Trajanic library of Celsus at Ephesos (image credit: Jon Coulston)

This project brings together researchers with an interest in Nervan, Trajanic and Hadrianic literature to examine the texts and the literary culture of the period collectively. The last few decades have seen some exciting scholarship in this field, but the trend has been for author-specific studies, leaving the connections and interactions between texts under-explored. Yet the authors themselves worked in dialogue with each other; they attended recitals, commented on drafts, referenced each other in their writings, and defined their own styles and agenda alongside or against those of other writers. By examining the nature and impact of these cross-pollinations (within and across genres, and between both Latin and Greek authors), this project aims to develop our understanding not just of individual texts but also of the literary cultures in which they were produced. In the process, it will interrogate different models of ‘intertextuality’ (from salutation, citation, echo and allusion to reworking, correcting, omission and exclusion); and it will also explore interactions between ‘literary’ and less ‘literary’ material (for example, edicts, imperial letters and the writings of jurists). Of course many of these authors engaged with each other personally, socially and politically too, and the project will examine the interface between their various literary, personal, social and political interactions. In so doing, it aims to bring the literary and historical study of the period into closer dialogue with each other, shedding new light on both.

A second strand of the project focuses on cross-cultural interactions, and looks beyond the Nervan, Trajanic and Hadrianic period down to the demise of the Severans in 235 AD.

Principal Investigator: Dr Alice König (St Andrews)
Co-Investigators: Prof. Roy Gibson (Manchester), Dr Christopher Whitton (Cambridge) and Dr James Uden (Boston), Prof. Rebecca Langlands (Exeter).

Funding for the project has been generously provided by the BA/Leverhulme Small Research Grants Scheme, with additional contributions from the School of Classics at the University of St Andrews, the Alexander-von-Humboldt Stiftung, the Peter Paul Career Development Professorship, the ICS and the University of Exeter.