The Ancient Library

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Apollinaris (Epist. ix. 13), and pertain expressions in his own works (e. g. Epist. v. 3, i. 39, 56). It has been maintained by some that he was a Gaul, and by others that he was a Spaniard; but neither of these positions is supported by even a shadow of evidence, while the opinion advanced by Pe­trarch and Politian, that he was of Florentine ex­traction, arose from their confounding the Floren-tinus addressed in the introduction to the second book of the Raptus Proserpinae, and who was praefectus urbi in a. d. 396, with the name of their native city. We are entirely ignorant of the parentage, education, and early career of Claudian, and of the circumstances under which he quitted his country. We find him at Rome in 395, when he composed his panegyric on the consulate of Pro-binus and Olybrius. He appears to have culti­vated poetry previously, but this was his first essay in Latin verse, and the success by which it whs attended induced him to abandon the Grecian for the Roman muse. (Epist. iv. 13.) During the five years which immediately followed the death of Theodosius, he was absent from Rome, attached, it would appear, to the retinue of Stilicho (de Cons. Stilich. praef. 23), under whose special protection he seems to have been received almost immediately after the publication of the poem noticed above. We say after, because he makes no mention of the name of the all-powerful Vandal in that composition, where it might have been most naturally and appropriately introduced in conjunction with the exploits of Theodosius, while on all subsequent occasions he eagerly avails him­self of every pretext for sounding the praises of his patron, and expressing his own fervent devotion. Nor was he less indebted to the good offices of Serena than to the influence of her husband. He owed, it is true, his court favour and preferment to the latter, but by the interposition of the former he gained his African bride, whose parents, al­though they might have turned a deaf ear to the suit of a poor poet, were unable to resist the solici­tations of the niece of Theodosius, the wife of the general who ruled the ruler of the empire. The following inscription, discovered at Rome in the fifteenth century, informs us that a statue of Claudian was erected in the Forum of Trajan by Arcadius and Honorius at the request of the senate, and that he enjoyed the titles of Notarius and Tribunus, but the nature of the office, whether civil or military, denoted by the latter appellation we are unable to determine :—

cl. claudiani V. C. cl. claudiano V. C. tribuno et notario inter, ceteras vigentes artes praegloriosissimo poetarum licet ad memoriam sempiternam carmina ab eodem script a sufficiant adtamen testimonii gra­tia ob judicii sui fidem dd. n n. arcadius et honorius filicissimi ac doctissimi impe-ratores senatu petente statuam in foro divi trajani erigi collocarique jusserunt.

The close of Claudian's career is enveloped in the same obscurity as its commencement. The last historical allusion in his writings is to the 6th consulship of Honorius, which belongs to the year 404.. That he may have been involved in the misfortunes of Stilicho, who was put to death in 408, and may have retired to end his days in his native country, h a probable conjecture, but no­thing more. The idea that he at this time became exposed to the enmity of the powerful and vindic-



tive Hadrian, whom he had provoked by the insolence of wit, and who with cruel vigilance had watched and seized the opportunity of revenge, has been adopted by Gibbon with less than his usual caution. It rests upon two assumptions alike incapable of proof — first, that by Pharius, whose indefatigable rapacity is contrasted in an epi­gram (xxx.) with the lethargic indolence of Mal-lius, the poet meant to indicate the praetorian prefect, who was a native of Egypt; and secondly, that the palinode which forms the subject of one of his epistles refers to that effusion, and is ad­dressed to the same person.

The religion of Claudian, as well as that of Appuleius, Ausonius, and many of the later Latin writers, has been a theme of frequent controversy. There is, however, little cause for doubt. It is impossible to resist the explicit testimony of St. Augustin (de Civ. Dei, v. 26), who declares that he was " a Christi nomine alienus," and of Orosius, who designates him as " Poeta quidem eximiua sed paganus pervicacissimus." The argument for his Christianity derived from an ambiguous expres­sion, interpreted as an admission of the unity of God (in. Cons. Honor, 96), is manifestly frivolous, and the Greek and Latin hymns appended to most editions of his works are confessedly spurious. That his conscience may have had all the pliancy of indifference on religious topics is probable enough, but we have certainly nothing to adduce against the positive assertions of his Christian con­temporaries.

The works of Claudian now extant are the fol lowing : 1. Three panegyrics on the third, fourth, and sixth consulships of Honorius respectively.

2. A poem on the nuptials of Honorius and Maria,

3. Four short Fescennine lays on the same subject,

4. A panegyric on the consulship of Probinus and Olybrius, with which is interwoven a description of the exploits of the emperor Theodosius. 5. The praises of Stilicho, in two books, and a panegyric on his consulship, in one book. 6. The praises of Serena, the wife of Stilicho : this piece,is mutilated or was left unfinished. 7. A panegyric on the consulship of Flavins Mallius Theodorus. 8. The Epithalamium of Palladius and Celerina. 9. An invective against Rufinus, in two books. 10. An invective against Eutropius, in two books. 11. De Bello Gildonico, the first book of an historical poem on the war in Africa against Gildo. 12. De Bdlo GeticO) an historical poem on the successful cam­paign of Stilicho against Alaric and the Goths, concluding with the battle of Pollentia. 13. JRap-tus Proserpinae, three books of an unfinished epic on the rape of Proserpine. 14. Gigantomachia, a fragment extending to a hundred and twenty-eight lines only. 15. Ten lines of a Greek poem on the same subject, perhaps a translation by some other hand from the former. 16. Five short epistles; the first of these is a sort of prayer, imploring for­giveness for some petulant attack. It is usually inscribed "Deprecatio ad Hadrianum Praefectum Praetorio," but from the variations in the manu­scripts this title appears to be merely the guess of some transcriber. The remaining four, which are very brief, are addressed—to Serena, to Olybrius, to Probinus, to Gennadius. 17. Eidylha^ a col­lection of seven poems chiefly on subjects connected with natural history, as may be seen by their titles, Phoenix, Hi/strix, Torpedo^ Nilus, Maynes, Aponus9 De Pi-is Fralriuus. 18. A collection of short occa-

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