Skip to main content


  • Michael Hanaghan (a1)

In late c.e. 467 Sidonius Apollinaris journeyed from Lyon to Rome. An account of his journey appears in Epist. 1.5. Sidonius made his way to the city by boat and imperial post horses, arriving during the nuptial celebrations of the Emperor Anthemius’ daughter Alypia and the barbarian potentate Ricimer. The wedding linked Ricimer, who had held significant political power in the interregnum after the death of Libius Severus (461–465), to the new emperor in the West, Anthemius, whom the eastern Roman emperor, Leo I, had just appointed.

Corresponding author
Hide All

1 Sid. Apoll. Epist. 1.5. Harries, J.D., Sidonius Apollinaris and the Fall of Rome, a.d. 407–485 (Oxford, 1994), 142–5; MacGeorge, P., Late Roman Warlords (Oxford, 2002), 235–6; O'Flynn, J.M., ‘A Greek on the Roman throne: the fate of Anthemius’, Historia 40 (1991), 122–8, at 125; Croke, B., ‘Dynasty and aristocracy in the fifth century’, in Maas, M. (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to the Age of Attila (Cambridge, 2014), 98124, at 106. Mathisen, R.W., ‘ Provinciales, gentiles, and marriages between Romans and barbarians in the later Roman Empire’, JRS 99 (2009), 140–55, at 145 lists other cases of intermarriage with barbarians; see also Blockley, R.C., ‘Roman-barbarian marriages in the late Roman Empire’, Florilegium 4 (1982), 6379, at 64; Wolff, E., ‘La description par Sidoine de son voyage à Rome (Lettres I, 5)’, Itineraria 11 (2012), 111, at 1; Cloppet, C., ‘À propos d'un voyage de Sidoine Apollinaire entre Lyon et Clermont-Ferrand’, Latomus 48 (1989), 857–68, at 857 n. 2.

2 PLRE II, ‘Libius Severus 18’, 1004–5; ‘Fl. Ricimer 2’, 942–5.

3 Gibson, R.K., ‘Pliny and the letters of Sidonius: from Constantius and Clarus to Firminus and Fuscus’, Arethusa 46 (2013), 333–55, at 344 argues that Book 1 contains ‘political possibility’. While Sidonius is clearly not as dejected with the state of political affairs as he is in later books, in Book 1 he is still not optimistic. For a comparable approach to reading political significance into late antique literary allusions, see, for example, Kelly, G., Ammianus Marcellinus: The Allusive Historian (Cambridge, 2008), 163–79 and Ware, C., Claudian and the Roman Epic Tradition (Cambridge, 2012), 117–24.

4 Soler, J., Écrituees du voyage, héritages et inventions sans la littérature latine tardive (Paris, 2005), 340–7 and 406.

5 Wolff (n. 1), 10 notes: ‘Enfin, le role du christianisme est faible dans la lettre, et nous n'y voyons pas un pèlerinage spirituel’ (‘Finally, the role of Christianity in the letter is weak, and I do not view this as a spiritual pilgrimage’).

6 Wolff (n. 1), 1–11. Geisler, E., ‘Loci similes auctorum Sidonio anteriorum’, in Luetjohann, C. (ed.), Gai Sollii Apollinaris Sidonii epistulae et carmina (Berlin, 1887), 351416 lists the majority of these connections.

7 Wolff (n. 1), 10: ‘… as Horace obtained a pardon and poetic support after he fought at Phillipi, likewise Sidonius, after he was exposed for a while to the wrath of Caesar (Majorian) for his military activity on behalf of Avitus, obtained a pardon and the possibility to enjoy his estate in peace’.

8 Mathisen, R.W., ‘The third regnal year of Eparchius Avitus’, CPh 80 (1985), 326–35 provides a rigorous assessment of the evidence. For a response to which, see Burgess, R.W., ‘The third regnal year of Eparchius Avitus: a reply’, CPh 82 (1987), 336–40.

9 See for example Eigler, U., ‘Horaz und Sidonius Apollinaris. Zwei Reisen und Rom’, JbAC 40 (1997), 168–77.

10 Some have inferred from this and from his description of Ravenna as mosquito-infested (from where he had just come) that Sidonius caught malaria; see, for example, Romer, F.E., ‘Review of J. Harries, Sidonius Apollinaris and the Fall of Rome a.d. 407 –485 (Oxford, 1994)’, AJPh 117 (1996), 663–6, at 665; and most recently E. Faure and Jacquemard, N., ‘L’émergence du paludisme en Gaule: analyse compare des écrits de Sidoine Apollinaire et de Grégoire de Tours’, in Poignault, R. and Stoehr-Monjou, A. (edd.), Présence de Sidoine Apollinaire (Clermont-Ferrand, 2014), 55–72, at 57–9 mount the best case for diagnosing Sidonius, but a definitive answer remains elusive; see the review of Waarden, J.A. van, ‘Essays on Sidonius’, CR 66 (2016), 151–3, at 151. Salares, R., Bouwman, A. and Armstrong, C., ‘The spread of malaria to southern Europe in antiquity: new approaches to old problems’, Medical History 48 (2004), 311–28, at 318 note the prevalence of malaria around Rome and Ravenna during the Roman empire, but (rightly) fall short of diagnosing Sidonius as a sufferer. There is insufficient evidence to determine whether or not Sidonius caught malaria; Sidonius does not, for example, complain of recurrent bouts of illness, which is a typical symptom. An actual illness could well have inspired Sidonius to make these literary allusions.

11 TLL 2.1011.60–70 s.v. ‘Atabuli’. The major authors are Plin. HN 6.189, 17.232; Gell. NA 2.22.25; Quint. Inst. 8.2.13; Sen. QNat. 5.17.5.

12 Horace, however, carefully avoids mentioning war with the exception of his own ‘starvation tactics’ that have left him feeling hungry, for which see Gowers, E., Horace Satires Book I (Cambridge and New York, 2012), 182 . This is a clear point of distinction; literary references to war and discord sit behind Sidonius’ partly autoptic travelogue.

13 Burton, P., ‘The discourse of later Latin’, in Rousseau, P. (ed.), A Companion to Late Antiquity (Chichester, 2009), 327–41, at 336. Kelly, G., ‘Sidonius and Claudian’, in van Waarden, J.A. and Kelly, G. (edd.), New Approaches to Sidonius Apollinaris (Leuven, 2013), 171–94; Mratschek, S., ‘Creating identity from the past: the construction of history in the letters of Sidonius’, in van Waarden, J.A. and Kelly, G. (edd.), New Approaches to Sidonius Apollinaris (Leuven, 2013), 249–72; Gibson (n. 3), 333–5. Whitton, C., Pliny the Younger, Epistles Book II (Cambridge, 2013), 35–7, 219, 237, 249 and elsewhere, for example, notes and discusses Sidonius’ engagement with Pliny as a sophisticated reader manipulating and interacting with a literary precedent.

14 M. Fournier and A. Stoehr-Monjou, ‘Cartographie géo-littéraire et géo-historique de la mobilité aristocratique au Ve siècle d'après la correspondence de Sidoine Apollinaire: du voyage officiel au voyage épistolaires’, Belgeo (2014), 1–19, at 10. See also Fournier, M. and Stoehr-Monjou, A., ‘Représentation idéologique de l'espace dans la lettre I, 5 de Sidoine Apollinaire: cartographie géo-littéraire d'un voyage de Lyon à Rome’, in Voisin, P. and de Béchillon, M. (edd.), L'espace dans l'Antiquité (Paris, 2015), 267–85.

15 Fournier and Stoehr-Monjou (n. 14 [2014]), 10–12.

16 Fournier and Stoehr-Monjou (n. 14 [2014]), 10–11: ‘Le parallèle avec Alaric est troublant a posteriori.’

17 Fournier and Stoehr-Monjou (n. 14 [2014]), 10–12.

18 Contra, Loyen, A., Sidoine Apollinaire, Tome III Lettres (Paris, 1970), xii and MacGeorge (n. 1), 246.

19 Altman, J., Epistolarity: Approaches to a Form (Ohio, 1982), 122 notes: ‘Caught up in the particularity of its writer-reader relationship, epistolary discourse is also governed by its moment of enunciation. The letter writer is highly conscious of writing in a specific present against which past and future are plotted.’

20 Heather, P., The Fall of the Roman Empire (London, 2005), 395406 explains the sequence of events.

21 Ahl, F., ‘The art of safe criticism in Rome’, AJPh 105 (1984), 174–208, at 200–5 outlines the limits of safe criticism. Sidonius could ill afford to cause clear offence to Anthemius and Ricimer. It is possible to read this epistle in a ‘straight’ manner which does not recognize Sidonius’ criticism of Rome's two leading figures. For this methodology and terminology, see Dewar, M., ‘Laying it on with a trowel: the proem to Lucan and related texts’, CQ 44 (1994), 199211 , at 204. This ‘straight’ reading does not contradict the latent criticism of the epistle but rather facilitates it. Sidonius could make specific literary allusions to reference conflict in key literary texts safe in the knowledge that the ‘straight’ reading offered him a degree of protection from any political ramifications.

22 Schwitter, R., Umbrosa lux, obscuritas in der lateinischen Epistolographie der Spätantike (Stuttgart, 2015), 10 : ‘“Obscuritas” ist ein derartiger innersprachlicher Störfaktor …’. His analysis of Sidonius’ literature is particularly engaging, but his selection does not analyse Ep. 1.5.

23 Schwitter (n. 22), 257–9.

24 As Schwitter (n. 22), 258–9 notes, this poses methodological issues owing to the importance of Sidonius’ secondary readership and to the difficulty in connecting each epistle to a specific historical reality. Ep. 1.5 is a rare exception as it may be dated to mid to late 467. For the difficulties in dating Sidonius’ epistles, see Mathisen, R.W., ‘Dating the letters of Sidonius’, in van Waarden, J.A and Kelly, G. (edd.), New Approaches to Sidonius Apollinaris (Leuven, 2013), 221–49.

25 Sivan, H.S., ‘Sidonius Apollinaris, Theodoric II, and Gothic-Roman politics from Avitus to Anthemius’, Hermes 117 (1989), 85–94, at 93 n. 51; Teitler, H.C., ‘Un-Roman activities in late antique Gaul: the cases of Arvandus and Seronatus’, in Drinkwater, J. and Elton, H. (edd.), Fifth Century Gaul: A Crisis of Identitity? (Cambridge, 1992), 309–18, at 310–11.

26 Flomen, M., ‘The original Godfather. Ricimer and the fall of Rome’, Hirundo 8 (2009), 9–17, at 14–15 argues that Sidonius was more likely to back Anthemius owing to his efforts to protect the last remnants of Roman Gaul from the Visigoths. This would not have been apparent to Sidonius in 467. Anthemius’ later military activity against the Visigoths in Gaul in 469, which eventually resulted in the death of his son Anthemiolus and the destruction of the Roman army, cannot be used as evidence against Sidonius’ grounds for concern at the beginning of his reign; indeed, if anything, it merely substantiates that such a concern existed in Gallic circles; see O'Flynn (n. 1), 125, and MGH AA. 9.649, 664.

27 O'Flynn (n. 1), 123 rightly detects the negative tone of this epithet.

28 Ennodius, Vita Epifani 54.

29 Hence Sidonius distances himself somewhat from Arvandus’ comments, as the one reporting them (yet also choosing to do so). J.D. Harries, ‘East versus West: Sidonius, Anthemius, and the empire of the dawn’, Public Lecture, delivered on 21/11/2014 at Edinburgh University (forthcoming; draft text kindly supplied by author) has now shown that Sidonius uses studied allusions to Claudian at points in his Carm. 2 (the Panegyric for Anthemius) to reference the tension between the East and the West.

30 Sidonius’ interaction with Majorian is an unhelpful comparandum; the sources are unclear as to what level of involvement Majorian had in Avitus’ downfall; this lack of clarity may well reflect a contemporary lack of certainty. For discussion of the evidence, see Mathisen, R.W., ‘Sidonius on the reign of Avitus: a study in political prudence’, TAPhA 109 (1979), 165–71; Mathisen (n. 8), 326–35; Max, G.E., ‘Political intrigue during the reigns of the western Roman emperors Avitus and Majorian’, Historia 28 (1979), 225–37; Burgess (n. 8), 336–40.

31 Köhler, H., Sollius Apollinaris Sidonius Briefe Buch 1 (Heidelberg, 1995), 265 and Anders, F., Flavius Ricimer, Macht und Ohnmacht des weströmischen Heermeisters in der zweiten Hälfte des 5. Jahrhunderts (Frankfurt am Main, 2010), 186 (following Köhler) argue that these two letters are two halves of the same letter, which was split to conform with generic constraints of length. The two are clearly paired: Ep. 1.5 treats the journey to Rome and Sidonius’ arrival there, while Ep. 1.9 describes Sidonius’ conduct of politics in Rome. They are however separate letters, indeed the final two sections of Ep. 1.5 function clearly as a conclusion, and conversely the beginning of Ep. 1.9 is an introduction rather than a continuation of a piece. They may have originally constituted one letter, but such a suggestion can only be speculation.

32 Harries, J.D., ‘Sidonius Apollinaris, Rome and the barbarians: a climate of treason?’, in Drinkwater, J. and Elton, H. (edd.), Fifth-Century Gaul: A Crisis of Identity (Cambridge, 1992), 298–308, at 300.

33 Sivan (n. 25), 92–3 argues that Sidonius travelled to Rome to plead for Arvandus’ acquittal.

34 Sid. Apoll. Epist. 1.5.2: egresso mihi Rhodanusiae nostrae moenibus publicus cursus usui fuit utpote sacris apicibus accito; see Horváth, A., ‘Sidonius Apollinaris levelezési kapcsolotai’, Acta Vniversitatis Szegediensis. Acta Iuvenum. Sectio Historica 3 (1982), 45–60, at 48; Kolb, A., ‘Transport and communication in the Roman state: the cursus publicus’, in Adams, C. and Laurence, R. (edd.), Travel and Geography in the Roman Empire (London and New York, 2001), 95–105, at 95; Soler (n. 4), 341; Halm, C., Victoria Vitiensis Historia (Berlin, 1878), 165 glosses sacri apices as principis decretum.

35 Sid. Apoll. Epist. 1.9.5: ‘ [dum] aliquid de legationis Aruernae petitionibus elaboramus’. If Sidonius has been sent by the concilium septem Galliarum, one would expect to see Arelate rather than Aruernae. Zeller, J., ‘Das concilium der Septem prouinciae in Arelate’, Westdeutsche Zeitschrift für Geschichte und Kunst 24 (1905), 119, at 15 argues that Sidonius went to Rome both as an ambassador of the Aruerni and (since he was summoned by the emperor) probably as a representative of the concilium septem prouinciarum.

36 The clear verbal similarities rule out that these descriptions are drawn exclusively from generic catalogues. Sidonius knew the works of both Claudian and Virgil intimately, so, even if these catalogues did feature in generic encyclopaedias (which has not been demonstrated), Sidonius would have been aware of the verbal similarities and thus of the connection he forms between his comments in this epistle and Claudian's panegyric and Virgil's Aeneid. These verbal similarities are noted by Geisler (n. 6), 354; Wolff (n. 1), 5–8; Fournier and Stoehr-Monjou (n. 14 [2014]), 5–9.

37 Calzolari, M., ‘Athesis Veronensium in Padum decurrit. Una nota sul corso dell'Adige in età romana’, in Basso, P. (ed.), ‘Est enim ille flos Italiae.’ Vita economica e sociale nella Cisalpina romana. Atti delle giornate di studi in onore di Ezio Buchi (Verona, 2008), 397–402, at 400 doubts the authenticity of Sidonius’ route. O. Rossi, ‘Letters from far away: ancient epistolary travel writing and the case of Cicero's correspondence’, (Diss., University of Michigan, 2010), 292 points out the typical features of this epistle as a travel letter, and asserts that Sidonius’ travel description is accurate. Winckler, K., Die Alpen im Frühmittelalter. Die Geschichte eines Raumes in den Jahren 500 bis 800 (Vienna–Cologne–Weimar, 2012), 124 suggests that some of the rivers could have been forded by Sidonius, rather than travelled down.

38 Gualandri, I., Furtiva Lectio (Milan, 1979), 53 ; Soler (n. 4), 343.

39 Wolff (n. 1), 5–8; Fournier and Stoehr-Monjou (n. 14 [2014]), 5–6. A group of Gauls defeated the Etrurians near Ticinus: Livy 5.34. Ticinus was also the site of one of Hannibal's defeats of the Romans in the Second Punic War: Livy 21.38–57.

40 Lists were memorized in classical education, including lists of rivers such as Hom. Il. 12.20–2 Ῥῆσός … Σιμόεις and Hes. Theog. 337–45 Τηθὺς … Σκάμανδρον; see Schuler, R.M. and Fitch, J.G., ‘Theory and context of the didactic poem: some classical, mediaeval, and later continuities’, Florilegium 5 (1983), 143, at 3. For Sidonius’ use of catalogues elsewhere, see Mathisen, R.W., ‘Catalogues of barbarians in Late Antiquity’, in Mathisen, R.W. and Shanzer, D. (edd.), Romans, Barbarians, and the Transformation of the Roman World. Cultural Interaction and the Creation of Identity in Late Antiquity (Surrey and Burlington, 2011), 17–31, at 26–7.

41 See Fournier and Stoehr-Monjou (n. 14 [2014]), 11.

42 O'Flynn (n. 1), 125 argues that Ricimer was probably not overly honoured by the marriage. Anthemius was also trying to ally himself with Ricimer; see Flomen (n. 26), 14 and J.J. Arnold, ‘Theodoric, the Goths and the restoration of the Roman empire’ (Diss., University of Michigan, 2008), 16. MacGeorge (n. 1), 235 suggests that it was probably a ‘deal between Ricimer, Leo, and Anthemius’.

43 By the fourth century this temple had been converted into a Christian church; see Maurer, J.A., ‘The Clitumnus’, The Classical Weekly 46 (1953), 113–18, at 115.

44 Reckford, K.J., ‘Late tragedy in Aeneid VII, 1–285’, AJPh 82 (1961), 252–69, at 255.

45 Soler (n. 4), 343 argues that this phrase paraphrases Verg. G. 3.14–15 and draws upon Aen. 9.680–1.

46 Fournier and Stoehr-Monjou (n. 14 [2014]), 11.

47 Soler (n. 4), 344. Stoehr-Monjou (n. 14 [2014]), 11; Wolff (n. 1), 5–8.

48 Weeda, L., Virgil's Political Commentary in the Eclogues, Georgics, and Aeneid (Warsaw and Berlin, 2015), 73–4 offers a detailed summary of scholarly approaches to these lines. See also Wilkinson, L.P., ‘Virgil and the evictions’, Hermes 94 (1966), 320–4, at 320; Cipolla, G., ‘Political audacity and esotericism in the ninth eclogue’, AClass 5 (1962), 48–57, at 48–51; Loupiac, A., ‘Virgile, la lettre et l'esprit’, Bulletin de l'Association Guillaume Budé 1 (2008), 126–38, at 127.

49 See principally Luc. 1.212–16; Cic. Phil. 6.3.5; Suet. Iul. 31; Stoehr-Monjou (n. 14 [2014]), 11.

50 This is a pun on the town of Fanum, which was called Fanum Fortunae after Augustus built a large temple of Fortune there: see Lomas, K., ‘Public building, urban renewal and euergetism in early Imperial Italy’, in Cornell, T. and Lomas, K. (edd.), Bread and Circuses. Euergetism and Municipal Patronage in Roman Italy (London, 2003), 28–45, at 32–3. Sidonius had a penchant for name puns; see Gibson, R., ‘<CLARVS> confirmed? Pliny, Epistles I.1. and Sidonius Apollinaris’, CQ 61 (2011), 655–9, at 658.

51 Soler (n. 4), 345.

52 The assumption that this naturally followed the battle as it was near a river is unsubstantiated by any other source. The sources are Polyb. 11.1–3; Livy 27.43–51; Cic. Brut. 73; Hor. Carm. 4.4.36–71; Val. Max. 3.7.3, 7.4.4; Frontin. Str. 1.1.9, 1.2.9, 2.3.8, 3.9.2, 4.7.15; Sil. Pun. 7.486, 15.544–823; Suet. Tib. 2.1; Flor. 1.22.50–4; App. Hann. 52–4; Ampel. 18.12, 36.3, 46.6; Eutr. 3.18; De uir. ill. 48.2–4; Oros. 4.18.9–16; Zonar. 9.9; Porphyrio on Hor. Carm. 4.4; Manilius 1.791; Sid. Apoll. Carm. 4.554–6. In Anth. Lat. 4.18.14 the battle is described as taking place ad arua Metauri ‘at the fields of the Metaurus’. This list comes predominantly from Broughton, R.S.T., The Magistrates of the Roman Republic (New York, 1951), 1.294 and Walbank, F., A Historical Commentary on Polybius (Oxford, 1967), 2.267.

53 This is a joke directed at Livius Salinator's conviction for misusing war booty and for his subsequent decision to live a life of squalor in retirement for ten years.

54 Livy 22.35, 27.34.

55 Wolff (n. 1), 3–4 provides a detailed catalogue of Sidonius’ use of poetic language in the epistle.

56 Hom. Il. 21.218: πλήθει γὰρ δή μοι νεκύων ἐρατεινὰ ῥέεθρα ‘my lovely stream is full of corpses’; see also Hom. Il. 21.235–6.

57 The battle of the Metaurus occurred near the river but was not fought in it or over it. The same can be said for Aufidus and Cannae. Sidonius and Silius are both embellishing their narratives. According to Plut. Vit. Aem. 21, the river Leucus ran red for a day after Aemilius Paulus’ army defeated the Macedonians there in 168 b.c.e.: πολὺς ἦν ὁ φόνος, ὥστε […] τοῦ δὲ Λεύκου ποταμοῦ τὸ ῥεῦμα τοὺς Ῥωμαίους τῇ μετὰ τὴν μάχην ἡμέρᾳ διελθεῖν ἔτι μεμιγμένον αἵματι ‘there was much slaughter such that … on the day after the battle, when the Romans crossed over the stream of the river Leucus, it was still mingled with blood’.

58 Geisler (n. 6), 354 and 384–415. Brolli, T., ‘Silio in Sidonio: Maggioriano e il passaggio delle Alpi’, Incontri triestini di filologia classica 3 (2003–2004), 297314 has argued that Sidonius had a sound knowledge of the Punica.

59 Of the eight references to Silius Italicus’ Punica in Geisler (n. 6), not all pertain directly to the Second Punic War.

60 Johnson, T.S., ‘Lyric, history and imagination: Horace as historiographer (C. 2.1)’, CJ 104 (2009), 311–20, at 311–15; Mader, G., ‘That st(r)ain again: blood, water, and generic allusion in Horace's Bandusia ode’, AJPh 123 (2002), 51–9, at 53–7.

61 This reading follows Köhler (n. 31), 208. For assessment of Soler's approach (n. 4), 340–7 and 406, see pp. 1–2, above.

62 Beard, M., The Roman Triumph (Cambridge, MA, 2007), 96–7.

63 Germain, A.C., Essai littéraire et historique sur Apollinaris Sidonius (Montpellier, 1840), 13 claims that Sidonius’ arrival at this moment was purely coincidental, rather than an effective plot device in its epistolary context.

64 Marriage was an important way of forming political alliances in Late Antiquity. Ricimer himself was likely the product of such an alliance between the Suevi and the Goths: see Gillett, A., ‘The birth of Ricimer’, Historia 44 (1995), 380–4, at 380.

65 See p. 5 n. 26.

66 This is the epistle linked to 1.5; see p. 6 n. 31.

67 Forcellinus, A. and Facciolatus, J., Totius Latinitatis Lexicon (Leipzig, 1831), 2.197 note: ‘… eventilitas, h. e. [hoc est] iactatas et dissipitas.’

68 Flomen (n. 26), 14 reads into this phrase Sidonius’ resentment at Ricimer's focus on Italy. Sidonius’ use of ianuam to represent an opportunity is poignant given his difficulty in Epist. 1.5.10 in reaching the tumultuosis foribus.

69 For a positive interpretation, see Loyen, A., Recherches historiques sur les panégyriques de Sidoine Apollinaire (Paris, 1942), 92 .

70 For how Sidonius’ epistles were circulated in stages, see Harries (n. 1), 10–16.

71 Sidonius was subsequently chosen to present a panegyric for Anthemius, so presumably did in fact meet him subsequently.

72 Sid. Apoll. Epist. 1.2.9, ubique fremit ambitus quiper aulicos deinceps pro patronorum uarietate dispergitur; in a negative portrayal of Maximus Augustus 2.13.5, cum ceteros aulicos honores tranquillissime percurrisset, ipsam aulam turbulentissime rexit inter tumultus militum popularium foederatorum; 7.3.4, exuere utcumque continuatissimis curis et otium tuum molibus aulicis motibusque furare. The fourth use by Sidonius in Carm. 23.312 notes the unlikely combination of iuuenes who are aulici: tunc coetus iuuenum, sed aulicorum. The negative sense of aulici is evident in Epit. de Caes. 41.10, spadonum et aulicorum omnium uehemens domitor tineas soricesque palatii eos appellans ‘He [Constantine] was a vehement suppressor of all eunuchs and courtiers, calling them worms and vermin of the palace’ (transl. Banchich, T., Epitome de Caesaribus, A Booklet about the Style of Life and Manners of the Imperatores [Buffalo, 2009], 167 ).

73 TLL 2.1462.15–70 s.v. aulicus 1; Suet. Calig. 19, Otho 2, Ner. 45, Dom. 4.

74 TLL 2.1462.15–17 s.v. aulicus 1, domum regiam pertinens.

75 See p. 16, above.

76 As Schwitter (n. 22), 2 argues, obscuritas may be intentional. Sidonius is at pains not to reveal the specifics of why he went to Rome, for which see p. 7, above.

77 See pp. 15–16.

78 van Dam, R., Leadership and Community in Late Antique Gaul (Berkeley, 1992), 172 has argued that Sidonius inserted these allusions into his letters prior to their circulation at some point during the editing process, but there is no evidence for this, and they have such an integral role and occur in such abundance that it is difficult to envisage how Sidonius could have managed such a feat. Even if Epist. 7.18.1 is evidence that Sidonius did lengthen some of his letters, this is far short of proving that he did so by including allusions to other texts. Cameron, Alan, ‘The fate of Pliny's Letters in the late empire’, CQ 15 (1965), 289–98 argues that insertions were drawn from Pliny's letters. Salzman, M.R. and Roberts, M., The Letters of Symmachus: Book 1 (Atlanta, 2011), xxi–xxii n. 50 reject the insertion of allusions in this later stage, both for Symmachus and Sidonius; nevertheless, questions remain, for Symmachus at least, as to why the frequency of archaisms declines in his later books. The refusal to treat Sidonius’ allusions as serious stems from a negative assessment of his literary ability and value, which scholarship is moving past; see, for example, van Waarden, J.A., ‘Sidonius in the 21st century’, in van Waarden, J.A. and Kelly, G. (edd.), New Approaches to Sidonius Apollinaris (Leuven, 2013), 322 , who at 5 calls rightly for the ‘[relegation of] the case against Sidonius to the archives of the history of scholarship’.

79 Sid. Apoll. Carm. 2.480–6. Rohr, C., ‘Von redegewandten Männern für heldenhafte Männer? Der Geschlechterdiskurs im Spiegel der lateinischen Panegyrik von Plinius bis Ennodius’, in Ulf, C. and Rollinger, R. (edd.), Frauen und Geschlechter, Bilder – Rollen – Realitäten in den Texten antiker Autoren der römischen Kaiserzeit (Vienna – Cologne – Weimar, 2006), 405–20, at 413 points out the rarity of including a daughter, rather than a son, in a panegyric. For the political importance of this scene in the panegyric, see Watson, L., ‘Representing the past, redefining the future: Sidonius Apollinaris’ panegyrics of Avitus and Anthemius’, in Whitby, M. (ed.), The Propaganda of Power: The Role of Panegyric in Late Antiquity (Leiden, 1999), 177–98, at 190–1.

80 An earlier version of this article appeared in my Ph.D. dissertation (Sydney, 2015). I would like to thank my examiners, Gavin Kelly, Michael Roberts and Bob Cowan for their suggestions, and the Irish Research Council for their financial support. I am grateful to Richard Miles, Anne Rogerson, Dexter Hoyos and Ralph Mathisen for reading and commenting on earlier versions. Thanks are also due to Bruce Gibson and the anonymous reviewer for their suggestions.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

The Classical Quarterly
  • ISSN: 0009-8388
  • EISSN: 1471-6844
  • URL: /core/journals/classical-quarterly
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed