Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ER 469
Apponius dedicates his "Commentary to the Song of Songs" to the presbyter Armenius, probably in Italy, at the beginning of the 5th century.
Viro desideriorum seruo Christi ARMENIO presbytero supplex APPONIVS.
Magno quidem illo beati Danihelis exemplo, diuinorum mysteriorum intellegentiae auidissimus cupis peruasor exsistere, sed me acerrima iussione ultra uires sub grauissimi ponderis cogis mole succumbere, ut tibi opusculum in Cantico Canticorum sapientissimi Salomonis Christo dictante exponendo scribam.
(eds. de Vregille, Neyrand 1986: 1-2)
Commentary to the Song of Songs
Humble Apponius to the presbyter Armenius, the most worthy servant of Christ.
Following the great example of the blessed Daniel you want to be the most eager invader of the knowledge of divine mysteries. But you are forcing me by your most violent command to succumb under a burden too heavy for my strength when you ask me to write for you the work commenting the Song of Songs that the most wise Salomon wrote by the inspiration of Christ himself.
(trans. M. Szada)


We do not have any certain information on Armenius beside the dedicatory letter of Apponius. Those who prefer late dating of the commentary try to identify this dedicatee with other personnages of the same name from the 6th century. Angelo Mai (1849: v-vi, 238) identified him with Armenius to whom Agnellus of Ravenna (AD 556-569) dedicated his work De ratione fidei but Agnellus did not call him a priest. From the 6th century we also know a certain Arminius presbyter et abbas who brings letters from Caesarius of Arles (Gaul) to Pope Bonifatius II after the Council of Orange in AD 531 [2300] (see de Vregille and Neyrand 1997: 133-134). PCBE, Italie (Armenius 1) dates him to the early 5th c. and does not try to merge him with any other known Armenius or Arminius. There is also a rather misled proposition by Mark W. Elliot (2011: 40) that Apponius dedicated his work to a certain presbyter from Armenia.

Place of event:

  • Italy north of Rome with Corsica and Sardinia
  • Italy south of Rome and Sicily

About the source:

Author: Apponius
Title: Commentary of the Song of Songs, In Canticum canticorum expositio
Origin: Italy north of Rome with Corsica and SardiniaRomeItaly south of Rome and Sicily
Denomination: Catholic/Nicene/Chalcedonian
We know Apponius only from his one work, the commentary to the Song of Songs. The most important hypothesis about him is that of Johannes Witte (1903). He dated the commentary to the beginning of the 5th century (Apponius uses the Vulgate and does not mention the Pelagians among heretics). He also supposed that Apponius was not a native Latin speaker, but rather a Semite (a Syrian or a Jew). The recent editors of Apponius` commentary in Corpus Christianorum, de Vregille and Neyrand, accept Witte`s thesis in general, but they note that the peculiarities of his Latin are not uncommon among other Latin writers of the 5th century and do not necessarily suggest that Latin was not Apponius` mother tongue. There are also propositions to date him to the 6th or even 7th century, see references in Clavis Patrum Latinorum 194.
B. de Vregille, L. Neyrand eds., Apponii in Canticum Canticorum expositionem, Corpus Christianorum. Series Latina  19, Tournhout 1986
French translation:
B. de Vregille, L. Neyrand, eds. and trans., Apponius, Commentaire sur le Cantique des Cantiques, v. I-III, Paris 1997 (Sources Chrétiennes 420)
M.W. Elliott, The Song of Songs and Christology in the Early Church, 381-451, Eugene 2011.
K.S. Frank, "Apponius, In canticum canticorum explanatio", Vigiliae Christianae 39 (1985), 370-383.
A. Mai, Spicilegium Romanum, v. 5, Rome 1849.
J. Witte, Der Kommentar des Aponius zum Hohenliede: Untersuchung über die Zeit und den Ort seiner Abfassung, über die Persönlichkeit des Verfassers und über die Stellung des Kommentars in der Geschichte der Auslegung des Hohenliedes, unter Zugrundelegung der ersten Ausgabe des ganzen Kommentars vom Jahre 1843, Erlangen 1903.


Writing activity - Correspondence
Described by a title - Presbyter/πρεσβύτερος
Education - Theological interest
Devotion - Reading the Bible and devotional literature
Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL: M. Szada, Presbyters in the Late Antique West, ER469,