- 西洋古典學研究 (ISSN:04479114)
- vol.60, pp.111-122, 2012-03-23
Prudentius' Contra Symmachum contains the Prosopopoeia of Rome (II. 655-768). This is a reply to Symmachus' Prosopopoeia of Rome in his Relatio III. 9-10. Prudentius praises Stilicho's victory over Alaric at Pollentia in 402, and in these lines his tone sounds particularly panegyrical. Prudentius attempts to refute Symmachus by playing up Stilicho's victory with techniques of panegyrical literature. Against Symmachus' insistence that only the religious rites of paganism ensure the victory and security of the empire, Prudentius claims that Stilicho defends Rome under the protection of Christ and the victory of the empire is guaranteed without any pagan rituals. The ground of this claim is the repulse of Alaric by Stilicho. The description of Stilicho's victory at Pollentia by Prudentius is conspicuous for its panegyrical tones. According to Prudentius, (1) the recent victory over the Goths is more praiseworthy than Camillus' victory over the Gauls in early Republican years, because this time the city of Rome itself escaped occupation by foreign enemies (721-730); and, (2) Stilicho's prowess is greater than the repulse of Hannibal in Punic wars because the defeat of Hannibal was merely due to the luxury and dissipation of Campania and Magna Graecia but Stilicho owes his victory to the military valor of the Roman army (739-749). Late antique panegyrists often refer to past leaders in the Roman history in order to praise the current honorand. This technique generates an imaginary continuity between past glory and present situations, and provides a guarantee that past glory will be recovered by the current honorand. Such a panegyrical method is used by Prudentius in his Prosopopoeia of Rome. On the ground of Stilicho's prowess, Prudentius refutes Symmachus and assures his readers that Christianity benefits the Roman empire. After Stilicho's death and the sack of Rome by Alaric, however, Prudentius' rhetoric, deprived of its immediate historical context, would lose its original effect.