Tabea Meurer on Negotiating the Past

Tabea Meurer has published her Münster PhD thesis Vergangenes verhandeln: Spätantike Statusdiskurse senatorischer Eliten in Gallien und Italien / Negotiating the Past: Late Ancient Discourse on Status among the Senatorial Elites of Gaul and Italy.
See publisher’s catalogue. Table of contents on Academia.

“This study in cultural history addresses the value of past relations in Gallo-Roman and Italian discourses on social status in late antiquity. The volume examines how senatorial figures referred back to ancestors and ancient times to better position themselves in relation to their peers. At a broader level, it describes the negotiative processes surrounding the establishment of rank.”

“The poems of Apollinaris awaken a special love in me”

New on the Translations and Reception/Germany pages: entries on Karl Wolfskehl. The Jewish poet and translator Karl Wolfskehl (1869-1948), in the last decades of his life a refugee from Nazi Germany, first in Italy, then in New Zealand, extensively read and admired Sidonius’ work. An aestheticist in the tradition of Stefan George, he was sensitive to Sidonius’ particular style while his plight as an exile created a feeling of shared fates with Sidonius and his time “of festering and pregnant doom”.

Oldest Fragments

Some very early scraps from the Letters (end of book 1, beginning of book 2) are offered for sale at Christies.

SIDONIUS APOLLINARIS (c.430/33-c.479), Epistolae, in Latin, manuscript on vellum [?France, late 10th century]

Among the earliest witnesses from the Epistolae of the great 5th-century Gallo-Roman aristocrat, high official, poet and letter writer, Sidonius Apollinaris.

Two fragments, 95 x 149mm and 95 x 142mm, forming part of one column, 11-12 visible lines written in brown ink in a Caroline minuscule, one four-line title supplied in red Rustic Capitals (stained, with part of the title obscured). Bound in grey buckram at the Quaritch bindery.

Provenance:
(1) Bernard Rosenthal.
(2) Schøyen Collection, MS 1650/2.

The Fifth Century: Age of Transformation

Edited by Jan Willem Drijvers and Noel Lenski, The Fifth Century: Age of Transformation. Proceedings of the 12th  Biennial Shifting Frontiers in Late Antiquity Conference, has come out (catalogue Bari: Edipuglia).

The fifth century CE represents a turning point in ancient history. Before 400 the Roman Empire stood largely intact and coherent, a massive and powerful testament to traditions of state power stretching back for the previous 600 years. By 500 the empire had fragmented as state power retreated rapidly and the political and social forces that would usher in the Middle Ages be-came cemented into place. This volume explores this crucial period in the six broad areas of natural science, archaeology and material culture, barbarian and Roman relations, law and power, religious authority, and literary constructions. Assembling the papers of the twelfth biennial Shifting Frontiers in Late Antiquity Conference, The Fifth Century: Age of Transformation offers a comprehensive overview of recent research on this pivotal century in all of its ramifications.

Featuring, among other pieces: Veronika Egetenmeyer, ‘”Barbarians” Transformed: The Construction of Identity in the Epistles of Sidonius Apollinaris’ (mentioned on Academia), and Ralph Mathisen, The End of the Western Roman Empire in the Fifth Century CE: Barbarian  Auxiliaries, Independent Military Contractors, and Civil Wars’ (download from Academia).