Research Stream


Tara Auty
The University of Western Australia

The Fall of Constantinople in Quattrocento Literary Culture: Community Emotions and the Genre of Neo-Latin Epic in Fifteenth-Century Italy

This project assesses the relationship between community emotions and the production of literary culture, by specifically tracing developments in the genre of neo-Latin epic in response to the Fall of Constantinople (1453). It contributes to existing scholarship by exploring the emotional dimensions of the creation of a Roman socio-cultural identity through Latin epic poetry in the early modern period.

Giamberti and di Tomaso - Conquest of Trebizond.jpg

Currently, the fields of both the history of the emotions and neo-Latin studies are flourishing, and research in these disciplines is being carried out and published at an unprecedented rate. The intersection of these two areas of scholarship, however, is territory that has only begun to be explored by a handful of researchers, notably scholars likewise involved in ARC CHE. This PhD project aims to join in this exploration by assessing the impact of the collapse of the Eastern Roman Empire (1453) on the production of Italian neo-Latin epic poetry in the latter half of the fifteenth century.

The fall of Constantinople provided the subject matter for an observably distinct sub-category of neo-Latin epic. On the one hand, the authors writing these poems were drawing on the ancient and prestigious genre of Latin epic, and thus participating in the continuation of a traditional poetic form long associated Roman ideals of national identity. On the other hand, contemporary socio-political anxieties in Italy following the siege of the last vestiges of the once-great Roman Empire gave rise to a variety of this ancient genre that explored issues of identity and community very specific to the Quattrocento. Part and parcel of this exploration of national identity in Latin epic, from its Classical roots through to its early modern branches, is the pervasive discourse of community emotions. As literary history and criticism, this research focuses on the symbiotic relationship between the evolution of neo-Latin epic, and collective emotional values and behaviours, as observable in the works of selected fifteenth-century Italian poets.


Andrew Lynch
Yasmin Haskell


PhD Thesis due August 2018

Conference/Seminar Presentations

July 2016 ‘Dislocated Passions in Filelfo’s Amyris: The Divisive Figure of Mehmet II in Neo-Latin Epic’ (Confirmed to present at the ARC CHE & Freie Universität Berlin Conference: ‘Emotions: Movement, Cultural Contact and Exchange, 1100-1800’)

October 2015 ‘Community Emotions and Epic: Classical Continuations in Italian Neo-Latin Poetry’ (Presented for the UWA Classics Department Research Seminar series)

Image: Marco del Buono Giamberti and Apollonio di Giovanni di Tomaso, Cassone with the Conquest of Trebizond, 1460s, tempera, gold and silver on wood, 9 1/2 x 77 x 32 7/8 inches / 100.3 x 195.6 x 83.5 cm (The Metropolitan Museum of Art). Wikimedia Commons.