Abstract and Keywords
Christian Latin poetry began in all probability with the unmetrical quasi-hexameters of Commodian, now generally dated to the mid-third century CE. The last important figure still writing in the late Roman tradition is Venantius Fortunatus, most of whose works date to the late 560s and to the 570s. Many poems survive from the intervening years, though not all periods were equally productive. Because of considerations of length, this article focuses on certain particularly important authors and periods: the beginnings of Christian poetry with Juvencus (early fourth century); the late fourth-century coming of age of Christian poetry with Paulinus of Nola, Prudentius, and, in hymnody, Ambrose; and the fifth- and sixth-century traditions of biblical narrative poetry. These are the periods and authors that have received the most attention in the scholarship.
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