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carmen  

Peta G. Fowler and Don P. Fowler

Carmen, from cano (?), “something chanted,” a formulaic or structured utterance, not necessarily in verse. In early Latin the word was used especially for religious utterances such as spells and charms: the laws of the *Twelve Tables contained provisions against anyone who chanted a malum carmen, “evil spell” (Plin. HN 28.2.18). Carmen became the standard Latin term for song, and hence poem (sometimes especially lyric and related genres1), but the possibilities of danger and enchantment inherent in the broader sense continued to be relevant, and there is often play on the different senses (see e.g. Ov. Met. 7. 167).

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Vettius Agorius Praetextatus was a learned Roman senator (c. 320–384 ce). He is usually remembered as the leading proponent of Graeco-Roman religious tradition (paganism) during the late Roman Empire.Vettius Agorius Praetextatus was a Roman senator (c. 320–384 ce). He was a learned aristocrat who never converted to Christianity even though the Christianisation of the Roman aristocracy was already in gradual process during his lifetime, and by the end of the century, in the years after his death, the Roman aristocracy as a whole had become Christian (at least nominally). Praetextatus is usually remembered as the leading proponent of Graeco-Roman religious tradition (paganism) during the late Roman Empire. He was a friend and correspondent of the orator Q. Aurelius Symmachus. Symmachus’ epist. 1.44–55 are addressed to him.1Praetextatus held the high offices of praefectus urbi in 367–368 ce and praefectus praetorio in 384; when he died in that year, he had been designated consul for the following year. A few laws extant in the Theodosian Code (8.14.1; 9.40.10; 14.4.4; 6.35.7; 13.3.8; 1.6.6) are addressed to him as .