Thursday, 5 February 2015

Richard Seagraves: Prudentius: Contra Orationem Symmachi, Bk. I: Date and Structure

Aurelius Prudentius Clemens was the foremost Christian Latin poet in the early Church and in late antiquity. One of his works, which had earlier been neglected, has been given more attention of late. It is his hexametric Contra Orationem Symmachi.
This essay weill address the controversial topic concerning the date of composition of Book I, as opposed to the composition of Book II. There are two main positions of scholars who have studied this issue. The Unitarians, who maintain that aboth book I and Book II were composed and published in the period of late 402 or early 403. They argue for this date because of the poet's mention of the battle of Pllentia, fought on Easter, 6 Apri 402. Prudentius cites this battle in Book II. 696.
The other postion, the Separatists, argues for an earlier date for Book I; the majority for the year 394. Their claim is that, in larage part, Book I was composed well before the end of the century, and that Book I has another aim or purpose than that pursued in book II.
There will also be an examination of the structure of Book I.

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