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Carmina nunc mutanda: confessionalizing tendencies in Neo-Latin and Greek poetry of the Reformation period

Day 1: Thursday 23 May: 2.00 - 6.00pm
Day 2: Friday 24 May: 10.00am - c.5.00pm

The association of poetry with the religious realm is long-established. Cicero’s conviction that poets were infused with ‘a divine spirit’ and ‘bestowed on us by God’ endured and continued to hold sway in the Early Modern imagination. This conference aims to explore how these established associations interact with the new confessional impulses which emerge in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. It will look at how the Neo-Latin and Greek poetry of this era engages with and reflects the concerns and conflicts of the European reformations. Particular attention will be given to the attempts made by individuals or institutions to craft a distinctive poetics in service of particular religious positions, Protestant or Catholic. A key objective will be to examine what Neo-Latin and Greek poetry had to offer this confessional impulse: was it functioning as an act of devotion, a didactic tool to promulgate a particular message, a lever for conversion, an alternative to preaching, a mode of theology or scriptural exegesis, or a medium for communicating ideas about doctrinal or moral reform? We also welcome approaches that consider the perceived purpose of classical learning in any of these religiously partisan productions. 

Hosted by the Warburg Institute, University of London. Organised by Nathaniel Hess (Frances Yates Fellow, Warburg Institute) and Lucy Nicholas (Lecturer in Latin and Greek Language and Culture, Warburg Institute). Generously supported by the Institute of Classical Studies, University of London, and the Society for Neo-Latin Studies.


Day 1: Thursday 23rd May 2024

14.00: Registration

14.15: Introductory remarks

14.45: The Poetics of schism: constructions of confession in Italy 

Chrysa Damianaki (Università del Salento): ‘Celio Secondo Curione’s Roman pasquinades’

15.15: Short break

15.30: Counter-Reformation confessionalizing through Tragedy

(1) Mirella Saulini (Archivum Historicum Pontificiae Universitatis Gregorianae): 'When Stefano Tucci performed Christus Iudex in Messina, Lutherus and Mahomectus were in the list of characters as Damned. At Rome, Tucci removed them from the list...'

(2) Salvador Bartera (University of Tennessee): ‘Stefonio’s Flavia: a Catholic Response to Counter-reformation History’

16.30: Tea break

17.00: The Confessionalization of Catholic Censorship

(1) Thomas M. Vozar (University of Hamburg): ‘The German Jesuit Matthäus Rader’s expurgated Martial as a theme in Protestant Neo-Latin epigrams’

(2) Irina Tautschnig (University of Bonn): ‘A Cardinal Mistake: Latin poems on the Catholic censorship of Copernican books’

18.00/19.00: Drinks/dinner (optional) 

Day 2: Friday 24th May 2024

10.00: Festivals and family: confessional inflections in Latin and Greek verse of Northern Europe

(1) Anders Kirk Borggaard (Centre for Danish Neo-Latin, Aarhus University): ‘In natalem Christi: Neo-Latin Christmas poems in 16th century (Northern) Europe’

(2) Stefan Weise (University of Wuppertal): ‘O Jesu parvule: Parental love and children as confessional markers in the Neo-Greek poems of Laurentius Rhodoman and others’

11.00: Coffee

11.30: The complex coils of confessional Latin verse in the seventeenth century

(1) Jonathan Nathan (Pharos Foundation): ‘Two Latin poems on La Rochelle (1628)’

(2) Elena Dahlberg (Uppsala University): ‘Revealing while concealing: Evurte Jollivet’s Calvinism in his epic Fulmen in Aquilam (1636)’

(3) Christopher Archibald (Queen Mary University of London): ‘Reinterpreting the beauty of holiness: William Rowland (1610-1659) and the poetry of conversion among the royalist exiles’

13.00: Lunch

14.00: Confessionalizing the Ancient

(1) Fabio Barry (Warburg Institute): ‘“We have raised a magnificent trophy in verse”: Jesuit poetry on the German College, Rome for the translation of St Gregory of Nazianzus (11th June 1580)’

(2) Luke Houghton (University College London): ‘Prisca fides...pietasque: confessional elements in the elegies of Sidronius Hosschius’

15.00: Short break

15.15: Poiesis and prayer: confessional confrontations in Greek verse

(1) Tomás Antonio Valle (University of Hamburg): ‘Eis sōtēra brotōn: Greek religious verse in Wittenberg intellectual culture’

(2) Filippomaria Pontani (Università Ca’ Foscari Venezia): ‘Beyond Orpheus: Writing Greek Prayers in the early Cinquecento (Venice, Erfurt etc.)’

16.20: Roundtable and closing remarks


NB: This event will meet in person only. We are unable to offer remote access or a recording of proceedings in this instance.

image: Poetry personified as a winged woman: anon., after Marcantonio Raimondi Italian, after Raphael, ca. 1515-50