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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October 10, 2017 - Antiquity - Camera - Action!

We are pleased to announce Poland´s video competition for gymnasium and high-school students, within the framework of the "Our Mythical Childhood" project. More here: 

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September 28–30, 2017 - Classical Antiquity and Memory

On September 28–30 Dr. Hanna Paulouskaya participated in the International Interdisciplinary Conference “Classical Antiquity and Memory” organized by the Centre for the Classical Tradition of the University of Bonn (in person of Penelope Kolovou) and Jocasta Research Project, based at the University of Patras (in person of Efstathia Athanasopoulou). OBTA was one of the patrons of the conference. Dr. Paulouskaya presented her paper Soviet Argonauts: Sailing to the Costs of Colchis in the Soviet Culture. She also had the possibility to present OBTA and the project Our Mythical Childhood... The Reception of Classical Antiquity in Children’s and Young Adults’ Culture in Response to Regional and Global Challenges (ERC Consolidator Grant led by Prof. Katarzyna Marciniak), within the framework of which she studies the reception of Antiquity in Soviet animation. 

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September 3, 2017 - European Humanism and Its Challenges

"European Humanism and Its Challenges" – International Symposium will take place on Sept. 8–9, 2017, with many participants from our Faculty – programme.

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July 6, 2017 - Our Mythical Hope - Movies

We invite you to see the short movies from the conference and the workshops “Our Mythical Hope in Children´s and Young Adults´ Culture... The (In)efficacy of Ancient Myths in Overcoming the Hardships of Life" within the project “Our Mythical Childhood”, ERC Consolidator Grant: 

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June 29, 2017 - Review of "Our Mythical Childhood" volume

We are pleased to share the review of the volume "Our Mythical Childhood... : The Classics and Literature for Children and Young Adults" that has been published on "Bryn Mawr Classical Review": 

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June 19th, 2017 - OBTAmistic Meeting

We invite you to take part in an e-lecture within the cycle OBTAMISTIC MEETINGS, on Monday 19th June, in conf. room, Nowy Świat 69. Dott. Edoardo Pecchini, Doctor of Medicine, specialist in Child and Adolescent Neuropsychiatry and a PhD student at our Faculty will talk about “The katapontismós from Greek Myths to the Tale of Niccolò Pesce in Southern Italy”.

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June 5th, 2017 - Our Mythical Hope - Pictures

Photo gallery from the workshops and the conference “Our Mythical Hope...” (May 15–21, 2017), ERC Consolidator Grant, is available here.

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May 11, 2017 - Our Mythical Hope

We invite you to take part in the conference “Our Mythical Hope in Children’s and Young Adults’ Culture... The (In)efficacy of Ancient Myths in Overcoming the Hardships of Life” that is taking place at the Faculty of “Artes Liberales” UW within the ERC Consolidator Grant for the project “Our Mythical Childhood...” led by Prof. Katarzyna Marciniak.  
The conference programme.

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May 4, 2017 - European Humanism and its Challenges

We invite you to read the Call for Papers for international sympsium in Ljubjana
Call for Papers

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March 15, 2017 - Our Mythical Childhood - ERC Week

We invite you warmly to a meeting with the “Our Mythical Childhood...” project in the ERC Week. 

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February 22, 2017 - Our Mythical Childhood – ERC Days

The European Research Council (ERC) is celebrating its 10th Anniversary. On this occasion, we are meeting to talk about the Project “Our Mythical Childhood... The Reception of Classical Antiquity in Children’s and Young Adults’ Culture in Response to Regional and Global Challenges”, led by Prof. Katarzyna Marciniak within the framework of the ERC Consolidator Grant (2016–2021). The meetings will take place in March at the Faculty of “Artes Liberales” UW that is the Host Institution of the Project and at the Beneficiary Institutions worldwide. More informations.

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February 22, 2017 - Seventeen- and Eighteenth-Century Monastery Chronicles

Dr. Hanna Paulouskaya´s monograph Seventeen- and Eighteenth-Century Monastery Chronicles from Hrodna. Genres and Communications Aspects presents the results of research into the chronicles written in the convents of the Observants, Discalced Carmelites, Jesuits, and Bridgettines. Using innovative modern methodology to analyze the old texts, the author succeeded in recreating the way they functioned in the early modern culture and in illuminating the genre itself. The doctoral dissertation serving as basis for the monograph won a prestigious award from the Prime Minister of Poland. More information.

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February 8, 2017 - Steven Saylor De amicitia

Steven Saylor, the author of bestseller novels with the storyline in Ancient Rome, recommends our Faculty´s publication – De amicitia.

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January 16, 2017 - De amicitia online

The volume "De amicitia. Transdisciplinary Studies on Friendship", dedicated to our Masters – Prof. Jerzy Axer and Prof. Jan Kieniewicz – is freely available online here.

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