The Renaissance Battle for Rome

Competing Claims to an Idealized Past in Humanist Latin Poetry

“The Renaissance Battle for Rome” examines the rhetorical battle fought simultaneously between a wide variety of parties (individuals, groups, authorities) seeking prestige or legitimacy through the legacy of ancient Rome—a battle over the question of whose claims to this legacy were most legitimate. Distinguishing four domains – power, morality, cityscape and literature – in which ancient Rome represented a particularly powerful example, this book traces the contours of this rhetorical battle across Renaissance Europe, based on a broad selection of Humanist Latin Poetry. It shows how humanist poets negotiated different claims on behalf of others and themselves in their work, acting both as “spin doctors” and “new Romans”, while also undermining competing claims to this same idealized past. By so doing this book not only offers a new understanding of several aspects of the Renaissance that are usually considered separately, but ultimately allows us to understand Renaissance culture as a constant negotiation between appropriating and contesting the idea and ideal of “Rome.”

Publications in the context of this research project:

(forthcoming) The Renaissance Battle for Rome. Competing Claims to an Idealized Past in Humanist Latin Poetry. Classical Presences, Oxford University Press
(2021) ‘The Origins of Rome in the Renaissance: Revival, Rejection, Reinvention’, in Inventing Origins. The Functions of Aetiology, eds. A.W. Wessels & J. Klooster (Leiden: Brill), 101-121)
(2020) ‘Framing Humanist Visions of Rome. Heritage Construction in Latin Literature’, in Framing Classical Reception Studies, ed. by M. De Pourcq, N. de Haan and D. Rijser (Leiden/Boston: Brill)
(2020) ‘Conrad Celtis’ Visions of Rome. Relocation, Contestation and Imitation of the Italian Renaissance in German Humanism’, Cultural Encounters and Identity in the Neo-Latin World, ed. By M. Pade and C. Horster (Rome: Analecta Romana Instituti Danici)
(2018) ‘Travel Guides for Imaginary Journeys. The Presence of Rome in Early Modern Antiquarian Literature’, Neulateinisches Jahrbuch 20, 57-81
(2017) ‘In the Footsteps of Aeneas. Humanist Appropriations of the Virgilian Walk in Aeneid 8’, in Humanistica Lovaniensia 61 (2017), 23-55
(2017) [Review of] Jessica Maier, Rome Measured and Imagined (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2015) in H-Italy, H-Net Reviews, October
(2017) [Review of] Andrew Hui, The Poetics of Ruins in Renaissance Literature (New York: Fordham University Press, 2016), in Bryn Mawr Classical Review, 27 September
(2016) ‘De Africa van Francesco Petrarca: een nationaal epos?’ Lampas 49.4 (2016), 405-419
(2014) ‘Rom als symbolisher Ort – Rom als Idee’, in Der Neue Pauly. 2. Staffel, Band 9: Renaissance-Humanismus. Lexikon zur Antikerezeption, ed. by M. Landfester (Stuttgart), 856-864