Research Training Group "Expert Cultures from the Twelfth to the Eighteenth Century"

Maren Elisabeth Schwab, Ex.


My primary field of research is the Italian Renaissance, and my particular focus is on the manifold phenomena of reception and the problem of image-representation in poetry. My work so far has centred on the fifteenth-century authors Amerigo Vespucci, Angelo Poliziano, and Poggio Bracciolini.
I came to the Georg-August-University of Göttingen in April 2015 as a research associate at the graduate school "Expertenkulturen des 12. bis 18. Jahrhunderts" (untill March 2018). From 2007 to 2014 I studied Classics, Italian, and Art History at the Universities of Trier and Heidelberg. In 2014/15 I graduated in Latin, Italian and Greek from the University of Trier, and in 2016 in Art History from the University of Heidelberg. While finishing my graduate work I completed internships at the Bibliothèque Nationale de Luxembourg (2009) and at the Bibliotheca Hertziana in Rome (2010). In May 2014 I had a research stay at the Warburg Institute in London. In 2015 I attended the Summer School 'Globalized Classics' at the Humboldt University in Berlin. I had the great pleasure to continue my research at the Institute for Research in the Humanities (IRH) in Wisconsin-Madison in January 2016 and spend the spring term as a visiting student at the History Department in Princeton (NJ). For the summer 2016 I was honored to be awarded an Arthur and Janet Holzheimer Fellowship in the History of Cartography at the Newberry Library in Chicago (IL).

Dissertation Project

My neo-Latin dissertation project is about the descriptions of Rome between the 14th and 16th centuries.
These texts present newly discovered knowledge about antiquity and the city of Rome, using methods which resemble those employed in the study of antiquity today, such as epigraphy and archaeology, hence why these Renaissance authors are often called 'antiquarians' or 'proto-archaeologists'. I look at the texts from a literary point of view, asking how these creative authors present themselves as experts on Rome.
In the period between the 14th and 16th centuries Rome is a particularly fascinating place. At the time of the Council of Constance, Rome was, so to speak, on the move, redefining its political and cultural orientation.
The corpus I study consists of a heterogeneous group of texts in poetry and in prose. Their authors are sometimes famous - Petrarch and Flavio Biondo - sometimes relatively unknown or even anonymous. How do they draw their picture of Rome? How important are medieval guides for pilgrims and laudes urbis? How is the antique material - inscriptions and texts (e.g. Virgil, Livy) - dealt with?


  • The Rebirth of Venus. The Homeric Hymns to Aphrodite in Poliziano's Stanze, in: A. Faulkner, A. Schwab, A. Vergados [Edd.]: The reception of the Homeric Hymns in classical and later times. Oxford University Press 2016, 302-323.
  • Julius Caesar entdeckt Amerika, in: Antike und Abendland. Vol 61 (2015), 100-118.
  • Bildbetrachtungen mit Angelo Poliziano, in: Baier, Thomas / Dänzer, Tobias / Stürner, Ferdinand [Hgg.]: Angelo Poliziano. Dichter und Gelehrter. NeoLatina-Reihe Tübingen 2015, 99-118.
  • Rezension zu Sannicandro, Lisa: I personaggi femminili del Bellum Civile di Lucano. Die weiblichen Charaktere in Lucans "Bellum Civile". Rahden 2010, in: Les Etudes Classiques, Vol 81, No 3-4 (2013).


  • Renaissance Rebuildings of Virgil's Rome, in: Peter Mack, John North [Edd.]: The Afterlife of Virgil. Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies, 2016 (9500 words).
  • Kolosserbrief, Übersetzung ins Deutsche aus der Vulgata, zusammen mit Andreas Schwab, in: Andreas Beriger, Widu-Wolfgang Ehlers, Michael Fieger (Edd.): Vulgata deutsch, Berlin: De Gruyter 2018.