AFRICA IN THE ROMAN IMAGINATION. THE PERSONIFICATION OF THE GODDESS AFRICA IN THE PANEGYRIC ON MAIORIANUS BY SIDONIUS APOLLINARIS (CARM. 5, 53-350).

Francesco Montone

Abstract


On 28th December 458 (or January 459) in Lyon Sidonius Apollinaris recited the panegyric on the emperor Majorian (457-461 A. D.). In the political propaganda of the new emperor there was the liberation of Africa invaded by the Vandals of Genseric, a “new” Hannibal. Sidonius, resuming De Bello Gildonico of the poet Claudian, resorts to the personification of Africa. In concilium provinciarum Goddess Africa takes the floor, invokes the help of Rome and shows lineage and deeds of Majorian; thanks to him the fourth war between Rome and Carthage emerges. Goddess Africa, as Vergilian Dido, asks an ultor. Sidonius plays with the attentive reader prompting him to recognize a large number of echoes of literary tradition that he inlays in his work, as the result of a carefully studied sedimentation of several literary souls. Allegories and personifications, however, also have an important political function: the praise of the emperor. The hopes of a revival of the power of the Western Roman Empire are entrusted to him.

Keywords


Sidonius Apollinaris; Panegyric; Majorian; Genseric; Vandals

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