open to faculty and students
This talk explores the intersection of Christian asceticism and Latin poetry as a site of cultural transformation in the twilight of the Western empire. Under the influence of asceticism, fifth-century Gallo-Roman writers (like Sidonius Apollinaris and Avitus of Vienne) experimented with poetry—a traditional literary tool of the Roman nobility—as an instrument of pious practice, spiritual transformation, and Christian identification. The talk investigates how their innovations in ascetic poetry leveraged the power of classical literature to promote radically new cultural agendas that shaped the post-imperial West.
David Ungvary is currently a PhD student in Medieval Latin at Harvard University, formerly a Tyler Fellow at Dumbarton Oaks, and Pearson Fellow at Corpus Christi College, Oxford. His research revolves around intersections of literature, selfhood, and social life in the late antique Latin West, ca. 200-800 AD. He is particularly interested in the evolution of Romanness through the Middle Ages, the development of Christian literature, and in associated transformations of Latin intellectual society and literary practice.