Gaius Vettius Aquilinus Juvencus

fl. c. 330. Latin Christian poet. The fame of Juvencus, Spanish priest of a noble family, rests on his epic of Christ's life in about 3,200 hexameters, the earliest important Christian counterpart to pagan epic. Drawn from Matthew primarily, it is called Historiae evangelicae libri IV. He was well read in the pagan classics, especially Virgil, whose influence is seen in Juvencus's genre, meter, vocabulary, and mythological allusions. However, the nature of Juvencus's work, closely paraphrasing the gospels, especially Christ's words, precluded any flights of poetic imagination. Still, the versification is generally pleasing and Juvencus was highly respected in medieval times.