement, displacement, orientation, disorientation, representation and conceptualisation of movement). We will also appreciate papers with different and interdisciplinary approaches, not strictly related to the Greek and Roman worlds, which can contribute to stimulating debates toward movement, space and their interactions.

Therefore, participants will have the opportunity to share their views, methodologies, approaches on "movement" within a broad international and multidisciplinary network of researchers


The Spring School will adopt a wide variety of teaching formats, from keynote lectures and paper sessions to group discussions and class visits to museums (e.g. the Museum of the Ancient Ships in Pisa). For this reason, it is conceived as an in-person event.c

The School activities will be held in English.

Although all the formats are open and free to be attended by each and every one of the participants, the Panels dedicated to paper presentations are more designed for PhD Candidates and Post-doctoral Fellows.


Panels call for structured contributions of the participants:


We plan to have a series of 15-minute presentations per Panel, with the overarching topic chosen after the selection process. We encourage case-study based contributions addressing any of the following areas or interrelation among them:

  • Movement between Freedom and Constraints: Mobility on and by Land

  • Movement between Freedom and Constraints: Mobility on and by Water

  • Representing Movement: Images and Texts

For further information about the panels please contact


Numerous time slots will be devoted to Q&A sessions, informal contributions, social interaction, etc. Therefore, attendance at the Spring School as members of the audience is possible and welcomed.