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Reflections on the meaning of the Ecloga Theoduli: Where is the authorial voice?

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Chapter Summary

The Ecloga Theoduli has long been a challenge to scholars. Mystery surrounds the identity of its author, its date and milieu of composition, as well as its purpose and meaning. Medieval commentators, beginning with Bernard of Utrecht, believed that Theodulus was the real name of the author, and that he was educated at Athens. Theodulus's poetic techniques differed from those in Gottschalk's evidenced in his surviving metrical poetry. The Ecloga presents the reader with thirty-four bouts or rounds between Pseustis and Alithia, of which twenty-nine are competing versions of a Christian (i.e. Old Testament) and a pagan tale with comparable content. This chapter shows that Pseustis is the clear winner of some rounds, because the message of his narrative, the 'involucrum', is either more moral or offers more hope than Alithia's.

Keywords: Christian; Ecloga Theoduli; Gottschalk; pagan tale; Pseustis; Theodulus



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