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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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)

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November 29, 2017 - A Lecture on the Project "Our Mythical Childhood" in Cameroon

On November 29, Prof. Daniel Nkemleke held his inaugural lecture “The Linguistic-Literature-Culture Nexus: The Example of Our Mythical Childhood... Project”, launching a Departmental Lecture Series. Prof. Nkemleke is the Chair of the Department of English, Ecole Normale Supérieure, University of Yaoundé 1, appointed by the Minister of Higher Education in Cameroon.

Photo gallery.

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October 7, 2017 - The Past for the Present - Inauguration

On 7th October we enjoyed the inauguration of the international cluster „The Past for the Present: International Research and Educational Programme”. The Cluster has been established at the Faculty of “Artes Liberales” with the Fakultät für Sprach- und Literaturwissenschaften, Universität München and the Dipartimento di Storia Culture Civiltà and the Dipartimento di Filologia Classica e Italianistica, Università di Bologna. The inauguration took place in Munich and it was honoured by the Vice Rector of the University of Munich Prof. Barbara Conradt (phot.), the Dean of the Fakultät für Sprach- und Literaturwissenschaften, Prof. Beate Kellner, and the representative of the Bayerisches Staatsministerium für Bildung und Kultus, Wissenschaft und Kunst, Johann Zwirglmaier. It was joined with the international conference organized by Prof. Markus Janka (LMU) – “Verjüngte Antike trifft The Past for the Present: Griechisch-römische Mythologie und Historie in Kinder- und Jugendmedien der Gegenwartskultur”. The inauguration was preceeded (6th Oct.) by the workshops focused on the Cluster´s coming activities. See also here.

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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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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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Zdjęcie teatru w Dodonie: Przemysław Kordos
Projekt strony: Rafał Łempicki