ELPIDIUS RUSTICUS

Latin Christian poet late 5th c.first half 6th c., variously identified with the deacon Elpidius, Theodoric’s teacher, recipient of letters from Cassiodorus, Ennodius and Avitus, mentioned in Procopius and the Vita Caesarii Fabricius; with Flavius Elpidius Rusticius Domnulus, Theodoric’s comes consistorialis, subscriptor of some classical texts Brandes; with the Gallic poet Domnulus, mentioned by Sidonius Apollinaris, whom some scholars consider the same person as the subscriptor of Ravenna Jahn, Cavallin. The solution, not yet reached, of this problem is connected with that of the source of the two Elpidian works: Carmen de Christi Iesu beneficiis 149 hexameters and a series of epigrams entitled Historiarum Testamenti veteris et novi Tristicha XXIV, first published by G. Fabricius at Basle in 1564 on the basis of a codex now lost. The Tristicha, probably captions to figurative cycles of episodes from both Testaments recalling Prudentius’s Dittochaeon, lack the technique of the Carmen, dictated by intense religiosity and quite often rising to genuine poetic vibrations, with various Sedulian borrowings. Composed between 525 death of Boethius, alluded to in vv. 45-47 and the end of the Ostrogoth kingdom 555; in v. 140 this is spoken of as still existing, it may be considered an effective and devout summary, through its essential moments, of Christ’s saving action in human history, with a final vision of heavenly beatitude, contrasted with the evils famine, war, sickness, cruelty of tyrants dominating the poet’s own time. Noteworthy in the Carmen, besides the presence of some neologisms, is the proclaimed difference and superiority of the poetry of Christ’s vates to the artificial poetry of pagan writers, experts in errors vv. 39-40. Finally, there are four epigrams Versus Rustici defensori Augustin: CPL 1508 which summarize Augustine’s trinitarian doctrine.

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