Ann-Kathrin Steels

Myths in Sidonius Apollinaris (working title)

The project focuses on the Carmina of the Gallo-Roman late antique author Sidonius Apollinaris, whose literary work is less influenced by Christian thought than by pagan educational material. The poems are public and situated in a highly political context, insofar as they are panegyrici on Roman emperors. Thus, when the author uses ancient myths to praise Roman rulers, it is by no means a matter of secretly lived-out pagan nostalgia, but rather a consciously demonstrative treatment of ancient literary models.
The aim of this dissertation project is the analysis of the myth-exempla inserted by Sidonius into the Carmina with regard to the question to what extent ancient mythological inventory and pagan gods fit into the Christian context and whether it is an inappropriate interlude that is available as poetic material alongside Christian educational material, or whether it is to be evaluated as constitutive for Sidonius' poetic concept. It should also be clarified whether Sidonius confines himself entirely to pagan thought or whether he also negotiates Christian themes subcutaneously. It also proves worthwhile for researchers to pursue more extensively the questions of intertextuality, variance, and transformation: To what degree are the mythological interludes a literary play at all, and to what extent are they serious recourse to literary models? What is Sidonius' literary treatment of these models? What and how does he receive, how does he process the material and make it useful for his context?

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