“From the Center to the Periphery – and Vice Versa”
On Ausonius, Ordo Urbium Nobilium, and Prudentius, Peristephanon
This article deals with the relationship between an urban center and peripheries in two Latin pieces of ʻcollected poetry’: Ausonius’ catalogue of cities of the Empire, Ordo urbium nobilium, and Prudentius’ cycle of hymns on Christian martyrs of the Western Romania, the Peristephanon. In both collections Rome, diametrically opposed in the initial and final positions, points to the geometric center of the orbis terrarum, in each poem for both an objective and a subjective reason: Ausonius was writing as a former consul in ca. 389, Prudentius as a pilgrim in ca. 399. The latter may have compiled his cycle as a Christian counterpart to Ausonius’ Ordo, starting with the Passio of the ideal Christian Roman by name, Romanus, and ending in historical Rome at the tomb of Agnes.
Keywords: Agnes (martyr) • Burdigala (Bordeaux) • Ausonius • Periphery • Ordo urbium nobilium • Romanus (martyr) • Pilgrimage • Cyprianus (martyr) • Peristephanon • Orbis terrarum • Prudentius • Rome • Cult of martyrs • Theodosius I