Iohannis or De Bellis Libycis of Flavius Cresconius Corippus

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This is the first modern translation, with a useful introduction, of Corippus’ epic work. It is a major source of historical information about the reign of Justinian and especially about the wars of reconquest which that emperor waged it North Africa. Since it provides a good deal of information about the native Berber tribes of North Africa, it is an important text for ethnographers and anthropologists. Finally, it may be considered the last classical Latin epic. Produced in a Byzantine Christian and North African context, it is also a significant example of literary adaptation.


“The introduction by providing and elucidating valuable historical, ethnographical, and geographical information about the period greatly facilitates the reading of the poem. The clear prose translation is eminently readable and gives the reader a good sense of the work’s poetic values. Professor Shea’s text is a solid work of scholarship that fills a real gap by making available the first English translation of this important poem.” – J. Roger Dunkle, professor of Classics and Chair, CUNY

“The publication of an English translation of Corippus’ work will be a major boon for historians of early African history and of the Byzantine Empire, particularly the Justinianian periods. With its vivd and detailed descriptions of combat, it will also interest military historians. . . . the poem has the ability to open windows on life in a world long gone. . . . makes accessible to a wide range of scholars and students of literature, history, and anthropology an important and too long neglected text.” – Kathleen Morgan, Professor Classics, Lehman College and the Graduate Center, CUNY

“. . . a long neglected Latin epic poet who holds a remarkable place in the history of literature. He is between pagan and Christian epic. . . . the book could be included in some of the hundreds of course given throughout the US on Greek and Roman Epic in Translation. . . . I think the book far more needed than the umpteenth translation of Vergil, Aeneid or Ovid, Metamorphoses. We have those. This would be something new, different and intellectually challenging.” – William M. Calder III, William Abbott Oldfather Professor of the Classics, University of Illinois.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents:
Introduction – The Author; Text; Historical Background; Corippus as Imperial Apologist; Adaptation of Classical Rhetorical Techniques; Corippus’ Poetic Achievement; Notes.

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