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Title: Paradigmi biografici e poetici nella tarda antichità
Authors: Agosti, Gianfranco
Issue Date: 2009
Publisher: EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste
Citation: Gianfranco Agosti, “Paradigmi biografici e poetici nella tarda antichità”, in: CentoPagine, III (2009), pp. 30-46
Abstract: The Suda lexicon informs that Marinus composed the biography of his master, the philosopher Proclus, in a double version, prosastic (the only one conserved) and in verses. Instead of consider the poetic version as a mere example of rhetorical exercise, it should view it as a serious attempt: one can reconstruct a tradition of hagiographic verse encomia in the neoplatonic school, starting from the long hexametric oracle in Porphyry's Life of Plotinus (ch. 22), which had a decisive role in such a tradition. Especially from the end of the fourth century CE Neoplatonists composed encomiastic poems in honour of the leading figures of their school, treated as theioi andres (divine men) in order to create an encomiastic-biographic poetry (enkômion and biography tend to mingle in Late Antiquity), which could be alternative not only to the biblical paraphrases, but also to the verse hagiographies composed by Christians (a genere which begins with the socalled Codex of Visions, P. Bodmer 20-37, in the middle of the fourth century CE). Neoplatonic poetry should actually be viewed against the wider context of the cultural debate on religious classicizing poetry of the fourth and fifth centuries CE. The core of such a debate was the Homeric poetry, considered a sacred text by Pagans as well as by Christian intellectuals. For Neoplatonists Homeric poems were the Scriptures, to put together with the oracular poetry of Chaldaic Oracles and Plato's dialogues, whereas Christians tried to show that epic language was perfectly suitable to sing biografies of Christ and of saints, thanks to figural reading and allegorical interpretation of Homeric expressions, syntagms and verses (as in the Paraphrase of St John's Gospel by Nonnus, or in the Hoeric Centos by empress Eudocia).
ISSN: 19740395
Appears in Collections:CentoPagine 2009

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