The Medieval Classic: Twelfth-Century Latin Epic and the Virgilian Commentary Tradition

ISBN : 9780190091361

Justin A. Haynes
232 Pages
156 x 235 mm
Pub date
May 2021
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The Medieval Classic considers how ancient and medieval commentaries on the Aeneid by Servius, Fulgentius, Bernard Silvestris, and others can give us new insights into four twelfth-century Latin epics - the Ylias by Joseph of Exeter, the Alexandreis by Walter of Chatillon, the Anticlaudianus by Alan of Lille, and the Architrenius by John of Hauville. Justin Haynes argues that the most profound connections between medieval epic and the Aeneid have been overlooked because ancient and medieval interpretations, as preserved by the commentary tradition, were often radically different from modern ones. By explaining how to interpret the Aeneid, these commentaries directly influenced the way in which medieval authors were inspired by the poem. At the same time, these commentaries allow us a greater awareness of the generic expectations held by medieval readers. Because two of the medieval epics considered here are allegorical narratives, this book offers new perspectives on the importance of commentaries in the development of allegorical literature. Thus, The Medieval Classic contributes to our understanding of ancient and medieval perceptions of the Aeneid while exploring the importance of commentaries in shaping poetic composition, imitation, and the history of allegorical literature.


Chapter 1: Allegorical Mimesis
Chapter 2: The Anticlaudianus as Virgilian Allegory
Chapter 3: The Architrenius as Virgilian Allegory
Chapter 4: History in the Ylias and Alexandreis
Chapter 5: Myth in the Ylias and Alexandreis
Chapter 6: Blurring the Lines between History and Allegory

About the author: 

Justin A. Haynes is Assistant Professor of Classics at Georgetown University.

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