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The Proömium (plural Proömien ; ancient Greek προοίμιον prooímion , German 'before the song ' , 'foreplay', 'introductory chant '; borrowed in Latin as pro (o) emium ) or Proöm has been an introductory chapter , a foreword to poems , since ancient times and letters . In Byzantine diplomacy it is the name for the arenga .


One differentiates Proömien praeter rem from Proömien ante rem .

Proömium praeter rem

In terms of content, a Proömium praeter rem stands “next to” the following work and forms an independent unit.

In the rhapsodic singing of ancient Greece, such “set pieces” were sung before the actual song to be sung. A collection of such Proömien set pieces has come down to us under the name of Homer as the Homeric Hymn Collection .

Proömium ante rem

The Proömium ante rem precedes this as an actual introduction to the following work.


Common components of such a Proömiums, especially in the epic , are

  • the names of the persons, countries, etc., a brief summary,
  • the invocatio , ie the invocation of a higher power with a request for inspiration and help with the presentation, the justification for the creation of the work, and finally
  • the captatio benevolentiae , the request for benevolence and a balanced acceptance of what has been heard from the reader, often combined with a certain coquetry .


In ancient letters, the prescript (e.g. “James greets the twelve tribes”, Jak 1,1  EU ) is followed by the Proömium. In Paul's letters it consists of thanksgiving or praise to God, for example “I thank God at all times ... God is faithful ...” ( 1 Cor 1: 4–9  EU ).

See also


  • Ansgar Lenz: The Proöm of the early Greek epic: a contribution to the poetic self-image. (Philosophical dissertation Mannheim 1978). Bonn 1980.
  • Georg Pfligersdorffer : Politics and Leisure. To the preamble and introductory talk of Cicero's De re publica. W. Fink, Munich 1969.

Web links

Wiktionary: Proömium  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Hans Conzelmann , Andreas Lindemann: Arbeitsbuch zum New Testament. 10th edition, Tübingen 1991, p. 38f.