The poems of the sixth-century poet Venantius Honorius Clementianus Fortunatus sometimes seem to have flown under the radar of the late antique and early medieval studies. Certain poems are well known while the context from which they come, and the collection as a whole, is rarely considered. A full English translation of the poet’s work has been a scholarly desideratum for a while. Michael Robert’s splendid translation is the first to render all eleven books of Fortunatus’ verse into English and will surely bring this text to a wider audience.
Roberts notes that, ‘Fortunatus’ poetry generally displays a delight in verbal play and an alliterative inventiveness that can present challenges for the translator,’ a challenge he succeeds in meeting. His translation is particularly successful in capturing the flashes of gentle humour and wordplay that are hallmarks of Fortunatus’ poetry. In sum, Roberts’ translation presents an eminently readable, accurate, and enjoyable English version of Fortunatus’ complete poetic works, which will inspire students, scholars, and teachers to take on the challenges and charm of the poet’s work.
Bryn Mawr Classical Review