Immersivity in “Virtual Antiquity”

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter in a book


What does it mean to be immersed in virtual representations of antiquity? What are the methods, affordances, and advantages offered by digital media in terms of immersion, and how do these differ from preceding media? Are video game representations dissimilar from VR reconstructions in terms of their immersive capabilities, and if so, what direction might this suggest for the future of the ‘virtual antiquity’ so many players have come to know?

After defining ‘virtual antiquity’ and exploring the features that help to differentiate its various manifestations from virtual representations of other periods, this chapter offers an investigation of six interrelated themes that illustrate the relationship between world building, participation, and immersivity in virtual reconstructions of antiquity. I start with Construction, Soundscape Design, and Paratexts and Expectation, before moving to consider Time and Interactivity, Embodiment, Empathy and Presence, and finally, Competition and Engagement.

In considering the process required to develop virtual worlds that claim continuity with the past, along with the experience and reception of ‘virtual antiquity’, this chapter not only reflects on the questions raised by the historical content generated by digital media and the formal ways in which this material is presented, but also the ongoing impact of both. The aim, in taking this 360-degree view, is to show how ‘virtual antiquity’ encourages its contributors to imagine and make use of the past, and thus demonstrate the ways in which ‘virtual antiquity’ is engaged in developing a historical literacy. This approach is inspired by the ongoing work of the AHRC-funded Virtual Reality Oracle project, led by Professor Esther Eidinow at the University of Bristol, and my role as part of the project’s interdisciplinary research team from Bristol, King’s College London, and Bath
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationExperiencing Immersion in Antiquity and Modernity: From Narrative to Virtual Reality
PublisherBloomsbury Academic
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2023

Structured keywords

  • Institute of Greece, Rome, and the Classical Tradition
  • Centre for Material Texts


  • Video Games
  • Virtual Reality
  • Virtual Reality Environment
  • Classical Reception
  • Immersion
  • Media Studies
  • Popular culture < Digital/media literacies
  • Paratexts


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