War, Peace, and Resilience in the Ancient World Narratives

Throughout their history, all cultures of the ancient world have experienced periods of war and peace, demonstrating great resilience in overcoming long battles or in restoring the social order destroyed by the conflicts. Since man is a homo narrans (K. Ranke 1967, Kategorienprobleme der Volksprosa, «Fabula» 9/1-3, 4-12; W. R. Fisher 1987, Human Communication as Narration, University of South Carolina Press) and narration is one of the main means he uses to organize the reality in which he lives (P. Ricœur 1983-1985, Temps et récit, Seuil; B. Czarniawska 2004, Narratives in Social Science Research, Sage), even war and peace have been explained and made intelligible through processes of narration. Taking into account that religion is as well subjected to continuous narrative processes (J. Rüpke-C. Degelmann 2015, Narratives as a Lens into Lived Ancient Religion, Individual Agency and Collective Identity, «Religion in the Roman Empire» 1/3, 289-296), the purpose of this panel is to investigate how and to what extent religious elements were used to narrate peace and war in different cultures of the ancient world.

In particular, abstracts may cover the following topics:

  • Reflections on the nature of peace and war in relation to specific religious beliefs
  • The role assigned to specific extra-human agents in the outbreak of wars or in the stipulation of peace pacts
  • The narration of the relationships between political and military leaders with religious practitioners and extra-human agents
  • The reuse of known mythical motifs to explicate, justify, or establish war and peace
  • The storytelling of peace and war as acts of resilience related to religion
  • The creation ad hoc of new narratives featuring extra-human agents as main characters of war and peace

For those who are interested, the contributions of this panel will be published by Sapienza University Press – New Series (work in progress). All articles will be peer reviewed.