Category: Paper

Tittse on Sidonius’ Network

Celis Tittse (BA student in Medieval History at Radboud University Nijmegen) contributes a paper entitled ‘A Changing Roman World and Its Networks’ in which he makes an attempt at comparing the networks of Sidonius and Avitus in evidence in their correspondences, applying Social Network Analysis and statistical methods. To this end, Ralph Mathisen kindly made available the Sidonius database that is also at the basis of his chapters ‘Sidonius’ People’ and ‘A Prosopography of Sidonius’ in the Companion (pp. 29-165).

Download Celis’ paper from the Contributions page. On the same page, there is a link to the fully scalable graphs and figures.

Sidonius and the Other

Sidonius is thematized in two upcoming papers at the conference ‘Othering and the Other. Performing Identity in the Roman Empire’ (Universities of Coimbra and Évora) on 13 July, 15:15 – 16:45 (Lisbon-London time):

Pavle Pavlović (Singidunum University of Belgrado), The barbarian ‘Other’ and Sidonius’ ‘language of paradox’

Filomena Giannotti (University of Siena), News from a mundus senescens: Romans, Visigoths and Saxons in a letter by Sidonius Apollinaris (viii 6).

Register here (also links to the conference programme and the booklet of abstracts).

15 April: Van Waarden on Performance

Joop van Waarden is to give a lecture at the Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa on performance aspects of the Panegyric of Anthemius.

Title: ‘A Ceremony Embodied: Experiencing Anthemius’ Panegyric’

Date and time: Thursday 15 April, 16:00-18:00 CEST

Mode: distance. Everybody is welcome. In order to participate, send an email requesting to be included in the Teams group to Fabrizio Oppedisano:

Magnani to Discuss Po Valley

Stefano Magnani is to give a paper on ‘Non solo rane e zanzare. Paesaggi padani nella descrizione del viaggio in Italia di Sidonio Apollinare’ at the online conference ‘Italia settentrionale e regioni dell´arco alpino tra V e VI secolo’, 15-17 april 2021.

Date/time: 15 april, 18.00 h.
Meeting-ID: 93446094423 – Code: 464511 – MU28ydHJGdz09

Conference programme:

Jean Marcel Mirrors Sidonius

Filomena Giannotti (Siena) is to read a paper ‘Je suis le miroir à la fin de la décadence: mirror-games between Sidonius Apollinaris and Jean Marcel’ at the International Virtual Mirror Studies Conference (IVMSC) – Beijing, China.

Date: Thursday 4 March, 3.15 pm CET.


Filomena Giannotti

University of Siena

Je suis le miroir À la fin de la Décadence:

mirror-games between Sidonius Apollinaris and Jean Marcel

467 A.D. ca.

The Gallic-Roman aristocrat Sidonius Apollinaris, who is already an acclaimed poet and in a few years’ time will become a combative bishop, is traveling from Lyon to his villa in the countryside of Aydat. His friend Evodius, through a messenger, begs him to compose a poem to be engraved on a shell-shaped silver basin. He wants to give it as a present to Queen Ragnahilda, the wife of Euricus, who had become King of the Visigoths a short time before. The poet stops for a while, writes twelve lines as required, one for each frill of the chiseled basin, and gives the letter containing the poem (now Sidonius’ Epistula IV 8) to Evodius’ messenger. According to the last four lines, when the Queen is reflected in the water of the basin, her beauty will illuminate the silver.

March 1993.

Jean Marcel (pen name of Jean Marcel Paquette, a Canadian writer of great imagination and irony: 1941-2019), decides to crown his trilogy of novels about the end of the Roman Empire (Triptyque des temps perdus) with a book about Sidonius Apollinaris and the key role he played in Late Antiquity mounting a military and cultural resistance against the Visigoths (Sidoine ou la Dernière Fête, Montréal, Leméac). The chapter entitled Ce que dit le miroir de Ragnahilde le 10 décembre 467 takes inspiration from Sidonius’ Epistula IV 8, but in Marcel’s version Sidonius is only required to write four lines (the last four of the real epigram) and they are destined to be engraved on the frame of a mirror for “the fairest of them all”: the splendid Ragnahilda, every barbaric heart’s dream. When the Queen receives the mirror, she is not able to understand the Latin verses. And, as she is reputed to be a bit of a witch, the silver surface suddenly begins to come alive, as happens in the magic mirror of Queen Grimhilde in the fairy tale Snow White by brothers Grimm (1812), according to the popular iconography widely spread by the Walt Disney cartoon. Looking through those “waves of time”, Ragnahilda glimpses not only this poet, unknown to her, while interrupting his journey to write those lines, but also several crucial episodes from his special life against the background of Roman decadence. The mirror shows her nothing but the agony of the Western Roman Empire: the murders which, one after the other, sweep away the last ten Roman Emperors, until the fateful date of the “noiseless fall” of that Empire (476). It is the same year in which Sidonius’ region, the Arvernia, is ceded to King Euricus. Right before being imprisoned for his resistance, the poet writes a painful letter, which has been called “the epitaph of the Western Roman Empire” (Epistula VII 6). Even though those tragic days are still far away, the Queen is moved and one tear falls on the mirror. The water of time stops floating in the mirror and reflecting distant events…

467-477 A.D.

For a few more years the unknown author of the verses engraved on the frame will be able to devote himself to his works and close his first letter collection with one of his most memorable sentences, «being well aware that the mind is as fully exposed in a book as the face in the mirror» (Epistula VII 18,2: minime ignarus, quod ita mens pateat in libro velut vultus in speculo).

Zoom links for both days of the conference (4-5 March):

Topic: IVMSC 2021 Day 1
Time: Mar 4, 2021 07:00 PM Beijing, Shanghai
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 967 5008 0799
Passcode: 450280
One tap mobile
+13462487799,,96750080799# US (Houston)
+16699006833,,96750080799# US (San Jose)

Topic: IVMSC 2021 Day 2
Time: Mar 5, 2021 06:00 PM Beijing, Shanghai
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 966 0940 0895
Passcode: 551349
One tap mobile
+16699006833,,96609400895# US (San Jose)
+13462487799,,96609400895# US (Houston)