Reception in Italy: Middle Ages and Early Modernity

Two 14th-century florilegia, the 1329 Flores moralium auctoritatum from the Capitular Library of Verona (ms. CLXVIII), and the one kept in the Vatican Library (Vat. lat. 5114, digitized, Sidonius on ff. 89r-90v), have been supposed to have a common ancestor (confirmed by recent research, plausibly to be located in Verona) which, in turn, has been tentatively attributed to Guglielmo da Pastrengo. Together they contain 61 quotations from Sidonius’ Letters (Verona 26, Vatican 53, of which 18 in common): see Kitamura 2011-2013, vol. 3, 435-44.

Guglielmo (c. 1290-1362) was a prominent lawyer and diplomat in Verona, closely associated with Petrarch in scholarly pursuits in the local Capitular Library to which he had privileged access. The discovery of Cicero’s Letters to Atticus is one of many which originated in this cooperation. In his De viris illustribus et de originibus, Guglielmo lists Sidonius as follows, qualifying his language as ‘rough but learned’ (Bottari p. 215, see also Hernández Lobato pp. 51-52):

Sydonius, Arverniensis episcopus, Epistolarum grande volumen ad diversos scabro sed erudito sermone condidit.

It is evident from the florilegia, that he had a complete copy of Sidonius’ correspondence at his disposition in Verona.

Guglielmo Bottari (ed.), Guglielmo da Pastrengo. De viris illustribus et de originibus, Padua, 1991.
Monica Cerroni, ‘Guglielmo da Pastrengo’, in Treccani. Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani, vol. 61 (2004), online.
Charles J. Gross Jr., ‘The Verona Florilegium of 1329’, PhD thesis, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 1959/1960. Download here
Jesús Hernández Lobato, El Humanismo que no fue. Sidonio Apolinar en el Renacimiento, Bologna, 2014.
Hideki Kitamura, ‘I Flores moralium auctoritatum del 1329′, MA thesis, University of Florence, 2008-2009.
—–, ‘Due florilegi e il pre-umanesimo veronese tra il XIV e il XV secolo – i codd. Città del Vaticano, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Vat. lat. 5114 e Verona, Biblioteca Capitolare, CLXVIII (i Flores moralium auctoritatum del 1329)’, PhD thesis, University of Florence, 2011-2013. Download here


Vat. lat. 5114, f. 1r – Click to enlarge

About a copy of Sidon. Ep. 2.2, discovered and sent by Enoch of Ascoli to Leon Alberti:

Ida Mastrorosa, ‘“Enochi Asculani Epistula” Baptistae de Albertis, Romae, Ex Roschildia, die VI Decembris 1451’, Albertiana 3 (2000) 189-248

—–, ‘Tipologia edilizia e diletti bucolici in Sidonio Apollinare (Ep. II 2): Il dono di Enoch d’Ascoli all’Alberti’, Albertiana 5 (2002) 191-236.
| online Academia

—–, ‘Lettera di Enoch d’Ascoli a Battista Alberti, con allegata un’epistola di Sidonio Apollinare, Roskilde, 6 dicembre 1451’, in: P. Benigni et al. (eds), Corpus epistolare e documentario di Leon Battista Alberti, Florence, 2007, 245-53.


 

Sidonius’ description of the portraits of philosophers painted in gymnasia (quod per gymnasia pingantur, Ep. 9.9.14) could have been Marcilio Ficino’s direct inspiration for adorning his own gymnasium with philosopher portraits (letter to Pietro Vanni: M. Ficino, Opera omnia, Lettere, p. 836), according to Albert Blankert in a 1966-1967 article. Ficino’s portraits are now lost, but they probably inspired the frescoes of Palazzo Panigarola in Milan by Bramante, a few of them preserved in the Brera Gallery (dated to 1486-1487; see illustration). These also correspond to Sidonius’ characterization Heraclitus fletu oculis clausis Democritus risu labris apertis, ‘Heraclitus with eyes closed through weeping, Democritus with lips wide open with laughter’.

A. Blankert, ‘Heraclitus en Democritus bij Marsilio Ficino (Heraclitus and Democritus in Marsilio Ficino)’, Simiolus: Netherlands Quarterly for the History of Art 1 (1966-1967) 128-35 (see Bibliography 1960s). Not mentioned in Hebert, ‘Philosophenbildnisse’, Klio 1988.


Bramante, Heraclitus and Democritus – Click to enlarge

An article about the Laurentianus Pluteus 90 sup. 8 manuscript, Pietro Crinito’s copy (c. 1490) of the famous codex Marcianus 554 (M), and the light which his and Giovanni Pico della Mirandola’s marginal notes shed on the textual transmission and fifteenth-century understanding of Sidonius:

Michaelangiola Marchiano, ‘Un manoscritto di Sidonio Apollinare postillato da Giovanni Pico della Mirandola e da Pietro Crinito’, Medioevo e Rinascimento 20 (2009) 279-89.
| online Academia


Laur. Plut. 90 sup. 8 – Click to enlarge

In 1638, the Napolitan Jesuit poet Giovanni Battista Mascolo (1582-1656) put out Encomia coelitum, a calendar of Christian saints, one for each day, which compared their glorious deeds to the superseded exploits of the Ancients. Each month is provided with an introduction in which Mascolo explains why he picked these particular saints. Each saint then receives a ‘Synopsis’ and an ‘Encomion’. Sidonius Apollinaris is selected for 23 August. His synopsis (p. 378) runs:

Poeta fuit insignis ex Gallia: carmen pietate condivit, non eo usus ad fabulas, et ineptias, sed ad res divinas, et castas, quo ceteris scribendi norma(m) dedit: alluditur ad appellationem ipsius Apollinaris.

He was a famous poet from Gaul, who seasoned his verse with piety, not using it for idle tales, but for divine and chaste purposes, providing others with a standard in writing. This is an allusion to his surname Apollinaris.

The encomion praises him for being both a lyrical poet and a prefect of Gaul [sic], which is reflected in his name: a Sidone accepit purpuram, ab Apolline lauream. Of course his inspiration was non Venus, sed virtus.
| online Hathitrust

The introduction to the month (p. 346) explains that, from amongst other laureati, Sidonius is selected because he truly chastened the laurel (qui laurum ex incesta, vere fecit innubam; compare Daphne in Ov. Met. 10.92).
| online Hathitrust

In the 1750s, Mascolo’s calendar was translated and illustrated in Augsburg (see on this site Reception Germany).

On this subject, see further Joop van Waarden, ‘Sidonius Edifies German Nuns’, blogpost on ‘Sidonius in Antiquity and Modernity’, 23 August 2016.


Encomia coelitum – Click to enlarge

Reception in Italy: Modern and Contemporary

Sidonius’ life, subtitled ‘Protettor dell’Avernia’, figures, lavishly illustrated with steel engravings, in Vite de’ Santi scritte di nuovo da letterati francesi e italiani. Edizione illustrata da magnifiche incisioni in legno e in acciajo, published by Tipografia E. Alberghetti e C., Prato, 1850.

 

Sidonius’ life in the Vite, first page – Click to enlarge

Vico Faggi (pseudonym of Alessandro Orengo, 1922-2010) wrote this dedicatory poem in his volume of translations, Sidonio Apollinare: Carmina, Genua: S. Marco dei Giustiniani, 1982:

Al poeta Sidonio Apollinare

Il tuo sapere, i tuoi versi, che potevano,
Sidonio Apollinare, dinanzi
la fatale caduta? Poi che il tempo
della fine era giunto. Anche gli dèi
pallidi fuggivano. Ma il tuo braccio
si levò a difesa di un mondo
che amavi. Era giusto, inutile. Rimane
il ricordo di un gesto, i tuoi versi.

Published in a limited edition, copies are enriched with separate etchings by Valeriano Trubbiani.

Faggi’s translations with one of Trubbiani’s etchings – Click to enlarge

Giulio Castelli, Il romanzo dell’Impero Romano, Roma: Newton Compton Editori, 2013.

‘C’è stato un tempo in cui i vessilli di Roma annunciavano al mondo un dominio immortale. Ora quel tempo è finito e i confini della città sono stati oltraggiati da torme di barbari. In un impero ormai disgregato e corrotto, tra intrighi di palazzo, complotti, assedi e passioni, rivivono personaggi pronti a sacrificare la loro intera esistenza per il riscatto di Roma. Sullo sfondo, il torbido affresco del V secolo e le decadenti province romane. Fondendo letteratura e rigore storico, Castelli ci accompagna in un viaggio senza tempo, da Roma a Costantinopoli, dall’Illiria alla Gallia, fino alla remota Britannia, per farci assistere ad un’ultima epica battaglia…’

See the publisher’s catalogue

In a chapter on modern reception of Sidonius in the Edinburgh Companion to Sidonius Apollinaris, Filomena Giannotti (Siena) discusses this trilogy and Sidonius’ role in it.

Castelli’s trilogy

Alberto Giorgio Cassani, ‘Ravenna fantastica: da Sidonio Apollinare a Michelangelo Antonioni’, in: Marisa Zattini (ed.), Onorio Bravi: Ravenna fantastica! con poesie di Nevio Spadoni, Cesena: Il Vicolo, 2015, 13-19 (exposition catalogue 10 October-7 November 2015, Ravenna).