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B.L. (Bettina) Reitz-Joosse, Dr

Associate Professor of Latin Language and Literature
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Processes of Making in Ancient Rome

A monograph developed from my dissertation ( Building in Words: Representations of the Process of Construction in Latin Literature ) was published by Oxford University Press in 2021. I analyse literary texts of the early empire (both poetry and prose) which describe the process of construction, placing them in dialogue with contemporary epigraphic, architectural and artistic material. I argue that representations of the creation of architecture are crucial to understanding the aesthetics of both architecture and literature in ancient Rome.

I am building on this research in the project FACERE, a broad exploration of the ancient Roman aesthetics and ethics of processes of craft and production, funded through an ERC Starting Grant. The project was launched in September 2023.

Team members

Hylke de Boer (doctoral candidate)

Friederike Brunzema (doctoral candidate)

David Lettink (research assistant)

Fascist Latin

I also have an active research project in the field of Classical Reception Studies. Together with my colleague Han Lamers (Oslo), I work on Latin texts written and published in Fascist Italy. In libraries and archives in Italy we have uncovered a large number of prose and verse texts in Latin, written between 1922 and 1943 on Fascist themes. In order to make these texts accessible to anyone working on this period, we have just launched Fascist Latin Texts , a digital library of 120+ Latin texts from this period on Fascist themes. 

In our recent publications, we have explored what it meant to write in Latin during the ventennio fascista, arguing that Latin functioned not only as the language of Fascist romanità, but also as a modern and a specifically Fascist language, as a national and an international language, and as the language of Italian imperialism. In 2016, we published an edition, commentary, and translation of a unique document: Aurelio Amatucci’s Codex fori Mussolini, written on parchment and deposited under the obelisk at the Foro Italico in Rome in 1932. We argue that the Codex was intended for rediscovery in the distant future, when it would help shape the future reception of Italian Fascism. The Codex Fori Mussolini: A Latin Text of Italian Fascism was published by Bloomsbury in August 2016. Watch a short video about our work on the Codex here. More recently, we have edited  Studies in the Latin Literature and Epigraphy of Italian Fascism (Leuven University Press, 2020) together with Valerio Sanzotta, and in 2022, we launched Fascist Latin Texts , a digital open-access library of 120+ Latin texts from this period on Fascist themes. The project is currently part of the NWO Gravitation programme Anchoring Innovation. For more information, a full publication list and updates, see our project website

Team members

Dr. Nicolò Bettegazzi (PhD completed in April 2023)

Dr. Katharina-Maria Schön (Anchoring Innovation postdoctoral researcher, currently funded by the Austrian Academy of Arts and Sciences)

Hylke de Boer (research assistant)

Landscapes of War 

Between 2016 and 2020, I held a research grant (NWO-Veni) with which I was able to take my interest in the relation between Roman literature and material culture in a new direction. I investigated war commemoration in the Roman world, focussing on ‘landscapes of war’ in Roman literature. In the course of this project, I analysed representations of selected battle sites in Roman literature in their material, intellectual and literary context, relying especially on the insights and tools of intertextuality and memory studies. Stressing the cultural importance of written warscapes in ancient Rome, I argued that Roman authors turned landscapes into ‘shadow memorials’ of war and its consequences. An edited volume entitled Landscapes of War in Greek and Roman Literature, co-edited with Marian Makins and Chris Mackie, was recently published by Bloomsbury. Further publications include work on Actium, Parthia, Teutoburg, battlefield visits, and 'battle palimpsests'. 

In the context of this project, a team of secondary school teachers under the direction of Marije van der Steege and myself also produced teaching materials for secondary school students of Latin and Greek, designed to reflect on war commemoration in antiquity and in our own time. More information (and the six freely downloadable modules) can be found here.  

During a Humboldt Fellowship in 2022-23, I continued my work on the relationship between landscape, memory and war in Roman literature. See the project website for further information about published results, future plans, and outreach. 

Transnational Politics of Latin

My most recent project is a collaboration with Julia Costa-López (International Relations). Together, we want to investigate how and why users of social media employ the Latin language in political utterances. In 2021, we were awarded funding for an interdisciplinary PhD position through the Young Academy Groningen PhD scheme.

team members

Dr. Julia Costa-López (co-supervisor)

Federico Petris (doctoral candidate)

Last modified:26 September 2023 5.42 p.m.