Prudentius’ Crown of Martyrs offers an English translation, with introduction and commentary, of the Liber Peristephanon, Prudentius’ vivid collection of lyric hymns in honor of Christian martyrs.
To render Prudentius’ metrically varied lines for twenty-first-century readers, Len Krisak relies on the inherent iambic nature of English. The introduction offers insight into social, political, and literary features of the fourth century, the life of Prudentius, the poet’s other works, his Latinity and mastery of ancient meters, and the manuscript tradition and the reception of Prudentius in the Middle Ages and beyond.
Given Prudentius’ central place in the history of Latin poetry, this translation is a welcome resource for general readers interested in Western literary history. It will also find a home with scholarly audiences working on Late Antique and Early Christian literature and culture, in a wide variety of college classrooms and in academic libraries.
Table of Contents
I. Historical Context; the Life of Prudentius; the Poet’s Output
II. Historical, Literary, and Poetic Contexts of the Peristephanon
III. Textual History and Reception
IV. Meters of the Peristephanon
V. Principles of Translation
I. A Hymn in Honor of the Holy Martyrs Emeterius and Chelidonius of Calahorra
II: A Hymn in Honor of the Passion of the Most Blessed Martyr Lawrence
III: A Hymn in Honor of the Passion of the Most Blessed Martyr Eulalia
IV: A Hymn in Honor of the Eighteen Holy Martyrs of Caesaraugusta
V: The Passion of St. Vincent, Martyr
VI: A Hymn in Honor of the Most Blessed Martyrs Fructuosus, Bishop of the Church of Tarraco and Augurius and Eulogius, Deacons
VII: A Hymn in Honor of the Martyr Quirinus, Bishop of the Church of Siscia
VIII: On a Site in Calagurris Where Martyrs Suffered and Where a Baptistery Is Now
IX: The Passion of Saint Cassian of Forum Cornelii
X: The Declarations of St. Romanus the Martyr Against the Pagans
XI: To Bishop Valerian on the Passion of the Most Blessed Martyr Hippolytus
XII: The Passion of the Apostles Peter and Paul
XIII: The Passion of Cyprian
XIV: The Passion of Agnes
Len Krisak is the author of five books of poetry, Midland (1999), Fugitive Child (1999), Even as We Speak (2000), If Anything (2004), and Afterimage (2014); and of translations of Horace (Odes of Horace, 2006), Virgil (Virgil’s Eclogues, 2010), Ovid (Ovid’s Erotic Poems, 2014), and Rilke (Rilke’s New Poems, 2015). Among many honors, he is the recipient of the Robert Penn Warren Prize, the Richard Wilbur Award, and the Robert Frost Prize. His work has appeared widely in numerous venues, including Commonweal, Raritan, The Sewanee Review, The Hudson Review, Classical Outlook, and The Weekly Standard. He has taught at Brandeis University, Northeastern University, and Stonehill College (all in the US) and in 1995 was a four-time champion on Jeopardy!