Adam Foley

Adam Foley

Villa I Tatti - Bogaziçi University Joint Fellow
The Latin Homer at the Twilight of Hellas


Adam Foley is a classicist and historian whose interests span the classical tradition, including Greek epic and lyric poetry, translation and reception studies, the history of Platonism, and the history of historiography. Trained in classics, he completed his PhD in the Department of History at the University of Notre Dame where he wrote his dissertation on the first Latin translations of Homer in the Italian Renaissance. He lived for two years in Rome (2015-2017), where he spent one year as a fellow at the American Academy in Rome, and recently finished a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Classical Studies at the University of Pennsylvania (2017-2018).

Project Summary

The Latin translations of Homer's Iliad and Odyssey composed by humanists of the Italian Renaissance were made possible in part by the emigration of Byzantine scholars to the Italian peninsula during the late fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. While at I Tatti, Adam will be working on the first monograph on Homer’s reception in the Italian Renaissance and its late Byzantine backstory. Though the influence that Manuel Chrysoloras (ca. 1350-1415) had on his students' aesthetic sensibilities has been well noted by scholars, much of the discussion has focused not on what Chrysoloras had to say but on what Latin humanists said about him. By exploring the epistolary of Chrysoloras along with the Greek manuscripts that belonged to him—including a few codices of the Iliad and Odyssey partly annotated in his hand—Adam has been able to shed new light on Chrysoloras' contributions not only to humanist translation theory and practice but also to the Homeric studies of his day. While in Florence he will conduct the primary archival research on the final "poetic" stage in humanist translations of Homer represented by the work of Carlo Marsuppini, Niccolò della Valle, Angelo Poliziano, and Raffaello Maffei while remaining attentive to the Greek teachers and scholars, such as Theodore Gaza and Andronikos Kallistos, who provided much of the stimulus to their work.