Neil Bernstein, "The Complete Works of Claudian" (Routledge, 2022)


Neil Bernstein's The Complete Works of Claudian (Routledge, 2022) offers a modern, accurate, and accessible translation of Claudian's work, published in English for the first time since 1922, and accompanied by detailed notes and a comprehensive glossary.

Claudian (active 395-404 CE) was the last of the great classical Latin poets. His best-known work, The Rape of Proserpina, continues to inspire numerous retellings and adaptations. Claudian also wrote poems in praise of rulers, including the emperor Honorius and the regent Flavius Stilicho, which are essential sources for reconstructing politics and society in the late Roman empire. These poems and others are translated here, alongside an introduction offering an overview of Claudian's career, the wider historical and political context of the period, and the poetic traditions in which Claudian wrote: mythological epic, panegyric, invective, and epithalamium. The translations, with explanatory notes, include: The Rape of Proserpina, Panegyric on Olybrius and Probinus's Consulship, Panegyrics on Honorius's Third, Fourth, and Sixth Consulships, Invective Against Rufinus, Fescennines and Epithalamium for Honorius and Maria, The War With Gildo, Panegyric on Manlius Theodorus's Consulship, Invective Against Eutropius, Stilicho's Consulship, The Gothic War, and shorter poems.

The Complete Works of Claudian is a vital resource for students and scholars working on late antique literature, particularly Claudian's work, as well as those studying the history and culture of the western Roman Empire in this period. This accessible volume is also suitable for the general reader interested in the works of Claudian and this period more broadly.

Bernstein joins the New Books Network to read a few excerpts and discuss the challenges and benefits of reading his panegyric and invective poems as well as his writing in more lyrical and epic modes.

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Benjamin Phillips

Benjamin Phillips is an MA student in History at Ohio University. His primary field is Late Antique Intellectual and Literary History.

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