Memoria poetica e attualità politica nel panegirico per Avito di Sidonio Apollinare
On the first of January 456 Sidonius declaimed his panegyric for the consulate of Flavius Eparchius Avitus. The panegyric has the double purpose of presenting the new emperor to the Roman senators and of lending him credibility, in spite of the fact he was a provincial and already far advanced in age. The text which Sidonius re-employs most largely in his panegyric is the first part of Claudian’s Bellum Gildonicum, as is especially evident in the presentation of the new emperor and the rejuvenation of Rome, which in Claudian is the work of Jupiter, while in Sidonius it is the work of Avitus himself. Sidonius reminds his audience that the senate had requested ‘another Trajan’, who in the Life of Tacitus was remembered as senex, and thus constituted an optimal parallel for the sixty-year old Avitus (the historiographical tradition that remembered this “legend” is pro-senatorial, and of course the senators were the ones who needed persuading about Avitus’ role).