IMC 2007: Sessions

Session 325: Writers Ancient and Medieval: Continuities/Discontinuities

Monday 9 July 2007, 16.30-18.00

Moderator/Chair:Ida Gilda Mastrorosa, Dipartimento di Scienze dell'Antichità 'G. Pasquali', Università degli Studi di Firenze
Paper 325-aSeneca, Lucilius, and Death in a Poem by Honorius, Fifth Archbishop of Canterbury
(Language: English)
Luciana Cuppo, Independent Scholar, Vicenza
Index terms: Language and Literature - Latin, Learning (The Classical Inheritance), Manuscripts and Palaeography, Mentalities
Paper 325-bCittà degli uomini e città degli dei: Uomini, dei e demonii in confronto nelle poesia epica agiografica
(Language: Italiano)
Carlota Maria Lopes Miranda Urbano, Instituto de Estudos Clássicos & Humanísticos, Faculdade de Letras, Universidade de Coimbra
Index terms: Hagiography, Language and Literature - Latin, Mentalities, Pagan Religions
Paper 325-cSourcing the Sources: The Influence of Classical Roman Historians on the Medieval Mind
(Language: English)
Gregory S. Beirich, Department of History, California State University, Los Angeles
Christopher M. Rasmussen, California State University, Los Angeles
Index terms: Ecclesiastical History, Historiography - Medieval, Language and Literature - Latin, Learning (The Classical Inheritance)

Paper a: My paper will present a reading of the poem ‘Si fontis brevis unda latens‘ (Riese, Anth. lat., nr. 666). Honorius, author of the poem, can be identified on palaeographical grounds with Honorius, fifth archbishop of Canterbury, one of the monks sent to England by Pope Gregory I. Written as a preface to ‘Romana’ of Iordanes and to the romanised edition of Isidore’s chronicle by Mellitus, the poem is an example of Christian aemulatio of the spiritual direction offered by Seneca to Lucilius. Its style is reminiscent of Seneca and Tacitus, champions of Roman-senatorial freedom, but also of Ruricius and Arator (letter to Florianus). Thus, it should be viewed as an expression of Roman-senatorial culture in the 6th and early 7th century, but also of a spirituality common to Pope Gregory, to the monastery of Lérins in France, and to that of Eugippius in Italy.
Paper b: Hagiographic epic of classical paradigm usually offers a bipolarisation of the divine plan in the construction of the marvellous architecture. A division of the two forces on a divine plan (favourable to or against the epic hero), presents an actancial structure that is typical of the Homer-Virgil model of epic poetry. The essay argues that this bipolarisation, typical in classical epic poetry, the system of the marvellous universe, is necessarily different in hagiographic epic. Besides, in the human plan, the city of men is also divided in good/Christian and evil/demoniacal, and might be an extension of the divine city, albeit in her human aspect.
Paper c: Until recently ancient and medieval scholarship had concluded that the fall of the Roman Empire in the West led to a near total break between the historiographic traditions of the classical world and those of the Middle Ages, whether scholars see that Roman world end in the 5th century or in the 8th century, as Pirenne and others have argued. This paper will demonstrate that more Roman classical historians than is customarily thought were known in the medieval West, and that they influenced the medieval understanding of contemporary times. This paper will address the seminal impact of Livy, Tacitus, and others on members of the medieval intellectual elite before the 14th century.