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Witty, verbally dexterous, and urbane, Symphosius is regarded as the father of the Literary Riddle. His sole surviving work, the Symphosii Scholastici Aenigmata [Riddles of the Scholar Symphosius], became the model for medieval riddle collections, especially in England where it provoked a literary vogue and was used as a school text. The Aenigmata, included in the Codex Salmasianus, comprises one hundred tristich hexameter riddles each solved by its own title. The collection is accompanied by a brief preface in which Symphosius claims, rather implausibly in view of the polished and schematized nature of the Aenigmata, to have improvised the riddles at the feast of the Saturnalia.
Original languageEnglish
Article number12550
Number of pages2
JournalThe Literary Encyclopedia
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Symphosius
  • Ancient Roman Writing and Culture
  • Ancient Roman Writing
  • Ancient Roman Culture
  • Republic and Empire
  • Poet
  • Poetry
  • Classical Studies
  • Classics
  • Roman empire


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