(sc. psalmi or hymni). Songs whose verses or stanzas each begin with a letter of the alphabet in sequence. They are documented in Jewish literature from Jer. 1-4 onwards; Ps 145 is a devotional prayer to this day. In pagan literature they are documented for instance in the late hymns to Dionysus (Anth. Pal. 9,524) or Apollo (Anth. Pal. 9,525) and in magical texts (PGM IV 1363). In Christian literature Augustine's Psalm contra partem Donati (PL 43,25-32) is the best known, composed in 393 or 394 for the ‘entirely uneducated to learn by heart’.
Cite this pageGraf, Fritz (Columbus, OH), “Abecedarii”, in: Brill’s New Pauly, Antiquity volumes edited by: Hubert Cancik and , Helmuth Schneider, English Edition by: Christine F. Salazar, Classical Tradition volumes edited by: Manfred Landfester, English Edition by: Francis G. Gentry. Consulted online on 22 January 2021 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1574-9347_bnp_e100540>
First published online: 2006
First print edition: 9789004122598, 20110510
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