Michael Roberts, Poetry and the Cult of the Martyrs

Prudentius' Peristephanon is a collection of martyr texts from a vital period in the growth of martyr cult in the West. Building on recent work on the cult of the saints and on the sacralization of space and time, Roberts demonstrates how the Peristephanon relates to developments in late fourth-century spirituality.
The author examines how Prudentius creates an idiom to express devotion to the martyrs, particularly in the structuring of marrative and the use of poetic language. Roberts concludes by demonstrating how Prudentius employs the model of martyr cult to articulate the status of Christian literature, the role of the bishop in the Christian community, and the symbolic status of Rome in the Christian West.
Poetry and the Cult of the Martyrs will be of particular interest to students and scholars of late antiquity and early church history. The volume will also speak to those interested in the history of classical literature, particularly in Horace, Virgil, and Ovid.

Michael Roberts is Robert Rich Professor of Latin, Wesleyan University.

6x9, 232 pages, 1993
ISBN 0-472-10449-7

The Latin text of Prudentius' poems has been made available over the network for the convenience of readers of this volume.