Postgraduate Research Student
Antonella was awarded with a BA in Classics and then later she received a MA with distinction in Classical philology, both of these were completed at the University of Rome La Sapienza. During her MA thesis under the supervision of Prof. Agosti and Prof. Luiselli (as co-supervisor), she realized a new rhetorical and stylistic comment on a late antique encomiastic papyrus poem, the encomium for an anonymous professor from Beirut.
During her MA, she attended successfully the Excellence Path, in which she got to work on a project regarding gnomic literature, in the Greek-Coptic environment in late ancient Egypt.
She was also the recipient of a Traineeship at University of Liège, in which she carried out scientific work within the framework of the two main projects of the Centre de Documentation de Papyrologie Littéraire.
She arrived at Liverpool in April 2022, and she is carrying out a PhD in Classics under the supervision of Dr Marco Perale and Prof. Bruce Gibson.
"The Encomium in Late Antiquity. The Rhetoric of Praise in Late Antique Greek Poetry."
My research aims to investigate the rhetorical strategies of encomiastic poetry in Late Antiquity. Poetry was an essential aspect of the education of the late antique élite and had a marked public and political function, which is evident in the copious production of encomiastic poems. Poets put their culture at the service of the ruling classes, composing eulogies of individuals and constructing utopian images of their virtues. Firstly, my research intends to focus on papyrus encomia, as they best represent the daily use of praise in Late antiquity. Indeed, the poems on papyri deserve further study: since these poems were created specifically within city contexts, they reflect local social and political dynamics, allowing us to understand the pragmatic function of praise literature.
These poetic texts on papyrus turned out to be the very useful to understanding how the rhetorical precepts learned at school were applied for specific occasions related to the life of citizens (such as praise for a deceased citizen, praise for a wedding) or in some cases for city officials (such as praise for an officer returning home).
In addition to praise on papyrus, my research also aims to analyse praise on inscriptions, especially honorary poetic inscriptions and funerary epitaphs. These take on an important civic role and, like the literary texts on papyrus, are a direct testimony of the public function of literature in Egypt and elsewhere in the Graeco-Roman world. Whilst these inscriptions pursue different communication strategies, they all offer insights into the rhetorical precepts taught in the local education system and the recipients of these instructions
Starting from my selection of texts, the main objectives of my research are to identify conventional themes and rhetorical strategies present in encomiastic compositions that were directly influenced by the rhetorical handbooks (first of all Menander Rhetor), to determine to what extent late antique poems were influenced by rhetorical conventions and techniques taught in schools and lastly to define the cultural and linguistic identity of the audience to the texts through the poets' conscious rhetorical choices.
Antonella’s broader research interests include Imperial and late antique Greek literature, papyrology, history of Greek rhetoric, Greek epigraphy of the imperial age, Graeco-Roman Egypt.
My PhD is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) via the North West Consortium Doctoral Training Partnership (NWCDTP).