February 8—Dörthe Führer, Geoffrey of Vitry’s Commentary on the Medieval Alexander Epic

The Workshop on Late Antiquity and Byzantium is pleased to announce our next meeting:

Geoffrey of Vitry’s Commentary
on the Medieval Alexander Epic

Alexander the Great unhorses Porus, King of India. British Library Royal MS 20 B XX, f. 53r (ca. 1420-1425).

Prof. Dörthe Führer
University of Zurich

Soon after its first appearance in the late 12th century, the Alexandreis of Walter of Châtillon—a medieval Latin epic poem on the life and deeds of Alexander the Great—enjoyed great popularity as a school text. In surviving manuscripts, the poem’s accompanying commentary is often supplemented, revised, or otherwise altered by individual scribes; yet the bulk of this commentary remains essentially derived from that of Geoffrey of Vitry. Geoffrey’s commentary includes linguistic curiosities, poetic techniques, and other essential background information for students of the Alexandreis. Establishing the contents of Geoffrey’s commentary has not been easy: the present edition is based on four core manuscripts containing consistent, thorough, and ample commentary, out of a total 48 commented copies of the Alexandreis. What can this edition of Geoffrey’s commentary reveal about his educational approach—about his background, resources, and didactic goals?

Wednesday, February 8 — 4:30 pm in JRL 207

Please note the unusual day and location—we look forward to seeing you there!

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