The authors of this paper examine the ancient concepts of translatio, imitatio and aemulatio. The text goes over some problems of the heritage of antiquity and its reception in European culture of the early modern period. These questions were discusssed during the international conference “Heredes et scrutatores. Attitudes towards Antiquity in the Renaissance and in the Early Modern Period”, which was held on 19–20 May 2016 at the University of Warsaw. It celebrated the 200th anniversary of classical studies at this university. The conference seeked to explore the changing attitudes towards the heritage of classical antiquity in post-classical European culture. The scholars participating in the meeting tried to (re)examine the diversity of these attitudes in the period between the Late Middle Ages and Early Modern Times and to reflect on a number of related problems, among which were the theoretical viewpoints that had been suggested to describe this diversity. One of them, which gave its name to this conference, distinguishes between two general approaches: that of the “users”, concentrated on adapting the classical legacy by means of procedures inherited from the ancient Romans, and that of the “researchers”, which replaced the former procedures with ones typical of scholarly cognition. The participants discussed theoretical issues and concrete cases illustrating the ways that the intellectuals of the Renaissance and Early Modern Times approached the Greek and the Roman legacy. The connections between past and present attitudes towards antiquity have also been be the subject of the debate.