By Ian Fielding
In a footnote in a recent essay, Michael Roberts (2014: 128 n39) reveals that, when he
published his seminal study of late Latin poetry in 1989, he did not know that the phrase
‘jeweled style’ had already been coined almost a century before by Oscar Wilde. In
Chapter 10 of The picture of Dorian Gray (1891), Lord Henry Wotton gives Gray an
unidentified ‘yellow book’, written in a ‘curious jewelled style … that characterises the
work of some of the finest artists of the French school of symbolistes’ (2006: 115). Wilde
By Francesca Middleton
“Whatever the motivation and function of Christian poetry, its expression does not depend on exclusively Christian considerations.” Roberts (1989:123).
By Blaise Gratton
Juvencus, a Spanish priest who wrote under Constantine, was the first to render the Christian gospels into Latin hexameters, known as the Quattuor Libri Evangeliorum, connecting two influences already entrenched in Western civilization - namely the primary Christian texts with the epic tradition. Despite this achievement, his work has perhaps not been as favorably viewed as other epic authors, especially in the area of his style.
By Michael Squire
This paper re-evaluates Michael Roberts’ landmark The Jeweled Style through the lens of one particular
early fourth-century poet: Publilius Optatianus Porfyrius – or ‘Optatian’ for short. Optatian’s Latin
poetry received only passing mention in Roberts’ monograph (Roberts 1989: 58). But if the poems
epitomize some of Roberts’ larger claims about ‘poetry and poetics in late antiquity’, the corpus also
helps us to re-evaluate those arguments on the book’s thirtieth anniversary – indeed, to push them in
new, intermedial and cross-disciplinary directions.