Online Seminar “Toys as Cultural Artefacts in Ancient Greek and Roman Cultures”

25 November 2020 @ 16 h 00 min – 17 h 30 min

The pandemic has deeply changed our academic lives. The need to exchange and collaborate is more present than ever and this online seminar intends to provide a virtual space for ongoing researches on ludic culture. This semester will be dedicated to toys as cultural artefacts in ancient Greek and Roman cultures, fostering anthropological and material approaches in order to define the specificities of ancient playthings.

We will address the following questions:

What is a “toy”? What do we mean by toy in a post-industrial contemporary society? and how was it defined in the past?

The toy stage in the biography of objects

Cheap or costly toys? self-made by children or caretakers, or products of specialists?

Playful rites or ritual play?

The agency of toys: for the ancients, did toys generate a fictional universe, and did they possess a subjectivity?

The series is composed of 12 talks which will be be held by Skype. All talks will be recorded and made available to the registrants.

Registration is open. You can register to a talk by sending a message to

Program (Download PDF)

23.9.2020. Véronique Dasen, Chiara Bianchi (Fribourg): “Présentation du projet Poupées articulées grecques et romaines”

30.9.2020. Ada Nifosi (Kent): “Looking for gender and age specific ‘dolls’ in Dynastic Egypt”

7.10.2020. Sonia Klinger (Haifa): “Toys or models of toys: objects in terracotta from the Demeter and Kore sanctuary at ancient Corinth”

14.10.2020. Astrid Fendt (Munich): “Rite de passage or special ability? The bronze statuette of a boy holding a spinning top in the Munich Collection of Antiquities” / Edwige Lovergne (Rome): “A new terracotta doll in an Etruscan sanctuary”

21.10.2020. Ioanna Patera (Krakow): “Paignia, jeux d’enfants et jeux d’adultes” / Marco Vespa (Fribourg): “Animals as athurma”. Discussant: Cleo Gougouli (Patras)

28.10.2020. Adrienne Lezzi-Hafter (Zurich): “Choés du peintre d’Erétrie” / Hanna Ammar (Fribourg): “Des jouets pour les enfants ?”

4.11.2020. Emilie Thibaut (Compiègnes): “Miniature offerings for the Etruscan gods: toys to grow ?”

11.11.2020. Maya Muratov (New York): “With strings attached: terracotta figurines with articulated limbs”

25.11.2020. Zahra Newby (Warwick): “Dolls in the funerary context: the Grottarossa doll and her mistress”

2.12.2020. Vicky Sabetai (Athens): “Playthings from Boeotia: a combined look at their varying occurrences in cult-places and tombs”

9.12.2020. Kamil Kopania (Warsaw): “Animation in the Middle Ages – key historical and artistic issues”

16.12.2020. Angela Bellia (Rome): “Musical instruments and sound toys in the sacred and funerary sphere”

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