Once Again on Claudian's Egyptian Origin


  • Tomasz Babnis Jagiellonian University, Kraków




Claudian, Late Antiquity, Latin in Egypt, vitae poetarum


The life of Claudius Claudian (c. 370 – c. 404 AD), the great Latin poet active during the reign of Honorius, is unknown, especially the years before his great debut in 395 AD. Communis opinio holds that he was a pagan Egyptian Greek born in Alexandria c. 370 AD, who having come to Italy in 394 AD started a career of a political poet in the service of the elites of the Western Roman Empire. This view codified by Alan Cameron (1970) was challenged by Peder G. Christiansen (1997), who asserted that Claudian was actually a Westerner. The thesis of the poet’s Egyptian origin was defended by Bret Mulligan (2007) and then again attacked by Christiansen and Christiansen (2009). This article aims to reconsider the scarce textual evidence and to put an emphasis on some points that have been underestimated so far: the possibility of Claudian’s early connections with Constantinople and the ruling circles of the eastern capital.


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How to Cite

Babnis, T. “Once Again on Claudian’s Egyptian Origin”. Classica Cracoviensia, vol. 24, Dec. 2021, pp. 7-24, doi:10.12797/CC.24.2021.24.01.



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