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Ex reconditis antiquitatum libris: not so certain Varronian quotations by the Early Church Fathers
22.10.2021 17.30 h - 19.00 h
Séminaires, conférences


Information signalée par Jessica Clarke

FRRAnt Seminar (ERC project, University College London), Antonino Pittá


The ERC Project FRRAnt (The Fragments of the Roman Republican Antiquarians), based at University College London, History Department, is delighted to invite you to its first public seminar on Friday, October 22nd, 4.30-6pm (London time):

Dr Antonino Pittá (Universitá Cattolica, Milan –Honorary Fellow, UCL) will present a paper entitled:
‘Ex reconditis antiquitatum libris: not so certain Varronian quotations by the Early Church Fathers'

The paper discusses three passages (in Tertullian and Arnobius) that shed light on the problems an editor must face in dealing with the intentionally distorted re-writing of antiquarian material by Early Church Fathers. The first one (Tert. Ad nat. 2.9.21-22, to be compared with Arn. 1.36 and 5.18) is a good example of satirical treatment of Varronian doctrine: Varro's description of Faunus and his daughter is turned into a derisive account. Along with the question of the attribution (how much is drawn from Varro?), a textual problem will be discussed. This passage may provide us with an insight on the reception of Varro's concept of vates (which, in turn, was influenced by Ennius). The second text (Arn. 6.6) contains an obscure reference to Varro (polyandria illa Varronis: the text and the meaning of the phrase are uncertain). The discussion on this controversial passage will show how unreliable our source material is when we attempt to reconstruct antiquarian works. The third text (Arn. 4.37) includes a short allusion to an antiquarian common place: the exemplum of the ill-omened slave/praesul. Although the sense is clear, the difficult syntax of the transmitted text requires detailed examination. These case studies will show to what extent Christian authors reshaped and moulded evidence of Roman religion, not just for polemical purposes, but also as a way to adjust the ideas of Republican Rome to a new social and political milieu.

Due to the current pandemic, the seminar will be held via Zoom (details below). In due course, its recording will be posted on

For any queries, please contact Jessica Clarke: Jessica.clarke.15[at]

All welcome.

Valentina Arena

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Meeting ID: 931 8449 6067
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Lieu de la manifestation : Online
Organisation : Valentina Arena
Contact : Jessica.clarke.15[at]