My Research Projects

 

RESPICE, ADSPICE, PROSPICE

 

 

As a part of my Senecan interests I wrote and published an introduction, translation and commentary of Seneca’s De brevitate vitae. This work provides readers with a new, much needed, Italian translation and a commentary that takes into consideration recent scholarly contributions from Germany, France, Spain, UK and the USA (William’s work in primis). It is reflective of my main research interests as in it I often target questions related to Seneca’s mastering of rhetorical tools and how this process both influences and reflects the shaping of first century Roman Stoicism. As for the critical apparatus, I rely heavily on Reynold’s edition but I list and discuss nineteen passages where I believe alternate readings are preferable.My research on Seneca has allowed me to establish fruitful relations with some major scholars in the field, such as Elaine Fantham, Gareth Williams, Aldo Setaioli and Mireille Armisen Marchetti. I am at the moment organizing an international conference on Seneca to be held in the fall 2021, possibly under the auspices of Columbia University and Yale University, and aiming at combining different approaches of both established and young scholars. The format for the event is going to be the one of the foundation Hardt, with all papers circulating several weeks before the meeting, allowing extensive discussion after the reading of each contribution. I will then edit a volume containing the proceedings of the event. Still part of my Stoic agenda, I contributed a chapter to a volume on Seneca edited by Jula Wildberger published by De Gruyter in 2012. My chapter deals with Epistula 95 and the deployment of the imagery of diseased women’s bodies, as a way to critique what the philosopher terms a “degenerate” or “sick” style. Still on the topic of the body, I am writing an article where I weigh the influences of Cicero and of Roman medical lore on the Stoic trope of the soma utilized to convey the ideas of social unity and/or disconnection. In spring 2015 I published my second book, a translation and commentary of Plautus’ Poenulus and Truculentus. I was especially keen on working on the Truculentus. Because of its extremely fragmentary state, scholars have often privileged better preserved palliatae. But this comedy is probably the most important play of Plautus’ late career. According to Cicero, Sen. 14.50, Plautus himself considered it one of his best works (the other being the Pseudolus). Kruse’s commentary dates back to 1974. With much important work done since then, the time was ripe for a new look at this play as a means of shedding new light on the scene of Roman archaic theatre. A new commentary for this neglected masterpiece was much needed in order to give the work a larger diffusion, and to open up new avenues for in-depth scholarly debate.This volume on Plautus offered me a chance to do research on two topics of lesser scope, yet worth investigating. I published an article on the interpretation of the Truculentus vis-à-vis its date of composition, the role of sumptuary laws (in particular the lex Oppia) and the change in women’s juridical position after the second Punic war. The other topic that I researched concerns the relation between an Horace Carm. 3.12 and the ius osculi. In particular, I investigated how in archaic Rome the prohibition from drinking wine fostered the creation of emotional strategies to strictly control women through the control of their bodies. This contribution was published in 2019.