1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Cento (composition)

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CENTO (Gr. κέντρων, Lat. cento, patchwork), a composition made up by collecting passages from various works. The Byzantine Greeks manufactured several out of the poems of Homer, among which may be mentioned the life of Christ by the famous empress Eudoxia, and a version of the Biblical history of Eden and the Fall. The Romans of the later empire and the monks of the middle ages were fond of constructing poems out of the verse of Virgil. Such were the Cento Nuptialis of Ausonius, the sketch of Biblical history which was compiled in the 4th century by Proba Falconia, wife of a Roman proconsul, and the hymns in honour of St Quirinus taken from Virgil and Horace by Metellus, a monk of Tegernsee, in the latter half of the 12th century. Specimens may be found in the work of Aldus Manutius (Venice, 1504; Frankfort, 1541, 1544). In 1535 Laelius Capitulus produced from Virgil an attack upon the dissolute lives of the monks; in 1536 there appeared at Venice a Petrarca Spirituale; and in 1634 Alexander Ross (a Scotsman, and one of the chaplains of Charles I.) published a Virgilius Evangelizans, seu Historia Domini nostri Jesu Christi Virgilianis verbis et versibus descripta.