The Elegies of Maximianus

Front Cover
University of Pennsylvania Press, Jan 11, 2018 - Literary Collections - 240 pages

Not much can be known about the life of Maximianus, who has been called "the last of the Roman poets," beyond what can be inferred from his poetry. He was most likely a native of Tuscany, probably lived until the middle of the sixth century, and, at an advanced age, went as a diplomat to the emperor's court at Constantinople.

A. M. Juster has translated the complete elegies of Maximianus faithfully but not literally, resulting in texts that work beautifully as poetry in English. Replicating the feel of the original Latin verse, he alternates iambic hexameter and pentameter in couplets and imitates Maximianus's pronounced internal rhyme, alliteration, and assonance. The first elegy is the longest and establishes the voice of the speaker: a querulous old man, full of the indignities of aging, which he contrasts with the vigor and prestige he enjoyed in his youth. The second elegy similarly focuses on the contrast between past happiness and present misery but, this time, for the specific experience of a long-term relationship. The third through fifth elegies depict episodes from the poet's amatory career at different stages of his life, from inexperienced youth to impotent old man. The last poem concludes with a desire for the release of death and, together with the first, form a coherent frame for the collection.

This comprehensive volume includes an introduction by renowned classicist Michael Roberts, a translation of the elegies with the Latin text on facing pages, the first English translation of an additional six poems attributed to Maximianus, an appendix of Latin and Middle English imitative verse that illustrates Maximianus's long reception in the Middle Ages, several related texts, and the first commentary in English on the poems since 1900. The imminence of death and the sadness of growing old that form the principal themes of the elegies signal not only the end of pagan culture and its joy in living but also the turn from a classical to a medieval sensibility in Late Antiquity.

 

What people are saying - Write a review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - antao - LibraryThing

“I am not who I was, my greatest part has perished. Fatigue – and dread too – cling to what survives […] Since what is worn out Now in body parts has died, Alas, how much life Remains for old men ... Read full review

Contents

Introduction
1
Elegies
15
Appendix A Cassiodorus Variae 121
80
Appendix B The Appendix Maximiani
82
Appendix C Ennodius De Boetio Spata Cincto
90
Appendix D Imitatio Maximiani Anonymous
92
Appendix E Le Regret de Maximian Anonymous
94
Commentary
103
Bibliography
211
Copyright

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2018)

A. M. Juster is an award-winning poet and translator. His Satires of Horace is also available from the University of Pennsylvania Press. Michael Roberts is the Robert Rich Professor of Latin at Wesleyan University.

Bibliographic information