Opera omnia: Volume 23


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Dec 31, 1821
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 Claudius Claudianus may be called the last poet of classical Rome. He was born about the year 370A.D. and died within a decade of the sack of the city by Alaric in 410. The thirty to forty odd years which comprised his life were some of the most momentous in the history of Rome. Valentinian and Valens were emperors respectively of the West and the East when he was born, and while the former was engaged in constant warfare with the northern tribes of Alamanni, Quadi and Sarmatians, whose advances the skill of his general, Theodosius, had managed to check, the latter was being reserved for unsuccessful battle with an enemy still more deadly.

It is about the year 370 that we begin to hear of the Huns. The first people to fall a victim to their eastward aggression were the Alans, next came the Ostrogoths, whose king, Hermanric, was driven to suicide; and by 375 the Visigoths were threatened with a similar fate. Hemmed in by the advancing flood of Huns and the stationary power of Rome this people, after a vain attempt to ally itself with the latter, was forced into arms against her. An indecisive battle with the generals of Valens (377) was followed by a crushing Roman defeat in the succeeding year (August 9, 378) at Adrianople, where Valens himself, but recently returned from his Persian war, lost his life.

Gratian and his half-brother, Valentinian II., who had become Augusti upon the death of their father, Valentinian I., in 375, would have had little power of themselves to withstand the victorious Goths and Rome might well have fallen thirty years before she did, had it not been for the force of character and the military skill of that same Theodosius whose successes against the Alamanni have already been mentioned. Theodosius was summoned from his retirement in Spain and made Augustus (January 19, 379). During the next three years he succeeded, with the help of the Frankish generals, Bauto and Arbogast, in gradually driving the Goths northward, and so relieved the barbarian pressure on the Eastern Empire and its capital. In 381 Athanaric, the Gothic king, sued in person for peace at Constantinople and there did homage to the emperor. In the following year the Visigoths became allies of Rome and, for a time at least, the danger was averted.

Meanwhile the West was faring not much better. Gratian, after an uneasy reign, was murdered in 383 by the British pretender, Magnus Maximus. From 383 to 387 Maximus was joint ruler of the West with Valentinian II., whom he had left in command of Italy rather from motives of policy than of clemency; but in the latter year he threw off the mask and, crossing the Alps, descended upon his colleague whose court was at Milan. Valentinian fled to Thessalonica and there threw himself on the mercy of Theodosius. Once more that general was to save the situation.

 Claudian, the Latin poet of great affairs, flourished during the joint reigns of the brothers Honorius, the Emperor in the West, and Arcadius, ruler in the East. Though a pagan, he became a professional court-poet, composing for Christian rulers panegyrics that have given us important knowledge of Honorius’ times. Claudian also composed a celebrated mythological epic on the ‘Rape of Proserpina’, which was left unfinished, but has been noted for its command of language and polished style. Delphi’s Ancient Classics series provides eReaders with the wisdom of the Classical world, with both English translations and the original Latin texts.  This comprehensive eBook presents Claudius’ complete extant works, with relevant illustrations, informative introductions and the usual Delphi bonus material. (Version 1)

* Beautifully illustrated with images relating to Claudius’ life and works

* Features the complete extant works of Claudius, in both English translation and the original Latin

* Concise introduction to the life and times of the poet

* Includes M. Platnauer’s translation, previously appearing in the Loeb Classical Library edition of Claudius

* Excellent formatting of the texts

* Easily locate the poems you want to read with individual contents tables

* Includes Claudius’ rare poems, first time in digital print

* Provides a special dual English and Latin text, allowing readers to compare the sections paragraph by paragraph – ideal for students

* Features a bonus biography – discover Claudius’ ancient world

* Scholarly ordering of texts into chronological order and literary genres

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The Translation



The Latin Text


The Dual Text


The Biography


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