Dr. Virginia Fabrizi studied “Lettere Classiche” (Classics) at the University of Pavia and received her PhD at the University of Udine. Before joining the Excellence Cluster Topoi as a COFUND Postdoctoral Fellow, she took part in teaching and research at the University of Pavia.
Her research interests focus on Latin literature and Roman cultural history. Her doctoral dissertation was published in 2012 with the title Mores veteresque novosque. Rappresentazioni del passato e del presente di Roma negli Annales di Ennio (Pisa, ETS).
Her research project, which she developed in the Excellence Cluster TOPOI as a COFUND Postdoctoral Fellow, concerned the representation of space in Livy’s Ab urbe condita libri, with a special focus on space outside the city of Rome and on the Third Decade (Books 21-30). The project took into account both the descriptive techniques the historian applies to the portrayal of places and landscapes, and the conceptual representation of space and geography.
Dr. Fabrizis current research project is called "Das Imperium Romanum erzählen: Raumstrukturen in der römischen Geschichtsschreibung der frühen und mittleren Kaiserzeit".
Postdoctoral research project during the time as a COFUND Fellow
outline by Dr. Virginia Fabrizi
Representations of Space beyond Rome in Livy’s Third Decade
My current research project aims at investigating the ways in which space is depicted in Livy’s Third Decade, with a focus on the literary representation of lands and territories outside the city of Rome. The main concept underlying this research is the idea that space is one of the main cultural categories through which a society shapes its own idea of itself, and that the perception of space was deeply affected by the set of cultural changes taking place during the shift from Republic to Principate.
My analysis will take into account both the literary techniques of space description, with a particular attention to topoi which gave places their distinct features, and the representation of space on a theoretical level, i.e. which ideas about different parts of the world and their relationship to each other are proposed in the historian’s own reflections or in the words of different characters.
The project is articulated into two main sections. The first one concerns the representation of Italy in its geographical and literary aspects, and the concept, recurring in the Decade, of Italy as a unity, and of its close tie to Rome; I’m especially interested in how such ideas were connected to some of the key points of Augustan self-presentation. Secondly, I will investigate the literary techniques employed to describe alien lands, such as Gaul, Spain, Greece and Africa: I will stress the ways in which the representation of territories that would be, in the author’s time, subject to Roman power, could be a means of meditating on the origins and the foundations of Empire. In the case of Africa, felt as the rival place to Roman power, my interest lies in the ways in which the expression of alternative views of world domination could foster the idea of legitimacy of the Roman idea of imperium.
Thanks to the work here outlined, I expect to achieve a better understanding of the function of space categories as a means for a representation of power in historical writing, and for a construction of the Augustan memory of the past. The work should result in three/four journal articles, inteded as preliminary work for a future monograph.