Our first major publication will be an edited volume of specially commissioned chapters, entitled (provisionally) Visualising War: Interplay between Battle Narratives across Antiquity. Reflecting the two main elements of our project, this volume will (a) provide critical, up-to-date discussions of key methodological issues relating to the study of narrative interplay, and (b) examine instances of narrative interaction between representations of battle in all sorts of genres and media from the 9th century BCE to the 6th century CE. Ranging across Greek, Roman, Jewish, early Christian and ancient Near Eastern material, the volume will illuminate gaps in interaction as well as connections and dialogue. Above all, it will examine the far-reaching impact of instances of interplay between battle narratives from different periods and places, in particular the ways in which such interplay helped to canonise certain ideals/ideals about war/military behaviours.
The project’s Principal Investigators are also engaged in separate research projects of their own which feed into the Visualising War research project; and the same is true of other members of the Visualising War Research Group.
Our wider aim is that the research underpinning this project will regularly lead to knowledge exchange activities and collaborations, with journalists, film makers, artists, storytellers, gaming experts, NGOs, politicians/policy-makers, military personnel, veterans, victims of conflict, and the wider community.
We are currently collaborating with a professional theatre company, NMT Automatics, on a knowledge-exchange project exploring the impact which the retelling of historic battle narratives (e.g. from Homer’s Iliad) continues to have on the ways in which people think and feel about war today and the ways in which individuals and groups (soldiers and civilians) behave in military contexts. This project is being run in collaboration with the School of Classics’ Centre for the Public Understanding of Greek and Roman Drama.
We have secured funding for several research assistants to build an interactive database of hyperlinked battle narratives for our project website (coming soon), with the aim of illuminating both the extent and contours of narrative interplay across space and time. We also have a Laidlaw scholar developing some work around models of leadership and the influence of religion in battle narratives past and present. In addition, various members of the Visualising War Research Group are engaged in knowledge exchange and outreach activities of their own, for example:
- Jon Hesk, on Athenian funeral speeches for the war dead (as political interventions as well as representations)
- Alice König on micro and macro battle narratives and interplay between them in Frontinus’ Strategemata
- The Fateful Voyage, a recital in April 2019 bringing together poetry and music from the Gallipoli campaign of WW1
- Threads of War and Conflict: an exhibition of ‘conflict textiles’, brought to St Andrews in April 2019 by Lydia Cole