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Prudentius and the Late Classical Biblical Epics of Juvencus, Proba, Sedulius, Arator, and Avitus

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in The Oxford History of Classical Reception in English Literature

Published in print January 2016 | ISBN: 9780199587230
Published online March 2016 | e-ISBN: 9780191820410 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199587230.003.0017

Series: Oxford History of Classical Reception in English Literature

Prudentius and the Late Classical Biblical Epics of Juvencus, Proba, Sedulius, Arator, and Avitus

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This chapter focuses on the works of Prudentius and the tradition of late classical biblical epic exemplified by the poets Juvencus, Proba, Sedulius, Arator, and Avitus, with particular reference to their place in the history of classical reception. This place is doubly important. On the one hand, their verse provided a filter through which pagan classics, most notably Virgil, were transmitted to the Christian West; on the other hand, these poets themselves achieved canonical status. Particular attention is paid to the use of biblical epics in the school curriculum of the early Middle Ages, and to their influence on both Old and Middle English narrative and lyric verse.

Keywords: biblical epic; Prudentius; Avitus; Sedulius; Juvencus; Proba; reception of Virgil; early Christian Latin poetry

Chapter.  12235 words. 

Subjects: Classical Literature

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