Tra le steppe e le Gallie: la descrizione degli Unni di Sidonio Apollinare (carm. II, Panegirico di Antemio, 243-269)


  • Carlo Ferrari


Between steppes and Gaul: Sidonius Apollinaris’ description of theHuns (carm. II, Panegyric of Anthemius, ll. 235-269).
This paper aims at providing a historical analysis of Sidonius Apollinaris’description of the Huns.By the time of Sidonius’ Panegyric of Anthemius (468 d.C.), the Huns hadbeen the object of some ethnographical excursus in the Greek and Latinsources, the most famous of which were those of the historian AmmianusMarcellinus (XXXI, 2, 1-11) and the poet Claudian (Ruf., I, 323-331).So far, Sidonius’ description has been paid little attention by critics –who have generally considered it an insipid imitation of literary models(especially Claudian) and physiognomical treatises, but a closer examinationof the passage highlights signifi cant details which are indubitablyoriginal and are most probably based on autopsy.Sidonius’ description must then be considered in connection with Ammianus’,for the two texts (together with the report of the embassy at thecourt of Attila by the historian Priscus) provide useful elements to studyHunnic society in the fourth and fi fth century. .it