Seminars at the Institute 2020

28 January 2021, 17.00 (in Swedish)

Astrid Capoferro: En bortglömd text: Flavia Capitolinas gravinskrift från Viminalen



Under tidigmodern tid kunde man fortfarande se en del inskrifter in situ på de antika monumenten i Rom, men ett stort antal inskrifter bevarades i kyrkor, palats, trädgårdar, villor. Oftast handlade det om gravinskrifter som grävdes upp i stadens omgivningar. Samlingar av antika inskrifter kan rekonstrueras tack vare de lärda antikvarier och resenärer som besökte Rom och transkriberade texterna i sina anteckningsböcker. Mitt specifika forskningsintresse, vid sidan av de stora och kända antiksamlingarna, är de mindre och ofta helt okända kollektioner av antika inskrifter som samlades under 15- och 1600-talen. Genom arkivforskning kan man ibland identifiera dessa samlare och utforska deras särskilda intresse för inskrifterna samt rekonstruera samlingarnas historia. Ny information om inskrifternas proveniens eller om texterna dyker ibland upp, som jag kommer att berätta om under seminariet. Flavia Capitolinas ofullständiga gravinskrift, bevarad i Schloss Glienicke, i närheten av Potsdam i Tyskland, publicerades 1972 med okänd proveniens. Texten har nu spårats i handskrifter och äldre litteratur som visar att marmorplattan upptäcktes på Viminalen år 1633. Tack vare dessa hittills okända källor kan vi även rekonstruera inskriptionstexten och läsa Flavia Capitolinas fullständiga namn.

Astrid Capoferro är bibliotekarie vid Svenska Institutet i Rom och forskare inom ämnet latinsk epigrafik. Hennes mångåriga arbete med konstnären Alessandro Moranis kopior av etruskiska gravmålningar, bevarade på Svenska Institutet i Rom, har resulterat i vetenskapliga artiklar om samlingens historia.


17 December (in Swedish)
Studentseminarium: San Giovenale

san giovenaleVälkommen på zoomseminarium den 17 december kl. 17.00 med tre masterstudenter från Uppsala universitet (Ghaza Alyasin, Kristine Gierow och Joacim Seger) som kommer presentera resultat från arbetet med sina uppsatser. Alla tre behandlar material från utgrävningarna på San Giovenale.

Svenska institutet i Rom genomförde från 1956 till 1965 utgrävningar på San Giovenale i södra Etrurien. Resultaten fick mycket uppmärksamhet och arbetet med materialet från utgrävningarna pågår än idag. Ghaza Alyasins uppsats handlar om de etruskiska byggnadsresterna på den så kallade ”kungens terrass” i Area C, Kristine Gierows uppsats handlar om den s.k. protovillanova-kulturen och dess keramik medan Joacims Segers uppsats handlar om bucchero-keramik och konsumptionsmönster.

Den som inte tidigare deltagit i något av våra zoomseminarier ombeds skriva till This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. för registrering.




10 December
Ann Glennie (Florida State University): Monumental cisterns and euergetism at Cosa 

Water reservoir at Cosa, American Academy in Rome, Cosa Archaeological CollectionCosa (modern Ansedonia, Italy), a Latin colony founded by the Romans in 273 BCE on a waterless hill in Etruria, depended solely on rainwater for its survival and as such the site is provisioned with dozens of features to collect and store water—several of which are largescale and associated with non-domestic structures. Previous scholarship notes the necessity of these rainwater harvesting features, however, no complete synthesis of them has ever been undertaken. My dissertation seeks to fill this gap by examining the mechanisms of water management at Cosa during the Roman Republican and Imperial periods in order to understand the scheme and how rainwater harvesting shaped the colony’s history. In this talk, I focus on one aspect of that investigation, arguing that these non-domestic and largescale reservoirs and cisterns should be viewed not only as architecturally monumental, but also as the product of euergetic building projects undertaken by local Cosan grandees seeking to heighten their public profiles. 
Ann Glennie is a Ph.D. candidate in Classics at Florida State University with a dissertation focused on hydraulic engineering and rainwater harvesting in the ancient Mediterranean. She excavates at Cosa, a Latin colony, and the Etruscan site of Poggio Civitate (Murlo).


3 December
Marie Kraft (Circolo Scandinavo): Re-take, re-store and re-activate. New uses of urban heritage produces urban regeneration in Rome

KraftIn a time when sustainable urban development has become a necessity and systematic demolition embedded in Modernist city planning, contemporary architects in many countries has been pushed to reconsider reuse of the existing built environment. In this discussion Rome could be considered an exception, where the contemporary city has been built by integrating its heritage since Ancient Rome. French historian and urban anthropologist, Francoise Choay, underlines the specificity of an Italian perspective on heritage, which allows a non-monumentalizing of historical buildings. Whether the transformation is planned by authorities or a result of informal occupation, is is generally linked to a lack of space for a certain function as a need for housing, green areas or places for religious practice which transformed roman basilicas into the first Christian churches.

Since several years, I have developed a practice-based research in collaboration with several Italian architects and researchers, focusing on how incrementally transformed buildings or sites can contribute to urban regeneration on a larger scale. Taking several recent transformations of sites in Rome as a starting point, this seminar will discuss the complexity in the process of reactivating abandoned areas or buildings, and more specifically, look into the relation between users, political decisions and physical context.


Marie Kraft is director of the Circolo Scandinavo in Rome, an architect and artist. She teaches urban planning and Architecture at Umeå School of architecture, the department of Urban studies at Malmö university and the Faculty of architecture at the University Federico II in Naples.

Discussant: Maria Luna Nobile is an architect and an urban planner with a PhD in Urban research from University Federico II in Naples. She teaches Urban planning and Architecture at Umeå School of architecture and at the Faculty of architecture at University Federico II in Naples.

26 November 2020 

University of Amsterdam, prof. Patricia S. Lulof and Maarten Sepers, M.: The Acquarossa Memory Project

zon FAcquarossa lies in the heart of the Etruscan territory, close to the Lago di Bolsena, but far enough from the primal coastal centers to be regarded as a hinterland town. The town is named after the red-coloured creek surrounding the site, which is situated on a tufa-plateau. Excavations carried out by the Swedish Institute in Rome in the last century, revealed a large series of Etruscan houses and public buildings, inhabited from the late 8th century BC until shortly after the middle of the 6th century BC, when the town was suddenly and inexplicably abandoned. Since 2016, the University of Amsterdam, in collaboration with the Swedish Institute in Rome and many other partners, within the department of ACASA and the research school AHM, this project AMP has been carried out with funding from the Dutch Scientific Research Foundation (NWO). The project focused on the recreation of Etruscan domestic life and integration in the Archaeological park of Acquarossa (Italy), in such a way that both international scholars and tourists-visitors will acknowledge virtual reconstructions of Etruscan houses within their successive phases of creation, construction, function, and destruction. In general, this project aims at knowledge exchange and multidisciplinary scientific research, using both digital methods (3D and drones) as (in-) tangible heritage (GPR and other remote sensing techniques). The reconstruction and analysis of one of the most important areas in Acquarossa, the so-called Zone B, is subject to a Ph.D. project, that will be further discussed in the latter part of this presentation.

Patricia Lulof is an Associate Professor in Pre-Roman Archaeology and Director of the 4D Research Lab at the Faculty of Humanities, University of Amsterdam. She specializes in terracotta roof-decoration and archaic architecture, as well as 3D reconstruction and digital applications in archaeology and heritage.

Maarten Sepers lectures (digital) archaeology at the Saxion University of Applied Sciences and works as an independent researcher on the Acquarossa Memory Project. He has a keen interest in the integration of digital techniques and methods in archaeological research. 


19 November
Eleonora Cappuccilli (Universitetet i Oslo): In the steps of Birgitta of Sweden. Women prophets on theology and politics in Renaissance Italy

Fra Angelico

The seminar presents some of the results of my current research project which delineates the impact of Birgitta of Sweden (1303-1373) on women’s prophetic experience in Renaissance Italy as a part of the international research project The Legacy of Birgitta of Sweden. Reviving the prophetic model embodied by St. Birgitta, whose Revelations discussed the most urgent political and theological issues of her time and circulated widely in the peninsula in fifteenth and sixteenth century, Italian women prophets gave voice to claims of renovation within Church and communities, exerted authority, interpreted the Scriptures, and challenged patriarchal and ecclesiastical hierarchies. The seminar focuses on the case studies of Paola Antonia Negri (1508-1555), Domenica Narducci da Paradiso (1473-1553) and Caterina Mattei da Racconigi (1486-1547) exploring their relationship with secular and spiritual powers, intellectuals and literary women and men involved in reform movements. The seminar discusses some questions concerning the significance of St. Birgitta as a prophetic model in the experience of Negri, Mattei and Narducci: how do they relate to this model in debating pressing religious, political and social problems? Which processes of legitimation and delegitimation of women as speaking subjects emerge from the prophetic experience? Through these questions and more, the seminar aims to shed light on the uneasy paths of the Birgittine revival in the Italian Renaissance.

Eleonora Cappuccilli is postdoctoral fellow in History of Ideas at the University of Oslo and her main area of work is women's political and religious thought in the Renaissance and early modern era.


12 November
Johannes Luchmun (ark.form.luchmun): Re: Use In Rome On: Architectural Form and Material from Ancient to Contemporary Rome.

Nolli map, La Nuova Topografia di Roma,1748Luchmun TeatroMarcello

A path through Rome's rich history of re:use: from the geological conditions of the landscape, via the resilience of form and material of urban spaces, ancient monuments and building elements, towards a future use of the urban fabric.
Urban space in Rome has retained major parts of its form and character through continuous renewal negotiations. Buildings that define the urban space have changed, through physical and material alterations and extensions, but also by allowing new use. Both urban spaces and buildings have shown a strong resistance and adaptability to different programs and activities. In this way, the urban fabric gives space for both history and future for the citizens. This overlay and re:use can be described as a Palimpsest, in the same way as the text on a parchment was rubbed off during the middle age to allow the valuable material to be re:used and create space for a new layer of meaningful characters. 
A selection of cases from the history of architecture enables us to follow how Rome utilized and re:used its material heritage throughout history.


5 November
Davide Zori (BaylorUniversity): From Etruscan Urban Center to Medieval Fortified Village: San Giuliano Archaeological Research Project

Excavation of Etruscan chamber tomb. Photo: San Giuliano Archaeological Research ProjectThe San Giuliano Archaeological Research Project is conducting surveys and excavations at the multicomponent site of San Giuliano (Lazio, Italy). Here we have uncovered a dynamic landscape of interlocking settlement and burial that span the advent of Etruscan civilization to the zenith of the High Middle Ages. We have documented over 500 previously unmapped Etruscan tombs, conducted salvage excavations of four previously-looted chamber tombs, and discovered four transitional Villanovan-Etruscan trench tombs dating to around AD 700. Excavations on the plateau have revealed a medieval castle complex, including a feasting hall, a defensive tower, and a crypt with dozens of burials associated with a private chapel. An urban center developed atop the San Giuliano plateau in the 7th century BC, and flourished in the 6th and 5th century. After Roman Conquest in the 3rd century, people chose to leave the site in favor of dispersed lowland habitation. In the Middle Ages—sometime between AD 800 and 1200—the local population reoccupied and refortified the earlier Etruscan acropolis. Our project seeks to understand the nature and motivations of these settlement shifts.

29 October, 17.00 - online (in Swedish)
Johanna Vernqvist (Linköpings universitet): Subversiva uttryck av kropp, genus och kärlek: tidigmoderna kvinnors estetiska och retoriska strategier i konst och litteratur

Elisabetta Sirani: Timoclea uccide il capitano di Alessandro Magno, 1659Under 1500- och 1600-talen blomstrade det kulturella klimatet i de italienska stadsstaterna och furstendömena såsom Venedig, Rom, Florens och Bologna. Salongerna, de konstnärliga workshopsen och akademierna blev allt fler under perioden, vilka utgjorde inspirerande arenor för intellektuella, filosofer, konstnärer, poeter och författare att mötas, debattera, framföra sina verk och samarbeta på. Det fördes livliga filosofiska debatterna om kvinnors och mäns kroppsliga konstitutioner, förmågor och genusideal, vilka var nära sammanvävda med idéer och diskussioner om hur kärleken skulle förstås och praktiseras. Mot den här bakgrunden undersöker jag i mitt nya projekt hur kvinnor, verksamma inom olika estetiska praktiker, destabiliserade tidigmoderna hegemoniska diskurser om genus, kropp och kärlek genom liknande estetiska och retoriska strategier. Under seminariet kommer jag att presentera projektet i korthet och visa några exempel ur det material som ingår i min pågående forskning.



22 October, 17.00 - online (in Swedish)
Anna Blennow, Göteborgs universitet: Vägar genom det medeltida Rom - itinerarier och inskrifter

Vägarna genom det medeltida Rom kantas av texter. Itinerarierna ur handskriften Einsiedeln nr. 326 visar de vindlande lederna från stadsport till stadsport via både kristna kultplatser och antika monument. Men längs vägen förväntades den bildade pilgrimen också inhämta information och inspiration från den mängd latinska inskrifter som tjänade som guider i sten på färden. Under seminariet presenterar jag mitt arbete med att rekonstruera de medeltida itinerarierna samt ett kommande projekt med fokus på de samlingar av antika inskrifter som finns förtecknade i medeltida handskrifter.


15 October
Helena Wangefelt Ström, Uppsala University:  Saving souls or cultivating characters? Heritagization of religion in Early Modern Rome and Venice.

15oktoberWhat happened when pious pilgrims had to share space with cultural tourists in the religious and political hot spots of 17th century Rome and Venice? During the aftermath of the Reformation and the prelude to the Grand Tour, the religious monuments, artifacts, and feasts in Rome and Venice were subject to a transforming agent, namely what we today may refer to as the tourist gaze. Religious practice and its material and immaterial expressions were increasingly seen, described, and used also by other visitors than devote pilgrims, and for cultural more than cultual purposes. This seminar will, through a selection of images and sources, explore and discuss the possible driving forces behind this transformation and the new narratives produced from it.


8 September
Samuel Douglas, Uppsala University: Ekphrasis in Statius’ Silvae

The poet Statius is best known for his epic poetry, but also wrote significant amounts of non-epic poetry collected in the volumes of his Silvae. Many of these poems are highly descriptive, with extensive sections on the villas, bath-houses, and environments enjoyed by the various patrons who supported his work. This project aims to examine these poems in light of the ekphrastic theory of his first century AD contemporaries and the ways that Statius’ ekphrastic poems function as encomiastic texts.



27 February

Cecilia Beer (senior independent researcher, Stockholm University): Children in Capua: Terracotta Votives from the Fondo Patturelli Sanctuary, an Inventory for a Catalogue Raisonné

This project was initiated many years ago in the Museo Provinciale Campano in Capua. Many of the sculptures in that museum presumably derive from the excavations carried out at Curti on the outskirts of ancient Capua (modern S. Maria Capua Vetere) already around 1850. The findings revealed two consecutive temple buildings, one Archaic and one Hellenistic, and both periods have left us numerous votive sculptures spanning the period c. 550-50 B.C. The oldest statuary consists of large, almost life-size, enthroned women of tufa stone. The “Matres”, as they are called, hold from one to twelve swaddled baby-children in their lap or in their arms.
Another important group of votives, c. 100 pieces and fragments and the focus of my research, consists of terracotta children and generally boys or babies. Their iconography is reminiscent of the temple-boys of Cyprus as well as a group of votive boys from Etruscan Caere.
The cult is unfortunately anonymous, no inscriptions are there to identify the deity, which must be assumed to be female.My project aims at understanding the function of the cult and its possible contact zones and ways of influence as well as the mechanisms of production and distribution of certain types of votives to or from other places in the surroundings (or further away).


20 February

Astrid Nilsson (Lerici stipendiat, Svenska institutet i Rom): Marco Polo på latin – början till en vetenskaplig textutgåva 
Marco Polos (1254–1319) beskrivning av Fjärran Östern har sedan medeltiden översatts gång på gång till alla upptänkliga språk och utkommit oräkneliga gånger. Under ett handelskrig mellan Genua och Marco Polos hemstad Venedig kring 1299 tillbringade han en tid i fängelse i Genua. Då lär han ha dikterat verket på italienska för sin medfånge Rustichello, som skrev ned det hela på franska med starka italienska inslag. Någon gång mellan 1310 och 1322 översattes verket så till latin av Francesco Pipino, dominikanermunk från Bologna. Det var i denna latinska skepnad Marco Polo huvudsakligen lästes av medeltidens lärde, vilket förstås gör översättningen kulturhistoriskt synnerligen betydelsefull. Bara det faktum att 60 manuskript av Pipinos översättning bevarats och finns utspridda på olika bibliotek runtom i världen pekar i sig på dess bestsellerstatus. Ändå finns det fortfarande ingen vetenskaplig utgåva av texten. Mitt projekt här i Rom bedrivs huvudsakligen i Vatikanbiblioteket, där det finns flera manuskript, och är början till en utgåva. Den kommer så småningom att omfatta samtliga kända manuskript.


13 February

Sabrina Norlander Eliasson, Universitetslektor i konstvetenskap (Stockholms Universitet): Vi lever som drottningar”. Materiell kultur i kvinnliga kloster i det senbarocka Rom.

Efter Konciliet i Trent (1545-65) utgick allt strängare påbud för de katolska kvinnliga klostren beträffande klausur och dess regelverk. Klostren utgjorde viktiga institutioner för försörjning för kvinnor inom alla samhällsklasser, men de aristokratiska nunnorna och deras familjer bidrog även till sekulär status och politisk makt. De sistnämnda utverkade också aktivt dispens från de strikta reglerna gällande livsföring, mobilitet och konsumtion. Seminariet diskuterar ovanstående paradox med utgångspunkt i nunnornas celler som exempel på liminala platser i en starkt reglerad samhällsordning.