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E04351: Prudentius, in his Latin Crowns of the Martyrs (Peristephanon), written c. 400 in Calahorra (northern Spain), in a poem on the martyrdom of the Apostles *Peter and *Paul (S00036 and S00008), tells that on the feast of the saints the bishop of Rome celebrates Mass in both basilicas.

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posted on 09.11.2017, 00:00 by mszada
Liber Peristephanon, Poem XII.57-66

Aspice, per bifidas plebs Romula funditur plateas,
lux in duobus feruet una festis.
Nos ad utrumque tamen gressu properemus incitato,
60 et his et illis perfruamur hymnis.
Ibimus ulterius qua fert uia pontis Hadriani,
laeuam deinde fluminis petemus.
Transtiberina prius soluit sacra peruigil sacerdos,
mox hue recurrit duplicatque uota.
65 Haec didicisse sat est Romae tibi, tu domum reversus
diem bifestum sic colas memento.


'There you have two dowers of the faith, the gift of the Father supreme, which He has given to the city of the toga to reverence. See, the people of Romulus goes pouring through the streets two separate ways, for the same day is busy with two festivals. (61) But let us hasten with quickened step to both and in each get full enjoyment of the songs of praise. We shall go further on, where the way leads over Hadrian's bridge, and afterwards seek the left bank of the river. The sleepless bishop performs the sacred ceremonies first across the Tiber, then hurries back to this side and repeats his offerings. (65) It is enough for you to have learned all this at Rome when you return home, remember to keep this day of two festivals as you see it here.'

Text: Cunningham 1966, 380-381. Translation: Thomson 1953, 327.

History

Evidence ID

E04351

Saint Name

Paul, the Apostle : S00008 Peter the Apostle : S00036

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

Calahorra

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

Calahorra Osset Osset Osen (castrum) Osser castrum

Major author/Major anonymous work

Prudentius

Cult activities - Liturgical Activity

  • Eucharist associated with cult

Cult activities - Festivals

  • Saint’s feast

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops

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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