1st Edition

The Poetry of Ennodius Translated with an Introduction and Notes

By Bret Mulligan Copyright 2022
    284 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    284 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The Poetry of Ennodius offers the first translation into English verse of the entire eclectic corpus of sacred and secular poetry by Magnus Felix Ennodius (c. 473/4–521 CE), amply supplemented by detailed notes that elucidate the literary and cultural references essential for understanding this poet.

    Ennodius’ poetry offers the reader a remarkable window into how Roman literary culture continued to thrive in the aftermath of the traditional "fall" of Rome in 476 CE. A prolific writer of prose and poetry, Ennodius played an active role in the political and ecclesiastical disputes of Ostrogothic Italy, and he stands as an important exemplar of late antique literary culture. Readers of this volume will encounter esteemed bishops, delicate objects, pets, stately churches, fools, villains, and more in vivid panegyrics, travelogues, hymns, epistles, and epigrams found in the sweeping poetic archive assembled after Ennodius’ death. From the grandiose "Declamation for the anniversary of the holy and most blessed Bishop Epiphanius in his 30th year as bishop of Pavia" to self-depricating descriptions of silverware that bears the poet’s image, Ennodius’ poetry sports with the expectations of his audience, composing verse that modulates from the beautiful to the conventional to the stunningly unusual, while always displaying an intimate knowledge of the literary traditions in which he writes and a deep engagement with previous authors, both from the distant classical past and the contemporary world of late antique prose and poetry. Through these poems, the reader can gain an appreciation of the intellectual and aesthetic world of an important bishop (and future saint) in the early sixth-century CE.

    Featuring a lucid line-by-line verse translation from the Latin and extensive notes—both firsts in English—richly introduced by a scholarly introduction to Ennodius, his works, and era, and complemented by a comprehensive bibliography, The Poetry of Ennodius makes these works accessible for the first time to readers unfamiliar with Latin as well as those seeking a guide into the labyrinthine literary world of this challenging but rewarding poet. Students of the classics, late antique and medieval history, comparative literature, and early Christianity, as well as any independent reader interested in the enduring presence of classical Latin verse, will benefit from this book.

    List of Figures




    1. Introduction

    1.1 Ennodius’ life and career

    1.2 Historical Context, with Timeline

    1.3 The Works of Ennodius

    1.4 The Style of Ennodius

    1.5 Translator’s remarks

    1.6 The Meters of Ennodius

    1.7 Deviations from Vogel’s MGH text

    1.8 Concordance comparing the volume’s numeration with those found in Hartel and Vogel.

    1.9 Bibliography

    2. Poems

    2a General Preface

    2b Long Poems in Various Genres

    2c Hymns

    2d Bishops of Milan

    2e Epitaphs

    2f Epigraphic Poems

    2g Ekphrastic Poems

    2h Skoptic Poems

    2i Poems on Literary and Other Topics

    3. Appendices

    3a Ennodius’ Epitaph

    3b Supplemental Letters



    Bret Mulligan is an Associate Professor of Classics at Haverford College in Haverford, Pennsylvania, USA. He is the author of Life of Hannibal by Cornelius Nepos (2013), The Crisis of Catiline: Rome, 63 BCE (2022), and works on late antique poetry, epigram, and the digital humanities.

    "The Poetry of Ennodius is the product of extensive labor and hard-earned insights. It is worthy of the poet it engages and should serve him well, bringing Ennodius’s verse before new audiences and offering relief to those tasked with untangling his knotty Latin lines." - Bryn Mawr Classical Review