Ancient Magic and the Supernatural From the Ancient Wolrd
Mainz, September 13-15, 2012
To what extent did mythological figures such as Circe and Medea influence the representation of the p owerful ‘oriental’ enchantress in modern European art? What role did the ancient gods and her oes play in the construction of the imaginary worlds of the modern fantasy genre? What is the role of undead creatures like zombies, animated skeletons and vampires in mythological films? The heroes, gods, demons and powerful enchantresses of the ancient world always played a prominent role in the post-Classical imagination. Similarly, the great adventures and famous love affairs of ancient Greek and Roman gods and mortals have influenced the reception of Classical culture and still feature prominently in the modern conception of antiquity. For centuries the revival, reconstruction and adaptation of ancient myths and religion in the arts have provided the backdrop for the exploration of and debate about contemporary fears, hopes and ideals. The ancient myth of the Amazons inspired e.g. the popular comic figure Wonder Woman, showcasing the aspiration for a un iverse free from violence, in which women’s values of the post-World War II era succeed in creating the utopia of a better world. In contrast, the theme of magic in the myth of Medea has often been used as symbol for cultural and political strangeness, highlighting the threat posed by those external elements which do not fit into the ordered world of civilized laws and customs. In Mainz we will discuss the interaction and influences of ancient models with and on modern mentalities and ideologies in the visual and performing arts.