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Prudentius, Spain, and Late Antique Christianity
Poetry, Visual Culture, and the Cult of Martyrs


  • Date Published: January 2017
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107149601

£ 75.00

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About the Authors
  • This book provides an innovative approach to the Hispano-Roman Christian poet Prudentius and his poetry. It is a breakthrough in Prudentian scholarship which unifies the differing disciplines of history, archaeology, literature and art history in arguing that Prudentius and his envisaged Spanish audience cannot be fully understood in isolation from their environment in late fourth- and early fifth-century Spain. Paula Hershkowitz focuses on Prudentius' Peristephanon, his collection of verses celebrating the deaths of martyrs, and places these poems within the context of Prudentius' world, uniquely employing material, visual and textual remains as evidence for its religious, social and cultural affiliations. It also draws on this material evidence to contextualise Prudentius' awareness of the significance of the visual as a means of promoting beliefs against the background of this crucial formative period in religious history when many of his Spanish audience were not yet fully committed to the Christian faith.

    • Analyses Prudentius' poetry using not only literary but also archaeological and art historical sources
    • Introduces the Spanish literary and physical evidence relevant to Late Antiquity
    • Questions the depth of Christian belief and the spread of martyr worship in Late Antiquity and considers the complexity of religious identity, especially in late Roman Spain
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Hershkowitz's book is a solid contribution to knowledge on Prudentius and his historical context. Understanding how the poet related to his contemporary audience and material culture in fourth-century Hispania sheds new light on his Peristephanon and refutes a number of tautological assertions found in previous scholarship. This book will definitely be very useful for those interested in Late Antiquity and late Latin poetry, as well as early Christian art, history and society.' Rosario Moreno Soldevila, Bryn Mawr Classical Review

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    Product details

    • Date Published: January 2017
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107149601
    • length: 266 pages
    • dimensions: 254 x 180 x 18 mm
    • weight: 0.69kg
    • contains: 29 b/w illus. 1 map
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    1. An introduction to Prudentius: a Spanish poet for the martyrs
    2. Prudentius' audience: society and religious belief in late antique Hispania
    3. The Peristephanon and the martyr cults in Roman Spain
    4. Visual culture and martyrs: Prudentius, painter of pictures in words
    5. Prudentius' poetry in the context of the late antique culture of Hispania
    6. An epilogue for a Christian poet.

  • Author

    Paula Hershkowitz
    Paula Hershkowitz is an independent scholar who gained a doctorate in late Roman history from Birkbeck, University of London.

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