Category: Article

Van Waarden on a New Allusion to Lucan

Joop van Waarden comes up with a new allusion to Pompey’s tomb in Lucan, shedding light on the death of Sidonius’ grandfather: ‘The Death and Public Rehabilitation of Apollinaris the Elder: Intertextuality with Lucan in Sidonius Apollinaris, Epist. 3.12’, CQ FirstView 30 April 2024.

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Corsi and Morvillez on Hospitality

Two articles on hospitality have been published:

Cristina Corsi, ‘”Strangers on the way”: hospitalité, identité et défis lors des voyages à la fin de l’Antiquité’, in: Fauchon-Claudon and Le Guennec 2002, 303-20.

Éric Morvillez, ‘Louer l’hospitalité des évêques dans l’Antiquité tardive en Gaule: entre traditions et nouvelles exigences chrétiennes’, in: Fauchon-Claudon and Le Guennec 2022, 87-103.

These items are included in the conference proceedings Hospitalité et régulation de l’altérité dans l’Antiquité méditerranéenne, edited by Claire Fauchon-Claudon and Marie-Adeline Le Guennec, Scripta Antiqua 156, Bordeaux: Ausonius, 2022.

Impact of Climate Change

An article on ‘The impact of climate change on the agriculture and the economy of Southern Gaul: New perspectives of agent-based modelling’ by Nicolas Bernigaud et al. was published online in PLoS One 2024, 19(3), e0298895. It tentatively confirms, among other things, the decline in agricultural profitability in Late Antiquity due to deteriorating climatic conditions.


What impact did the Roman Climate Optimum (RCO) and the Late Antique Little Ice Age (LALIA) have on the rise and fall of the Roman Empire? Our article presents an agent-based modelling (ABM) approach developed to evaluate the impact of climate change on the profitability of vineyards, olive groves, and grain farms in Southern Gaul, which were the main source of wealth in the roman period. This ABM simulates an agroecosystem model which processes potential agricultural yield values from paleoclimatic data. The model calculates the revenues made by agricultural exploitations from the sale of crops whose annual volumes vary according to climate and market prices. The potential profits made by the different agricultural exploitations are calculated by deducting from the income the operating and transportation costs. We conclude that the warm and wet climate of the Roman period may have had an extremely beneficial effect on the profitability of wine and olive farms between the 2nd century BCE and the 3rd century CE, but a more modest effect on grain production. Subsequently, there is a significant decrease in the potential profitability of farms during the Late Antique Little Ice Age (4th-7th century CE). Comparing the results of our model with archaeological data enables us to discuss the impact of these climatic fluctuations on the agricultural and economic growth, and then their subsequent recession in Southern Gaul from the beginning to the end of antiquity.

Starostin on Late Antique Chronology

Dmitry Starostin writes on ‘Astronomical Cycles and Late Antique Chronology’ in arXiv:2403.03682 [physics.hist-ph], 6 March 2024, 24 pp.

Access via arXiv

Heightened eschatological sensitivity is in evidence among the historians writing in the 5th century caused by the irregularities of the lunisolar calendar and its particular realization, the Easter calendar. Crucial years include 410, 467 and 476. Sidonius on p. 13.

Cadili on the Consular Robe

Luca Cadili, ‘In tunica Iouis: Sidoine Apollinaire et les antiquités romaines’, RET 12 (2022-2023) 39-50.

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Abstract: In the panegyrics in honor of Avitus, Majorian, and Anthemius (carm. 7, 5, and 2), Sidonius Apollinaris gives detailed accounts of the consular robe the three emperors donned on different official occasions, proving a strong acquaintance with the ceremonies and the rituals of power involved in the imperial court protocol of his time. Such a familiarity has enabled him to retrace even the remotest history of this topic, as can be inferred from his reworking of a passage from Juvenal, which provides us with a most vivid and thorough description of the Roman triumphator’s garments and the celebration of his victory, as occurring in the Republican and early Imperial Age. By doing so, in a very original way, Sidonius shows that the military cloak the late antique consuls used to wear to make known their social status, the trabea or palmata, had indeed a very revered ancestor, having stemmed from the tunica palmata, the palm decked-robe in which, since the oldest times, victorious generals were shrouded on the very day their triumph was solemnized by their fellow citizens.