IscaPark was a unique role-game experience addressed to children and adults and held at the Exeter Library on November 14th, 2015. The role-game recreated an imaginary theme park inspired by Roman Exeter (the ancient Isca Dumnoniorum).

Special guest at The Fear and the Fury: Danielle Fiore

© Arianna Ceccarelli

Following an Imagines tradition inaugurated in our first conference in Logroño (La Rioja) in 2007, this year we will have again the opportunity to meet an artist whose work is directly inspired by Antiquity. Our star in Turin will be the local Danielle Fiore, the first Italian photo-model specialised in historical costume. Danielle’s work is known in national and international journals and media. In addition to her work as a model, she has a long experience in the fields of photography and historical reenactment and holds a BA in History by the University of Turin.

During the sixth international IMAGINES Conference Le miasme et l’oliban. L’odeur et les sens dans la réception de l’Antiquité / The Fragrant and the Foul: The Smells and Senses of Antiquity in the Modern Imagination (Toulouse, 18-20 October 2018), Amandine Declercq from les Fées Bottées organised a sensory workshop.

Every participant was invited to make their own kyphi, an Egyptian perfume which was really famous during Antiquity, using an original recipe. Greek kyphi recipes are recorded by Dioscorides, Plutarch and Galen. For the workshop the basic recipe had to be slightly adapted, in order to complete it in few hours of work.


Some ingredients mentioned by the ancient sources are obscure or difficult to find, so they had to be replaced. As a substitute for Asphalat (alhagi maurorum) for instance, Rooibos tea leaves (aspalathus linearis, a plant which belong to the same family) were used.

As main ingredients honey, raisins, wine, juniper berries and myrrh were also employed. A key factor in the preparation is to follow the exact weights and quantities: this was easily done with precision scales, while in antiquity probably volume cups were mostly used.

After grinding, sifting and mixing the ingredients using mortar and pestle, the final result was a thick paste, which, once dried, could be burnt like incense, producing an intense aromatic fragrance.

On April 23rd 2018 a special event took place at the Northeast University of Changchun: NENU’s Main library in Changchun hosted a reading of “Gilgamesh in 12 hours”, as part of an exhibition on Roman coins organised by the Institute for the History of Ancient Civilizations. The event was organized by Imagines collaborator and member Michela Piccin and Irene Berti, as well as Li Qang (all also members of IHAC), and directed by the Assyriologist Michela Piccin, who was also responsible for the adaptation of the text and the translation of the famous poem. Around 120 readers and 20 musicians were involved in the project.

During 12 hours, the 12 tablets of the main edition of the poem Gilgamesh were read by many different voices, one tablet every hour, accompanied by live music. The text, in English translation, was intertwined with musical performances from students and teachers of Western and Chinese music, who brought Western and Eastern music to the scene, ranging from classical to contemporary pieces, and playing Western as well as traditional Chinese instruments. The event also included a special performance of traditional Chinese music played by the children of a local primary school. 

The habit of publicly reading literary works was very common in the distant past; much less so today. “Gilgamesh in 12 Hours” aimed to reverse this trend by staging one of the masterpieces of Ancient Near Eastern Literature. The project developed Michela Piccin’s idea to take the poem Gilgamesh out of classrooms and involve the general public, alongside scholars and students. Everyone was therefore invited to participate, regardless of their theatrical experience and their background knowledge of Assyriological culture. The performers (readers and musicians) included staff members, foreign experts and students from the North East Normal University and from the Jilin University in Changchun, as well as non-academic participants from every possible background. The event brought together participants from Asia, Africa, America and Europe, aged 8 to 65 years old. 

The greatest challenge of this project was the creation of a text that could be read in 12 hours, that could be understood by a mixed audience, and that could engage a large number of readers. Of course, necessary cuts and additions had to be made during the long performance in order to make the text accessible to non-experts. The combination of text and music (with a great deal of improvisation) was the next great challenge.

You can read more on this unique event in the article written for Mar Shiprim by Michela Piccin in the following link.