Category: Article

Portraits in the Forum of Trajan

Gregor Kalas writes on the cultural significance of Sidonius’ portrait bust among others in ‘Portraits of Poets and the Lecture Halls in the Forum of Trajan: Masking Cultural Tensions in Late Antique Rome’, in: Gregor Kalas and Ann van Dijk (eds), Urban Developments in Late Antique and Medieval Rome: Revising the Narrative of Renewal, Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2021, 75-108.

See catalogue

Bordeaux, Toulouse, Narbonne

Douglas Underwood covers Bordeaux, Toulouse and Narbonne in ‘Good Neighbors and Good Walls: Urban Development and Trade Networks in Late Antique South Gaul’, in: Michael J. Kelly and Michael Burrows (eds), Urban Interactions: Communication and Competition in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages, Binghamton, NY: Gracchi Books, 2020, 373-427.

Available at Punctum Books open access

Stoehr-Monjou, Ep. 1.5, and Memory

Annick Stoehr-Monjou returns to Ep. 1.5 in the light of memory: ‘Enjeux mémoriels d’un récit de voyage de Lyon à Rome: Sidoine Apollinaire (Lettre 1, 5)’, Viatica HS 4: Fabrice Galtier (ed.), Voyage et mémoire dans l’Antiquité romaine: les écrits latins sur le voyage et leurs enjeux mémoriels, 2021.

Online here

‘Memory Issues of the Travel Narrative from Lyon to Rome by Sidonius Apollinaris (Letter 1, 5)‘
Abstract. In Letter I, 5, Sidonius Apollinaris gives to posterity the memory of his prestigious journey from Lyon to Rome. This study explores how the author gives an account in which memory (§ 1 memoratu) takes a central place, how he reworks the travel narrative, plays with a rich literary memory (Horace, Vergil, Lucan, Pliny the Younger…) and builds self-memory. The re-evaluated memory of Silius Italicus, Prudentius and Claudian’s VI Panegyricus of Honorius is crucial in arguing that Sidonius renews the places of memory and excludes pagan elements. He also gives a testimony of his Christian faith and a discreet criticism of General Ricimer.

Thaumastus, Uncle or Cousin?

Filomena Giannotti investigates the thorny question whether Thaumastus was Sidonius’ uncle or his cousin in ‘Pronus prope o prope patruum? Nota sul Propempticon ad libellum di Sidonio Apollinare (c. 24,84-89)’, BSL 51 (2021) 169-77.

Abstract. As the penultimate stage of his Propempticon ad libellum Sidonius Apollinaris imagines that his nugae arrive at Tres Villae, where the two Thaumastus, father and son, live (carm. 24,84-89). Together with Apollinaris and Simplicius, Thaumastus has traditionally been identified as Sidonius’ paternal uncle, but Ralph W. Mathisen has recently suggested that they were the paternal cousins and coevals of Sidonius. Even though really deserving, this suggestion is based on some doubtful points, which are analyzed here individually, with reference to some passages of Sidonius’ letters (epist. 3,12,5 lines 1-2; 3,11; 5,4,2; 5,6,1; 5,3,1) and in particular to the verse hunc pronus prope patruum saluta (carm. 24,89). As regards this verse, the new exegetic hypothesis of this paper is that prope is not related to patruum, but to pronus, through an anastrophe, like in some other cases in Sidonius. From a semantic point of view, the awkward interpretation “almost a paternal uncle”, on which Mathisen bases his thesis that Thaumastus was not Sidonius’ patruus but the husband of Sidonius’ aunt, would be replaced by the interpretation “almost prone in a bow”. This would seem to be more in line with the playful personification of the libellus and confirm the traditional theory about the relationship between Sidonius and Thaumastus.

Kovács on Avitus in Pannonia

Péter Kovács examines, and refutes, Avitus’ presumed expedition to Pannonia in Acta Archaeologica 71 (2020) 661-68: ‘Emperor Avitus in Pannonia?’

Abstract. In his paper the author examines the sources of the supposed Western Roman military expedition of Emperor Avitus in Pannonia in 455 that was thought to be the last Roman military action in the territory of the former Roman province. Analizing the sources, he comes to the conclusion that during his short reign, Avitus had no time to visit the province and his route (iter) mentioned by Sidonius Apollinaris must be identified with his journey from Arelate to Rome. The Roman military action in Pannonia can probably be identified with a short demonstrative campaign in the SW region of the dioecesis (i.e. Savia) or with a legation of the Pannonian Barbarians to the emperor in Northern Italy.