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About us How to find us dr. B.L. (Bettina) Reitz-Joosse

dr. B.L. Reitz-Joosse

Associate Professor of Latin Language and Literature
dr. B.L. Reitz-Joosse

Building in Words

I am currently finishing a monograph based on my dissertation (Building in Words: Representations of the Process of Construction in Latin Literature), which will be published by Oxford University Press. 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. In the future, I aim to build on this research with further work on the literary aspects of Vitruvius’ De Architectura and, more broadly, on the ancient aesthetics of processes of craft and production.

Fascist Latin

I also have an active research project in the field of Classical Reception Studies. Together with my colleague Dr. 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 written in Latin on Fascist themes. In 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.

Most recently, we have published an edition, commentary, and translation of the most important of the Fascist Latin texts we have so far discovered: 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

The project will be continued as part of the NWO Gravitation programme Anchoring Innovation. Under our direction, a PhD candidate (from 2018) and postdoctoral researcher (from 2021) will continue to investigate the role of the ancient languages in Fascist regimes. As part of this project, we will also produce a digital edition of Fascist Latin texts. See for more information our project website

Landscapes of War 

In 2015, I was awarded a four year research grant (NWO-Veni) with which I can develop my interest in the relation between Roman literature and material culture in a new direction. Until 2020, I will investigate war commemoration in the Roman world, focussing on ‘landscapes of war’ in Roman literature. Roman battlefields often remained unmonumentalised, and fallen soldiers were cremated and buried in unmarked mass graves. This lack of physical commemoration contrasts sharply with the attitude towards landscapes of war in Roman literature. There, the very unmarkedness of battlefields allowed for a nuanced form of remembrance: reflections on the consequences and the costs of wars, on their gains as well as their losses. While the physical sites were gradually reclaimed by nature or agriculture, their equivalents in the world of text and imagination crystallised different interpretations of wars and conflicts for centuries to come. In the course of this project, I will analyse representations of selected battle sites in Roman literature in their material, intellectual and literary context, using the insights and tools of intertextuality, memory studies, and ecocriticism. Through this context-sensitive literary analysis I will investigate the cultural importance of landscapes of war in ancient Rome, arguing that Roman authors turned landscapes into ‘shadow memorials’ of war and its consequences. See also the project website.


Last modified:28 May 2019 3.32 p.m.

Contact information

Oude Kijk in 't Jatstraat 26
9712 EK Groningen
The Netherlands