The Christian Homer
This title consists of three separate works representing an extraordinarily evidence of a Christian reading, or even misreading, of both the Homeric text and its legacy. In the mid-fifth century C.E., a very strange poem called a “Homeric Cento” was written by Eudocia Augusta, the wife of the Byzantine emperor Theodosius II. The term cento means “stitching” in the sense of making a patchwork quilt, so “cento” refers to an epic poem made up of verses borrowed from the Iliad and Odyssey. The newly-created narrative was based on the Bible and designed to be recited before audiences. For example, to express the sorrow of the Virgin Mary upon the death of her son, material is used from the Iliad, books 22 and 24, which describes Priam’s emotions after the death of his son, Hector. The second part includes Virgilian centos written by the fourth-century poetess, Proba Falconia, who was greatly admired throughout the Middle Ages. The third part consists of Nonno’s paraphrase of the Gospel of John in Greek with a facing Latin translation.