The Classical Quarterly (New Series)

Research Article

Proba's introduction to her Cento

R. P. H. Greena1

a1 Glasgow University

The cento of Proba has recently enjoyed a remarkable upsurge of scholarly interest. A welcome translation was provided in 1981, and an article of five years later, scrutinizing the evidence for its date and authorship, has aroused much controversy. In two recent contributions vindicating the traditional date new or more precise suggestions have been made about the poem's historical context. In between these, yet another article has argued, without confirming or refuting the revised dating and attribution, that in various ways the work reflects the interest of the aristocratic ladies of the Anician family. And now there is a second article by Danuta Shanzer, repeating many of her early points (not always with greater clarity) and adding some interesting new ones. All this sudden attention is not unmerited, for as Herzog observed long ago the work is not of the comic or trivializing kind that Ausonius envisaged in his comments on the genre and does not degrade Vergil but rather, at least in the often quoted words of its prefatory poem, ‘improves’ him.