Project management: Dr. Therese Fuhrer, Professor
Researcher: Andreas Zipfel
Period: October 1, 2007, until December 31, 2009
Brief description: The bucolic poetry of Calpurnius Siculus, the so-called Carmina Einsidlensia and the laudes Neronis in Lucan’s Pharsaliaare to be examined with an eye to the question of whether they present the “new standards” established by Caesar (Nero) in a way influenced by the removal of boundaries, the maius aliquid, and whether there is a certain ambiguity already associated with the seeming agreement to the removal of those boundaries, an ambiguity that makes that assent interpretable as criticism or at least irony. In the project’s second phase, it will examine the poetry of the authors who published under the Flavian dynasty, namely Martial and Statius. The topic of removal of boundaries is omnipresent in the poetry of both writers, and through the illustration of Caesar’s sacra potestas, the bounds of earthly power are also extended into the realm of the divine. With the mention of events that are manifest to the reader of the poems (buildings, games) and often approach the limits of the monstrous, these works not only describe a concrete fact, but also define or discuss the reach of Caesar’s powers. A precise analysis of the texts is aimed at examining the literary technique of this “indirect” process of elimination of boundaries. In this context, the question also arises of how these descriptions, some of which have a programmatic aspect to them, fit into the overall context of representation of the ruler in the media and whether in these examples, poetry is adopting a mode of representing imperial power that has been developed in other media.