Faltonia Betitia Proba

faltonia

 

Faltonia was born between 306 and 315 ce to Petronius Probianus, a Roman Counsel, and Demetria she was a poet who used verses by Virgil, Lucan and Juvencus to compose an epic poem about Jesus entitled, Cento vergilianus de laudibus Christi, as she converted to Christianity as an adult. The canto is 694 lines. The poem may have been written to “to circumvent a law put in place by the Roman Emperor Julian that forbade Christians from teaching classical Greek and Latin literature which they themselves did not believe in, or that Proba was responding to and rebutting the rather unflattering and demonizing descriptions of Jesus put forth by Julian in his works Caesares and Contra Galilaeos.” (1) There is some debate as to whether or not she wrote the poem or if it was written by her granddaughter, Anicia Faltonia Proba She also wrote Constantini bellum adversus Magnentium but this poem, about the war between Roman Emperor Constantius II and the usurper Magnentius has been destroyed, possibly at her request due to its pagan elements. “As a suitable coda, the Cento Probae was first published in print format in 1472, making it quite likely that Proba has the distinction of being history’s first female author to have her work made available in print.” (2) Her poems were politically tinged as well and Pope Gelasius, I declared her works apocryphal because it attacked the Emperor so was forbidden from public readings. “Through the cento and her literary skills, Proba contributed and altered conditions in her society more than most historians recognize. As the grammatical pretext of the cento glossed over religion, the blow emperor Julian intended for the Christian populace was evaded.” (Hauser-Borel 8).

She died about 353 to 366 CE and was buried in what is now Basilica di Sant’Anastasia al Palatino in Rome and was buried next to her husband.

Resources:

http://www.cmi.interculturel.org/files/No%201%20(7)%20%202009/marmureanu.catalina.cernescu.gianina.lixandru.laura.faltonia.betitia.proba.and.athenais-eudochia.pdf

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7160734.Faltonia_Betitia_Proba

https://standrewsclassics.wordpress.com/2016/03/09/faltonia-betitia-proba/ (2)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cento_vergilianus_de_laudibus_Christi

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faltonia_Betitia_Proba (1)

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