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“Feast of Cyprian“:
The Coena Cypriani
translated to English
Feast of Cyprian: The "Coena Cypriani" translated to English
Copyright © 2018 Miguel Carvalho AbrantesAll rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher.
Authorship attributed to Saint Cyprian
Translation and adaptation by Miguel Carvalho Abrantes
Both famous in the Middle Ages and in recent decades due to being referenced in Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose, the Coena Cypriani was traditionally attributed to Saint Cyprian, but now considered to be the creation of some other unknown author, who likely lived in the fourth or fifth centuries of our era. It can best be defined as a biblical satire, in which several characters from the Old and New Testament are invited to the nuptials of a king in Canaan of Galilee. Then, some short sequences are narrated, following which we are told how several biblical characters reacted to them; this is not usually a stable reference, since Jesus and the apostles are frequently mentioned, but less known characters, such as Achar or Jalam, take the central stage a single time.
And how do they all act? That’s precisely what makes this work so interesting – instead of simply presenting a potentially amoral short story, the Coena Cypriani obscurely references the actual biblical episodes in which all those characters intervened, and certainly invites the reader – as we do – to read through them and see how many he can reveal. Some are quite simple – in a non sequitur