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The Poet and the Forger: On Nonnus’ False Biography by Constantine Simonides

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Chapter Summary

This chapter focuses on two characters, a poet and a forger, and deals with a false biography of Nonnus of Panopolis, a Late Antiquity epic poet to whom the Dionysiaca and the Paraphrase of the Gospel of John are attributed. It was on the verge of being published, but the book was retrieved just in time from the printers after Professor Tischendorf and other scholars meticulously examined the purported codex rescriptus sold to K.W. Dindorf upon royal commissioning in view of the record of forgeries of Constantine Simonides in England. The chronological mistakes in the false biography's chronology of Nonnus are obvious. The chapter shows how both the forger and the novelists coincide in turning the conversion of the poet Nonnus into a key element of his biography in order to explain the apparently contradictory slant of his works.

Keywords: codex rescriptus; Constantine Simonides; Dionysiaca; false biography; Nonnus of Panopolis; Professor Tischendorf



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