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The Text of the Aegritudo Perdicae

Louis Zweig

The Aegritudo Perdicae is a late Latin epyllion of 290 verses. Scholars tentatively agree that it was composed during the fifth century in North Africa. The poem remained unknown to modern scholars until 1876, when Dümmler announced its existence in a footnote to his ‘Gedichte an Prudentius’. Dümmler mentioned it only as one of the works contained in the early sixteenth-century manuscript Harleianus 3685 (H). Baehrens took notice and became the poem’s first editor in the following year. In this essay, I offer suggestions about what might have happened to the text of the AP before Dümmler noticed it. This comprises discussion of its authorship and transmission; I also discuss a passage that reveals some of the unique problems that this text offers to textual critics. I suggest Eugene of Toledo as a candidate for authorship. Moreover, I demonstrate that the Aegritudo’s only witness, H, was probably made in Freising and contains works from three separate exemplars. I argue that the book that contained the Aegritudo Perdicae before it was copied into H was probably a small florilegium, composed of four-page gatherings. This little book likely contained the other works that precede Ermoldus Nigellus’ Elegia and Carmina in honorem Hludowici Caesaris in H, as well. It may have come to Freising at the instigation of a literary bishop. Before the Aegritudo joined this collection, it was probably transmitted with the poems of Tiberianus.

The Aegritudo Perdicae has been the subject of some recent scholarship. In the last two decades, a number of papers have been published on its emendation. Antonino Grillo has also published an extensive study on the poem, which follows Loriano Zurli’s new edition and John Hunt’s insightful dissertation. These studies, however, have generally ignored questions of transmission. The opportunity to study H in person has allowed me to uncover new information about this poem’s transmission. These conclusions, in addition to the proposal of Eugene of Toledo as the poem’s author, will help prompt new discussion of this interesting Latin poem.

Session/Panel Title:

Texts and Transmission

Session/Paper Number

1.2

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