Literary Dimensions Seminar
Abstract: The talk explores how the French theologian and bishop of Le Mans, Hildebert of Lavardin (1055-1133), and Rome's renowned melancholic chronicler, the 19th-century German historiographer Ferdinand Gregorovius, work through the trauma of the ruin of Rome and thereby establish new concepts of historical continuity.
Hildebert visited Rome at the beginning of the 12th century and witnessed the devastation that Robert Guiscard's pillaging troops had left behind in 1084. His poems Roma and Item de Roma process the experience with a look at the transition between ancient and Christian Rome. 750 years after Hildebert's Rome visit, Ferdinand Gregorovius includes Roma in his History of the City of Rome in the Middle Ages and takes it as a starting point to reflect on the significance of his own life time with respect to the continuation of history.