Beatrice Bersani

Thesis title: The Colours of God. Polychromatic Imagery for the Divine in Late Antique Latin Poetry


Beatrice Bersani is from Turin (Italy), where she obtained both her Bachelor's Degree in 2016 and her Master's Degree in 2019. She is currently enrolled in a PhD programme in Classics at the University of Edinburgh. She has been Postgraduate Research Representative for Classics in A.Y. 2021/2022.



M.A. Philology, Literatures and History of Antiquity at the Università degli Studi di Torino

B.A. Classics at the Università degli Studi di Torino


Undergraduate teaching

Tutor and marker for the following courses: Latin 1A and 1B, Latin 1D, Greek 1A, Roman World 1A and 1B, The Transformation of the Roman World, ca. 300-800: Towards Byzantium and the Early Medieval West.

Postgraduate teaching

Later Latin Poetry 2021-2022 (Course Organizer Dr Aaron D Pelttari): Lecture on Claud. Rapt. Pros. 2.1-213.

Tutor and marker for Elementary Latin and Elementary Greek.

Research summary

Late antique poetry; late antique aesthetics; representation of the divine in Christian and non-Christian literature;  Latin colour terminology.

Current research interests

Beatrice's project examines the function and meaning of colour and light effects in 4th-century poetic images of the divine, focussing on the works of Ausonius, Paulinus of Nola, Prudentius and Claudian. Her research includes how these poets and their readers understand and re-interpret the colourful imagery for the divine according to traditional and late antique symbolic codes.

Current project grants

05/2022-06/2022: SFC Saltire Emerging Researcher Scheme - Research exchange with the ERC 'Mapping Ancient Polytheisms. Cult epithets as an interface between religious systems and human agency', Université de Toulouse-Jean Jaurès.

Past project grants

02/2020 – 03/2020: Studentship of Research Apprenticeship, Digital Library of Late Antique Latin Texts, Università del Piemonte Orientale - editor of the XML markup of digitized texts;
05/2020 – 06/2020: Studentship of Research Apprenticeship, Digital Library of Late Antique Latin Texts, Università del Piemonte Orientale - see above.


Edinburgh Classics Postgraduate Seminar Series 2021-2022: Organised and moderated as PGR Representative with Yolanda Panou and Richard Kendall.


Papers delivered

- 'The Colours of the Ancient Gods between Poetry and Network Analysis' in SFC Saltire Emerging Researcher Showcase: Scotland and Europe Research Collaborations. Glasgow, 7th July 2022; 

- 'Dangerous Style. The Difficulty of Picturing God in 4th-century Christian Poetry' in 'Abstinendum a libris inhonestis. Dangerous Latin Literature from Antiquity to the Modern Age'. Torino, 1st July 2022;

- 'Ceres’s Spectrum. The Role of Chromatic Dimensions in Claudian’s Portrayal of a Traditional Deity' in Edinburgh Postgraduate Classics Seminar Series. Edinburgh, 26th November 2021;

- 'Between Fragmentation and Coherence: Accepting Ambivalence through Conjunctive Logic' in Ambiguity and Ambivalence in Late Antiquity. Postgraduate and Early Career Late Antiquity Network 2021 Conference. 9th,10th,16th,17th September 2021.

Bersani, B. Pending publication. 'God's True Colours. The Challenges of Late Antique Poikilia in Ausonius, Paulinus and Prudentius' Divine Images'. Chapter in proceedings of the conference Abstinendum a libris inhonestis. Dangerous Latin Literature from Antiquity to Modern Age, June 30th-July 1st 2022, Torino.

Bersani, B. (2022). 'Disturbing Flowers. The Three-dimensional Colours of Claud. Rapt. Pros. 2.90-132', Classica et Mediaevalia, 1-21. (

Bersani, B. (2021). Review of K. Ierodiakonou, Psychologie de la couleur dans le mond gréco-romain, Bryn Mawr Classical Review (Online), 2021.05.16. (

Bersani, B. (2020). ‘Luciano professore e studioso: il Nuovissimo vocabolario fraseologico italiano-latino, tra la prima pubblicazione del 1924 e la seconda edizione del 1962’, in A. Balbo (ed.), Luigi Luciano. Poesia ed erudizione latina tra Ottocento e Novecento, Alessandria, 7-12.

Ballerini, L. and Bersani, B. (2019), ‘Giuseppe Giacoletti e le opere tecniche’, in A. Balbo (ed.), Auctores Latini Pedemontani. Un’antologia degli scrittori in lingua latina in Piemonte fra Ottocento e Novecento, Alessandria, 46-62.


05/2022-06/2022:   Scottish Funding Council Saltire Emerging Researcher Scheme, Scottish Graduate School of Arts and Humanities (

2020 – present:  School of History, Classics and Archaeology Doctoral Scholarship, University of Edinburgh

2019:  Best Thesis of the Year Award, Classics section, Università degli Studi di Torino