About the Network

With funding between 2014 and 2017 from the Leverhulme Trust, the School of History, Classics, and Archaeology is home to an International Network on the late Roman poet and letter-writer Sidonius Apollinaris.

Bringing together scholars from France, Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom, the Network is working towards a comprehensive literary, linguistic and historical commentary on Sidonius’ works.

Stained glass window from Clermont-Ferrand Cathedral show Sidonius Apollinaris

Sidonius Apollinaris

Sidonius Apollinaris (ca. 430-after 479) is a major eyewitness to the end of the western Roman empire and has proved a rich resource for historians researching the society and politics of fifth-century Gaul. Highly esteemed in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, he is finally being reappraised as a cultural figure in his own right, playing a pivotal role in the transition from classical to medieval Latin literature.

A Modern Commentary

Sidonius' works nonetheless present unusual difficulties for the modern reader. His prose is exceptionally challenging, ornamental, and allusive, while his historical context is complex and controversial. When the project started, most of the work was lacking a commentary.

The Network has three aims. The first is to fill this gap by publishing volumes of commentary, both on Sidonius’ letters and his poems. The second is to produce a substantial introductory volume (The Edinburgh Companion to Sidonius Apollinaris) by a team of international experts from a wide range of disciplines. And the third is to inspire other scholars to write the commentaries on the rest of Sidonius’ works.

The Network has produced two volumes of commentary, with two more in advanced progress, as well as the Companion. There are now commentaries in progress on every part of Sidonius’ oeuvre that does not have one already. The project is significant not only for students of classical and medieval Latin, but will also provide essential tools for Roman and medieval historians, as well as scholars of religion.

The Edinburgh Sidonius project continued

While the funding has now ceased, the Project remains committed to publishing the planned volumes of the original Network as well as new volumes of Sidonius commentary in the series Edinburgh Studies in Later Latin Literature, edited by the Network’s Principal Investigator Gavin Kelly and Aaron Pelttari.

Meanwhile, the Network’s Co-Investigator, Joop van Waarden, curates the invaluable Sidonius website.


Stained glass window showing St Sidonius Apollinaris in Clermont Ferrand Cathedral, Auvergne, France © Henri Hours.