Vol. 43 No. 1 (2017): XLIII - 2017

Who speaks at Prudentius, <em>Per.</em> 9.65-6?

Published 2017-09-11


  • Prudentius,
  • Peristephanon,
  • Cassian,
  • apostrophe,
  • narrator


Recent editors and translators take it for granted that Prudentius, Per. 9.65-6 is spoken by St. Cas­sian. This assumption can be traced back to early modern editions; it is already found in medieval glosses and a prose paraphrase by Hucbald of St. Amand (fl. 900 AD). However, it violates Prudentius’s normal rules for introducing oratio recta. I argue that these lines are better taken as an apostrophe by the poem’s internal narrator, an interpretation first suggested by Arévalo but largely ignored since. This use of apostrophe by the narrator has precedents in ear­lier Latin poetry, especially Lucan. Cassian does not speak elsewhere in the poem, so reassign­ment of 9.65-6 would leave him a mute character. I suggest why Prudentius might have chosen to depict him in this way.


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