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Prudentius and the Landscapes of Late Antiquity$
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Cillian O'Hogan

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198749226

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198749226.001.0001

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Urban Space and Roman History

Urban Space and Roman History

(p.71) 3 Urban Space and Roman History
Prudentius and the Landscapes of Late Antiquity

Cillian O’Hogan

Oxford University Press

A treatment of the representation of the city in the works of Prudentius, especially in the Peristephanon and the Contra orationem Symmachi. Following a survey of early Christian ideas about the city, it is argued that Prudentius’ approach to the civic nature of martyrdom in the Peristephanon must be related to the contemporary Christian perception that earthly civic obligations are not fundamentally incompatible with participation in the heavenly city of the afterlife. The beginnings and endings of the hymns of the Peristephanon are particularly concerned with the relationship between martyr and city. Close reading of a number of opening passages shows how Prudentius emphasizes an intimate link between the presence of the martyr’s remains and a city’s prowess. Many of the concluding passages emphasize the communal aspect of the celebration of that martyr.

Keywords:   martyrdom, cities, commemoration, Peristephanon, Contra orationem Symmachi

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