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Vita Sanctae Melaniae

(177 words)

Author(s): Berschin, Walter (Heidelberg)
[German version] The Vita Mariae Senatricis is the earliest surviving detailed Latin biography of a woman [3.156f.]. It has not been clarified whether the Latin text [1], not published until 1905, is an original or a translation of a Greek version [2]. In either case the work was written in Palestine by a priest named Gerontius shortly after the death of the younger Melania [2] (died 31 December 439 in Jerusalem). It describes the asceticism of this rich Roman woman [4] of senatorial status who is t…


(5,913 words)

Author(s): Degani, Enzo (Bologna) | Fusillo, Massimo (L'Aquila) | Savvidis, Kyriakos (Bochum) | Berschin, Walter (Heidelberg) | Elvers, Karl-Ludwig (Bochum) | Et al.
[German version] A. Greek (Ἀντώνιος; Antṓnios). [German version] [1] Thallus Epigrammatic poet, 2nd half of the 1st cent. BC Epigrammatic poet from Miletus (according to [2] he had received Roman citizenship, through the patronage of Antonia Minor) lived in the 2nd half of the 1st cent. BC (in Anth. Pal. 6,235 the birth of a Καῖσαρ [ Kaîsar] is celebrated, who is to be equated with either C. Julius Caesar, the grandson of Augustus, or with Germanicus). His five epigrams, which derive from the ‘Garland’ of Philippus, are certainly conventional in their…

Medieval Latin

(7,973 words)

Author(s): Klopsch, Paul | Laureys, Marc | Berschin, Walter (Heidelberg)
Klopsch, Paul I. Language (CT) [German version] A. Vulgar Latin and Late Latin (CT) After the fall of the Classical world, the Latin language followed paths on two levels into the Middle Ages. The spoken language of ordinary people continued to be passed on from person to person, with regional differences and partly influenced by substrata, as a kind of mother tongue. Its features can be seen from time to time as intentional characterisation in the written language, as in Petronius' novel and, more frequentl…


(333 words)

Author(s): Portmann, Werner (Berlin) | Leppin, Hartmut (Hannover) | Berschin, Walter (Heidelberg)
[German version] [1] Uncle of emperor Theodosius I Flavius E. was an uncle of emperor Theodosius I (Them. Or. 16,203d). He is possibly identical with the comes sacrarum largitionum of AD 377-379 (Cod. Theod. 1,32,3; 10,20,9). In 381 he was consul (Them. ibid.). He was still alive in 395 (Zos. 5,2,3). PLRE 1, 288 E. (2). Portmann, Werner (Berlin) [German version] [2] Son of Stilicho, about AD 390 Flavius E., the son of  Stilicho and Serena, born AD 389 in Rome. He first lived in Constantinople, then at the court of  Honorius, where he became tribunus et notarius. In 400 he became engaged wi…


(633 words)

Author(s): Berschin, Walter (Heidelberg)
[German version] (martyrdom account). The oldest surviving Latin example of this extraordinarily fruitful Christian literary genre [3; 5; 6; 7; 8; 11; 12], which developed in the milieu of 'Hellenistic popular literature' [9; 10], is the Passio Sanctorum Scillitanorum, in which, in AD 180, a Christian from Carthage gives an account of the execution of a group of fellow believers from Scili in Numidia [4]. While the oldest form of the Greek acts of the martyrs is the epistle (martyrdom, literature of; also on the theology and historicity of the texts), the passio initially appeared in t…


(216 words)

Author(s): Berschin, Walter (Heidelberg)
[German version] Bishop of Calama, modern Guelma in Algeria (d. after 437), wrote a biography of Augustinus (d. 430), De vita et moribus praedestinati et suo tempore praesentati sacerdotis (1; 2; 3; 4; 5, preface), some 5 years after his death. For Augustine's youth, reference is made to his Confessiones; an essential theme is Augustine's almost forty years as a bishop. The only Latin biographer of a Late Antique bishop, P. (like Suetonius) presents his public and private life separately [7]; for his hero's private life, P., in a way similar t…


(7,729 words)

Author(s): Niehoff, Johannes (Freiburg) | Berschin, Walter (Heidelberg)
Niehoff, Johannes (Freiburg) I. Byzantine Middle Ages and Modern Period (CT) [German version] A. Prefatory Remarks on Method (CT) The terms 'Middle Greek' and 'Modern Greek' are adopted only as conventions. Their use in the literature is based upon an unreliable application of Western European categories to entirely different practices in the Byzantine East [1]. Fundamental for the following outline is the dichotomy 'written' vs. 'oral' as well as that of 'external' vs. 'internal' linguistic history. While the for…


(1,397 words)

Author(s): Elvers, Karl-Ludwig (Bochum) | Müller, Christian (Bochum) | Fündling, Jörg (Bonn) | Eck, Werner (Cologne) | Berschin, Walter (Heidelberg)
Oscan praenomen and Oscan/Lat. gentilic. Elvers, Karl-Ludwig (Bochum) I. Republican Period [German version] [I 1] Pontius, Gavius Samnite general, delivered Rome its defeat 321 BC at Caudium Samnite general who in 321 BC famously defeated the Romans at Caudium and sent them 'under the yoke' (Liv. 9,2,6-6,4). The fact that the Samnite leader in the Social War (Social Wars [3]), P. [I 4], had the same name is no proof that P.' name entered the tradition only later. The annalistic tradition (in Liv. 9, 15,8), however, of P.'…


(1,565 words)

Author(s): Bleckmann, Bruno (Strasbourg) | Leppin, Hartmut (Hannover) | Berschin, Walter (Heidelberg)
[German version] [1] C. I, Flavius Valerius C., C. Chlorus, Roman Emperor (Augustus) AD 305-306 or M., Caesar (293-305) and Augustus (305-306), in later times nicknamed Chlorus; born c. 250 in what would become Dacia Ripensis. On the staff of the Illyrian soldier emperors, first protector, then tribunus. Under the rule of  Carinus attained equestrian rank as praeses Dalmatiarum (Anon. Vales. 1; SHA Car. 17,6). It seems likely that even before 293 (thus Aur. Vict. Caes. 39,24; Eutr. 9,22,1), and in fact before 289, when he was praefectus praetorio to  Maximianus, he had to divorce h…

Vita Sanctae Genovefae

(154 words)

Author(s): Berschin, Walter (Heidelberg)
[German version] The VSG (ed.: [1]) tells, in a long-winded and often solecistic form, how, during the advances of the Hunni (in 451) and the Franks [4] on Paris in the midst of the collapse of Roman culture, belief in the miraculous flourished in every corner [2]. Genovefa ('the magic woman'), virgin and friend to many in need, died in 502. The author's assertion to have written the vita 18 years later, is taken seriously again by modern scholars [3; 5]. Hagiography; Miracles Berschin, Walter (Heidelberg) Bibliography Editions: 1 B. Krusch, Passiones vitaeque sanctorum aevi Merovi…

Vita Sancti Alexii

(237 words)

Author(s): Berschin, Walter (Heidelberg)
[German version] The VSA is an originally Syrian story about Mar Riscia, a 'man of God' who died [1] under the bishop Rabbulā of Edessa [2] (412-435). Before his death the ascetic Mar Riscia related that as a son of a rich Roman family he had fled to Edessa to avoid marriage and dedicate himself to God ('Alexius motif'; Alexius). Before the 9th cent. a Greek version [2] came into being in which Alexius returned to Rome and lived unrecognised in his parents' house. The first Latin versions appeared in the 10th cent. [3; 4]. The man of God acquired a symbolic name ( Alexios = 'defender'). The pathos…


(1,669 words)

Author(s): Albiani, Maria Grazia (Bologna) | Elvers, Karl-Ludwig (Bochum) | Johne, Klaus-Peter (Berlin) | Gatti, Paolo (Trento) | Gutsfeld, Andreas (Münster) | Et al.
[German version] I Greek (Ῥουφῖνος/ Rhouphînos). [German version] [I 1] Epigrammatist Greek epigrammatist; dating uncertain (Neronian/Flavian era? [2; 4]; 2nd cent. AD? [3]; late 4th cent. AD? [1]); origin unknown (Anth. Pal. 5,9: residence in Ephesus). 37 erotic poems are extant, all in Anth. Pal. 5,2-103 (on this so-called Sylloge Rufiniana, perhaps also from the 4th cent. AD, cf. [5]). With the exception of the paederastic poem 28 (cf. also 19), R.' epigrams, in which 13 women's names are mentioned (two further fictitious ones in 44,1), tr…


(2,386 words)

Author(s): Pongratz-Leisten, Beate (Tübingen) | Görgemanns, Herwig (Heidelberg) | Berschin, Walter (Heidelberg)
[German version] I. Ancient Orient A heterogeneous group of texts exists in the Ancient Orient which are supposed, on the basis of the categories of form (1st person singular) and semantics (reflection on past behaviour in respect of a current or future search for meaning), to be of an autobiographical character. In Mesopotamia this includes on the one hand texts which, written at a later point, give a more or less fictitious report of an episode in the life of great rulers of the past, for instance …


(421 words)

Author(s): Berschin, Walter (Heidelberg) | Giaro, Tomasz (Frankfurt/Main)
[German version] [1] British saint, 5th cent. (St. Patrick). P., a Briton, was abducted and taken to Ireland when he was 16; he was sold as a slave and fled six years later. Following a "voice of the Irish" (Confessio 23), he returned to Ireland (in AD 432?) as a bishop. He died on the 17th of March (461? or 491?). His charisma is attested by his autobiography, entitled Confessio [1. vol. 1, 56-91; 2; 4], and the prophetic, threatening Epistola ad milites Corotici [1. vol. 1, 91-102; 2; 4]. P. is marginal to Latin literature. His difficult Latin [6] was nourished by the Bible, whose …

Vita patrum Iurensium

(131 words)

Author(s): Berschin, Walter (Heidelberg)
[German version] ('Lives of the Jura Fathers'). A Latin biographical series describing the lives of the abbots Romanus, Lupicinus and Eugendus, founders of the monasteries of Condat (= St. Oyend, St. Claude), St. Lupicin and Romainmôtier in Burgundian Jura mountains (Ed.: [1; 2]). They lived at the turn of the 5/6th cent. and were part of the Rhône monasticism influenced by the monastery of Lérins [3]. [1] considered the trilogy to be a 9th cent. forgery; more recent scholarship has argued for a date around 520 [2.53-57]. Hagiography; Vitae Sanctorum Berschin, Walter (Heidelberg) Biblio…


(161 words)

Author(s): Berschin, Walter (Heidelberg)
[German version] As abbot of Castellum Lucullanum (now San Severino) near Naples, around 511 E. wrote the Commemoratorium vitae S. Severini [1; 3; 4], in which the prophetic appearance of the ascetic Severin († 482) in the Roman Danube provinces is described. Using classical stylistic elements [6. 174-181], E. recounts one exemplum after another; the number of chapters ─ 46 ─ is perhaps intended symbolically. This is supported by the remarkably full presentation of a corresponding exegesis of the name Adam (A=1; Δ=4; A=1; M=40: total 46) in the Excerpta ex operibus S. Augustini [6. 182…


(3,557 words)

Author(s): Görgemanns, Herwig (Heidelberg) | Berschin, Walter (Heidelberg)
I. Greek [German version] A. Definition and prehistory Biography as a literary genre is the account of the life events of an individual human being; it gives voice to the tendency to respect lifetime achievements and personal individuality as a meaningful unity. Biography has existed in this mould in Greek literature since Hellenism; the term for that is bíos (βίος; βιογραφία, biographía is first used in Damascius, Vita Isidori = Phot. Bibl. Cod. 242, § 8, as nomen actionis: ‘biographical writing’, then Phot. Bibl. Cod. 181 for the text itself). The search for its origins leads fur…