Postdoctoral researcher, Medieval History
Ivo Wolsing is a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute for History at Leiden University. He studied Classics at the University of Amsterdam and VU Amsterdam. His research focuses on the transmission and reception of classical stereotypes of ‘Easterners’ in twelfth-century Latin literature.
“During my studies in Classics in Amsterdam, I became aware of the treasure trove that is postclassical Latin literature. My MA thesis dealt with the relation between visual and literary language in the ekphraseis of Walter of Châtillon’s Alexandreis. During the research for this thesis I became interested in the role of Latin literature in a wider intellectual environment and its use at a time when various vernaculars (Old French, Italian, Middle Dutch) appeared as literary languages. My current PhD project follows a different research interest, that of relations between East and West in a diachronic perspective.”
“I believe that twelfth-century humanism and the literary production connected with it is a vital step in the development of Latin as a European literary language. Despite the emergence of vernacular literary languages, authors kept writing in Latin, often in response to those writing in vernacular. In a sense, they paved the way for the humanists of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. The twelfth century is also a time in which Latin as a language developed under the influence of contact with other cosmopolitan languages, such as Arabic and Greek. It is one of my aims to research this triad more extensively in a future project.”
“One of the strengths of RELICS is its diachronic perspective. It enables us to help understand how Latin literacy worked at different historical time periods, as well as the mechanics that created a literary tradition. The cosmopolitan character of Latin is an important aspect in this literary identity, but at the same time needs to be challenged, especially in areas where Latin was not the only cosmopolitan language. RELICS can be instrumental in both defining and challenging the boundaries of Latin literary culture, which, in my opinion, comprises much more than solely Latinate works.”