IMC 2020: Sessions

Session 1648: Crossing the Rubicon, II: The Medieval Julius Caesar, Just Ruler, or Tyrant?

Thursday 9 July 2020, 11.15-12.45

Organiser:Jacqueline Burek, Department of English, George Mason University, Virginia
Moderator/Chair:Alexandra Reider, Department of English, Yale University
Paper 1648-aMilitary Glory and the Destiny of Tyrants: Otto of Freising Remembering His Caesars
(Language: English)
Vedran Sulovsky, Faculty of History, University of Cambridge
Index terms: Historiography - Medieval, Language and Literature - Latin
Paper 1648-bWho Is Caesar?: Conflicting Accounts of Julius Caesar in Robert Mannyng's Chronicle
(Language: English)
Jacqueline Burek, Department of English, George Mason University, Virginia
Index terms: Historiography - Medieval, Language and Literature - Middle English
Paper 1648-c'Noble Cesar Julius': The Middle English Julius Caesar
(Language: English)
Zachary E. Stone, Department of English McGill University Qu├ębec
Index terms: Historiography - Medieval, Language and Literature - Middle English
Abstract

This is the second of two sessions examining the portrayal of Julius Caesar in medieval Europe. This session explores how medieval writers crossed temporal borders to compare contemporary political events to ancient Roman history. Beginning with the high medieval German chroniclers’ comparisons between the Emperor Henry V’s Investiture Controversy and the Roman civil war under Caesar, it extends to the vernacular writers of late medieval England such as Mannyng, Chaucer, Lydgate, and Trevisa, showing through both how medieval litterateurs used Caesar’s life and assassination to comment on the relationship between kings and magnates, to explicate institutional collapse, and to treat ancient Roman history as a foil for the troubles of 12th-century Germany and 14th-century England. Together, these papers show how Caesar’s political life became a useful point of comparison for medieval writers concerned about the power of kings.