Cookies Policy

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

I accept this policy

Find out more here

What Is A Cento?

Brill’s MyBook program is exclusively available on BrillOnline Books and Journals. Students and scholars affiliated with an institution that has purchased a Brill E-Book on the BrillOnline platform automatically have access to the MyBook option for the title(s) acquired by the Library. Brill MyBook is a print-on-demand paperback copy which is sold at a favorably uniform low price.

Access this chapter

+ Tax (if applicable)

Chapter Summary

Centos are poems made up entirely of verses lifted, verbatim or with only slight modification, from Virgil, if they are Virgilian centos, or from the Iliad and Odyssey, if Homeric centos. Centonists piece together verses to form a new, altered but still coherent text. The outcome is that the hypotext is being recast. Centos are therefore by their nature parasitic. The practice of composing centos is attested among Christians in the 2nd century C.E., but the appearance is certainly not a Christian invention, and was in use much earlier. This chapter shows how centos stitch together scraps from classical texts to create new texts. Centonists took advantage of Homer and Virgil as texts open to yield fresh texts and recast classical literature in a playful way. They represent a total or extreme kind of intertextuality restraining the literary activity of the centonists.

Keywords: Centonists; Centos; Christians; classical literature; classical texts; Homer; Virgil



Can't access your account?
  • Tools

  • Add to Favorites
  • Printable version
  • Email this page
  • Recommend to your library

    You must fill out fields marked with: *

    Librarian details
    Your details
    Why are you recommending this title?
    Select reason:
    The Gospel 'According to Homer and Virgil' — Recommend this title to your library
  • Export citations
  • Key

  • Full access
  • Open Access
  • Partial/No accessInformation