Antiquity and the Shaping of the Future in the Age of Enlightenment

In the 18th century, a new interpretation of the past radically innovated the dominating view of and approach to tradition. The legacy of antiquity was always there as shared memory, in line with the cosmopolitan spirit of the Enlightenment, and provided fascinating yet familiar imagery: when the great historical events of the century took place – from the dynastic struggles to the American and French revolutions up until the Italian revolutionary triennium and the Napoleonic era – the political, institutional, legal and philosophical models of the ancient Greeks and Romans and of all traditions constituted a source of inspiration and a constant means of comparison. The art, literature, drama and music of the period would draw on classical themes and expressiveness. Science and technology innovated traditional knowledge. Archaeology, museology, library science and erudition developed in relation to the growing need of knowing and classifying the ancient world in new ways. Nevertheless, the critical and analytical attitude that characterised 18th century culture also transformed its relationship with antiquity, which was renegotiated and modernised. This modern view of antiquity provided a dynamic means of comparison for the modern world to pass onto the following century, when new cultural models were defined based on difficult and contradictory relationship with tradition. This no longer concerns the contrast between the Ancients and the Moderns that dominated the more traditional background of the Renaissance well into the 17th century. Nor is the famous metaphor of “the dwarfs standing on the shoulders of giants” applicable to the following century any longer. Indeed, the 1700s witnessed a reconstruction of the foundations of knowledge considering not only the different forms of knowledge itself, but also the individual and its existence in the present, thus creating a break with the past and laying the groundwork to build the future and elaborate the new patterns of thought and expression that developed in the subsequent ages and up to the present.  The challenge that the Congress is to face lies precisely in the capturing of the deep sense and meaning of this transformation, which involves all branches of knowledge and can be approached from different perspectives and with different methodologies. The programme will include theme-related keynote lectures, panels, round tables, and paper presentations. The congress languages are English, French and Italian.

This is the list of all the papers, panels and round tables to be included in the conference programme. The composition of the various panels is based on the indications of the convenors and on the individual proposals submitted later. It should be remembered that delegates at ISECS conferences may convene a panel, take active part in a round table, and present a paper, but they cannot present two papers. Further information on the programme -- especially the daily distribution of the different panels and round tables -- will be released shortly. Due to organisational reasons, you are kindly ask to register as soon as possible; if you do so before March 31st, you will also benefit from the early bird, reduced registration fee. We remind you that in order to participate in the congress, either as a speaker or as a listener, you must register.

Every paper included in the program has been accepted and the speakers are invited to pay the early registration fee before March 31. An official letter of invitation to the Congress, if needed, may be asked by writing to

Congress Presentation

All delegates are required to register online and pay the appropriate Congress registration fee, which is compulsory for having their presentation included in the final program: it will not be possible to register on site.

We kindly ask those who have not yet registered to contact as soon as possible the Organising Committee at 

Congress Programme

( version updated on June 30, 2023)

 Online version, correct on  July 3 , with additions and deletionshere

sessions wednesday 5 july: here

sessions thursday 6 july: here

sessions friday 7 july: here


Gala dinner

July, 6th  2023 - Institute of Roman Studies (Piazza dei Cavalieri di Malta, 2, 00153 Roma RM)

Gala dinner in one of the most striking locations in Rome, the Aventine hill, a step away from the historic center and overlooking the Cupolone. Dinner’s cost is 60.00€ vat included. Hurry up and book your place!! Deadline to purchase is June 25th 

Click here to book your dinner or excursion!