ORIENTIUS: The received name of the author of Commonitorium, a Christian didactic poem of the first part of the fifth century. He is probably identical with Bishop Orientius of Auch, envoy from the Gothic King Theodoric I. to the Roman generals AEtius and Litorius, in the year 439. His poem describes the way to blessedness, and urgently admonishes against various byways of sin, especially against carnal temptation. The poem has for its constructive background the devastation of Gaul by the Alans, Suevi, Burgundians, and Vandals, 406 A.D. Classic poets are consulted; in particular, Catullus, Ovid, and Virgil. Whether there is also some reference to Christian poets (Prudentius?) is doubtful. In the extant manuscript, codex Ashburnham, tenth chapter, the Commonitorium is followed by five lesser poems and several poetical prayers of uncertain origin.

The best edition is that of R. Ellis in CSEL, xvi. 191-261 and in MPL, lxi. 977-1006.


BIOGRAPHY: An early Vita is in ASB, May, i. 61-64. Consult further: A. Ebert, Allgemeine Geschicte der Litteratur des Mittelalters, i. 410-414, Leipsic, 1889; M. Manitius, Gesehichte der christlich-lateinischen Poesie, pp. 192-201, Stuttgart, 1891; KL, ix. 1052-53; DCB, iv. 96.


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