Renaat Meesters, A Plea for a Database of Latin Book Epigrams

The first lecture in the Fall 2021 Series of Speaking From the Margins. DBBE Online Lectures will be given by Renaat Meesters (Ghent University & KU Leuven).

Renaat Meesters was a heuristic collaborator (scribe) of the DBBE from 2011 to 2013 and obtained his doctoral degree in 2017 at Ghent University with a dissertation on Byzantine book epigrams on John Klimax. Since 2016 he is a teacher of Greek and Latin at the College of Essen and a voluntary postdoctoral researcher at Ghent University and KU Leuven.


Since its inception in 2010, the DBBE has disclosed an important corpus of medieval Greek texts to the academic community, shedding new light on a plethora of aspects of Byzantine book culture. Regrettably, there is currently no similar project for the collection, cataloguing and edition of metrical paratexts written in Latin. Despite some examples of Latin epigrams which have received a certain measure of attention, this considerable corpus remains seriously understudied.

The purpose of this paper is to promote the idea of founding a Database of Latin Book Epigrams (DLBE), inspired by the DBBE. Therefore, a broad overview of the corpus will be sketched by presenting some Latin book epigrams, mostly selected from manuscripts preserved in the Royal Library of Belgium (KBR) in Brussels. These examples will be compared to Byzantine book epigrams that reveal similar generic features. The observation that Byzantine and Latin book epigrams have a lot in common, underlines the feasibility of setting up a database of Latin book epigrams, which may lead to a better and more thorough understanding of mediaeval book culture in general and of book epigrams in particular.

Practical information

Date & time: Tuesday 14 September 2021, 4:00pm (CET)

No registration required. The lecture is freely accessible via Zoom:

  • Meeting ID: 940 6937 6394
  • Passcode: iLtrHAu2