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E00922: Prudentius, in his Latin Crowns of the Martyrs (Peristephanon), written c. 400 in Calahorra (northern Spain) in a poem on the martyrdom of *Fructuosus, bishop of Tarragona (north-eastern Spain), and his companions, the deacons Augurius and Eulogius (S00496), calls them patrons of Tarragona and Spain and urges the people of the city to praise them.

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posted on 02.12.2015, 00:00 by mszada
Liber Peristephanon, Poem VI.142-162

O triplex honor, o triforme culmen,
quo nostrae caput excitatur urbis,
cunctis urbibus eminens Hiberis!

145 Exultare tribus libet patronis,
quorum praesidio fouemur omnes
terrarum populi Pyrenearum.

Circumstet chorus ex utroque sexu,
heros uirgo puer senex anulla,
150 uestrum psallite rite Fructuosum!

Laudans Augurium resultet hymnus
mixtis Eulogium modis coaequans,
reddamus paribus pares camenas.

Hinc aurata sonent in arce tecta,
155 blandum litoris extet inde murmur,
et carmen freta feriata pangant.

Olim tempus erit ruente mundo,
cum te, Tarraco, Fructuosus acri
soluet supplicio tegens ab igni.

160 Fors dignabitur et meis medellam
tormentis dare prosperante Christo
dulces hendecasyllabos reuoluens.


'O, threefold honour, triple eminence, whereby our city's head is lifted up, towering over all the cities of Spain! We will rejoice in our three patrons, under whose protection all we peoples of the Pyrenean lands are cherished. Let a choir of either sex stand round about; grown men, girls and boys, old men and women, sing as befits you of your own Fructuosus. Let the hymn ring out in praise of Augurius and in mingled strains match Eulogius with him; let us render song equally to the equal. Here in the city let the gilded roofs re-echo, there a winning sound arise from the shore, and the seas keep holiday and make song. One day will come a time when in the dissolution of the world Fructuosus will free thee, Tarraco, from sore distresses, covering thee from fire; and perchance under Christ's favour he will deign to give relief to my torments too, as he recalls my sweet hendecasyllables.'

Text: Cunningham 1966: 319-320. Translation: Thomson 1953, 212-213.

History

Evidence ID

E00922

Saint Name

Fructuosus, Auguris and Eulogius, bishop and his two deacons, martyrs of Tarragona (Spain), ob. 259 : S00496

Saint Name in Source

Fructuosus, Augurius, Eulogius

Type of Evidence

Literary - Poems Literary - Hagiographical - Accounts of martyrdom

Language

Latin

Evidence not before

395

Evidence not after

405

Activity not before

395

Activity not after

405

Place of Evidence - Region

Iberian Peninsula

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Tarragona

Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)

Tarragona Osset Osset Osen (castrum) Osser castrum

Major author/Major anonymous work

Prudentius

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Saint as patron - of a community

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miraculous protection - of communities, towns, armies

Source

Aurelius Prudentius Clemens (348–after 405) was a Christian aristocrat from Calahorra in the Spanish province of Tarraconensis. He was a high official in the imperial bureaucracy in Rome, but withdrew from public life, returned to Calahorra, and dedicated himself to the service and celebration of God. Most of what we know about his biography comes from the preface to the ensemble of his works, which can be reliably dated to 404 (Cunningham 1966, 1-2), and other autobiographical remarks scattered throughout his works (for a detailed discussion, see Palmer 1989, 6-31). He composed several poetical works, amongst them the Peristephanon (literally, On the Crowns [of the Martyrs]), a collection of fourteen poems of different length describing martyrdoms of saints. We do not know exactly at which point in his literary career Prudentius wrote the preface (possibly at the very end, just before publication); for attempts at a precise dating of the Peristephanon, see Fux 2013, 9, n. 1. The poems in the Peristephanon, written in elegant classical metres, deal mainly with martyrs from Spain, but some of them are dedicated to saints of Rome, Africa and the East. The poems were widely read in the late antique and medieval West, and had a considerable influence on the diffusion of cult of the saints included. In later periods they were sometimes used as hymns in liturgical celebrations and had an impact on the development of the Spanish hymnody. Some indications in the poems suggest that they were written to commemorate the saints on their feast days, but Prudentius probably did not compose them for the liturgy of his time. Rather, they probably provided 'devotional reading matter for a cultured audience outside a church context' (Palmer 1989, 3; see also Chapter 3 in her book).

Bibliography

Editions of the Peristephanon: Cunningham, M.P., Prudentii Carmina (Corpus Christianorum Series Latina 126; Turnhout: Brepols, 1966), 251-389. Bergman, J., Prudentius, Carmina (Corpus Scriptorum Ecclesiasticorum Latinorum 61; Vienna, 1926), 291-431. Translations of the Peristephanon: Eagan, C., Prudentius, Poems (Fathers of the Church 43; Washington D.C.: Catholic University Press, 1962), 95-280. English translation. Thomson, H.J., Prudentius, vol. 2 (Loeb Classical Library; London Cambridge, Mass: W. Heinemann; Harvard University Press, 1953), 98-345. Edition and English translation. Further reading: Fux, P.-Y., Prudence et les martyrs: hymnes et tragédie. Peristephanon 1. 3-4. 6-8. 10. Commentaire, (Fribourg: Academic Press, 2013). Malamud, M.A., A Poetics of Transformation: Prudentius and Classical Mythology (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1989). Palmer, A.-M., Prudentius on the Martyrs (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1989). Roberts, M., Poetry and the Cult of the Martyrs: The "Liber Peristephanon" of Prudentius (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1993).

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Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity

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