Textile Reflections

Multi-sensory Representation of Textile Work in Latin Poetry and Prose

By Magdalena Öhrmann

Magdalena Öhrmann

This interdisciplinary research project explores and re-interprets the representations of textile work and textile artefacts in Latin literature. Detailed literary analysis taking into account matters of metrics, rhetoric (sound figures) and structure (content patterns) shows that Latin authors display greater technical understanding of textile work than previously assumed, and suggest that their tacit knowledge of textiles/textile production has influenced the artistic development of descriptions of textile crafts.

Observation and recordings of reconstruction of ancient textile work (through both experiential and experimental archaeology) is be the basis for the investigation of semblances of textile work in metre, sound-play and structure in Latin texts, providing thematic literary interpretation, highlighting neglected connections between structure, sound-play and meaning.

The project results complement epigraphically- and archaeologically-based knowledge of the role played by textiles and textile production in Roman life, their ideological connotations, and trials investigation of ancient soundscapes through literary sources.