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Works of Claudius Claudianus

Claudian (lat. Claudius Claudianus) was a Roman poet, who worked for Emperor Honorius and the latter's general Stilicho.

A Greek-speaking (probably pagan) citizen of Alexandria, Claudian arrived in Rome before 395, and made his mark with a eulogy of his two young patrons, Probinus and Olybrius, thereby becoming court poet. He wrote a number of panegyrics on the consulship of his patrons, praise poems for the deeds of Stilicho, and invectives directed at Stilicho's rivals in the Eastern court of Arcadius. These efforts resulted with such gifts as the honor of the rank of vir illustris, a statue, and a rich bride selected by Stilicho's wife, Serena.

Despite his Greek origins, Claudian wrote in Latin and is one of the best late users of the language in poetry. Critics consider Claudian a good poet, if not absolutely first-rate. He is elegant, tells a story well, and his polemical passages are occasionally unmatchable in sheer entertaining vitriol; but his writing is tainted by preciousness, a flaw of the literature of his time, and his being extraordinarily cold and unfeeling.

From a historical standpoint, Claudian's poetry is a valuable, however distorted, primary source for his period. Since his poems do not record the achievements of Stilicho after 404, scholars assume he died in that year. The historical or political poems connected with Stilicho have a separate manuscript tradition to the rest of his work, and this is believed to indicate that they were published as a separate collection, perhaps by Stilicho himself after Claudian's death.

His most important non-political work is an unfinished epic, De raptu Proserpinae, whose three extant books are believed to have been written in 395 and 397.


  • Panegyricus dictus Probino et Olybrio consulibus
  • De raptu Proserpinae (unfinished epic, 3 books completed)
  • In Rufinum ("Against Rufinus")
  • De Bello Gildonico ("On the Gildonic revolt")
  • In Eutropium ("Against Eutropius")
  • Fescennina / Epithalamium de Nuptiis Honorii Augusti
  • Panegyricus de Tertio Consulatu Honorii Augusti
  • Panegyricus de Quarto Consulatu Honorii Augusti
  • Panegyricus de Consulatu Flavii Manlii Theodori
  • De Consulatu Stilichonis
  • Panegyricus de Sexto Consulatu Honorii Augusti
  • De Bello Gothico ("On the Gothic War" of 402-403)
  • Lesser poems: Epithalamium Palladio et Celerinae; de Magnete; de Crystallo cui aqua inerat

See also

External links


The text of Claudian

Secondary sources


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Claudius Claudianus (c. 370404), known in English as Claudian, was an Alexandrian poet, writing first in Greek and later in Latin. By many he is considered the last of the great Classical Latin poets.

English quotations here are taken from the translation by Maurice Platnauer in the Loeb Classical Library.


  • In commune iubes si quid censesque tenendum,
    primus iussa subi: tunc observantior aequi
    fit populus nec ferre negat, cum viderit ipsum
    auctorem parere sibi. componitur orbis
    regis ad exemplum, nec sic inflectere sensus
    humanos edicta valent quam vita regentis.
    • If thou make any law or establish any custom for the general good, be the first to submit thyself thereto; then does a people show more regard for justice nor refuse submission when it has seen their author obedient to his own laws. The world shapes itself after its ruler's pattern, nor can edicts sway men's minds so much as their monarch's life; the unstable crowd ever changes along with the prince.
    • Panegyricus de Quarto Consulatu Honorii Augusti, lines 296-301.
  • Iam non ad culmina rerum
    iniustos crevisse queror; tolluntur in altum
    ut lapsu graviore ruant.
    • No longer can I complain that the unrighteous man reaches the highest pinnacle of success. He is raised aloft that he may be hurled down in more headlong ruin.
    • In Rufinum, Bk. I, lines 21-23.
  • Natura beatis,
    omnibus esse dedit, si quis cognoverit uti.
  • Paupertas me saeva domat dirusque Cupido:
    sed toleranda fames, non tolerandus amor.
    • Biting poverty and cruel Cupid are my foes. Hunger I can endure; love I cannot.
    • Epigram XV

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