Prudentius' Hymns for Hours and Seasons : Liber Cathemerinon book cover
1st Edition

Prudentius' Hymns for Hours and Seasons
Liber Cathemerinon

ISBN 9781138202474
Published July 12, 2017 by Routledge
198 Pages

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Book Description

Combining faithfulness to the Latin with sensitivity to Prudentius’ poetic qualities, Nicholas Richardson offers a precise yet creative verse translation of a major work by one of the most important Christian Latin poets of late antiquity. Prudentius’ Hymns for Hours and Seasons also provides readers with a wealth of supporting material which sets the life and output of this poet in its historical, religious and literary context, outlines manuscript and editorial details, discusses metrics and Latinity, and also gives a sense of the individual hymns of the Cathemerinon.

Richardson’s fresh translation allows readers unfamiliar with Latin to understand and interpret the poems, as well as offering those who know Latin a translation that keeps very close to the original text. Detailed notes at the end of the book illuminate both the literary and the religious aspects of each hymn. This commentary, along with the introduction and translated text, provides students and scholars alike with a comprehensive volume on one of the key works of later Latin poetry.

Table of Contents


I.       Life of Prudentius

II.      Poetic works

III.     Liber Cathemerinon

IV.     Historical context

V.      Literary context

VI.     Were these hymns intended to be sung?

VII.    Language and style
VIII.   Metre and prosody

IX.     Reception and influence

X.      Manuscripts and text

XI.     The translation and notes

The Hymns

1. At Cock- Crow

2. Morning Hymn

3. Before a Meal

4. After a Meal

5. At the Lighting of the Lamp

6. Before Sleep

7. For those who Fast
8. After Fasting

9. For Every Hour

10. For the Burial of the Dead

11. For Christmas

12.For Epiphany

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Nicholas Richardson is an Emeritus Fellow of Merton College, Oxford, where he was Tutor in Classics between 1968 and 2004. From 2004 to 2007 he was Warden of Greyfriars Hall, Oxford. His published work includes editions and commentaries on the four major Homeric Hymns and the last four books of Homer’s Iliad, and articles on ancient literary criticism, Greek religion, and the relationship of classical with modern Greek and English literature.


"Richardson offers a useful introduction, translation, and commentary that is aimed at undergraduate survey courses but may also appeal to non-academic readers with some Latin ... This book is ideal for undergraduate courses that include the Liber Cathemerinon."

- Aaron Pelttari, University of Edinburgh, UK, Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2017

"[Richardson's] excellent translation of Prudentius' Cathermerinon captures the poet's virtues and should inspire audiences to want to read more Prudentius ... Richardson also provides a valuable introduction and notes to the Cathemerinon. The introduction orients newcomers to Prudentius by presenting an overview of his life, oeuvre, literary and historical contexts, and the Cathermerinon; experience readers of the poet, however, will also benefit from Richardson's perceptive and economical account ... [this] translation of the Cathemerinon is a keen pleasure and a major achievement."

- Scott McGill, Rice University, USA, The Classical Review 2017