Conference Day 1: Janus: Language and text between East Asian and Greco-Roman Classics

Over the past decade, a surge of interest in the global reception of Classics has generated a growing body of scholarship that engages with texts and cultures beyond Greece and Rome, especially in Mexico and South America, India, and Eastern Europe. The Janus Project was launched in January 2024 to direct this energy still further east towards another body of texts also known as Classics: the ancient East Asian philosophical and literary canon, and the commentary and pedagogical traditions that grew up around it. The inaugural Janus conference will bring together scholars working on any point of confluence between Greco-Roman and East Asian ‘Classics’. The conference will showcase the breadth and depth of the field, explore the potential for cross-disciplinary collaboration, and build connections within and between specialties.

The conference is sponsored by the University of Oxford Faculty of Classics and Oxford University Press John Fell Fund.

Please direct any questions you may have to the conference organizers, Cynthia Liu and Charis Jo (

To register to attend in person, please email by 3 June. The registration fee for in-person attendance, to include coffee/tea and lunch, is £10. If you have dietary requirements, please do let us know by 3 June.

To attend online, please email by 14 June.

12:30-13:00 Registration
13:00-14:30 Session 1: Poetry
Christopher Waldo (University of Washington, Seattle), Honey and Robots: Reinventing Greco-Roman and Chinese Antiquity in the Poetry of Sally Wen Mao
Kai Chen (Regent’s College, Oxford), Two Ghosts: Ambivalence and Moderation in Zhou Zuoren’s Reception of Sappho
Beth Harper (University of Hong Kong), Delightful leisure and spiritual freedom: the gardener in comparative perspective
14:30-15:30 Session 2: Friendship
Stefano Rebegianni and Lucas Herchenroeder (University of Southern California), A friend in difficult times: Martini Martini’s Qiuyou pian and the reception of Greco-Roman literature in early modern China
Anqi Fang (Wolfson College, Cambridge), My Second Half: Matteo Ricci’s Essay of Friendship as an Adaptive Strategies and Its Influence on the Late Ming Literati’s View of Friendship
15:30-16:00 Coffee and Tea Break
16:00-17:30 Session 3: Confucius Sinarum Philosphus
Elisa Della Calce and Simone Mollea (University of Turin) ONLINE, Literary Memory and Latin Translation of Value Concepts between Western and Eastern Cultures. The Cases of Humanitas and Clementia in the Confucius Sinarum Philosophus (1687)
Nathan Gilbert (Durham University), World History: European or Universal? Tensions in the Jesuit Confucius Sinarum Philosophus (1687)
Jiakai Zhang (University of California, Los Angeles), Neo-Confucianism, Plato, and Christianity: Three Layers in Joseph Edkins’ Biography of Plato
17:30-17:45 Coffee and Tea Break
17:45-18:45 Keynote: Alexander Beecroft (University of South Carolina), Incomparable? Greece, China, and the Comparative Method