Abstract

At its dissolution, the western empire of the Romans found a non-Roman poet to eulogise the empire’s power: Claudius Claudianus (d. 404). In Claudian’s representations of the empire, Britain had a special place, a comprehensive survey shows, as the exotic edge of Rome’s dominion, at once the end of earth as well as beyond it, another world altogether. Although unconcerned with historical veracity, evidently, Claudian’s characterisations of Britain had this literary-symbolic value: in Claudian, Britain’s conquest stood for the boundlessness of the Roman imperial compulsion to dominate. The poet goes so far as to represent Britain as imprecating Rome to maintain its mastery, though in fact the western empire’s dominion could no longer extend so far.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-3168
Print ISSN
0002-9475
Pages
pp. 305-336
Launched on MUSE
2013-06-30
Open Access
No
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