Universiteit Leiden

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The Renaissance Battle for Rome

Competing Claims to an Idealized Past in Humanist Latin Poetry

Dr. S.T.M. (Susanna) de Beer
03 May 2024

The Renaissance Battle for Rome examines the rhetorical battle fought simultaneously between a wide variety of parties (individuals, groups, authorities) seeking prestige or legitimacy through the legacy of ancient Rome—a battle over the question of whose claims to this legacy were most legitimate. Distinguishing four domains—power, morality, cityscape and literature—in which ancient Rome represented a particularly powerful example, this book traces the contours of this rhetorical battle across Renaissance Europe, based on a broad selection of Humanist Latin Poetry. It shows how humanist poets negotiated different claims on behalf of others and themselves in their work, acting both as "spin doctors" and "new Romans", while also undermining competing claims to this same idealized past. By so doing this book not only offers a new understanding of several aspects of the Renaissance that are usually considered separately, but ultimately allows us to understand Renaissance culture as a constant negotiation between appropriating and contesting the idea and ideal of "Rome."

Author Information

Dr Susanna de Beer, Director of Ancient Studies and Classical Receptions at the Royal Netherlands Institute in Rome and Senior Lecturer in (Renaissance) Latin Literature at Leiden University

Susanna de Beer studied Classics at Leiden University and holds a PhD from the University of Amsterdam. She is Senior Lecturer in (Renaissance) Latin Literature and Early Modern Studies at Leiden University, with a specialization in Classical Reception Studies, Renaissance Humanism, and Digital Humanities. She is currently on detachment as Director of Ancient Studies and Classical Receptions at the Royal Netherlands Institute (KNIR) in Rome. In 2009 she co-edited The Neo-Latin Epigram: A Learned and Witty Genre and in 2013 she published The Poetics of Patronage: Poetry as Self-Advancement in Giannantonio Campano.


"The Renaissance Battle for Rome as a Renaissance sequel to Edwards' seminal book. B. displays an impressive level of scholarship...The book is enhanced by nearly thirty illustrations, many of which are in colour. The book will be of interest to scholars of the Renaissance, and those interested in classical reception studies." - Giles Gilbert, Classics for All

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