Rome Post Mortem: The Many Returns of Rutilius Namatianus

Rome Post Mortem: The Many Returns of Rutilius Namatianus

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Meadows Lecture Theatre

Doorway 4

Medical School, Teviot



United Kingdom

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Sigrid Schottenius Cullhed (PhD), Research Fellow of the Royal Swedish Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities

Wednesday 15th March 2017, 5:10pm (doors open 5:00pm)

Meadows Lecture Theatre, Doorway 4 (Medical School, Teviot)

In “Rome Post Mortem: The Many Returns of Rutilius Namatianus,” Sigrid Schottenius Cullhed retraces the steps of the early fifth-century Gallo-Roman poet Rutilius Namatianus – from the pen of Edward Gibbon, who saw in Rutilius an archetypal image of the crumbling Empire, to French post-revolutionary intellectuals who perceived him as a romantic hero. Rutilius’ experiences were acutely relevant in the disasters that followed the Napoleonic Wars, but it was in the Italian nationalist and decadentist movements that his poem had its greatest political impact. Once integrated into the fascist movement, he became the voice of the lost Roman Empire that would now come alive again. More recently, he has become a poet of crisis and shock. No wonder that post-9/11 filmmakers or scholars have identified with Rutilius Namatianus and his reluctant journey away from the crumbling monuments of Rome after Alaric’s sack. The very lexicon of western civilization and its fear of “falling” because of non-western “barbarian” aggression originates from the narrative of the Late Antique decline and fall of the Roman Empire.