Speaking From the Margins Lecture Series – Renaat Meesters

A Plea for a Database of Latin Book Epigrams

Since its inception in 2010, the The Database of Byzantine Book Epigrams (DBBE) has disclosed an important corpus of medieval Greek texts to the academic community, shedding new light on a plethora of aspects of Byzantine book culture. Regrettably, there is currently no similar project for the collection, cataloguing and edition of metrical paratexts written in Latin. Despite some examples of Latin epigrams which have received a certain measure of attention, this considerable corpus remains seriously understudied.

The purpose of this paper is to promote the idea of founding a Database of Latin Book Epigrams (DLBE), inspired by the DBBE. Therefore, a broad overview of the corpus will be sketched by presenting some Latin book epigrams, mostly selected from manuscripts preserved in the Royal Library of Belgium (KBR) in Brussels. These examples will be compared to Byzantine book epigrams that reveal similar generic features. The observation that Byzantine and Latin book epigrams have a lot in common, underlines the feasibility of setting up a database of Latin book epigrams, which may lead to a better and more thorough understanding of mediaeval book culture in general and of book epigrams in particular.

Renaat Meesters was a heuristic collaborator (scribe) of the DBBE from 2011 to 2013 and obtained his doctoral degree in 2017 at Ghent University with a dissertation on Byzantine book epigrams on John Klimax. Since 2016 he is a teacher of Greek and Latin at the College of Essen and a voluntary postdoctoral researcher at Ghent University and KU Leuven.

14 September 2021, 1600 CET (midnight AEST). For the zoom room details, please visit the website.