Prudentius (b. 348 c.e.), one of the greatest Latin poets of late antiquity, was also a devoted Christian. His allegorical masterpiece, Psychomachia, combines epic language and theological speculation to offer a powerful vision of Roman and Christian triumphalism. Yet this important work—one of the most popular and influential poems of the Middle Ages—is unfamiliar to most contemporary students of Latin. This edition, featuring the first full-length English commentary on the poem, makes Psychomachia accessible to modern learners.
In his wide-ranging introduction, Aaron Pelttari examines the life of Prudentius, the world of late antiquity, and the structure of Psychomachia, along with its aims, reception, and manuscript transmission. The Latin text includes an apparatus criticus, and the corresponding commentary covers points of textual, grammatical, literary, and historical interest. Following the commentary are two appendices: an explanation of the poem’s meter, and a glossary of rhetorical and literary terms. A bibliography and a complete Latin-to-English glossary round out the volume. Ten illustrations enrich the text by showcasing medieval illuminations and early editions of the poem.
Ideally suited for intermediate and advanced students of Latin, this volume is also useful for instructors and scholars, who will welcome its lucid interpretation of the poem and expert guidance on difficult passages. With its concise yet carefully considered format, The Psychomachia of Prudentius will be a welcome addition to scholarship on late antique Latin literature.
Aaron Pelttari is a Lecturer in Classics at the University of Edinburgh. He is the author of The Space That Remains: Reading Latin Poetry in Late Antiquity.
2021 - Ladislaus J. Bolchazy Pedagogy Book Award, Classical Association of the Middle West and South - Winner
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