This is the first substantial overview of the Golden Age of Christian Latin poetry, from the fourth to sixth centuries. The poets studied range from familiar names such as Ambrose, Augustine and Prudentius, to lesser-known figures such as Arator, Dracontius and Avitus. Their work was hugely influential on English and French medieval literature, but has often been disregarded by critics as a pale imitation of the great names of the Classical past. Carolinne White's illuminating study sets the works in their literary and historical context, and shows how these poets were motivated by a desire to convey the truth of the Christian message. Questions of form and content, continuity with Classical culture, theological issues and contemporary heresies are all explored, prior to clear, sensitive translations of over thirty poems and excerpts, many of which have never before been translated into English. This accessible volume fully conveys the true importance of the early Christian Latin poets, and makes their work accessible to a wider audience than ever before.
Carolinne White is a tutor in medieval Latin, and a lexicographer on the Medieval Latin Dictionary at the University of Oxford. Her previous publications include Early Christian Lives (1998).