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The "De Ave Phoenice" of Lactantius : a commentary and introduction Harris, Keith N.

Abstract

The primary purpose of this thesis is to provide a commentary on the "De Ave Phoenice" of Caecilius Firmianus Lactantius that takes into consideration all recent scholarship on the development of the "myth" of the Phoenix. The thesis consists of four chapters. The first chapter contains a biography and summary of the works of Lactantius together with a discussion of the poem's authorship. The second chapter consists of a discussion of the genesis of the myth of the phoenix, listing examples in chronological order, to A.D. 300, of the literature pertaining to the phoenix that may have been sources for Lactantius. Chapter Three consists of a text and translation of the poem. Chapter Four, the major portion of the thesis, is devoted to a commentary, which concentrates on historical, political and artistic implications in the poem, rather than on textual and lexical matters. A general conclusion concerning the character and date of the poem is added. The texts of the more important sources used in Chapter Two are appended to the main body of the thesis and are followed by a bibliography.

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