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The Experience of PoetryFrom Homer's Listeners to Shakespeare's Readers$
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Derek Attridge

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198833154

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198833154.001.0001

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Late Antiquity: Latin and Greek, Private, Public, Popular

Late Antiquity: Latin and Greek, Private, Public, Popular

Chapter:
(p.122) 6 Late Antiquity: Latin and Greek, Private, Public, Popular
Source:
The Experience of Poetry
Author(s):

Derek Attridge

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198833154.003.0007

The fourth to sixth centuries AD witnessed considerable poetic activity, which is the subject of this chapter. Itinerant poets gave performances, and festivals flourished. Poetry in both Latin and Greek was composed, and the reading of poems remained both a public and a private activity. This chapter pays particular attention to two poets: Ausonius, as an example of a poet who wrote for private consumption, and Claudian, whose poetry was performed in public for political ends. The rise of Christianity produced a more popular body of verse derived from Jewish psalmody: hymns in Latin metres that evolved from quantitative to accentual, reflecting the loss of quantitative distinctions in the language. The same loss occurred in Greek, the language of the eastern Empire centred on Constantinople, where one verse composer of particular interest in the sixth century was Romanos the Melodist.

Keywords:   itinerant poets, Ausonius, Claudian, Christianity, psalmody, hymns, Constantinople, Romanos the Melodist

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