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Symphosius (sometimes, in older scholarship and less properly, Symposius) was the author of the Aenigmata, a collection of 100 Latin riddles of uncertain date. They were even attributed to Lactantius, and identified with his Symposium, but this view is that of a single 18th-century editor, and is not generally accepted.[1]

The riddles themselves, written in tercets of hexameters, are of elegant Latinity, leading some to date them as early as the 2nd century; but the prevailing view today is that they were probably composed in the 4th or 5th century. The author's brief preface states that they were written to form part of the entertainment at the Saturnalia, but this is a literary convention.

The Aenigmata are the only surviving collection of Latin riddles by a single author, and as such they have influenced the genre down to our own time, via the collections of Aldhelm and Tatwine. The editio princeps was by Joachimus Perionius, Paris, 1533; the most recent editions are:

  • E. F. Corpet, Paris, 1868, with witty French translation
  • Elizabeth Hickman du Bois, The Hundred Riddles of Symphosius, Woodstock, Vermont : The Elm Tree Press, 1912 (Peck), with elegant English translation
  • Raymond Ohl, 1928, with English.
  • Fr. Glorie (ed.), Variae collectiones aenignmatvm Merovingicae aetatis (pars altera), Corpvs Christianorvm, Series Latina, 133a (Turnhout: Brepols, 1968), pp. 620–723.


  1. ^ Chisholm 1911, p. 291.

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