SYMPHOSIUS, A NORTH AFRICAN MARTIAL?
AbstractThe late-Latin compendium known as the Latin anthology includes a carefully composed verse collection of a hundred riddles. It was probably called the Aenigmata and written by a man called Symphosius, who might have come from North Africa; but very little is known for certain. The collection was, however, to have a profound influence on later riddle-writing and deserves attention for this reason alone. It is clear, however, that Symphosius was greatly influenced by the Xenia and Apophoreta of Martial, although this further reason has not been widely appreciated. This article sets Symphosius’ Aenigmata in its Martialian context before exploring its debts both in terms of form and arrangement and, by comparing individual riddles, explaining how Symphosius has varied, developed and extended his model. It concludes that he succeeded admirably in his self-appointed task of challenging comparison with his predecessor, and that he was a ‘Martial’ in his own right.
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