Louis Verreth is a PhD candidate at Leiden University. He obtained his MA degree in Classics and his BA degree in Italian literature at KU Leuven. His doctoral project studies the appropriation of Roman and Etruscan Antiquity in Latin verse panegyrics for Lorenzo the Magnificent (r. 1469-1492).
“For my PhD research I study the literary culture of Florence in the age of Lorenzo de’ Medici (r. 1469-1492). In praising Lorenzo as a reviver of ancient Rome in Florence, humanist poets recurred primarily to Latin as a means of communication. They used Latin verse to comment on the cultural prosperity that Florence enjoyed under Lorenzo’s rule. I strongly believe that my study into Laurentian panegyrics can benefit greatly from concepts and questions coined by RELICS, specifically regarding two core concepts of its research agenda.
First, RELICS invites me to look beyond the corpus of Latin verse and integrate vernacular writings in my research. While most poems that appropriate Roman and Etruscan Antiquity are written in Latin, like Domenico da Corella’s De origine urbis Florentiae, some of them are written in the Tuscan vernacular, such as the Ambitione of Bastiano Foresi. My research explores the intersections between these corpora and problematizes the writer’s choice of choosing between Latin and vernacular as a means of expression.
Second, the idea of Latin literary culture as ‘cosmopolitan’ triggers me to look beyond local, Florentine ideology, and to examine the dynamics with ideologies of other political and cultural centres of Italy, that also claimed aspects of the Roman and Etruscan heritage. Strikingly, the use of the ‘universal’ Latin language and the texts of ancient Latin writers became instruments to create local identities in different city-states of 15th-century Italy. By studying Florentine panegyrics for Lorenzo in relation to writings dedicated to patrons from outside of Florence, my research aims to point out how Neo-Latin literature at Lorenzo’s court was firmly rooted in local traditions, and anchored in the (inter)national res publica litterarum at the same time.”