Francis Cairns Publications

Latin and Greek Texts ISSN 0951-7391

Claudian's Panegyric on the Fourth Consulate of Honorius. Text, Translation and Commentary

W. Barr

ISBN 978-0-905205-11-3. LLT 2. Paper, 96pp. Publ. 1981.

Claudius Claudianus (fl. circa 400 AD) was one of the last major poets of the Roman Empire. Highly regarded by his contemporaries, he is one of the great transmitters of Latin culture to Medieval Europe. The Panegyric on the IVth Consulate of the Emperor Honorius, written for an important state occasion, ranks among his major works. Its core is a detailed discourse on kingship, a subject of paramount interest which the Middle Ages inherited from antiquity; and in its entirety it is an interestingly worked example of formal encomium - the praise of a ruler.

William Barr's translation sets out to render Claudian's Latin hexameter verses closely in clear modern English prose. A full introduction and detailed commentary reveal the rhetorical and contemporary background of the poem. The rich literary and rhetorical traditions to which Claudian was heir do not detract from his orginality and resourcefulness in writing a serious and powerful poem which does not entirely disguise the precarious state in which the Empire then existed.


Mnemosyne 40 (1987) 449-51 (W.E. Heus)

Latomus 41 (1982) 660-61 (Alan Cameron)

The Classical Review (1983) 324 (J.B. Hall): "For newcomers to Claudian ... this small volume is well designed and informative."

Gymnasium 92 (1985) 560-62 (Heinz Hofmann)