Centre for Studies on the Classical Tradition (OBTA) created by Professor Jerzy Axer in 1991, directed between 2008 and 2012 by Professor Jan Kieniewicz, is a permanent component of the Faculty of “Artes Liberales” at the University of Warsaw. From among OBTA community members were formed scholarly teams conducting ground-breaking research, as for instance the Laboratory for Source Editing & Digital Humanities and the Philhellenic Laboratory.

Currently, OBTA implements the first in Poland ERC Consolidator Grant in the humanities. We collaborate with representatives of various disciplines from across the world: from North America, through Europe, Africa, Asia, to Australia and New Zealand, combining scholarly reflection with educational and popularizing activities.

In OBTA, we study ancient motifs in literary and artistic masterpieces but also look for traces of Antiquity in popular culture: in fantasy literature, movies, television series, songs, computer games, the most recent Internet phenomena... We consider Antiquity an important cultural experience. The way it is received reflects transformations occurring in the world throughout centuries – also in our times.

Looking into the reception mirror, comparing various images and reflections that appear therein, we can better understand ourselves and the mechanism of these transformations. We pay particular attention to the reception of Classical Antiquity by children and youth. It is a fascinating process during which young people shape their identity and define their own attitude towards the legacy passed on to them by adults.

Studies of the reception of the ancient culture require curiosity, humility but also a bit of rebellious spirit, as well as courage, because we can never predict what we will see looking into the ancient mirror. It could the Gorgon Medusa whose reflection would freeze the blood in our veins, or the beautiful face of Narcissus that we would never want to abandon. Or, it may happen that we would be looking in the Mirror of Erised into which stared a young hero from our times as well and which shows to each one of us our particular most cherished desire.

OBTA allows us space to study and analyze these experiences in a friendly environment. That is the reason why we consider her to be of the feminine gender, in the same line of concepts, as Alma Mater.

Studies of reception – whether based on the masterpieces of our civilization, or on popular culture – teach us that draco dormiens nunquam titillandus but at the same time inspire us to try.

Marcus Luepertz, Merkury (Bonn), fot. Katarzyna Marciniak


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May 5, 2021 - A Proletarian Classics? Call for Papers

A Proletarian Classics? An online workshop, October 23-24, 2021

The Brave New Classics steering committee would like to invite expressions of interest and contributions (abstracts proposing 15 minute papers) on the relationship between ancient Greek and Roman culture and world communism from 1917. The workshop will be hosted by the University of St Andrews with short panels and discussion sessions held online over the weekend of 23-24 October 2021. Expressions of interest welcome any time and the deadline for abstracts is 1st June, 2021.


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October 24-26, 2019 - Symposium celebrating the 1600th anniversary of Saint Jerome´s death

On October 24-26, 2019, the Faculty of "Artes Liberales" in collaboration with the Universities in Ljubljana, Zagreb, Graz, Lille, Central European University, International Network of Excellence "Europa Renascens," as well as with the Institut des Sources Chrétiennes and the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts, organizes in Ljubljana a symposium celebrating the 1600th anniversary of Saint Jerome´s death. Interested scholars are invited to participate. A Call for Papers and other information are available on the attached poster and at: https://ff.classics.si/2019/01/11/hieronymus-noster/

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November 22, 2018 - Collaboration with Slovenia

Elżbieta Olechowska participated as a guest editor and author in the publishing of two Slovenian scholarly journals: Primerjalna Književnost 41.2 (2018) and Keria. Studia Latina et Graeca 20.3 (2018). Both new issues can be viewed at https://ojs.zrc-sazu.si/primerjalna_knjizevnost/issue/view/619 and at https://revije.ff.uni-lj.si/keria, respectively. The former is published by the Slovene Comparative Literature Association and presents papers from a September 2017 conference in Ljubljana entitled European Humanism and Its Challenges; the latter is produced by the Faculty of Arts of the University of Ljubljana and focuses on Classics and Communism in Theater, a research programme conducted jointly by the University of Ljubljana and OBTA, Faculty of "Artes Liberales," University of Warsaw. 

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January 21, 2018 - Dorota Bazylczyk and Anna Mik on Female Mythical Creatures

Dorota Bazylczyk and Anna Mik, doctoral students at our Faculty, had the presentation “Monstrous Women in the Globalized World: Images of Selected Female Characters from Classical Mythology in the Contemporary Children’s and Young Adults’ Culture” at the international (Humboldt Kolleg) “Topographien der Globalisierung / Topographies of Globalization” at the Institute of German Studies, Faculty of Modern Languages, University of Warsaw.

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January 20, 2018 - Prof. Katarzyna Marciniak on the Heritage of Antiquity in the Age of Globalization

Prof. Katarzyna Marciniak gave a paper on “Das Erbe der Antike und die Kinderkultur im Zeitalter der Globalisierung” at the international conference (Humboldt Kolleg) “Topographien der Globalisierung / Topographies of Globalization” at the Institute of German Studies, Faculty of Modern Languages, University of Warsaw.

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December 10, 2017 - Anna Mik about Disney’s Classical Antiquity

Anna Mik, a doctoral student of our Faculty, held a paper “From Persephone to Hercules. Classical Motifs in Walt Disney’s animations” at the conference “Disney’s Universe” at the Pedagogical University in Cracow.

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December 5-8, 2017 - Workshops and a Meeting of the Cluster The Past for the Present

A meeting of the newly established Cluster The Past for the Present took place at our Faculty, with the participation of Prof. Giovanna Alvoni and Prof. Renzo Tosi from the University of Bologna, as well as Prof. Markus Janka and Raimund Fichtel from the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich.

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December 4, 2017 - Autism, theory of mind and works of fiction

On Monday 4th Dec. dott. Edoardo Pecchini, a neuropsychiatrist, a PhD student at our Faculty, and a consultant in the ERC project “Our Mythical Childhood” will give a lecture on (quot. from his abstract) “a clinic case of Asperger syndrome and how fiction was useful to some extent  to understand inner mental mechanisms and behaviours”. All are welcome! (Conference Room, Nowy Świat 69)

© Ośrodek Badań nad Tradycją Antyczną
Zdjęcie teatru w Dodonie: Przemysław Kordos
Projekt strony: Rafał Łempicki