Aurelius Prudentius, Psychomachia [Soul War]

Thomas Tsartsidis (National and Kapodistrian University of Athens)
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The allegorical epic Psychomachia [The Soul’s Battle] is the most influential work of the Christian poet Aurelius Prudentius Clemens (348-after 404/5 CE) and the first full-scale personification allegory in the history of European literature. It is written in 914 hexameters and is preceded by a 68-line preface (Praefatio) in iambic trimeter.

In the Praefatio, Prudentius first depicts Abraham as a model of faith (1-14) and, then, relates the story of Abraham’s rescue of Lot, his meeting with Melchizedek, his being visited by three angels and the conception of Isaac by the elderly Sara (15-49), before rounding off his preface by ascribing to the story of Abraham an allegorical meaning that resonates with the reader’s situation (50-68).

In the Praefatio, Prudentius first depicts Abraham…

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Citation: Tsartsidis, Thomas. "Psychomachia". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 08 March 2019 [, accessed 09 December 2023.]

31706 Psychomachia 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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