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Lorenzo Livorsi

Lorenzo Livorsi
PhD Student and Graduate Teaching Assistant

My main area of research is the Latin and Greek Literature of Late Antiquity, particularly poetry and hagiography of the Romano-barbarian kingdoms. My PhD research, which is supervised by Prof. Karla Pollmann and Dr. Arietta Papacostantinou, is a study on Venantius Fortunatus’s Life of St. Martin of Tours (6th century AD). This is the transposition into verse of two illustrious prose models, the fourth-century Life of St. Martin and the Dialogues by Sulpicius Severus. The cult of Martin, the first non-martyr saint, who had been a former soldier, then monk and bishop of Tours and wonderworker, appears to have been particularly influential in Gaul. Notably, one century before Fortunatus, Sulpicius’s works had already been paraphrased into resounding hexameters by Paulinus of Périgueux. Fortunatus’s grand four-book poem constitutes therefore an extreme case of literature “in the third degree”, which takes into account both the direct prose model and the previous epic poem about Martin. The Life of Martin, however, deserves not only to be studied from an intertextual point of view, but also as a literary work on its own and as a document of religiosity. A remarkable feature of this poem is the extensive imagery of triumph, which turns out to be often redeployed from previous speeches and poems in honour of late antique emperors: praise and prayer seem to converge. I am therefore looking at how such “courtly” idea of holiness affected the veneration of the saints. Other research questions include Fortunatus’s self-positioning in relation to the canon of Christian poetic authorities mentioned in the proem and the ideal aims and audiences of epic hagiographies in comparison to prose hagiographies. Furthermore, I am interested in late antique philosophy and the interaction between philosophy and literature in Late Antiquity (BA on the Neoplatonic Hymn to Ares). I am passionate about palaeography and manuscript tradition.


I graduated in Classical Philology and Ancient History from the University of Pisa and, at the same time, I studied at the Scuola Normale Superiore (BA and MA). During my MA, I was also Visiting Student at the University of Vienna. I began my PhD at the University of Kent and I transferred to the University of Reading in September 2016.

'Πλατωνικὸς Ἄρης: echi neoplatonici nell'Inno Omerico VIII', in R. Di Donato (ed.), Comincio a cantare: contributi allo studio degli Inni Omerici (Pisa, 2016), 49-64.

'Laudantes Elegi: Ovid's Exile and the Metamorphoses of Praise, Friendship and Love in Late Latin Poetry', "Interfaces: a Journal of Medieval European Literatures" 2 (2016)

Conference presentations:

The Poet and the Canon: Venantius Fortunatus' voice in Vita S. Martini I, 1-49 (Postgraduate and Early Career Conference Voices in Late Latin Poetry, University of Oxford, 2017)

Lorenzo Valla e Festo: una nuova glossa festina nel commento all'Institutio Oratoria e la prima storia del Codex Farnesianus tra gli Umanisti (Postgraduate Conference Cupis Volitare per Auras: Books, Libraries, and Textual Transmission from the Ancient to the Medieval World, University of Bari, 2016)

Material Supply and Cibus Spiritualis: the Short Poems of Venantius Fortunatus to St. Radegund and Agnes in their Socio-historical Context (International Medieval Congress, University of Leeds, 2016)

Fortunatus' Classics: the Christian Canon of Vita Martini

Medieval & Early Modern Studies Summer Festival, University of Kent (18.6.2016)

Un Wandering Poet Cristiano? Venanzio Fortunato (Graduate research seminar Ricerche a Confronto,University of Bologna 2016)


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