Lo spazio, lo sguardo, la voce
Intertestualità e intermedialità nel Peristephanon 9 di Prudenzio
A good example of literature’s power to continuously rewrite geographic space by renewing inherited paradigms could be found in Prudentius’ Peristephanon, which provides a sort of re-mapping of the Western landscape in a martyrial perspective. My paper focuses in particular on the narration of Cassian’s martyrdom, providing a new in-depth analysis of Peristephanon IX. Firstly, the poet claims possession of the martyr’s place, Forum Cornelii, by dismissing its pagan past; then, in the ekphrasis of the fresco depicting the martyr, he enacts a complex itinerary of the gaze and elaborates a complex retractatio of the description of Juno’s temple of Verg. Aen. 1.446-465; finally, the introduction of a second-degree narrator provides an authoritative interpretation of the image, leading to appropriate devotion to the saint. The poem, thus, provides both an interesting example of integrated intermediality, and a reflection on the hermeneutical risks of unmediated viewing in a Christian scopic regime.