Prudentius’ Crown of Martyrs: Liber Peristephanon, 1st Edition (e-Book) book cover

Prudentius’ Crown of Martyrs

Liber Peristephanon, 1st Edition

By Len Krisak


172 pages

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Hardback: 9780815353270
pub: 2019-08-23
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781351136945
pub: 2019-08-21
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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


The Peristephanon

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



About the Author

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!

About the Series

Routledge Later Latin Poetry

The Routledge Later Latin Poetry provides English translations of the works of those poets writing in Latin between the fourth and the eighth centuries inclusive. It responds to the increasing interest in later Latin authors and especially the growth in courses devoted to late antiquity. Books in the series are designed to provide comprehensive coverage to support students studying later Latin poetry and to introduce the material to those wishing to read these important and often under translated works in English.

The RLLP is devoted to publishing creative, accessible translations. Each volume is self-contained: introductory material contextualizes the life and output of the poet in question, and includes manuscript and editorial details; some discussion of metrics and Latinity; and a sense of how the work being translated might be interpreted (including where possible the scholarly history of the same). This section concludes, as need be, with maps and a list of any editorial changes made by the translator to the established Latin text. At the conclusion of each volume, in addition to endnotes and a works cited list, there is a general index that, beyond allowing readers to negotiate content, also serves as a glossary of names, dates, figures, places and events. Volumes hew, as much as possible, to line-for-line versions of the Latin original, so that those who come to the translations with a knowledge of Latin can orient their reading with the original. 

By offering English translations of later Latin poetry with comprehensive supporting material the series enables a greater understanding of late antiquity through one of its most important literary outputs. The poems are significant sources for the culture, religion and daily life of the period and clear and imaginative translations also offer readers the chance to appreciate their quality.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Ancient / General