Jon Arnold: Gendering Goths and translating Ennodius -
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Jon Arnold: Gendering Goths and translating Ennodius

Associate Professor of History Jon Arnold‘s contribution to the forthcoming Routledge Handbook on Identity in Byzantium is titled “Manly Goths, Unmanly Romans: Ideologies of Gender in Ostrogothic Italy.” The essay contributes to the few studies of gender in the Ostrogothic Kingdom by drawing attention to the intersections of gender, identity and ideology in the literary productions of the period.

man with long hair and beard in a checked shirtConsistently, Italian sources celebrate the Goths for their manliness and martial valor, depicting Roman soldiers as weak, cowardly and effeminate, and Roman civilians as damsels in distress, rescued by the heroic Goths. Later, during the Byzantine conquest of Italy (535-554), eastern Roman authors intentionally challenged this model and inverted it: the once-mighty Goths had grown soft and weak, allowing the courageous (eastern) Romans to come to the rescue and restore Italy to the Roman Empire.

Map of the Byzantine Empire and surrounding territoriesArnold had two articles published this summer: “Hagiography, Memory, and the Fall of Rome in Ostrogothic Italy” and “The Merovingians and Italy: Ostrogoths and Early Lombards,” in Leadership and Community in Late Antiquity and The Oxford Handbook of the Merovingian World, respectively.

Arnold continues to work on his book project translation of Ennodius.  He recently shared with faculty colleagues a short description of his subject:

“Ennodius served as a deacon for the churches of Pavia and Milan and was later Bishop of Pavia and Papal Envoy to Constantinople. Classically trained, his works fall into a variety of genres, including epistles, epigrams, hagiography, panegyric and speeches. Very little of this massive corpus has been translated into English or any other language, largely owing to Ennodius’ notoriously difficult Latin. Yet, his works are invaluable sources for the history of the late fifth and early sixth centuries, not least the collapse of the western Roman Empire, the emergence of a number of so-called barbarian kingdoms and various developments within the institutional Church.”