Department of History

The focus of my research at the Centre for Advanced Studies is Rutilius Namatianus’ only surviving poem, De reditu suo (on his return-journey), and its historical and geopolitical context, the early fifth-century Roman west. In the poem Rutilius merges his personal reactions to the individuals and places encountered on his journey home from Rome to Gaul into a broader reflection on the political situation in the aftermath of the Gothic sack of Rome in 410 and the migration of Goths and other groups through large parts of the western provinces. He neither minimises the problems caused to the Roman state by these migrations nor lacks confidence that the crisis is being surmounted. My scholarly approach in general is to combine textual and historical scholarship, and I hope ultimately to produce two books: the first, which I am mainly working on in Tübingen, is a fresh edition of the text with literary and historical commentary. This will be complemented by a short monograph entitled Rutilius’ Return: a journey in the last years of the Roman empire, a thematic interpretation of the poem that attempts to integrate it into a broader understanding of the history of the early fifth century. 

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