Dr Aaron Pelttari (MA, PhD)

Senior Lecturer; Teaching Director for Classics


I grew up in various parts of the USA and earned my PhD in Classics from Cornell University in 2012, before moving to Edinburgh in 2014 to begin a Chancellor's Fellowship. My position was converted to a Lectureship in Latin Literature in 2017 and to a Senior Lectureship in 2020.

Responsibilities & affiliations

Co-editor of Edinburgh Studies in Later Latin Literature

Undergraduate teaching

  • 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).
  • Boethius' Consolation of Philosophy (Honours level).
  • Latin Epic (Honours level).
  • Poetry and Culture from Antquity to the Middle Ages (Honours level, in translation).

Postgraduate teaching

  • 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.

Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Areas of interest for supervision

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.

Specific projects that could use an able and dedicated student:

The ancient (Augustinian?) list of headings transmitted with Augustine's De Trinitate.

The Skopos as an interpretative tool in Servius' commentaries.


Current PhD students supervised

NameDegreeThesis topicSupervision typeLink

Bersani, BeatricePhD 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, RoryPhDLooking back: Love and torment in Late Antique “revivalist” Latin poetryJoint Sagliardi, GiuliaPhDClaudian, Bellum Geticum. A Literary & Historical CommentaryJointlink

Past PhD students supervised

NameDegreeThesis topicSupervision typeCompletion yearLink

Bruce, JoshuaPhDCoercive precedents: The place of Donatist appeals in Augustine’s anti-Donatist polemicSecondary2018

Research summary

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.


  • Europe
  • Mediterranean


  • Ancient Civilisations
  • Culture
  • Language & Literature


  • Antiquity
  • Medieval

Current research interests

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.

Affiliated research centres

  • Centre for Late Antique, Islamic and Byzantine Studies

Project activity

The list below is a subset of the information held on the University of Edinburgh PURE system, and includes Books, Chapters, Articles and Conference contributions. For a full list, including details of other publication types (e.g. reviews), please see the Edinburgh Research Explorer page for Dr Aaron Pelttari.

Books - Authored

Pelttari, A. (2019) The Psychomachia of Prudentius: Text, Commentary, and Glossary. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma

Pelttari, A. (2014) The Space That Remains: Reading Latin Poetry in Late Antiquity. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University PressDOI: https://doi.org/10.7591/9780801455001


Pelttari, A. (2019) The authorial drama of Prudentius in the Apotheosis, Amartigenia, and Psychomachia. Lucida Intervalla, 48, pp. 139–162

Pelttari, A. (2019) The reader and the resurrection in Prudentius. The Journal of Roman Studies (JRS), 109, pp. 205–239DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0075435819000893

Pelttari, A. (2016) Sidonius Apollinaris and Horace Ars poetica 14-23. Philologus, 160(2), pp. 322-336DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/phil-2016-5010

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: A Journal Devoted to Research in Classical Antiquity (CP), 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. (2022) Speaking from the margins: Paratexts in Greek and Latin poetry. In: Verhelst, B. and Scheijnen, T. (eds.) Greek and Latin Poetry of Late Antiquity: Form, Tradition, and Context. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 69-88DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009031769.006

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.