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International scholarship holders conduct joint research with KU philologists

The subject of Classical Philology at the KU will be hosting young international scientists over the following months who will implement different research projects in cooperation with Prof. Dr. Bardo Maria Gauly (Chair of Classical Philology) and Prof. Dr. Gernot Michael Müller (Professorship of Classical Philology and the Influence of Antiquity) with funding from the renowned Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, the Swiss National Science Foundation and the German Academic Exchange Service. Taking into account that the approval rate of such applications, depending on the funding institution, is far below 20 percent, the approval for these scholarships is an indicator for the hosting scientists’ reputation in the international scientific community. In this context, the scholarship holders suggest a host with whom they would like to work on a project.

(f.r.) Prof. Dr. Gernot Michael Müller with Dr. Raphael Schwitter (holder of a scholarship from the Swiss National Science Foundation) and Dr. Katarzyna Jazdzewska (holder of a scholarship from the Humboldt Foundation). (Photo: Schulte Strathaus/Press Office)

Prof. Dr. Bardo Maria Gauly hosts the Italian philologist Dr. Sara Fascione from the University of Naples who will conduct her research at the KU with a scholarship from DAAD. (Photo: Hemmelmann/Press Office)

A classical philologist at Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University in Warsaw, Poland, Dr. Katarzyna Jazdzewska, who has been maintaining a partnership agreement with the KU for three years, specializes in ancient Greek literature. Dr. Jazdzewska and her host Prof. Dr. Gernot Müller share the research interest in dialogs as one of the most important literary genre of ancient philosophy and scientific literature. Among important ancient authors of this text form, which is characterized by an exchange between two or more speakers, Platon shall be mentioned for Greek literature as well as Cicero for Latin, who often refers to Platon is his work. The holder of the Humbold scholarship, Jazdzewska, wants to use her nine-months research stay in Eichstätt to prepare a historic study on the Hellenistic dialog (dealing with the era joining Platon with Cicero). This project’s challenge lies in the fact that works of that time have only been passed on in few scattered fragments. Thus, obtaining a complete picture of this era of ancient dialog, which has to date been barely researched, requires meticulous reconstruction work.

As Prof. Müller’s guest, Dr. Raphael Schwitter from the University of Zurich and scholarship holder from the Swiss National Science Foundation will also pursue a project at the KU with which he intends to qualify as a professor. In his doctoral thesis, Schwitter addressed major social and cultural changes in late antiquity, particularly focusing on Latin literary letters. For this study, he was awarded the renowned Bruno-Snell Prize by the Mommsen-Gesellschaft. In his new project, Schwitter has been dealing with the role of so-called ‘Antiquare’ (antiquaries) in Rome since last October. The project duration is expected to be two and a half years. Antiquaries were scholars who have conducted research on the origin and development of Roman cultures, customs and traditions since the 1st century B.C.. On the basis of a wide range of sources leading him back to the late antiquity, Schwitter will not only reconstruct their specific working method but also look into the fundamental question of how societies formed their identity by dealing with the past.

Dr. Sara Fascione from the University of Naples will also conduct research on an issue dating back to the late antiquity. She receives funding from the DAAD and will be employed at the Chair of Prof. Dr. Bardo Maria Gauly for one and a half years. The project comprises a one-year stay at the University of Edinburgh as well as six months in Eichstätt. The aim of her research is to examine a collection of letters of the Gallo-Roman aristocrat Sidonius Apollinaris, who was appointed Bishop of Clermont-Ferrand in the late fifth century, to find out how linguistic and content-related features from the letters of the famous speaker Aurelius Symmachus are adopted. Symmachus was among the Roman senators who organized the pagan opposition to the Christian emperors in Milan in the late fourth century. Sidonius’ references to the letters written one century earlier reflect the conflict of cultural identities between tradition and transformation in the late antiquity; the literature of this era forms one of Prof. Gauly’s areas of expertise.