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Structure allégorique de Romulea 1: La comparaison Orphée-Felicianus chez Dracontius

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image of Vigiliae Christianae

In all his poems, the Carthaginian Dracontius presents Orpheus only once, in a preface dedicated to his magister Felicianus (Romulea1) and allegorically constructed: as Orpheus charmed animals (vv. 1-11), Felicianus gathers Vandals and Romans (vv. 12-16). Each element of Orpheus's evocation prepares the allegorical – political, religious and cultural – reading of the second part: first, Orpheus charming wild and domestic beasts announces Felicianus who civilized the barbarian Vandals and brought a new Golden Age in Carthage. Secondly, Felicianus, as an Orpheus between Christ and David, brings evangelical Peace to heretical Arian Vandals and Catholic Romans. Finally, Felicianus taught Roman culture. Therefore, Dracontius, under Claudian's and Prudentius's influences, presents an original Orpheus, neither simply pagan, nor really christian.


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