John of Salisbury’s Entheticus and the Classical Tradition of Satire

John of Salisbury’s Entheticus and the Classical Tradition of Satire

Pepin, Ronald E.

Florilegium, Vol. 3 (1981)


John of Salisbury’s modern reputation depends chiefly on his prose writings. The Metalogicon and Policraticus have established the author’s position as an eminent Christian humanist of the twelfth century. In fact, his name is usually discovered amidst clustered superlatives and confident affirmations of his enormous influence, especially in contexts which in­ volve the classics. For example, Frederick Artz refers to John as “the most gifted Latin stylist of his age, and the most learned classical schol­ar,” while to Charles Homer Haskins he was simply “the best classical scholar of the age.” These statements are typical and wholly familiar to students of John’s life and work. However, one literary contribution strongly imbued with the humanistic spirit remains largely unnoticed among John of Salisbury’s writings. The Entheticus de Dogmate Philosophorum, a poem of 926 elegiac distichs, is John’s major work in verse.

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