Month: October 2022

Oppedisano on the Legatio Arverna (Ep. 1.9)

Fabrizio Oppedisano published ‘Une note sur la legatio Arverna à Rome (467 ap. J.-C.)’ in Marie-Pierre Chambon et al., L’Antiquité tardive dans le centre et le centre-ouest de la Gaule (IIIe-VIIe siècles), Revue Archéologique du Centre de la France, Supplement 82, 2022, 69-75.

At the end of 467, Sidonius Apollinaris came to Rome to bring petitions from the Arverni to the court of Anthemius. This paper aims to reconstruct the legatio and to place it within the framework of the relations between central government and provincial communities in the specific context of the last years of the Western Roman Empire.

Gender Fluidity in Ep. 2.9

In an article entitled ‘Personification and Gender Fluidity in the Psychomachia and Its Early Reception’ (Speculum 97/4, Oct. 2022), Katherine Breen points out that Sidonius, in Ep. 2.9.4, shelves Prudentius’ works ambiguously between the men’s and the women’s side of the library.

‘Their Christian subject matter classifies them as feminine even as their epic verse form and dense classical allusions situate them within the Roman literary tradition, and so make them appropriate for male readers. Given the association between rhetorical and bodily ornament, one might see Prudentius’s texts as cross-dressing, clothing feminine religious doctrine in a masculine and classical style.’

Ágnes Horváth Translates the Letters

Ágnes T. Horváth has published her translation into Hungarian of the Letters: Caius Sollius Modestus Sidonius Apollinaris levelei, Szeged: JGYF Kiadó, 2022. Item in publisher’s catalogue here.

She provides the following explanation:

The volume consists of two parts. The first part contains the Hungarian translation of the letters and their explanation in footnotes. It is primarily a literary translation. The accompanying and detailed notes of commentary are not concerned with the Latin text, but rather with the content of the letters and the Hungarian wording. Mythological and other explanations in the commentary aim to help a general audience but also to facilitate further intertextual research. The translation and the notes are based on authoritative editions.
The second part of the volume contains some studies. The purpose of the author is to help Hungarian readers to get to know Sidonius better. The biographical section contains an overview of Sidonius’ life and a reconstruction of his family history. The biographical part includes secondary literature. The reconstruction of the history of his family starts with the analysis of his name and focuses on the investigation of the gens Sollia. It is based on published inscription material by means of which the author attempts to outline the rise of this gens (an article is forthcoming in English).
The final essay of the volume is the reception of Sidonius in Hungary. Sidonius was used as a generic example (speculum regis, personality sketch, panegyricus, propemptikon, epithalamium). Specific quotations of Sidonius can be traced back to the 15th century. Since the 19th century, his works have been used as historical sources, mainly due to his knowledge of the peoples of the Migration Period, especially the Huns and the city of Aquincum. Besides, the researchers of Hungarian prehistory (historians, archaeologists, phrenologists) also used his works. His descriptions and informations can be found in fiction as well, mainly in historical novels and in popular historical writings. The last subsection of the study is a brief summary of Hungarian research on Sidonius.
Appendices include a prosopography of Sidonius, the bibliography of the sources and secondary literature, and an index of names.

Fritz Kretschmer and His Lost Sidonius Index

A hitherto unknown name must be added to the pantheon of Sidonius scholars: Fritz Kretschmer. In the 1930s, Fritz Kretschmer, a Classicist and Romanist, pupil of Norden and Wilamowitz, composed the first-ever word index of Sidonius’ oeuvre. It got lost.

His biography which is as unexpected as it is tragic takes us from Berlin to Shanghai and on to San Francisco. An academic education in Berlin, the Nazi persecution of the Jews, the ghetto of Shanghai, a new start in the United States and the sudden death of Illinois professor William Oldfather mark a career that was defined by loss and hardship.

Were it not for the brutalities of the war and a dramatic accident, classical scholarship could have possessed a groundbreaking Sidonius index half a century before Peder Christiansen, James Holland and Bill Dominik published their indispensable concordances. The least we can do is honouring the memory of its author, Fritz Kretschmer.

Read the full story here, with illustrations and two papers by Prof. Abbott who inherited Oldfather’s archive.

Eleonora Recupero Porcino and the Letters: A Digital Edition

Eleonora Recupero Porcino has received an innovation grant to create a digital so-called “linked open data” edition of Sidonius’ Letters as her PhD thesis, supervised by Holger Essler, Luca Mondin and Marco Onorato, at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice in partnership with the Universities of Udine and Trieste.

Eleonora graduated in 2021 in Messina, supervised by Marco Onorato, in Tradizione classica e archeologia del Mediterraneo with a thesis titled “Tra scuola e poesia. La chreia come possibile matrice del Ludus septem sapientum di Ausonio”.

The title of her PhD project is “Linked open data ed ecdotica dei testi tardolatini: per un’edizione digitale dell’epistolario di Sidonio Apollinare”. The project aims to create a digital edition of the Letters provided with a wide variety of links to the apparatus criticus (with new collations) and to a full database of resources ranging from testimonia and manuscripts to linguistic problems at the level of individual letters. The reference text is to be Lütjohann’s 1887 MGH edition.

The ulterior aim is to facilitate a future new critical edition by making all relevant materials available at a glance in one place.

Eleonora can be contacted at eleonora.recupero AT