Prudentius


Prudentius

▪ Christian poet
in full  Aurelius Clemens Prudentius  
born AD 348, , Caesaraugusta, Spain
died after 405

      Christian Latin poet whose Psychomachia (“The Contest of the Soul”), the first completely allegorical poem in European literature, was immensely influential in the Middle Ages.

      Prudentius practiced law, held two provincial governorships, and was awarded a high position by the Roman emperor Theodosius. Tiring of court life, he devoted the rest of his time, from about 392, to writing poems on Christian themes. He published a collection of his poems with an autobiographical preface in 405.

      The Cathemerinon (“Book in Accordance with the Hours”) comprises 12 lyric poems on various times of the day and on church festivals. The symbolism of light and darkness occasionally develops into sustained allegory. The Peristephanon (“Crowns of Martyrdom”) contains 14 lyric poems on Spanish and Roman martyrs. Three long didactic poems give a polemical exposition of Christian doctrine in a form agreeable to those steeped in the old classical literary tradition. The Apotheosis is directed against disclaimers of the Trinity and the divinity of Christ. The Hamartigenia (“The Origin of Sin”) attacks the Gnostic dualism of Marcion and his followers. The Psychomachia describes the struggle of faith, supported by the cardinal virtues, against idolatry and the corresponding vices. The two Contra Symmachum (“Books Against Symmachus”) were written in reply to that pagan senator's requests that the altar of Victory be restored to the Senate house. The Dittochaeon (“The Double Testament”), 49 quatrains intended as captions for the murals of a basilica in Rome, is of interest mainly to art historians.

      Prudentius gave classical literary form to Christian doctrines. His poetry's content was derived from early Christian authors, such as Tertullian and St. Ambrose, and from the Bible and the Acts of the Martyrs. Familiar to moderns is the beautiful Christmas plainsong hymn Divinum Mysterium (“Of the Father's Love Begotten”) and the hymn for Epiphany, “Earth Has Many a Noble City,” both from the Cathemerinon.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Prudentius — • Bishop of Troyes (d. 861) Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Prudentius     Prudentius     † …   Catholic encyclopedia

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  • Prudentĭus — (Aurelius P. Clemens), der bedeutendste christliche röm. Dichter, geb. 348 im tarrakonensischen Spanien, 402–403 in Rom und bald darauf gestorben, war erst Advokat, dann hoher Staatsbeamter, bis er sich im 57. Lebensjahr aus dem öffentlichen… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Prudentius — Prudentĭus, Aurelius Clemens, christl. röm. Dichter, geb. um 348 n. Chr. zu Calagurris (Spanien), gest. um 413; Ausg. von Dressel (1860). – Biogr. von Klemens Brockhaus (1872), Rösler (1886), Puech (franz., 1888) …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Prudentius — Prudentius, Aurelius Clemens, 348 n. Chr. zu Saragossa geb., Rechtsgelehrter, gest. um 413, ausgezeichneter Dichter der kathol. Kirche, von Bentley der christliche Horaz genannt, verfocht den Kirchenglauben poetisch, war Lyriker, Epiker u.… …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

  • Prudentius — For the ninth century writer and bishop, see Prudentius of Troyes. Aurelius Prudentius Clemens was a Roman Christian poet, born in the Roman province of Tarraconensis (now Northern Spain) in 348. He probably died in Spain, as well, some time… …   Wikipedia

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  • Prudentius — (Aurelius Prudentius Clemens) (348–after 405)    Prudentius was the first great Christian poet in Latin.He wrote SAINTS’ LIVES, hymns (some of which are still sung today), and the first narrative poem in Europe written entirely as an allegory the …   Encyclopedia of medieval literature

  • Prudentius, S. (2) — 2S. Prudentius, Ep. (6. April). Die Verehrung des hl. Bischofs Prudentius (zugenannt Galindus) von Troyes ist in dieser Kirche altherkömmlich. Seine Verdienste sind unleugbar und können durch die Irrthümer, in welche er zeitweilig verfiel, nicht… …   Vollständiges Heiligen-Lexikon

  • Prudentius, B. (8) — 8B. Prudentius (14. Nov.), Bischof von Tarazona in Spanien, starb um d.J. 1135, und ist zu Nagera begraben. Vgl. S. Prudentius.2 (Mg.) …   Vollständiges Heiligen-Lexikon


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