Studies in fourth and fifth century Latin literature with particular reference to Ausonius
The main theme of this work is a discussion of the literary worth of the works of a number of authors of the Later Roman Empire. The works considered are those of Ausonius, Rutilius Namatianus, the anonymous Querolus and, to a lesser extent, Sidonius Apollinaris. The authors will be discussed in turn, beginning with Ausonius, the first chronologically. His work will be examined in the light of his career and of the prevailing conditions in Gaul during his lifetime. Particular attention will be paid to the use made of nature in his works, especially the Mosella. The poem by Rutilius Namatianus known as the De reditu suo will be examined both from an historical and from a literary viewpoint. The Querolus will be considered for its effectiveness as a piece of drama, particular attention being paid to the various kinds of humour to be found in the piece and the way in which it could have been staged. A dating of the play to the mid-fifth century will be suggested. The life and work of Sidonius Apollinaris will be examined in order to provide a view of the change in the political situation in the fifth century and therefore in the environment for literary production. It will be suggested that the writers in Gaul from the fourth century onwards were subject to influences not only from Roman literature but also from native traditions, the result of the Celtic Renaissance of the third century. It will be concluded, however, that despite these indisputable influences and also their undoubted local patriotism, all the writers were basically Roman in outlook, still determined to preserve civilisation on a Roman basis rather than a local one.