The Reception of Caesar in Children’s and Young Adults’ Culture – a Seminar

Every Wednesday, a Seminar within the Our Mythical Childhood project takes place at the Faculty of “Artes Liberales”, University of Warsaw. The Seminar on December 12, 2018 was a special one, for it was joined by our colleagues from the Cluster The Past for the Present – International Research and Educational Programme, created by the Faculty of “Artes Liberales” UW, Dipartimento di Storia Culture Civiltà and Dipartimento di Filologia Classica e Italianistica of the Università di Bologna, and Fakultät für Sprach- und Literaturwissenschaften of the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, in May 2017.

The Seminar began with a presentation of the invited guests and regular participants – the students of the Faculty’s curricula: Cultural Studies – Mediterranean Civilization, Artes Liberales, and PhD programmes. The University of Bologna was represented by Prof. Giovanna Alvoni, the University of Munich – by Prof. Markus Janka and his assistant Raimund Fichtel, the University of Vienna – by Dr. Sonja Schreiner, and, last but not least, there were also two members of the OMC team from the University of Roehampton: Dr. Sonya Nevin and Steve K. Simons, and Ulrich Rausch – a German magician and author of educational spectacles. Prof. Katarzyna Marciniak started with the introduction of the Seminar’s main topic: Caesar and particularly the biography of Caesar in the context of the reception theme in the cultural texts for young audiences.

At the Seminar, phot. K. Marciniak

The main presentation was given by Dr. Sonja Schreiner who showed to the participants a sample of relevant illustrated books: among the images there were some illustrations of Caesar painting graffiti, Caesar playing soccer, and even Caesar ordering hamburger in Latin.

Dr. Sonja Schreiner at her presentation, phot. K. Marciniak

Dr. Schreiner presented also some books about slavery in ancient times. The participants discussed the presence and the importance of this motif in the reception aimed at youth.

A slide from the presentation by Dr. Sonja Scheiner, phot. K. Marciniak

Furthermore, Dr. Schreiner discussed also the following books: Frank Schwieger’s Ich, Caesar, und die Bande vom Kapitol, Heinz Parigger’s Caesar und die Fäden der Macht, Carl Lindber’s Caesar: Ein Leben für Roms Macht und Glanz. The presentation by Dr. Schreiner is available here.

Next Dr. Sonya Nevin talked about a book from the famous UK series “Ladybird Histories”, with a whole spread dedicated to Caesar, his image also on the book cover:

Romans, book cover, phot. K. Marciniak
Romans, fragment, phot. K. Marciniak

Dr. Nevin presented also the picturebook Questions and Answers about Long Ago:

Questions and Answers about Long Ago, fragment, phot. K. Marciniak

Then, Prof. Markus Janka gave the participants some information about a recent theatrical drama staged at Deutsches Theater Berlin: Rom (nach Coriolan, Julius Cäsar und Antonius und Cleopatra von William Shakespeare), dir. Karin Henkel.

A sample of texts discussed at the Seminar, phot. K. Marciniak

Next, Prof. Marciniak showed some theatrical posters featuring Caesar from the Polish School of Posters. Dr. Hanna Paulouskaya gave a brief talk about illustrations for Belarussian books about Caesar published in 1934, 1943, and 1954. Then, Agnieszka Maciejewska, a PhD student in the Our Mythical Childhood project who is working on Cleopatra in children’s literature, discussed a book by Alain Surget and Fabrice Parme from their series “Children of the Nile”, entitled Caesar, Who’s He? The general discussion that followed was joined by other scholars and students.

Profs. Katarzyna Marciniak, Markus Janka, Giovanna Alvoni, phot. Raimund Fichtel
Prof. Markus Janka’s Caesarean outfit;-), phot. Raimund Fichtel

In the evening the Cluster members and invited guests attended the concert Many Languages of Music by Rafał Janiak from the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music:

Poster by Zbigniew Karaszewski, phot. K. Marciniak

The concert was organized by the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music and the Faculty of “Artes Liberales” UW / Cluster The Past for the Present and took place in the Ball Room of the Tyszkiewicz-Potocki Palace UW. The Master of Ceremonies was Krzysztof Korwin-Piotrowski – TV, musical, and film director and a lecturer at our Faculty. Rafał Janiak, a laureate of numerous prizes and grants, is a young composer and conductor. Recently, he won an opera composition competition organized by the Teatr Wielki in Łódź. The Jury chaired by Prof. Krzysztof Penderecki awarded the Grand Prix in a unanimous vote. In addition, the composer won the audience award. The premiere of the opera Człowiek z Manufaktury [The Man from Manufaktura] will take place in 2019.

Gallery from the concert, phot. Jan Krzysztof Miziołek
Gallery from the concert, phot. Jan Krzysztof Miziołek
Gallery from the concert, phot. Jan Krzysztof Miziołek

Post prepared by Katarzyna Marciniak & Elżbieta Olechowska with the use of the report about the Seminar written by Tomasz Kunicki-Goldfinger, PhD-student from the Faculty of Artes Liberales” UW 


Teatr Wielki in Łódź:

Rom, dir. Karin Henkel, Deutsches Theater Berlin:

A short presentation of the workshops The Present Meets the Past within the Cluster and the Our Mythical Childhood project in May 2018 in Warsaw:

A reportage about the Cluster:

We wish to acknowledge the support received from the “Artes Liberales Institute” Foundation in the organization of the Cluster’s endeavours.







Amazing Friendships with Homer by Emilia Dziubak

Emilia Dziubak (b. 1982) is a Polish illustrator. She graduated from the University of Fine Arts in Poznań. Her works are highly praised both in the country and abroad. In November 2018 Emilia Dziubak published her picturebook “Niezwykłe przyjaźnie. W świecie roślin i zwierząt” [Amazing Friendships. Among the Plants and Animals; Warsaw, Wydawnictwo Nasza Księgarnia]:


The protagonist of the book is a cat called Homer:


One day Homer departs for his “odyssey” in search for friends. He meets many interesting plants and animals who are able to live in symbiosis and support each other (in various, not always easy, ways). On his journey he even encounters… a labyrinth of the ants and is presented with many more surprises:


Emilia Dziubak draws on the classical tradition in a very subtle way. The name of the Poet and the motif of the travel permit her to create a beautifully illustrated story with educational value, both in regard to learning biology by her young readers (with all the shades of the laws of Nature) and to discovering by them the importance of friendship. At the end there can be only a happy end, of course:-). Homer gets back to his “Ithaca”, that however, unlike the island of Odysseus, is a realm of peace and happiness, because of the friends awaiting him there. The source of joy results to be the willingness to support each other and spend time together:


Post prepared by Katarzyna Marciniak


Sources of the illustrations: and the publisher’s website:

Emilia Dziubak’s blog:

Emilia Dziubak on Behance:

Entries by Krzysztof Rybak on two other books co-authored by Emilia Dziubak in the Our Mythical Childhood Survey: and and his blog post: