Dr Aaron Pelttari
Programme Director for MSc in Classics, MSc in Ancient History and MSc in Classical Art & Archaeology.
Affiliated research centres
I grew up in the countryside of Wisconsin where I was first introduced to the Greeks and Romans through the poetry of John Keats and T.S. Eliot. After earning degrees at the University of California Santa Barbara (MA, 2004), and Cornell University (PhD, 2012), I lectured for a year in the department of Classics at the University of California Santa Barbara and then as a teacher of Latin and Spanish for a year in Orlando, Florida.
In autumn of 2014, I moved to Edinburgh to join the University of Edinburgh as a Chancellor’s Fellow. In 2017, my position was converted to a Lectureship in Latin Literature. During holidays, I enjoy discovering the various parts and accents of Britain.
co-editor of Edinburgh Studies in Later Latin Literature
Summary of research interestsPlaces:
- Ancient Civilisations
- Language & Literature
I am interested in Latin literature and its contexts. My research has centered on the Latin poetry of late antiquity. During the fourth century, authors came to write in ways that invited or even demanded the active involvement of their readers. The disjointed fragments of the text called readers to see that meaning was created at the point of reception. I described this transformation of Classical Latin poetry in The Space That Remains: Reading Latin Poetry in Late Antiquity.
The poets of late antiquity created and lived through times of intense change, economic, political, and cultural change. I study their work because I am fascinated by the differences of Classical literature, by the ways in which authors managed to make the past present, and by the power of poetry to create meaning and belief as it is read. I first began to work on the poetry of late antiquity in graduate school, because I wanted to re-read the words that transformed Classical culture. In addition to late antique poetry, I am interested in hermeneutics, translation, paratexts, ancient commentaries, manuscript studies, and reception.
Current research activities
Teaching Prudentius at the University of Edinburgh led me to write a student commentary on the Psychomachia (published in 2019 by the University of Oklahoma Press).
In keeping with my previous project of literary history, I am working on the continuing transformations of Latin poetry in the fifth and sixth centuries. In a revolutionary turn, poets such as Claudian, Prudentius, and Ausonius became models in their own right, which is another way of saying that Medieval traditions of writing and thinking were coming into shape.
While my work up to this point has looked from the fourth century back towards its classical precedents, my current work turns forwards from the fourth century towards the continuing traditions of Latin literature. This long-term project and a number of smaller projects are keeping me happily busy.
- Cambridge History of Later Latin Literature, ed. with Gavin Kelly.
- Various subhonours Latin courses: Catullus (selections); Cicero, De amicitia; Aulus Gellius (selections); Prudentius, Pyschomachia; Seneca (selections from the Epistulae); Virgil, Aeneid 2. These intermediate courses were Latin 1c, Latin 1d, Latin 2a, Latin 2b, and Intermediate Latin 1 & 2.
- Lectures on the Aeneid for Classical Literature in Translation 2.
- Later Latin Poetry (Honours level).
- Latin Epic (Honours level).
- Poetry and Culture from Antquity to the Middle Ages (Honours level, in translation).
- Classics Methodology Seminar (various lectures)
- Latin Text Seminar: topics including Claudian's De raptu Proserpinae, the writings of Sidonius Apollinaris; the poetry of Prudentius, and the Aeneid.
|Name||Degree||Thesis topic||Supervision type||Link|
The colours of God: Polychromatic imagery for the divine in late antique Latin poetry.
|Lazzoni, Clara||Seeing texts, reading images: approach to late antique concrete poetry based on Optatian.||Primary|
|Paterson, Rory||PhD||Looking back: Love and torment in Late Antique “revivalist” Latin poetry||Joint|
|Sagliardi, Giulia||PhD||Claudian, Bellum Geticum. A Literary & Historical Commentary||Joint||link|
|Name||Degree||Thesis topic||Supervision type||Completion year||Link|
|Bruce, Joshua||PhD||Coercive precedents: The place of Donatist appeals in Augustine’s anti-Donatist polemic||Secondary||2018|
Currently accepting research student applications : Yes
Areas accepting Research Students in:
I am happy to hear from any interested students. Some likely areas of research that I would supervise include Latin poetry, later Latin literature, Prudentius, and reception.
Books - Authored
Pelttari, A. (2019) The Psychomachia of Prudentius: Text, Commentary, and Glossary. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma
Pelttari, A. (2019) The authorial drama of Prudentius in the Apotheosis, Amartigenia, and Psychomachia. Lucida Intervalla, 48, pp. 139–162
Pelttari, A. (2011) Approaches to the writing of Greek in late antique Latin texts. Greek, Roman and Byzantine Studies, 51(3), pp. 461-482
Pelttari, A. (2011) Symmachus' Epistulae 1.31 and Ausonius' poetics of the reader. Classical Philology, 106(2), pp. 161-169DOI: https://doi.org/10.1086/659850
Pelttari, A. (2009) Donatist self-identity and “The Church of the Truth”. Augustinianum, 49(2), pp. 359-369DOI: https://doi.org/10.5840/agstm20094923
Pelttari, A. (2020) The literary horizons of the poem In Evangelia. In: Hernández Lobato, J. and Prieto Domínguez, Ó. (eds.) Literature Squared: Self-reflexivity in Late Antique Literature. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 15–40
Pelttari, A. (2020) The rhetor Sapaudus and conflicting literary models in Sidonius Apollinaris and Claudianus Mamertus. In: Onorato, M. (ed.) Lo specchio del Modello: Orizzonti intertestuali e Fortleben di Sidonio Apollinare. Naples: Paolo Loffredo, pp. 191–210
Pelttari, A. (2017) Lector inueniet: A commonplace of Late Antiquity. In: Vinzent, M. (ed.) Studia Patristica: Papers presented at the Seventeenth International Conference on Patristic Studies held in Oxford 2015. Leuven: Peeters, Leuven, pp. 215-227
Pelttari, A. (2016) A lexicographical approach to the poetry of Optatian. In: Squire, M. and Wienand, J. (eds.) Morphogrammata / The lettered Art of Optatian: Figuring Cultural Transformations in the Age of Constantine. Paderborn: Wilhelm Fink Verlag, pp. 369-390
Pelttari, A. (2016) ‘Unity and Diversity in Jacques Fontaine’s Late Antiquity’. In: Ando, C. and Formisano, M. (eds.) The New Late Antiquity. Heidelberg
Pelttari, A. (2016) Speaking from the Margins: Paratexts in Greek and Latin. In: Walking the Wire. Latin and Greek Late Antique Poetry in Dialogue.