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Form: Claudius.
A Latin poet, born at Alexandria in the second half of the 4th century A.D. In 395 A.D. he came to Rome. Here he won the favour of the powerful Vandal Stilicho, and on the proposal of the senate was honoured with a statue by the emperors Arcadius and Honorius. The inscription on this statue is still in existence (Mommsen, Inscriptiones Regni Neapolitani, No. 6794). His patron Stilicho fell in 408, and Claudian, apparently, did not survive him. We have express evidence that the poet was not a Christian. He was familiar with Greek and Latin literature, and had considerable poetical gifts, including a mastery both of language and metre. These gifts raise him far above the crowd of the later Latin poets, although the effect of his writing is marred by tasteless rhetorical ornament and exaggerated flattery of great men. His political poems, in spite of their lau-datory colouring, have considerable historical value. Most of them are written in praise of Honorius and of Stilicho, for whom he had a veneration as sincere as was his hatred of Ruftnus and Eutropius. Against the latter he launched a number of invectives. Besides the Raptus Proserpiae, or Rape of Proserpine, an unfinished epic in which his descriptive power is most brilliantly displayed, his most important poems are (1) De III, IV, VI, Consulatu Honorii; (2) De Nuptiis Honorii Fescennina; (3) Epithalamium de Nuptiis Honorii et Mariae; (4) De Bello Gildonico; (5) De Consulatu Stilichonis; (6) De Bello Pollentino; (7) Laus Serenae, Serena being Stilicho's wife. He also wrote epistles in verse, a series of minor pieces, narrative and descriptive, and a Gigantomachia, of which a fragment has been preserved.
Type: Standard
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