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Claudius. A Latin poet, born at Alexandria in the second half of the fourth century A.D. In A.D. 395, 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 of both 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 laudatory 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 Rufinus and Eutropius. Against the latter he launched a number of invectives. Besides the Raptus Proserpinae, or Rape of Proserpine, an unfinished epic in three books, in which his descriptive power is very brilliantly displayed, his most important poems are:


De III. IV. VI. Consulatu Honorii;


De Nuptiis Honorii Fescennina;


Epithalamium de Nuptiis Honorii et Mariae;


De Bello Gildonico;


De Consulatu Stilichonis;


De Bello Pollentino;


Laus Serenae, Serena being Stilicho's wife;


Eidyllia, seven in number;


Epigrammata; Gigantomachia, a fragment. He also wrote epistles in verse, a series of minor pieces, narrative and descriptive, and letters to Serena, and miscellaneous poems, including one on the magnet (Magnes).

The Raptus Proserpinae has come down in separate MSS., of which the best are two Codices Laurentiani, preserved in the Laurentine Library at Florence. These are of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries respectively. Others are at Leyden. Of the remaining poems there are excerpts (Excerpta Lucensia) from a lost MS., now at Florence; and others (Excerpta Gyraldina) from the lost Codex Gyraldinus, now at Leyden. Good MSS. are also in the Vatican at Rome and in the Ambrosian Library at Milan. Editions of Claudianus have been published by Pulmann (Antwerp, 1571), J. Scaliger (Leyden, 1603), Heinsius (Leyden, 1650), Gesner, with good notes (Leipzig, 1759), Burmann (Amsterdam, 1760), König (Göttingen, 1808), and a critical ed. of the text by Jeep (Leipzig, 1876). See Hodgkin, Claudianus, the Last of the Roman Poets (Newcastle, 1875).

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