Fisher, Geoffrey John
Studies in fourth and fifth century Latin literature with particular reference to Ausonius.
University of Southampton, Department of Classics,
The main theme of this work is a discussion of the literary worth of
the works of a number of authors of the Later Roman Empire. The works
considered are those of Ausonius, Rutilius Namatianus, the anonymous
Querolus and, to a lesser extent, Sidonius Apollinaris. The authors
will be discussed in turn, beginning with Ausonius, the first
chronologically. His work will be examined in the light of his
career and of the prevailing conditions in Gaul during his lifetime.
Particular attention will be paid to the use made of nature in his works,
especially the Mosella. The poem by Rutilius Namatianus known as the
De reditu suo will be examined both from an historical and from a
literary viewpoint. The Querolus will be considered for its effectiveness
as a piece of drama, particular attention being paid to the various kinds
of humour to be found in the piece and the way in which it could have been
staged. A dating of the play to the mid-fifth century will be suggested.
The life and work of Sidonius Apollinaris will be examined in order to
provide a view of the change in the political situation in the fifth
century and therefore in the environment for literary production. It
will be suggested that the writers in Gaul from the fourth century onwards
were subject to influences not only from Roman literature but also from
native traditions, the result of the Celtic Renaissance of the third century.
It will be concluded, however, that despite these indisputable influences
and also their undoubted local patriotism, all the writers were basically
Roman in outlook, still determined to preserve civilisation on a Roman
basis rather than a local one.
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