IMC 2018: Sessions

Session 1708: Narrative and Persuasive Tools in Late Antique Poetry

Thursday 5 July 2018, 14.15-15.45

Moderator/Chair:Danuta Shanzer, Institut für Klassische Philologie, Mittel- und Neulatein, Universität Wien
Paper 1708-aTime, Cultural Memory, and Persuasion: Some Observations on Dracontius's Satisfactio
(Language: English)
Maria Jennifer Falcone, Institut für Alte Sprachen - Klassische Philologie, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg
Index terms: Biblical Studies, Learning (The Classical Inheritance), Rhetoric
Paper 1708-bNec mora: Delay in Biblical Epic
(Language: English)
Amy Oh, Department of Classics, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Index terms: Biblical Studies, Language and Literature - Latin
Paper 1708-cAusonius Epistula 6: Monstrum illud semigraecum
(Language: English)
Willum Westenholz, Institut für Klassische Philologie, Mittel- und Neulatein, Universität Wien
Index terms: Language and Literature - Greek, Language and Literature - Latin, Learning (The Classical Inheritance)

Paper -a:
In the 316 verses of his Satisfactio, the Carthaginian poet Dracontius aims at persuading the Vandal king Gunthamund to release him from jail. Both cultural memory and the notion of time play an important role in the argumentative structure of the poem. In fact, one can observe that the work is characterised by a close co-existence of pagan and Christian memory. In particular, the following elements testify this interrelationship: a) the quotation and/or paraphrase of Holy Scripture and the conspicuous presence of biblical exempla (mainly focusing on the theme of forgiveness); b) the use of a traditional poetic language and the frequent allusions to Augustan poetry; c) the presence of a familiar anecdote (vv. 299-302) and the aim, often stressed by the poet, at celebrating the royal family; d) the important and debated list of biblical kings and Roman emperors (vv. 157-190), often interpreted by scholars quasi as a pagan-Christian speculum principis. Moreover, the poet represents the themes of iusta ira and clementia as strictly related to the notions of time and balance. Therefore, the long section on temporis ordo (vv. 220-266), often criticised because of its extent, contains elements of the contemporary Christian theories on time, and, at the same time, plays an important role in the persuasion attempt.

Paper -b:
Mora figures prominently in the Latin epic of the Classical period. Fabius Maximus alone ‘renewed our state by delaying’. So wrote Ennius in the Annales of the famous dictator who fought and overcame Hannibal through his rather innovative strategy of delay. From Ennius to Silius Italicus, a common thread is the presence or absence of delay and how characters responded to what seemed like constant fluctuations in time. In this paper, I will examine how biblical epic poets chose to interpret this narrative tool, focusing especially on the poetry of Avitus.

Paper -c:
This paper takes as its point of departure Ausonius’ brilliant and unique macaronic verse-epistle to Paulus, which has attracted the attention of multiple renowned scholars from Wilamowitz to Green. Their focus has, however, mainly rested on the admittedly intriguing problems of textual criticism and, lately, on bilingualism rather than on the literary and aesthetic aspects of this tour-de-force of late antique poetry. Some further analysis of the techniques employed, the jeux d’esprit et de mot, and the interplay of the languages in what is probably Ausonius’ most novel poem is thus desirable. While the letter to Paulus is largely sui generis, insertion of entire Greek phrases in imperial Latin poetry is fairly common, which provides us with some basis for comparative analysis. I propose to explore the principles behind this use of code-switching in a poetical context, through which I hope to arrive at a fuller understanding of the desired effect upon the intended audience.