Oxford : Undergraduate Teaching (to 2020)

College Tutorials and Classes. At Corpus I taught to groups ranging from one to ten virtually all the Latin options in all the Classical courses, ranging chronologically from Terence to Apuleius. I also taught some Greek tragedy, esp. Sophocles, and some Homer. I taught Latin and Greek language (unseens, proses, reading classes), and specialist papers on Latin textual criticism, the ancient novel and the reception of Greece and Rome in English 19C and 20C texts and culture.

University Lectures and Seminars. I gave a wide range of lecture courses on Latin literature and its reception, covering material from Catullus to 16C neo-Latin and the reception of Rome and its literature in 19C and 20C UK.. I also gave a range of graduate classes in the same areas.

Oxford (and elsewhere) : Graduate Supervision

Since 1987 at Oxford I have supervised co-supervised nineteen completed D.Phil.theses at (one on Lucretius, two on Vergil, one on Horace, one on Ovid, two on Apuleius, one on Seneca tragicus, one on Dracontius, two on neo-Latin and seven on classical reception from the 14C to 21C). I have also acted as external adviser for two successful Princeton theses (on Latin didactic poetry and on Vergil), and for a Groningen thesis on Apuleius. In 2004-7 I co-supervised two successful doctoral theses at the University of Bergen, and two at the University of Trondheim in 2016-21. At Oxford I am currently supervising or co-supervising six doctoral dissertations, one on Vergil’s language, one on Boethius, one on Spanish Jesuit Latin poetry and three in classical reception in English. I am also currently co-supervising students at UNAM (Mexico City) on closure in Augustan Latin poetry-books, at Stanford on linguistic diversity in Latin literature, at Princeton on Petronius, and at Trondheim on the reception of Philaenis. In the past I have been formal part-supervisor to doctoral students from Madrid, Salerno, Bari, Turin, Campinas (Brazil), Vitória (Brazil), Pisa and Malta as well as acting informally in many other overseas cases.

Doctoral theses supervised, co-supervised or co-advised now published


Michael Lipka, Language in Vergil's Eclogues (De Gruyter, 2001)

Anastasios Nikolopoulos, Ovidius Polytropos: Metanarrative in Ovid's Metamorphoses (Olms, 2004)

Regine May, Apuleius and Drama: The Ass on Stage (OUP, 2007)

Heather Ellis, Generational Conflict and University Reform: Oxford in the Age of Revolution (Brill, 2012)

Alexander Riddiford, Madly After the Muses: Bengali Poet Michael Madhusudan Datta and His Reception of the Graeco-Roman Classics (OUP, 2013)

Nora Goldschmidt, Shaggy Crowns: Ennius' Annales and Virgil's Aeneid (OUP, 2013)

Henry Stead, A Cockney Catullus: The Reception of Catullus in Romantic Britain, 1795-1821 (OUP, 2015)


Katharina Volk, The Poetics of Latin Didactic (OUP, 2002)


Thea Selliaas Thorsen, Ovid's Early Poetry: from his single Heroides to his Remedia amoris (CUP, 2014)

Lecturing outside Oxford

Since 1985 I have given invited lectures or conference papers at almost all the other universities in the UK which have classical departments (Birmingham, Bristol, Cambridge, Durham, Exeter, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Lampeter (=Wales Trinity St David), Leeds, Liverpool, KCL, UCL, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham, the Open University, Reading, Royal Holloway, St Andrews, Swansea, the Warburg Institute and Warwick). I have regularly given classical talks to UK schools, sixth-form conferences, local branches of the Classical Association, and other classical groups.

Since 1990 I have given invited lectures in other parts of Europe, at the Universities of Aarhus, Amsterdam (and VU), Berlin (Freie), Bergen, Bern, Bochum, Bologna, Bonn, Crete, Geneva, Genova, Göttingen, Groningen, Heidelberg, Ioannina, Jena, Krakow, Lausanne, Leiden, Mannheim, Montpellier-III, Munich, Oslo, Padua, Pisa, Posnań, Rome I and II, Stockholm, Thessaloniki, Uppsala and Verona.

Outside Europe, in 1990 I was a visiting lecturer in Australia, speaking at the Universities of Sydney, Melbourne, Monash, Adelaide and Perth. In 1995 I was a visiting lecturer at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, and also gave lectures and seminars at the universities of Stellenbosch, Western Cape, Orange Free State, Witwatersrand, South Africa (UNISA, Pretoria) and at the Rand Afrikaans University and Rhodes University; I returned to UCT in 2010 to give a short course and also gave lectures at the Universities of KwaZulu-Natal and Pretoria. In 1997 I was a visiting lecturer in the USA, giving invited lectures at Columbia, Princeton, Wesleyan, Yale and Harvard Universities; I did the same in 1999, giving invited lectures at Emory and Stanford Universities and at the Universities of Florida, Virginia, California at Berkeley and Washington (Seattle) and in 2003, giving invited lectures at Baylor University, the University of Dallas and the University of Texas at Austin (again at the latter in 2015). In 2002 I gave lectures at Tel-Aviv University and at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. In 2005 I gave a course of lectures in Florence for the Istituto dei Studi Classici.

In spring 2006 I was William Evans Fellow at the University of Otago in Dunedin, NZ, giving a course of lectures, with visiting lectures in Wellington and Sydney, and was also a visiting lecturer at the Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa, where I gave the Lezioni Comparetti (five lectures). In 2010 I gave the keynote lecture at the Australasian Society of Classical Studies conference in Sydney, and visiting lectures at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Johns Hopkins, and at the University of Tokyo, Tokyo Metropolitan University, the International Christian University in Tokyo, Nagoya University and Kyoto University; I returned to Japan in 2014 and gave lectures again at the University of Tokyo, Tokyo Metropolitan University, and the International Christian University.  In 2011 I gave lectures in South Africa again (UCT, University of Pretoria, University of Stellenbosch and University of KwaZuluNatal at Durban), in 2012 and 2014 in Brazil at UNICAMP (Campinas, short lecture courses), UFF (Rio) and USP (São Paulo), and in 2013 at the University of Malta. In early 2015 I co-taught part of a course on Horace’s Odes with Denis Feeney at Princeton and gave visiting lectures at Princeton, Columbia, Bryn Mawr, Brown (the inaugural Michael Putnam Lecture), Harvard and the Universities of Pennsylvania and Virginia; in 2016 I gave a visiting lecture at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and the Carl Schlam Lecture at Ohio State University. In 2017 I gave lectures or seminars at Stanford, Berkeley, Bari, Bristol and St Andrews, in 2018 at Vitória (Brazil), USC, Stanford, Stellenbosch, Aarhus and Bonn, with a series at the Scuola Normale in Pisa, a talk at NUS-Yale (Singapore) and the Todd Lecture in Sydney. I was William H. Bonsall Visiting Professor in the Humanities, Stanford University, Winter Terms 2017, 2018, 2019, ​Sackler Lecturer, Mortimer and Raymond Sackler Institute of Advanced Studies, University of Tel-Aviv, Nov-Dec. 2019.  I was Erskine Oxford Fellow, University of Canterbury, New Zealand, Jan-April 2020, Professore visitante, Sapienza Università di Roma, October 2020, Visiting Professor, Mandel School for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Nov-Dec 2021, and Professore visitante, Università di Siena, April-June 2022.

I have given many individual conference papers and lectures in many countries, in Europe, America (North, South and Central), South Africa, Asia and Australasia.

Media etc

In December 2005 I contributed to the Radio 4 Today programme on the topic of ‘Who runs Britain?’, on Augustus’ careful concealment of his actual power and some contemporary analogues, in December 2007 to a programme on Radio 3 on contemporary receptions of Horace with the poet Maureen Almond, with whom I have also appeared in Newcastle and Milton Keynes, and in July 2008 to a Radio 4 programme presented by the novelist Tibor Fischer on the ancient novel. In March 2010 I contributed to a panel on ‘Fighting for the Soul of English’ at the Oxford Literary Festival chaired by the writer Julie Summers. In May 2015 I contributed to The World This Week on the BBC World Service on analogies between Roman emperors and the ruler of North Korea, followed by a printed piece on the same subject on the programme’s website (December 2015). In 2019 I co-curated the Bodleian Library exhibition Babel: Adventures in Translation and contributed two chapters to its catalogue. In March 2020 I was interviewed on Radio New Zealand ‘Nights’ show about Catullus and his modern reception, and in December 2020 I took part in a discussion of Horace and his modern reception on the Irish radio station Newstalk in the ‘Talking History’ strand.

Research-linked administration and service

I have organised or co-organised international conferences in Oxford on 'Horace' (1992, to mark the retirement of Robin Nisbet), 'Intertextuality and Latin Poetry' (1995) , 'The Prologue to Apuleius' Metamorphoses' (1997), 'Vergil's Aeneid : Augustan Epic and Political Context' (1996), 'Working Together : Classical Scholarship and Literary Theory' (1997), and ‘Versions of Ovid’ (2003), ‘Living Classics’ (2005), ‘Expurgating the Classics’ (2010), Classics in the Modern World: A ‘Democratic Turn’? (2010), of all of which the proceedings have been or are being published in volume or special journal issue form (see my list of publications above), many smaller day-colloquia and seminar series and visiting lectures. I was a member of the organising committees for ICAN 3 2000 (the third International Conference on the Ancient Novel in Groningen, NL), ICAN 4 2008 (Lisbon), ICAN 5 2015 (Houston), and chair of the Oxford Triennial Conference in 2008, and co-organiser of the Trends in Classics conferences on Genre in Latin Literature in 2011, Roman Drama in 2014 and Intertextuality in Roman Poetry in 2017. I am a founder member and was in 2009-14 co-co-ordinator of the UK Classical Reception Studies Network. I am on more than twenty editorial boards of journals and monograph series (see CV).

Other administration and service

Within Oxford. Within Corpus I have been Tutor for Admissions 1990-3, editor of the College magazine 1994-1998, Senior Tutor 1998-2001, Vice-President 2012-14 and Acting President in Hilary Term 2014. In 1996-8 and 2004-5 I was the Director of the Corpus Christi Centre for the Study of Greek and Roman Antiquity, the College's co-ordinating body for graduate and research activities in Classics. Within the University I was Secretary of the Senior Tutors’ Committee and of the Academic Sub-Committee of the Council of Colleges 1999-2001 (acting Chair of both in Trinity Term 2001), which confers membership of a number of intercollegiate bodies, and co-organised the Classics submission to and visit of  the governmental Subject Review (QAA) in 2000. I have examined or assessed for the University most years at either undergraduate or graduate level, including M.St., M.Phil., M.Litt. and D.Phil. dissertations (eleven of the last so far); I was Chair of Examiners for Lit.Hum. in 2004. I was a founder member of the University's Equal Opportunities Committee (1990-93), a member of the main University Admissions Committee (1990-93), and a member of the Crouch Committee (1993-4), whose report led to major changes in Oxford's admissions procedures. I was secretary of the Oxford branch of the Classical Association 1987-9 and of the Oxford Philological Society 1989-91 (of which I was also President, 2004-5). In 2006-9 I was Director of Graduate Studies for Classical Languages and Literature, and in 2011-14 I was chair of the university’s Graduate Admissions Committee and a member of its Education Committee and other central bodies. Since 2015 I have been the Classics Delegate (board member) at OUP.


Outside Oxford. I have been external examiner at the universities of London (1988-9), Newcastle (1994-6), Swansea (2011-16) and Cambridge (2012-16). I have examined more than fifty doctoral dissertations, including at the Universities of Adelaide, Amsterdam (UvA and VU), Cambridge, Cape Town, Geneva, Göttingen, Groningen, Leeds, London (Kings and UCL), Newcastle, Open University, Pisa (SNS), Princeton, Salerno, Sassari, Trinity College Dublin, and the Witwatersrand, and tenure/promotion/search/prize referee at more than forty institutions across four continents. I was external reviewer of the School of Classics at Leeds (2004) and of the Department of Classics at Royal Holloway (2005). I was a member of the Council of what was then UCCA (now UCAS, the national body on university admissions) 1990-3, and of the Council of the Roman Society 1991-4. I was Local Secretary for the 1995 Triennial Conference of the Greek and Roman Societies (in Oxford), and helped with the JACT Latin Summer School at Kingswood 1993-6; I was chair of the 2008 Triennial at Oxford. I was a school governor (girls' independent) 1994-7, and served 2008-2015 on the governing body at my old school (Christ's Hospital); I have examined school prizes at Eton and Winchester. I have often acted as referee for book proposals for OUP and CUP, Brill, Bloomsbury, Routledge and Blackwell/Wiley, and as a referee for many journals other than those where I am on the advisory board.



Teaching material for Siena 2022 is on the following pages


Latin Poetry from Vergil’s Eclogues to the death of Ovid


Week 1

A and B: Introduction.

Issues in Augustan literary interpretation (politics, patronage, intertextuality, genre, career) and directions in Anglophone scholarship since 1945.


Week 2

A and B: Emerging Augustan literature 1: Vergil Eclogues, Gallus

C: Emerging Augustan literature 2: Horace Satires 1 and 2, Epodes


Week 3

A & B: Emerging Augustan literature 3: Vergil Georgics

C: Elegy before Ovid 1:   Propertius 1-3.


Week 4

A: Elegy before Ovid 2: Tibullus 1;  Vergil, Aeneid: preliminaries.

B: Vergil Aeneid Part 1


Week 5

A; Vergil Aeneid  Part 2

B: After the Aeneid - Propertius 4

C: After the Aeneid - Horace Odes 4


Week 6

ABC: Ovid: the development of elegy (Amores, Heroides, Fasti), later work (Metamorphoses, exile poetry)


Course resources

S.J.Harrison, Generic Enrichment in Vergil and Horace (Oxford, 2007) [online at http://www.oxfordscholarship.com/]

OCD 4 www.oxfordreference.com

Loeb online  www.loebclassics.com/

OSEO www.oxfordscholarlyeditions.com/


This course looks at the development of Latin poetry in the triumviral and Augustan periods (40 BCE to 14 CE), the most important half-century in Latin literature. It covers the principal texts of the period, with the exception of Horace’s Odes and Epistles. It will be given in English and focuses on Anglophone perspectives, which I hope will be especially valuable to Italian students as another point of view. Its primary interests are in the interactions of different poets and literary genres in the period, which has a key influence on how poetry develops:, especially the interactions between Horace, Vergil, Propertius and Ovid. The course begins with a discussion of scholarly methodology and approaches, and then proceeds chronologically by examining particular texts in detail (texts examined are provided on handouts via Moodle).


Its learning goals are as follows: 1. a deepened understanding of Augustan poetry through close reading from a nuanced and theoretically informed perspective, 2. an enhanced appreciation of Augustan literary history through the consideration of literary interaction between its major poets and genres, 3. a well-developed idea of the relationship between politics and poetry.

Latin Poetry from Vergil’s Eclogues to the death of Ovid


Week 1: Introduction


Part 1: How does Augustan (or any classical Latin) literature get to us?


Useful works

M.L.West, Textual Criticism and Editorial Technique (1973) [how-to manual]

L. D. Reynolds and N. G. Wilson, Scribes and Scholars: A Guide to the Transmission of Greek and Latin Literature [4th ed] (2013) [cultural history of transmission plus practical examples]

L.D.Reynolds, M.D.Reeve  et al., Texts and Transmission: A Survey of the Latin Classics (1983)

[standard reference for the textual transmission of all major Latin authors]

M.D.Reeve, Manuscripts and Method: Essays on Editing and Transmission (2011)

[collected papers of a modern master, sceptical about overriding theories, printed editions]


Tasks of an editor (West)

Collect the material (transcription of manuscripts)

Work out its nature (stemma if possible; open/closed tradition; elimination? Lachmann model?)

Setting up an apparatus criticus (positive or negative?)

Diagnosis and correction of problems (emendation)


Apparatus criticus: Horace Odes 2.1.19-24

Positive [vulgate and variants]

    iam fulgor armorum fugacis

       terret equos equitumque uultus.    20

audire magnos iam uideor duces

non indecoro puluere sordidos

     et cuncta terrarum subacta

        praeter atrocem animum Catonis.

20 uultus MSS; pectus Harrison

21 audire MSS; uidere Beroaldus

Negative [only variants]

    iam fulgor armorum fugacis

       terret equos equitumque uultus.    20

audire magnos iam uideor duces

non indecoro puluere sordidos

     et cuncta terrarum subacta

        praeter atrocem animum Catonis.

20 pectus Harrison

21 uidere Beroaldus

Issues of clarity?


Considerations when deciding between readings


E. J. Kenney, The Classical Text (1974) 142 n. 2: ‘the fallibility of hard-and-fast rules [has been neatly demonstrated] by reducing the principles guiding choice between variants to the single tautology lectio melior potior.’ He then asks ‘Is textual criticism an art, τέχνη, or a mere knack, μπειρία?’ (143).

 R. Bentley (1711) ad Hor. c. 3.27.15: ‘Nobis et ratio et res ipsa centum codicibus potiores sunt, praesertim accedente Vaticani veteris suffragio.’

‘If the sense requires it, I am prepared to write Constantinopolitanus where the manuscripts have the monosyllabic interjection o.’ [Haupt apud Housman, cited approvingly by West]

A reading which is to be accepted must meet the following requirements (cf. West (1973) 48):

i)                   it must correspond in sense to what the context demands;

ii)                 it must correspond to the language, style, and other technical requirements (e.g. metre) of the text involved;

iii)              there must be a reasonable explanation of how it became corrupted.

Recent experience of editing Vergil and Ovid:

G.B.Conte, Ope Ingenii: Experiences of Textual Criticism (2013) [chapters on punctuation, interpolation, and conjecture]

G.B.Conte, Critical Notes on Virgil (2016) [from his Teubner Georgics and Aeneid]

R.J.Tarrant, Texts, editors, and readers: Methods and problems in Latin textual criticism (2016)

[from his 2004 OCT of Ovid’s Metamorphoses; ‘heroic’ and modest editing, interpolation, conjecture]

R.J.Tarrant in Hunter (R.), Oakley (S.P.) (edd.) Latin Literature and its Transmission (2016)

[manifesto for new OCT of Horace]


Examples from Vergil – why was the variant chosen?


Aeneid 10.270-1 (Aeneas’ helmet blazes):

ardet apex capiti tristisque a uertice flamma    270

funditur et uastos umbo uomit aureus ignis:


270 tristisque Faernus, Conte  ; cristisque MSS


Aeneid 10.362-8 (Pallas urges on his men):

At parte ex alia, qua saxa rotantia late

intulerat torrens arbustaque diruta ripis,

Arcadas insuetos acies inferre pedestris

ut vidit Pallas Latio dare terga sequaci,               365

aspera quis natura loci dimittere quando

suasit equos, unum quod rebus restat egenis,

nunc prece, nunc dictis virtutem accendit amaris


366 aspera quis MR; aspera quos P; aspera aquis Madvig    

366 quando MSS; tandem Harrison       


Aeneid 10.803-10

ac uelut effusa si quando grandine nimbi          

praecipitant, omnis campis diffugit arator       

omnis et agricola, et tuta latet arce uiator         805

aut amnis ripis aut alti fornice saxi,       

dum pluit in terris, ut possint sole reducto        

exercere diem: sic obrutus undique telis

Aeneas nubem belli, dum detonet omnis,           



805 arce e; arte other MSS, ancient commentators


Aeneid 6.185-91

atque haec ipse suo tristi cum corde volutat                185

aspectans silvam immensam, et sic forte precatur:

'si nunc se nobis ille aureus arbore ramus

ostendat nemore in tanto! quando omnia vere

heu nimium de te vates, Misene, locuta est.'

vix ea fatus erat, geminae cum forte columbae               190

ipsa sub ora viri caelo venere volantes…


 Conte defends forte (MP) at 6.186 (but note its repetition at 190 in the same metrical position) as indicating that Aeneas is ‘subita ac fortuita cogitatione occupatus’ seems strained – try R’s uoce (cf. 9.403 sic uoce precatur) or sponte  (an instant reaction to the situation)?


Examples from Horace – are the suggestions better than the transmitted text?


Odes 1.31.1-8 (non-offerings to Apollo):

Quid dedicatum poscit Apollinem

   vates ? quid orat de patera novum

      fundens liquorem ? non opimae

        Sardiniae segetes feraces,

non aestuosae grata Calabriae

    armenta, non aurum aut ebur Indicum,

       non rura quae Liris quieta

          mordet aqua taciturnus amnis.


5 grata MSS; Graia Peerlkamp, laeta Harrison


Odes 3.30.10-14 (Horace the bringer of Greek lyric to Italy):

dicar, qua uiolens obstrepit Aufidus

et qua pauper aquae Daunus agrestium

regnauit populorum, ex humili potens

princeps Aeolium carmen ad Italos

deduxisse modos.


4-5  Aeolios carmen ad Italum | deduxisse modos Fuss, Aeolium carmen ad Italas | deduxisse domos  Harrison


Epistles 1.2.9-22 (the moral lessons of Homer):

rursus Antenor censet belli praecidere causam;

quid Paris? Ut saluus regnet uiuatque beatus               10

cogi posse negat. Nestor componere litis

inter Pelidem festinat et inter Atriden;

hunc amor, ira quidem communiter urit utrumque.

quidquid delirant reges, plectuntur Achiui.

seditione, dolis, scelere atque libidine et ira                   15

Iliacos intra muros peccatur et extra.

rursus, quid uirtus et quid sapientia possit,

utile proposuit nobis exemplar Ulixen,

qui domitor Troiae multorum prouidus urbes,

et mores hominum inspexit, latumque per aequor,       20

dum sibi, dum sociis reditum parat, aspera multa

pertulit, aduersis rerum inmersabilis undis.


18 Ulixes Harrison [subject of proposuit ?]


Odes 2.8.18-24

adde quod pubes tibi crescit omnis,

seruitus crescit noua nec priores

impiae tectum dominae relinquunt

     saepe minati.                                            20

te suis matres metuunt iuuencis,

te senes parci miseraeque nuper

uirgines nuptae, tua ne retardet

     aura maritos.


18 crescit MSS; ut sit Lehrs

[cf. 1.19.5-7 urit me Glycera nitor |…|urit grata proteruitas]


Odes 2.1.19-24

    iam fulgor armorum fugacis

       terret equos equitumque uultus.    20

audire magnos iam uideor duces

non indecoro puluere sordidos

     et cuncta terrarum subacta

        praeter atrocem animum Catonis.


20 uultus MSS; pectus Harrison

21 audire MSS; uidere Beroaldus


20 terret equos equitumque uultus: is uultus (a) nominative singular and a further subject of terret parallel with fulgor (for the sense-construction see e.g. 1.13.6) or (b) accusative plural and a further object of terret, parallel with equos (supported by Enn. Ann.256 Sk. equorum equitumque magister)? Like N-H I find it hard to separate equos equitumque as referring to two different sides in battle as (a) requires, even if (a) is partly supported by the terror-inspiring capacity of charging cavalry (cf. e.g. Livy 6.12.10, 8.39.8); this would indeed be a ‘startling zeugma’ (West), and it is hard to see how the features of horses (as opposed to those of warriors: cf. 1.2.39-40 acer … | uultus in hostem) can arouse fear. This leaves (b): the features of soldiers can express terror in battle, indeed (cf. Silius 8.333 in uultus micat undique terror), but uultus makes a somewhat odd object of terret; we might expect something which is the seat not the vehicle of fear. It is worth considering whether uultus is a corruption of a similarly shaped noun. pectus would give precisely the right sense; for the pectus as the seat of fear see Ep. 2.1.211-12 poeta meum qui pectus inaniter angit, | inritat, mulcet, falsis terroribus implet, TLL X.1.914.18-29, and for terreo with a psychological object in a similar context cf. Livy 8.39.4 clamorSamnitium terruit animos. The reference here seems to be general rather than to any particular context of battle.

            21 audire … iam uideor: N-H adopt the conjecture uidere (Beroaldus, Bentley independently) for audire, on the grounds that uidereuideor is a much more natural phrase with magnos duces as object, but cf. Plaut. Aul. 811 uocem hic loquentis modo mi audire uisus sum.   Further, if Pollio’s historical work is to be imagined as analogous to the performance of his tragedies (17-19), the difficulty of audire vanishes; the synaesthesia of sound and vision is of course natural for staged drama.

Part 2: preliminaries to studying Augustan literature


KEY LITERARY EVENTS                                               KEY HISTORICAL EVENTS



?38 BCE    Virgil’s Eclogues published

35   BCE    Horace Satires 1 published

30   BCE    Horace, Satires 2 and Epodes                 published

30’s – 9  BCE Livy’s history published

29 BCE      Virgil, Georgics published

20’s BC     Earliest elegies of Propertius,

                  Tibullus and (later) Ovid  


?23 BCE     Horace Odes 1-3 published

?19BCE      Deaths of Virgil and Tibullus

?16 BCE     Propertius Book 4 published

13 BCE       Horace Odes 4 published

8 BCE         Death of Horace

8 CE         Ovid banished to Romania



38-36     Renewed civil war against S.Pompey

32-30    Caesar fights and defeats Antony and Cleopatra at Actium and Alexandria

29        Triple triumph of Caesar

27        ‘Restoration of republic’ : Caesar

             assumes title of ‘Augustus’

18-17    Moral legislation of Augustus

17       Augustus celebrates Saecular      Games

12       Augustus becomes pontifex 

           maximus (head of state religion)

4 CE  Tiberius becomes final heir

            of  Augustus

14 CE Death of Augustus, succession

             of Tiberius


Key issues emerging from historical context


  1. dealing with current/recent civil wars and the emergent victor Caesar/Augustus
  2. rhetoric of moral, religious and cultural renewal (cf. Res Gestae)
  3. can poetry be apolitical even in ‘apolitical’ genres?
  4. interaction with the Greek world (Alexandria); literature and monarchy
  5. dynasty and succession to Augustus


R.A.Gurval, Actium and Augustus: The Politics and Emotions of Civil War (1995)

J.F.Miller, Apollo, Augustus and the Poets (2009)


The role of Maecenas


How far was he a mediator between princeps and poets?

How far do poets’ work addressed to M reflect his unusual character?

Is he eventually replaced by Augustus’ own presence (NB largely absent in 20s BCE).

White, P. 1991. ‘Maecenas’ Retirement’, CPh 86: 130–8.

Williams, G. 1990. ‘Did Maecenas “Fall from Favor”? Augustan Literary

Patronage’, in K. Raaflaub and M. Toher (eds.), Between Republic and

Empire. Interpretations of Augustus and His Principate. Berkeley, CA/London,

University of California Press: 258–75.


The iceberg effect of patchy transmission


1.       Clearly we have only a small fraction of Augustan literature

[for poetic losses see e.g. E.Courtney, Fragmentary Latin Poets, 1993]

2.      particular losses: most prose except a section of Livy (~35 books of 142), Vitruvius, drama [for history see The Fragments of the Roman Historians, 2015, for drama see e.g. J.Griffin, Latin Poets and Roman Life, 1985]. Latin intermediaries for Greek tragedy?

3.      Amongst the poets at least we seem to have most of the leading figures

[cf. Horace Sat.1.10.40-45; Propertius 2.34.61-94; Ovid Amores 1.15.19-30]

Some important lost texts: Varius, epic (Panegyricus Augusti? Horace Odes 1.6.1, Sat.1.10.43-44), tragedy Thyestes (Odes 1.6.8); Varro Atacinus, Argonautica (Propertius 2.34.85-6, Ovid Amores 1.15.21-2; fragments cited by Macrobius). Important fragments of lost authors can turn up in papyri (Gallus in 1978, see later).

20C Scholarship on Augustan literature: a partial survey

A prophetic work

W.Kroll, Studien zum Verständnis der romischen Literatur (1924)

1. Romans and Greeks                                                        Williams        1968

2. Poetic creation (including Callimachus)                     Williams        1968

3. The material of poetry

4. The moralising conception of poetry                            Williams        1968

5. Grammatical/rhetorical theories

6. Poets and critics

7. Imitation                                                                           everyone

8. Didactic poetry                                                                

9. The crossing of genres                                                    Conte, Harrison      

10. The poetic book

11. Poetic language                                                              Williams        1968

12. Incapacity in observation [realism]                            Williams        1968

13. Scholarship and pseudo-scholarship                         

14. Historiography


Allusion and intertextuality – the rehabilitation of ‘unoriginality’

G.Pasquali, ‘Arte Allusiva’, L’Italia che scrive, XXV (1942), pp. 11-20

[republished 1951 in his Stravaganze quarte e supreme].  Mario Citroni, ‘Arte Allusiva: Pasquali and Onward’ in Brill’s Companion to Callimachus (2011), 566-86:

‘Pasquali’s “Arte allusiva” presupposes the contemporary philological debate, especially in Germany, about the originality of Latin poetry. The theoretical aspect of the question, i.e. that works admittedly modelled on other works may possess their own artistic quality, had been widely discussed by the Italian school of aesthetics [Benedetto Croce]. Pasquali’s article combines these debates in an original approach. He grants to allusion the full dignity of an artistic process with its own specific prerogatives: allusion evokes a different, more ancient world in a modern text, and thus confronts tradition, recovering and reforming it for a contemporary setting. Allusion appears as peculiar to a production that confronts its own present with a past of artistic traditions possessing a marked significance for authors and public, typically the case for Hellenistic poetry and all Latin literature. Recent theories of intertextuality, and the intertextual analysis conducted today on ancient texts often make reference to Pasquali, reinterpreting the positions that he elaborated in different paths, which are here identified and briefly described.’


Some more key works

E.Fraenkel, Horace (1957)

Greek influence; Biographical interpretation; dialogue with Wilamowitz (Sappho und Simonides, 1913).Political admiration for Augustus (contrast Syme, Roman Revolution, 1939).

W.Wimmel, Kallimachos in Rom (1960). 

Makes use of the rediscovery of Callimachus in the first half of the 20C via Oxyrynchus papyri (R.Pfeiffer, Callimachus (1949, 1953). Callimachean aesthetics and poetics moves to the centre of the study of Augustan literature (big e.g. in Williams 1968).

G.W.Williams, Tradition and Originality in Roman Poetry (1968)

Dialogue with Fraenkel (e.g. on Horace’s Epistles); close readings of poems.

Key issues at start (29-30):

  1. what is the significance of form in Roman poetic writing?
  2. how much material did real life supply and how much was imaginary?
  3. Roman poetry often makes considerable demands on its readers

to supply a dramatic setting

  1. how far do Greek and Roman blend in Roman poetry?
  2. interest in moralising
  3. apparent autobiographical revelation
  4. the poet’s view of his [sic] own activity.


The literary turn of the 1960s

Rudd, N. ed. (1972), Essays on Classical Literature, vii-xviii (previous gaps filled by Kenney, Nisbet, D.West, P.G.Walsh [Livy], J.P.Sullivan). Good examples of this kind of work, sometimes influenced by New Criticism:  e.g. K.Quinn, Latin Explorations (1963), N.Rudd, Lines of Enquiry (1979), J.P.Sullivan (ed.), Critical Essays on Roman Literature : Elegy and Lyric (1962),  D.West, Horace (1967), The Imagery and Poetry of Lucretius (1969).


US contributions

The work of Michael Putnam: ‘to explore the formal perfection and the anguished humanity of central works of Latin literature’ [MD 52 (2004) 11]: e.g. The Poetry of the Aeneid (1965), Essays on Latin Lyric, Elegy and Epic (1982), Virgil’s Aeneid : Interpretation and Influence (1995).

The work of David O. Ross, Backgrounds to Augustan Poetry (1975), ‘Augustan poetry as a natural growth in the soil prepared by Catullus’ (163); transition from neoteric literature and interest in reconstructing Gallus, particular intensity of the Augustan period.

The ‘Harvard-School’ on Vergil – see Classical World special issue (2017): Putnam, Wendell Clausen, Adam Parry, others.  Anti-imperialistic pessimism, some politics.


The UK in the 1970s

R.G.M.Nisbet, Collected Papers on Latin Literature (1995)

R.O.A.M.Lyne, Collected Papers on Latin Poetry (2007)

Woodman, A.J. and West. D.A., eds.

Quality and Pleasure in Latin Poetry (1974)                  [literary value Ok to write about]

Creative Imitation and. Latin Literature (1979)            [value of allusion]

Poetry and Politics in the Age of Augustus (1984)         [political engagement]

Some New Critical readings, but  predominantly historicist; cast includes Nisbet, Williams, Kenney, Lyne, Cairns, Du Quesnay as well as the editors.

A bold enterprise: F.Cairns, Generic Composition in Greek and Roman Poetry (1972; revised edition 2008). ‘Genres of content’ retrojected from imperial rhetorical handbook (e.g. propemptikon). Some influence, but too schematic/dogmatic? See e.g. Galinsky, K. ed. The Interpretation of Roman Poetry: Empiricism or Hermeneutics? (1992) [critical retrospect by several hands on 1970s and 1980s].



Vergil, Aeneid

            1,2,4,6                          R.G.Austin (Oxford, 1971,1964,1955,1977)

            3,5                               R.D.Williams (Oxford, 1962,1960)

            7&8                               C.J.Fordyce (Oxford,1977)


            Odes                           Nisbet and Hubbard 1 (1970), 2 (1978)

            Epistles 2 + Ars        Brink (1959-82) [reviving the Berlin of Jaeger and Wilamowitz]       

Cambridge ‘Orange’ series [1965-] ‘Green and Yellow’ series  [1970-]

Continental examples:

Franz Bömer [austere]

P. Ovidius Naso, Die Fasten, 1957–1958 [2 vols.]

P. Ovidius Naso, Metamorphosen [9 vols] 1969–2006

Paolo Fedeli [not austere]

Sesto Properzio: Il primo libro delle Elegie, 1980

Properzio. Elegie Libro II. Introduzione, testo e commento, 2005

Sesto Properzio. Il libro terzo delle Elegie, 1985

Properzio, Elegie libro IV [with  Rosalba Dimundo, Irma Ciccarelli], 2015


G.W.Most (ed.), Commentaries – Kommentare (1999)

R.K.Gibson and C.S.Kraus (eds.), The Classical Commentary  (2002)

C.S.Kraus and C.A.Stray (eds.), Classical Commentaries (2016).


G.B.Conte and the 1980s (genre, intertextuality; cf. Pasquali, above)

(1974), Memoria dei poeti e sistema letterario (2nd ed. 1985; largely translated in Conte 1986]

(1980), Virgilio : il genere e i suoi confini (2nd ed. 1985; largely translated in Conte 1986]

(1986), The Rhetoric of Imitation : Genre and Poetic Memory in Virgil and Other Latin Poets [tr. C.P.Segal]

(1994), Latin Literature : A History [with J.Solodow, G.W.Most, D.P.Fowler; Italian 1987]

(1994), Genres and Readers [tr. C.P.Segal]

(2007), Virgil: The Poetry of Pathos [ed. S.J.Harrison, tr. G.W.Most and E.Fantham]


Conte students/associates in 1980s/90s (e.g.):

Alessandro Barchiesi (The Poet and the Prince 1997, Speaking Volumes 2001, both Ovid)

Alessandro Schiesaro (Simulacrum et imago 1990 [Lucr.], The Passions in Play, 2003 [Sen.Trag.]),

Stephen Hinds  (Allusion and Intertext, 1998)

Don Fowler (Roman Constructions 2000)

Stephen Harrison (Generic Enrichment 2007)

Journal: Materiali e discussioni per l'analisi dei testi classici (1978-)


Zanker, Galinsky and the generation of Augustan culture

P.Zanker, The Power of Images in the Age of Augustus (1988; German 1987)

G.K.Galinsky, Augustan Culture: An Interpretive Introduction (1996)

T.Habinek and A.Schiesaro, eds. The Roman Cultural Revolution (1997).


Inclusion of archaeological and art-historical material (esp. buildings – same?)

Influence of Fascism (Zanker b.Konstanz 1937)

Are literary patronage and building design similar?

Does Augustan material move out from the princeps and his circle to wider culture?

Does bottom-up movement combine with top-down?

How does the traditional role of Maecenas (above)  fit into this model (not really in Zanker)?


Song, performance and audience

Thomas Habinek, The World of Roman Song: From Ritualized Speech to Social Order (2007)

‘for the Romans, "song" encompassed a wide range of ritualized speech, including elements of poetry, storytelling, and even the casting of spells’ [publisher’s blurb]

Michèle Lowrie, Writing, Performance, and Authority in Augustan Rome (2009)

‘Song has links to the divine through prophecy, while writing offers a more quotidian, but also more realistic way of presenting what a poet does. In a culture of highly polished book production where recitation was the fashion, to claim to sing or to write was one means of self-definition. Lowrie assesses the stakes of poetic claims to one medium or another’ [ditto]. Concern with posterity and long-term audience.

T.P.Wiseman, The Roman Audience; Classical Literature as Social History (2015)

‘Who were Roman authors writing for? Only a minority of the population was fully literate and books were very expensive, individually hand-written on imported papyrus. So does it follow that great poets and prose authors like Virgil and Livy, Ovid and Petronius, were writing only for the cultured and the privileged? It is this modern consensus that is challenged in this volume’ [ditto].


Anglophone Ovidian renaissance since mid-1980s

3 companions (NB companion/handbook phenomenon generally) and one anthology:

P.E.Knox, A Companion to Ovid (2009; Blackwell)

P.Hardie, The Cambridge Companion to Ovid (2002; Cambridge)

Barbara Weiden Boyd, Brill's Companion to Ovid. (2002)

Peter E. Knox, Oxford Readings in Ovid (2006) [NB same for Vergil, Horace, Propertius]



A.Barchiesi, Speaking Volumes (2001)

Katharina Volk, Ovid (2010)

Francesca Martelli, Ovid’s Revisions; The Editor as Author (2013)

Thea Thorsen, Ovid’s Early Poetry (2014)

L.Fulkerson, Ovid (2016)

Amores etc

Barbara Weiden Boyd, Ovid's Literary Loves: Influence and Innovation in the Amores (1997)

Rebecca Armstrong, Ovid and His Love Poetry (2005)

Victoria Rimell, Ovid's Lovers: Desire, Difference, and the Poetic Imagination (2006)

[male and female worlds; Medusa and Narcissus as poetic symbols]


Florence Verducci, Ovid's Toyshop of the Heart: Epistulae Heroidum (1985)

Sara H. Lindheim,  Mail and Female: Epistolary Narrative and Desire in Ovid's Heroides (2003).

Efrossini Spentzou, Readers and Writers in Ovid's Heroides. Transgressions of Genre and Gender (2003).

Laurel Fulkerson, The Ovidian Heroine as Author. Reading, Writing, and Community in the Heroides (2005)


Alessandro Barchiesi, Il poeta e il principe: Ovidio e il discorso augusteo (1994; Eng.tr 1997)

Geraldine Herbert-Brown, Ovid and the Fasti: An Historical Study (1994)

Carole Newlands, Playing with Time: Ovid and the Fasti (1995)

Emma Gee, Ovid, Aratus and Augustus: Astronomy in Ovid's Fasti (2000)


S.E.Hinds, The Metamorphosis of Persephone (1987)

J.Solodow, The World of Ovid’s Metamorphoses (1988)

G.Tissol, The Face of Nature: Wit, Narrative, and Cosmic Origins in Ovid's Metamorphoses (1997)

Alison.M.Keith, Play of Fictions: Studies in Ovid's Metamorphoses Book 2 (1992).

K.Sara Myers, Ovid's Causes: Cosmogony and Aetiology in the Metamorphoses (1994)

S.Wheeler,  A Discourse of Wonders: Audience and Performance in Ovid's Metamorphoses (1999)

Elaine Fantham, Ovid's Metamorphoses (2004).

Patricia J. Johnson, Ovid Before Exile. Art and Punishment in the Metamorphoses (2008)

Micaela Janan,  Reflections in a Serpent’s Eye: Thebes and Rome in Ovid’s Metamorphoses (2009)

Barbara Pavlock, The Image of the Poet in Ovid's Metamorphoses (2009)

Andrew Feldherr, Playing Gods: Ovid's Metamorphoses and the Politics of Fiction (2010)

Exile poetry

Williams, G., Banished Voices. Readings in Ovid’s Exile Poetry (1994)

Claassen, J-M. Ovid Revisited: The Poet in Exile (2008)



European Augustan Network and e-journal Dictynna; trending areas


J-P.Schwindt, ed. (2005) La représentation du temps dans la poésie augustéenne / Zur Poetik der Zeit in augusteischer Dichtung. [time]

P.Hardie, ed. (2009), Paradox and the Marvellous in Augustan Literature and Culture

M.Labate and G.Rosati, eds. (2013), La costruzione del mito augusteo.

J. Farrell and D.P. Nelis, eds. (2013), Augustan Poetry and the Roman Republic.

P.Hardie, ed. (2016), Augustan Poetry and the Irrational

M.Gale and A.Chahoud, eds., The Augustan Space (2019)



Week 2

Emerging Augustan literature 1: Vergil Eclogues, Gallus

[READ: Eclogues 1, 2,4,6,7,8,10; SJH Generic Enrichment Ch.2]


Gallus as key figure bridging the late Republican and triumviral periods.

Author of elegies (Amores) and learned hexameter poems.

 ‘Elegiacs by Gallus from Qasr Ibrim’, R. D. Anderson; P. J. Parsons; R. G. M. Nisbet,
The Journal of Roman Studies 69 (1979) 125-155 (reprinted in Nisbet, Collected Papers, 1995)

           tristia nequit[ia . . .]a, Lycori, tua.        

Fata mihi, Caesar, tum erunt mea dulcia, quom tu

         maxima Romanae pars eris historiae,

postque tuum reditum multorum templa deorum

         fixa legam spolieis deivitiora tueis.                5


. . . . .]. . . . . tandem fecerunt c[ar]mina Musae

         quae possem domina deicere digna mea.

. . . . . . . . . . . .]. atur idem tibi, non ego, Visce,

        . . ]. . . . . . . . l . Kato, iudice te vereor.


                                                          ] . Tyria


 sad, Lycoris, because of your worthlessness.


My fate, Caesar, will then be sweet to me, when you

     will be the greatest part of Roman history

and when after your return I shall see/read that temples of many gods

     are richer, hung with your spoils.

          ]at last the Muses have made poems

that I can speak as  worthy of my mistress,

                                    … I do not fear, Viscus,

                        Cato, with you as judge


                            ]Tyrian                                                                                Which Caesar? 45 or 30?


Gallus and the Eclogues

Ecl. 6.64-73 (Silenus’ metapoetic song; Gallus as successor to Hesiod – see below).

Ecl.10.1-15 (Gallus dying of love in Arcadia, the origin of pastoral poetry – see below).

Also linked with land confiscations (see below), the big political issue of the book.


Contemporary Politics in the Eclogues


Ecl.1 (Gregson Davis, introduction to Len Krisak’s translation)

The opening programmatic Eclogue juxtaposes a herdsman who is currently experiencing good fortune (Tityrus) with one who is a recent victim of misfortune (Meliboeus). The latter is in deep distress after having been dispossessed of his farm, while the former has had his plot restored following a presumed dispossession. At the conclusion of their exchange, the fortunate herdsman offers consolation to his despondent interlocutor in the form of an invitation to share a meal in his humble abode. Tityrus carefully contextualizes his present felicity at more than one juncture in the course of the dialogue: he explains to Meliboeus that it is contingent on the disposition of a divine benefactor and, more importantly, that his life has in the past been subject to vicissitude.’


Ecl.9 (ditto)

‘The penultimate Eclogue explores the issue of the efficacy of poetry as consolation for misfortune. The subject is broached in the opening lines, in which we are told that the singer, Moeris, has lost his small farm in the land redistributions in the aftermath of the Civil Wars. Clearly we are meant to recall the analogous fate of Meliboeus in the first Eclogue, but in this iteration what is foregrounded is the mitigating role of poetry in the face of catastrophic loss. In the Virgilian dialogue, Lycidas asks Moeris to verify the rumor that the lands in question had been preserved through the power of Menalcas' song. Confronted with the brutal confiscation of their lands, Virgil's singers have recourse to the task of memory in preserving the transmitted poetic tradition. Verbal art itself escapes the destruction that is inherent in the material order through the continual recall and reperformance of bucolic poetry—including examples of Virgil's own compositions, which are cited in this poem by their first lines. The function of recollection via poetic performance, however, is not to indulge in nostalgia for a utopian fantasy, but rather to preserve art as an antidote to the vagaries of fortune.’


Pollio, Varus and Gallus and the confiscations – Servius’ evidence


Servius on Ecl. 6.6

fugatoque Asinio Pollione, ab Augusto Alfenum Varum legatum substitutum, qui transpadanae provinciae et agris dividendis praeesset: qui curavit ne ager, qui Vergilio restitutus fuerat, a veteranis auferretur ‘and after the routing of Asinius Pollio, Alfenus Varus was made his replacement by Augustus, to be in charge of the Transpadane province and the division of lands; he made sure that the estate, which had been restored to Vergil, was not removed by the veterans’.


[Varus] qui a triumviris praepositus fuit ad exigendos pecunias ab his municipiis, quorum agri in transpadana regione non dividebantur. ‘[Varus], who was put in charge by the triumvirs to extract money from those municipia, whose territory in the Transpadane area was not being divided up’.


quod Mantuanis per iniquitatem Alfeni Vari, qui agros divisit, praeter palustria nihil relictum sit, sicut ex oratione Cornelii in Alfenum ostenditur "cum iussus tria milia pas-         

sus a muro in diversa relinquere, vix octingentos passus aquae, quae circumdata est, admetireris" ‘because nothing but marshland was left to the Mantuans through the injustice of Alfenus Varus, who divided the lands, as is shown in the speech of Cornelius against Alfenus: “since though you were ordered to leave three miles outside the wall in different directions, you measured out barely 800 paces of the water which surrounds the city”[?] (lagoon)


Pollio the Sophoclean tragedian (Ecl.8)  and Sophocles Antenoridai?


Ecl.8.6-13 – the anonymous object of the poet’s praise:


Tu mihi seu magni superas iam saxa Timaui,

siue oram Illyrici legis aequoris, en erit umquam

ille dies, mihi cum liceat tua dicere facta?

En erit, ut liceat totum mihi ferre per orbem

sola Sophocleo tua carmina digna coturno?               10

A te principium; tibi desinet: accipe iussis

carmina coepta tuis, atque hanc sine tempora circum

inter uictricis hederam tibi serpere laurus.


Routes back from Pollio’s campaign against the Parthini in 39 BCE:  possibly coastal past river Timavus (near Padua), especially if laden with much spoil etc?     

 Aeneid 1.242-9:

                  Antenor potuit mediis elapsus Achiuis          

Illyricos penetrare sinus atque intima tutus    

regna Liburnorum et fontem superare Timaui,          

unde per ora nouem uasto cum murmure montis         245

it mare proruptum et pelago premit arua sonanti.      

hic tamen ille urbem Pataui sedesque locauit

Teucrorum et genti nomen dedit armaque fixit

Troia, nunc placida compostus pace quiescit.


Antenor could escape the Achaean host, thread safely the Illyrian gulfs and inmost realms of the Liburnians, and pass the springs of Timavus, whence through nine mouths, with a mountain’s mighty roar, it comes a bursting flood and buries the fields under its sounding sea. 6 Yet here he set Padua’s town, a home for his Teucrians, gave a name to the race, and hung up the arms of Troy; now, settled in tranquil peace, he is at rest.



Ecl.4 – the child and politics


Marriage of young Caesar and Scribonia 41, birth of Julia October 39; marriage of Antony and Julia October 40 at Pact of Brindisi (orchestrated by Pollio), birth of Antonia Maior August 39.

Antony’s claim to be descended from Hercules and therefore Jupiter: Plutarch Ant.2

Catullus 64 epithalamium recalled (so wedding context).


Sicelides Musae, paulo maiora canamus.                              pastoral/politics/encomium

non omnis arbusta iuvant humilesque myricae:

si canimus silvas, silvae sint consule dignae.

Ultima Cumaei venit iam carminis aetas;                             Sibyl/hexameter Sibylline oracles

magnus ab integro saeclorum nascitur ordo.               5           Hor. AP 405 dictae per carmina sortes

iam redit et Virgo, redeunt Saturnia regna,

iam nova progenies caelo demittitur alto.

tu modo nascenti puero, quo ferrea primum                            the child

desinet ac toto surget gens aurea mundo,

casta fave Lucina; tuus iam regnat Apollo.               10

Teque adeo decus hoc aevi, te consule, inibit,                             40 BCE

Pollio, et incipient magni procedere menses;

te duce, si qua manent sceleris vestigia nostri,

inrita perpetua solvent formidine terras.

ille deum vitam accipiet divisque videbit               15                  divine child of divine parentage?

permixtos heroas et ipse videbitur illis

pacatumque reget patriis virtutibus orbem.                 father or ancestor as world-pacifier?

At tibi prima, puer, nullo munuscula cultu

errantis hederas passim cum baccare tellus

mixtaque ridenti colocasia fundet acantho.               20

ipsae lacte domum referent distenta capellae                pastoral signs of paradise – cf. Isaiah 11.6

ubera nec magnos metuent armenta leones;                 The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb,

ipsa tibi blandos fundent cunabula flores.                      and the leopard shall lie down with the kid;

occidet et serpens et fallax herba veneni                         and the calf and the young lion and the

occidet; Assyrium vulgo nascetur amomum.            25 fatling together; and a little child shall lead.

At simul heroum laudes et facta parentis                       them. Link via Jewish Alexandria? See Nisbet

iam legere et quae sit poteris cognoscere virtus,           Collected Papers (1995). Miraculous fertility, the ceasing of the need for animal husbandry and the transformation of inter-species predation into peaceful co-existence are all features specifically found in the third Sibylline oracle (744-50, 788-95).

molli paulatim flavescet campus arista

incultisque rubens pendebit sentibus uva

et durae quercus sudabunt roscida mella.                       30

Pauca tamen suberunt priscae vestigia fraudis,

quae temptare Thetin ratibus, quae cingere muris

oppida, quae iubeant telluri infindere sulcos.

alter erit tum Tiphys et altera quae vehat Argo                                    Eastwards voyage?

delectos heroas; erunt etiam altera bella                        35

atque iterum ad Troiam magnus mittetur Achilles.                             Campaigns in the East?

Hinc, ubi iam firmata virum te fecerit aetas,

cedet et ipse mari vector nec nautica pinus

mutabit merces; omnis feret omnia tellus.

non rastros patietur humus, non vinea falcem,               40

robustus quoque iam tauris iuga solvet arator;

nec varios discet mentiri lana colores,

ipse sed in pratis aries iam suave rubenti

murice, iam croceo mutabit vellera luto,

sponte sua sandyx pascentis vestiet agnos.                    45        Catullus 64.326-7   :

'Talia saecla' suis dixerunt 'currite' fusis                                                 sed vos quae fata sequuntur

concordes stabili fatorum numine Parcae.                        currite ducentes subtegmina, currite, fusi.

Adgredere o magnos—aderit iam tempus—honores,     [marriage link of two poems; inversion?]

cara deum suboles, magnum Iovis incrementum.

aspice convexo nutantem pondere mundum,               50

terrasque tractusque maris caelumque profundum;

aspice, enture laetantur ut omnia saeclo.

O mihi tum longae maneat pars ultima vitae,

spiritus et quantum sat erit tua dicere facta:

non me carminibus vincat nec Thracius Orpheus               55

nec Linus, huic mater quamvis atque huic pater adsit,

Orphei Calliopea, Lino formosus Apollo.

Pan etiam, Arcadia mecum si iudice certet,

Pan etiam Arcadia dicat se iudice victum.

Incipe, parve puer, risu cognoscere matrem;               60

matri longa decem tulerunt fastidia menses.

incipe, parve puer. qui non risere parenti,

nec deus hunc mensa dea nec dignata cubili est.


The ‘Neoteric Hexameter’


Hexameter ˉ ˉ | ˉ ˉ| ˉ/ ˉ| ˉ /ˉ| ˉ ˇ ˇ |ˉ ˉ [all long syllables except final one resolvable to two short]

‘Neoteric’ features

1 =  ‘Catullan molossus’: word of three long syllables (ˉ ˉ ˉ) before the ‘bucolic diaeresis’ after the fourth foot (i.e. a word-break before the final  ˉ ˇ ˇ ˉ ˉ).

2 = ‘spondeiazon’: line-ending of two spondees (ˉ ˉ ˉ ˉ) rather than the regular dactyl plus spondee (ˉ ˇ ˇ ˉ ˉ).

3 = line-enclosing noun-adjective pairing in agreement


Catullus 64.1-6

Peliaco quondam prognatae uertice pinus                  1

dicuntur liquidas Neptuni nasse per undas                  1

Phasidos ad fluctus et fines Aeetaeos,                           2         

cum lecti iuuenes, Argiuae robora pubis,                     1

auratam optantes Colchis auertere pellem                3

ausi sunt uada salsa cita decurrere puppi,

caerula uerrentes abiegnis aequora palmis.               1


Vergil Ecl.4.4-5:

Ultima Cumaei venit iam carminis aetas;                  3

magnus ab integro saeclorum nascitur ordo.         3,1 


Vergil Ecl.4.28-30

molli paulatim flavescet campus arista                    3,1      

incultisque rubens pendebit sentibus uva                     1

et durae quercus sudabunt roscida mella.                   1


Vergil Ecl.4.48-52:

Adgredere o magnos—aderit iam tempus—honores,

cara deum suboles, magnum Iovis incrementum.    2

aspice convexo nutantem pondere mundum…            1          


Eclogue 6 – varied poetic traditions


Prima Syracosio dignata est ludere uersu                                         Theocritean pastoral

nostra neque erubuit siluas habitare Thalia.                                       later the comic muse

Cum canerem reges et proelia, Cynthius aurem                        pastoralisation of Callimachus Aetia fr.1

uellit, et admonuit: "Pastorem, Tityre, pinguis                          [sacrifice fat, poem thin]

pascere oportet ouis, deductum dicere carmen."               5

Nunc ego (namque super tibi erunt, qui dicere laudes,            recusatio (refusal of epic)

Vare, tuas cupiant, et tristia condere bella)

agrestem tenui meditabor harundine musam.

Non iniussa cano. Si quis tamen haec quoque, si quis

captus amore leget, te nostrae, Vare, myricae,               10

te nemus omne canet; nec Phoebo gratior ulla est

quam sibi quae Vari praescripsit pagina nomen.

Pergite, Pierides. Chromis et Mnasyllus in antro                      Silenus as poet? cf.18 carminis

Silenum pueri somno uidere iacentem,

inflatum hesterno uenas, ut semper, Iaccho;               15

serta procul tantum capiti delapsa iacebant,

et grauis attrita pendebat cantharus ansa.

Adgressi (nam saepe senex spe carminis ambo                     poem or prophecy?

luserat) iniciunt ipsis ex uincula sertis.

Addit se sociam timidisque superuenit Aegle.               20

Aegle, Naiadum pulcherrima, iamque uidenti

sanguineis frontem moris et tempora pingit.

Ille dolum ridens: "Quo uincula nectitis?" inquit.

"Soluite me, pueri; satis est potuisse uideri.

Carmina quae uoltis cognoscite; carmina uobis,               25             poetry

huic aliud mercedis erit." Simul incipit ipse.

Tum uero in numerum Faunosque ferasque uideres

ludere, tum rigidas motare cacumina quercus.

Nec tantum Phoebo gaudet Parnasia rupes,

nec tantum Rhodope miratur et Ismarus Orphea.               30 [legendary divine poets]

Namque canebat uti magnum per inane coacta                  = Lucretius 1.1018  

semina terrarumque animaeque marisque fuissent                 Lucretius/cosmogony

et liquidi simul ignis; ut his exordia primis                            Lucretius 5.677 exordia prima*

omnia, et ipse tener mundi concreuerit orbis;                       verb 19x in Lucretius

tum durare solum et discludere Nerea ponto               35

coeperit, et rerum paulatim sumere formas;

iamque nouum terrae stupeant lucescere solem,

altius atque cadant submotis nubibus imbres,

incipiant siluae cum primum surgere, cumque

rara per ignaros errent animalia montis.               40                        noun 27x in Lucretius

Hinc lapides Pyrrhae iactos, Saturnia regna,                            Hesiod/early history of man

Caucasiasque refert uolucris, furtumque Promethei.              

His adiungit Hylan nautae quo fonte relictum                          Hylas: Apollonius, Theocritus

clamassent, ut litus Hyla, Hyla, omne sonaret;

et fortunatam, si numquam armenta fuissent,               45

Pasiphaen niuei solatur amore iuuenci.                                  bucolic and love

A! uirgo infelix, quae te dementia cepit!                          Calvus Io (neoteric epyllion)

Proetides implerunt falsis mugitibus agros;                              bucolic and metamorphosis

at non tam turpis pecudum tamen ulla secuta

concubitus, quamuis collo timuisset aratrum,               50

et saepe in leui quaesisset cornua fronte.

A! uirgo infelix, tu nunc in montibus erras:                           Io again

ille, latus niueum molli fultus hyacintho,                       anthropomorphic

ilice sub nigra pallentis ruminat herbas,

aut aliquam in magno sequitur grege. "Claudite Nymphae,               55

Dictaeae Nymphae, nemorum iam claudite saltus,

si qua forte ferant oculis sese obuia nostris

errabunda bouis uestigia: forsitan illum

aut herba captum uiridi aut armenta secutum

perducant aliquae stabula ad Gortynia uaccae."               60 bucolic

Tum canit Hesperidum miratam mala puellam;                      love

tum Phaethontiadas musco circundat amarae                          love and metamorphosis   

corticis, atque solo proceras erigit alnos.

Tum canit, errantem Permessi ad flumina Gallum                  Gallus (see above)

Aonas in montis ut duxerit una sororum,               65

utque uiro Phoebi chorus adsurrexerit omnis;

ut Linus haec illi diuino carmine pastor,                                 Linus and pastoral poetry              

floribus atque apio crinis ornatus amaro,

dixerit: "Hos tibi dant calamos, en accipe, Musae,

Ascraeo quos ante seni; quibus ille solebat               70          Hesiod          

cantando rigidas deducere montibus ornos.

His tibi Grynei nemoris dicatur origo,                               learned aetiological topic

ne quis sit lucus quo se plus iactet Apollo."                                 Euphorion

Quid loquar aut Scyllam Nisi, quam fama secuta est               Parthenius Metamorphoses

candida succinctam latrantibus inguina monstris               75

Dulichias uexasse rates, et gurgite in alto,

a, timidos nautas canibus lacerasse marinis,

aut ut mutatos Terei narrauerit artus,                                        love and metamorphosis

quas illi Philomela dapes, quae dona pararit,

quo cursu deserta petiuerit, et quibus ante               80

infelix sua tecta super uolitauerit alis?

Omnia, quae Phoebo quondam meditante beatus                     surprise: song within a song

audiit Eurotas iussitque ediscere laurus,

ille canit (pulsae referunt ad sidera ualles),

cogere donec ouis stabulis numerumque referre               85

iussit et inuito processit Vesper Olympo.                        pastoral poetics of closure (cf. Ecl.1,10)



Eclogue 10 – pastoral and elegy meet


Extremum hunc, Arethusa, mihi concede laborem:            poetics of closure: pastoral nymph

pauca meo Gallo, sed quae legat ipsa Lycoris,                          Gallus fr.2.1 Lycori, 2.7 quae possem

carmina sunt dicenda: neget quis carmina Gallo?                   domina deicere digna mea.

Sic tibi, cum fluctus subterlabere Sicanos,

Doris amara suam non intermisceat undam;               5           Arethusa = pastoral, Doris = elegy?

incipe; sollicitos Galli dicamus amores,                                 1. amores/love 2.Amores/elegies

dum tenera attondent simae uirgulta capellae.                         pastoral context

Non canimus surdis: respondent omnia siluae.

Quae nemora aut qui uos saltus habuere, puellae           death of Gallus (i) elegy (ii) Theocritus

Naides, indigno cum Gallus amore peribat?               10

Nam neque Parnasi uobis iuga, nam neque Pindi

ulla moram fecere, neque Aonie Aganippe.

Illum etiam lauri, etiam fleuere myricae;

pinifer illum etiam sola sub rupe iacentem

Maenalus et gelidi fleuerunt saxa Lycaei.               15    Arcadian location (rough not idyllic)

Stant et oues circum (nostri nec paenitet illas,              Arcadian pastoral: Pan, Polyb.4.20.10

nec te paeniteat pecoris, diuine poeta:                            pastoral in Gallus’ elegies?

et formosus ouis ad flumina pauit Adonis);

uenit et upilio; tardi uenere subulci;

uuidus hiberna uenit de glande Menalcas.               20

Omnes "Vnde amor iste" rogant "tibi?" Venit Apollo:

"Galle, quid insanis?" inquit; "tua cura Lycoris

perque niues alium perque horrida castra secuta est."   Elegiac topos: Propertius 1.8

Venit et agresti capitis Siluanus honore,

florentis ferulas et grandia lilia quassans.               25

Pan deus Arcadiae uenit, quem uidimus ipsi

sanguineis ebuli bacis minioque rubentem:

"Ecquis erit modus?" inquit "Amor non talia curat,

nec lacrimis crudelis Amor nec gramina riuis               Pastoral colour

nec cytiso saturantur apes nec fronde capellae."               30

Tristis at ille: "Tamen cantabitis, Arcades, inquit,        Arcadian singing – cf. Polybius 4.20.10

montibus haec uestris, soli cantare periti

Arcades. O mihi tum quam molliter ossa quiescant,

uestra meos olim si fistula dicat amores!                        Pastoral and elegy: love as shared theme

Atque utinam ex uobis unus uestrisque fuissem               35

aut custos gregis aut maturae uinitor uuae!

Certe siue mihi Phyllis siue esset Amyntas,               Phyllis: Ecl.7  Amyntas: Ecl.2,3,5

seu quicumque furor (quid tum, si fuscus Amyntas?

et nigrae uiolae sunt et uaccinia nigra),

mecum inter salices lenta sub uite iaceret:               40

serta mihi Phyllis legeret, cantaret Amyntas.

"Hic gelidi fontes, hic mollia prata, Lycori;

hic nemus; hic ipso tecum consumerer aeuo.

Nunc insanus amor duri me Martis in armis

tela inter media atque aduersos detinet hostis.               45

Tu procul a patria (nec sit mihi credere tantum)

Alpinas, a, dura, niues et frigora Rheni                          Gallic campaigns

me sine sola uides. A, te ne frigora laedant!

a, tibi ne teneras glacies secet aspera plantas!

Ibo et Chalcidico quae sunt mihi condita uersu               50      elegiac verse

carmina pastoris Siculi modulabor auena.                                Sicilian pastoral.

Certum est in siluis inter spelaea ferarum

malle pati tenerisque meos incidere amores                              almost unparalleled repetition

arboribus: crescent illae, crescetis, amores.                   cf. 6 above: 1. amores/love, Amores/elegies

Interea mixtis lustrabo Maenala Nymphis,               55

aut acris uenabor apros; non me ulla uetabunt

frigora Parthenios canibus circumdare saltus.             hunting as cure for love: Ovid Rem.

Iam mihi per rupes uideor lucosque sonantis

ire; libet Partho torquere Cydonia cornu

spicula; tamquam haec sit nostri medicina furoris,               60

aut deus ille malis hominum mitescere discat!

Iam neque Hamadryades rursus nec carmina nobis             retreat from pastoral poetry

ipsa placent; ipsae rursus concedite, siluae.

Non illum nostri possunt mutare labores,

nec si frigoribus mediis Hebrumque bibamus,               65

Sithoniasque niues hiemis subeamus aquosae,

nec si, cum moriens alta liber aret in ulmo,

Aethiopum uersemus ouis sub sidere Cancri.

Omnia uincit Amor: et nos cedamus Amori."                                        yielding to elegiac poetry

Haec sat erit, diuae, uestrum cecinisse poetam,               70                 explicit closure and dedication

dum sedet et gracili fiscellam texit hibisco,                                            basket: Moschus’ Europa

Pierides: uos haec facietis maxima Gallo,

Gallo, cuius amor tantum mihi crescit in horas,

quantum uere nouo uiridis se subicit alnus.

Surgamus: solet esse grauis cantantibus umbra,               75               bucolic closure: cf. Ecl.1, 6

iuniperi grauis umbra; nocent et frugibus umbrae.

Ite domum saturae, uenit Hesperus, ite, capellae.                              satiety/ending




Book Structure


Poems 1 and 9 can be paired as the two which talk about the land confiscations of 41 B.C., while poem 10 (as just seen) has many features of an epilogue. This leaves poem 5 as the centre, appropriately enough given Menalcas' statement at its end that he is the singer of poems 2 and 3, placing this quasi-authorial statement in the middle of the collection. This statement in itself pairs 2 and 3, which can also be linked as strongly Theocritean, and 7 and 8 might be an answering Theocritean pair. This leaves 4 and 6; these are clearly the least pastoral of all the poems, framing 5 in the centre of the book. This makes it clear that the least pastoral poems, 4, 6 and 10, are located in significant positions within the collection (framing the centre and last), and that 4 and 6 are set in tandem. This is surely not accidental, for these are the three poems in the collection which specifically mark themselves out as presenting material which pushes most explicitly at the previously perceived boundaries of the pastoral genre.



Theocritus and the Eclogues


The Eclogues are clearly based on some of the Idylls of Theocritus, a Greek poet of the third century B.C.E., in being relatively short hexameter poems with pastoral settings and themes, with dialogues and monologues, and amoebean singing-contests. Characteristically, the poet does not allude explicitly to his model at the opening of the work, but nevertheless makes his Theocritean links implicitly clear. The Theocritean collection as transmitted to us contains the items listed below, and is very mixed in content, especially in its later parts (it is possible that Vergil knew a shorter collection of ten poems of clearly bucolic character, containing most of 1-11, but he clearly knew Theocritus 17 as well). Theocritus’ bucolic poems do not have political allusions (though his urban mimes do, 14 and 15, and 16 and 17 are addressed to great political figures, like Eclogues 4, 6 and 8); Vergil changes this.


1 Dialogue between Thyrsis and goatherd, followed by poetic contest of two longer songs; Thyrsis’ song (last) contains a refrain. the goatherd admits defeat. 152 lines.

2 Monologue of the abandoned Simaetha trying to bring back her lover Delphis by magic means, containing a refrain. 166 lines.

3 Monologue serenade of goatherd to Amaryllis. 54 lines.

4 Dialogue between herdsmen Battus and Corydon, set near Croton. 63 lines.

5 Dialogue of bickering and poetic contest between Comatas and Lacon, set near Thurii. 150 lines.

6 Poetic contest between Daphnis and Damoetas with songs on the theme of Polyphemus and Galatea (cf. Ecl. 7 and 9 for Galatea). 46 lines.

7 Monologue narrative of poet Simichidas relating his encounter with another poet Lycidas, set on the island of Cos, with two erotic songs. 157 lines.

8 Singing contest between Daphnis and Menalcas (with short songs in elegiacs). 93 lines.

9 Another singing contest between Daphnis and Menalcas. 36 lines.

10 Dialogue and singing-contest of two reapers, Bucaeus and Milon. 59 lines.

11 Framed address to doctor Nicias; the monologue of the Cyclops unsuccessfully wooing the sea-nymph Galatea. 81 lines. Sicilian setting.

12 Monologue by male welcoming a boy lover. 37 lines.

13 Framed address to doctor Nicias; narrative of the story of Hercules and Hylas from the Argonaut saga. 75 lines.

14 Urban mime: gossipy dialogue between Aeschinas and Thuonyichus, the first having quarrelled with his wife. Casual praise of Ptolemy. Alexandria? 70 lines.

15 Urban mime: gossipy dialogue between Gorgo and Praxinoa (women) on the occasion of the Adoneia festival. Casual praise of Ptolemy and Arsinoe. Alexandria. 149 lines.

16 Appeal for patronage to Hieron II of Syracuse. 109 lines.

17 Encomium of Ptolemy II. 137 lines.

[18 epithalamium for Menelaus and Helen (38 lines), 19 Eros complains of bee-sting to Aphrodite (8 lines), 20 oxherd relates rejection by urban Eunica (45 lines), 21 dialogue of two old fishermen in a hut (67 lines), 22 hymn to Dioscuri, incorporating Polydeuces/Amycus dialogue and fight (223 lines), 23 a locked-out lover laments and hangs himself outside a cruel boy’s door (63 lines), 24 the birth and education of the young Hercules (140 lines, incomplete), 25 several more stories from the career of Hercules including the Nemean lion (281 lines), 26 reduced narrative of the Pentheus story from Euripides’ Bacchae with hymnic close (38 lines), 27 seduction dialogue between Daphnis and anonymous girl (73 lines), 28 presentation of distaff by Theocritus to Nicias’ wife (16 syllable metre, 25 lines), 29 man tries to seduce boy (lyric metre, 40 lines), 30 man tries to dissuade himself from passion for boy (32 lines), 31 lyric fragment addressed to boy].


Theocritean imitatio also seems to play a part in the architectonic construction of Virgil's Eclogues as a poetry book, though Vergil’s collection overall shows strict alternation between dialogue and monologue poems, and a more even length of poem (all between 63 and 111 lines). The two pairs of Eclogues 2 and 3 and 7 and 8 present two heavily Theocritean groupings, surrounded by two further pairs of less Theocritean poems on the confiscations (1 and 9) and of poems which explicitly attempt more elaborate themes (4 and 6), with 5 as pivot and 10 as epilogue.


Week 2


Emerging Augustan literature 2: Horace, Satires 1

[READ: Satires 1.1.1-40 1.5, 1.6.45-92, 1.9, 2.1, 2.5, Epodes 1 and 2; E.Gowers’ CUP comm. on Sat. 1, SJH 2014 on Satires 2,  SJH Generic Enrichment Ch.3; all three ancient books in translation] ‘Publication’ dates: Satires 1 36/35, Satires 2 30, Epodes 30/29 BCE.


Satires 1 (10 poems) likely to be influenced by recent Eclogues (38).


Satires 1.1.1-40 – mempsimoiria


Qui fit, Maecenas, ut nemo, quam sibi sortem               Maecenas as patron and dedicatee

seu ratio dederit seu fors obiecerit, illa

contentus vivat, laudet diversa sequentis?

'o fortunati mercatores' gravis annis                               bioi (various lives – cf. Tibullus 1.1)

miles ait, multo iam fractus membra labore;               5            soldier [relevant in 30s?]

contra mercator navim iactantibus Austris:                             merchant

'militia est potior. quid enim? concurritur: horae

momento cita mors venit aut victoria laeta.'

agricolam laudat iuris legumque peritus,                                  farmer; lawyer

sub galli cantum consultor ubi ostia pulsat;               10

ille, datis vadibus qui rure extractus in urbem est,

solos felicis viventis clamat in urbe.

cetera de genere hoc—adeo sunt multa—loquacem                 

delassare valent Fabium. ne te morer, audi,                            verbose Stoic moraliser (1.2.134)

quo rem deducam. si quis deus 'en ego' dicat               15

'iam faciam quod voltis: eris tu, qui modo miles,

mercator; tu, consultus modo, rusticus: hinc vos,

vos hinc mutatis discedite partibus. eia,

quid statis?' nolint. atqui licet esse beatis.

quid causae est, merito quin illis Iuppiter ambas               20

iratus buccas inflet neque se fore posthac

tam facilem dicat, votis ut praebeat aurem?

praeterea, ne sic ut qui iocularia ridens

percurram: quamquam ridentem dicere verum                        

quid vetat? ut pueris olim dant crustula blandi               25   cf. Lucr. 1.936-47 = 4.11-22           

doctores, elementa velint ut discere prima:                                (children, honey, wormwood)

sed tamen amoto quaeramus seria ludo:

ille gravem duro terram qui vertit aratro,

perfidus hic caupo, miles nautaeque, per omne

audaces mare qui currunt, hac mente laborem               30

sese ferre, senes ut in otia tuta recedant,

aiunt, cum sibi sint congesta cibaria: sicut

parvula—nam exemplo est—magni formica laboris                Aesopic fable (cf. Lucilius 686-7 W.)

ore trahit quodcumque potest atque addit acervo

quem struit, haud ignara ac non incauta futuri.               35

quae, simul inversum contristat Aquarius annum,

non usquam prorepit et illis utitur ante

quaesitis sapiens, cum te neque fervidus aestus

demoveat lucro neque hiems, ignis mare ferrum,

nil obstet tibi, dum ne sit te ditior alter.               40

Satires 1.5 – Lucilius meets the Odyssey?


SJH: ‘The so-called  ‘Journey to Brundisium’ famously reworks a similar southward expedition from Rome narrated in the third book of Lucilius’ Satires, the so-called ‘Journey to Sicily’, preserved for us in a number of fragments (fr.94-148 W.). Both poems involved ferry-crossings, inns and catalogues of places; Lucilius’ travellers witness a gladiatorial battle at Capua (109-117 W.), echoed in the comic Horatian dispute (1.5.51-70) between the low-lives Sarmentus and Cicirrus in the same geographical area’.


Egressum magna me accepit Aricia Roma                     journey from great city (Troy II?) – cf.

hospitio modico; rhetor comes Heliodorus,                    Od.9.39-40‘the wind, carrying me from Graecorum longe doctissimus; inde Forum Appi          Troy brought me to the Cicones, to Ismarus,

differtum nautis cauponibus atque malignis.                then I sacked the city and destroyed the people’

hoc iter ignavi divisimus, altius ac nos               5

praecinctis unum: minus est gravis Appia tardis.

hic ego propter aquam, quod erat deterrima, ventri

indico bellum, cenantis haud animo aequo

exspectans comites. iam nox inducere terris

umbras et caelo diffundere signa parabat:               10

tum pueri nautis, pueris convicia nautae

ingerere: 'huc adpelle'; 'trecentos inseris'; 'ohe,

iam satis est.' dum aes exigitur, dum mula ligatur,

tota abit hora. mali culices ranaeque palustres

avertunt somnos; absentem cantat amicam               15

multa prolutus vappa nauta atque viator

certatim; tandem fessus dormire viator

incipit ac missae pastum retinacula mulae

nauta piger saxo religat stertitque supinus.

iamque dies aderat, nil cum procedere lintrem               20      boat fails to advance

sentimus, donec cerebrosus prosilit unus

ac mulae nautaeque caput lumbosque saligno

fuste dolat: quarta vix demum exponimur hora.                       delayed voyage

ora manusque tua lavimus, Feronia, lympha.

milia tum pransi tria repimus atque subimus               25

inpositum saxis late candentibus Anxur.

huc venturus erat Maecenas optimus atque                               Maecenas and motivation

Cocceius, missi magnis de rebus uterque

legati, aversos soliti conponere amicos.                                      political context (36?)

hic oculis ego nigra meis collyria lippus               30

inlinere. interea Maecenas advenit atque

Cocceius Capitoque simul Fonteius, ad unguem

factus homo, Antoni, non ut magis alter, amicus.

Fundos Aufidio Lusco praetore libenter

linquimus, insani ridentes praemia scribae,               35

praetextam et latum clavum prunaeque vatillum.

in Mamurrarum lassi deinde urbe manemus,                           Formiae (Catullus)

Murena praebente domum, Capitone culinam.

postera lux oritur multo gratissima; namque

Plotius et Varius Sinuessae Vergiliusque               40                 Plotius, Varius, Vergil (cf. 1.10.81)

occurrunt, animae, qualis neque candidiores

terra tulit neque quis me sit devinctior alter.

o qui conplexus et gaudia quanta fuerunt.

nil ego contulerim iucundo sanus amico.                       memorable one-liner

proxima Campano ponti quae villula, tectum               45

praebuit et parochi, quae debent, ligna salemque.

hinc muli Capuae clitellas tempore ponunt.

lusum it Maecenas, dormitum ego Vergiliusque;

namque pila lippis inimicum et ludere crudis.

hinc nos Coccei recipit plenissima villa,               50                   palace of Alcinous

quae super est Caudi cauponas. nunc mihi paucis                    epic battle parody

Sarmenti scurrae pugnam Messique Cicirri,                             Odysseus and Irus: Od.18

Musa, velim memores et quo patre natus uterque

contulerit litis. Messi clarum genus Osci;

Sarmenti domina exstat: ab his maioribus orti

ad pugnam venere. prior Sarmentus 'equi te              

esse feri similem dico.' ridemus, et ipse                                       Od.18.11  'laughing sweetly’

Messius 'accipio,' caput et movet. 'o tua cornu

ni foret exsecto frons,' inquit, 'quid faceres, cum

sic mutilus minitaris?' at illi foeda cicatrix               60

saetosam laevi frontem turpaverat oris.

Campanum in morbum, in faciem permulta iocatus,

pastorem saltaret uti Cyclopa rogabat:                                      Odyssey

nil illi larva aut tragicis opus esse cothurnis.                             Euripides Cyclops?

multa Cicirrus ad haec: donasset iamne catenam               65

ex voto Laribus, quaerebat; scriba quod esset,

nilo deterius dominae ius esse; rogabat

denique, cur umquam fugisset, cui satis una

farris libra foret, gracili sic tamque pusillo.

prorsus iucunde cenam producimus illam.               70

tendimus hinc recta Beneventum, ubi sedulus hospes

paene macros arsit dum turdos versat in igni.

nam vaga per veterem dilapso flamma culinam                      

Volcano summum properabat lambere tectum.          epic parody

convivas avidos cenam servosque timentis               75

tum rapere atque omnis restinguere velle videres.

incipit ex illo montis Apulia notos                                                returning home for H.

ostentare mihi, quos torret Atabulus et quos

nunquam erepsemus, nisi nos vicina Trivici

villa recepisset lacrimoso non sine fumo,               80                Od.1.58 (smoke from home)

udos cum foliis ramos urente camino.

hic ego mendacem stultissimus usque puellam

ad mediam noctem exspecto; somnus tamen aufert

intentum veneri; tum inmundo somnia visu

nocturnam vestem maculant ventremque supinum.               85         bodily element

quattuor hinc rapimur viginti et milia raedis,

mansuri oppidulo, quod versu dicere non est,

signis perfacile est: venit vilissima rerum

hic aqua, sed panis longe pulcherrimus, ultra

callidus ut soleat umeris portare viator.               90

nam Canusi lapidosus, aquae non ditior urna:

qui locus a forti Diomede est conditus olim.                                           epic (Homer)

flentibus hinc Varius discedit maestus amicis.

inde Rubos fessi pervenimus, utpote longum

carpentes iter et factum corruptius imbri.               95

postera tempestas melior, via peior ad usque

Bari moenia piscosi; dein Gnatia Lymphis

iratis exstructa dedit risusque iocosque,

dum flamma sine tura liquescere limine sacro

persuadere cupit. credat Iudaeus Apella,               100

non ego; namque deos didici securum agere aevom   Lucr.5.82 nam bene qui didicere deos

nec, siquid miri faciat natura, deos id                                                     securum agere aevom

tristis ex alto caeli demittere tecto.                                              [hexameter ethics]

Brundisium longae finis chartaeque viaeque est.                                  double closure


Satires 1.6.45-92 (H’s autobiography):


nunc ad me redeo libertino patre natum,               45                             unusual freedman?

quem rodunt omnes libertino patre natum,

nunc, quia sim tibi, Maecenas, convictor, at olim,                                Maecenas

quod mihi pareret legio Romana tribuno.                                              Philippi

dissimile hoc illi est, quia non, ut forsit honorem

iure mihi invideat quivis, ita te quoque amicum,               50               friendship?

praesertim cautum dignos adsumere, prava

ambitione procul. felicem dicere non hoc

me possim, casu quod te sortitus amicum;

nulla etenim mihi te fors obtulit: optimus olim

Vergilius, post hunc Varius dixere, quid essem.               55                  introduced by poets of 1.5

ut veni coram, singultim pauca locutus                                               few words (Callimachean?)

infans namque pudor prohibebat plura profari—

non ego me claro natum patre, non ego circum

me Satureiano vectari rura caballo,

sed quod eram narro. respondes, ut tuus est mos,               60             few words again

pauca; abeo, et revocas nono post mense iubesque

esse in amicorum numero. magnum hoc ego duco,

quod placui tibi, qui turpi secernis honestum

non patre praeclaro, sed vita et pectore puro.                         one-liner

atqui si vitiis mediocribus ac mea paucis               65

mendosa est natura, alioqui recta, velut si

egregio inspersos reprendas corpore naevos,

si neque avaritiam neque sordes nec mala lustra

obiciet vere quisquam mihi, purus et insons,

ut me collaudem, si et vivo carus amicis,               70

causa fuit pater his; qui macro pauper agello

noluit in Flavi ludum me mittere, magni

quo pueri magnis e centurionibus orti

laevo suspensi loculos tabulamque lacerto

ibant octonos referentes idibus aeris,               75

sed puerum est ausus Romam portare docendum

artis quas doceat quivis eques atque senator                       elite education

semet prognatos. vestem servosque sequentis,

in magno ut populo, siqui vidisset, avita

ex re praeberi sumptus mihi crederet illos.               80             like old money

ipse mihi custos incorruptissimus omnis                                    ex-slave in servile role?

circum doctores aderat. quid multa? pudicum,

qui primus virtutis honos, servavit ab omni

non solum facto, verum opprobrio quoque turpi

nec timuit, sibi ne vitio quis verteret, olim               85

si praeco parvas aut, ut fuit ipse, coactor

mercedes sequerer; neque ego essem questus. at hoc nunc

laus illi debetur et a me gratia maior.

nil me paeniteat sanum patris huius, eoque

non, ut magna dolo factum negat esse suo pars,               90

quod non ingenuos habeat clarosque parentes,

sic me defendam.





Satires 1.9 (H. meets his evil twin? cf. Sat.2, many H.-like speakers)


Ibam forte via sacra, sicut meus est mos,                                   Platonic dialogue parody?

nescio quid meditans nugarum, totus in illis:                            poetic composition?

accurrit quidam notus mihi nomine tantum                              unnamed alter ego?

arreptaque manu 'quid agis, dulcissime rerum?'                      forced intimacy (unlike H. and M.)

'suaviter, ut nunc est,' inquam 'et cupio omnia quae vis.'               5

cum adsectaretur, 'numquid vis?' occupo. at ille

'noris nos' inquit; 'docti sumus.' hic ego 'pluris                      a poet

hoc' inquam 'mihi eris.' misere discedere quaerens

ire modo ocius, interdum consistere, in aurem

dicere nescio quid puero, cum sudor ad imos               10

manaret talos. 'o te, Bolane, cerebri

felicem' aiebam tacitus, cum quidlibet ille

garriret, vicos, urbem laudaret. ut illi

nil respondebam, 'misere cupis' inquit 'abire:

iamdudum video; sed nil agis: usque tenebo;               15

persequar hinc quo nunc iter est tibi.' 'nil opus est te

circumagi: quendam volo visere non tibi notum;

trans Tiberim longe cubat is prope Caesaris hortos.'

'nil habeo quod agam et non sum piger: usque sequar te.'

demitto auriculas, ut iniquae mentis asellus,               20                      beast-simile (unepic?)

cum gravius dorso subiit onus. incipit ille:

'si bene me novi, non Viscum pluris amicum,                                         literary friends

non Varium facies; nam quis me scribere pluris                       Lucilian (cf.1.4), unCallimachean

aut citius possit versus? quis membra movere

mollius? invideat quod et Hermogenes, ego canto.'               25           Herm. attacked in 1.2

interpellandi locus hic erat 'est tibi mater,

cognati, quis te salvo est opus?' 'haud mihi quisquam.

omnis conposui.' 'felices. nunc ego resto.

confice; namque instat fatum mihi triste, Sabella

quod puero cecinit divina mota anus urna:               30

"hunc neque dira venena nec hosticus auferet ensis                      parodic prophetic hexameters

nec laterum dolor aut tussis nec tarda podagra:

garrulus hunc quando consumet cumque: loquaces,

si sapiat, vitet, simul atque adoleverit aetas."'

ventum erat ad Vestae, quarta iam parte diei               35

praeterita, et casu tum respondere vadato

debebat, quod ni fecisset, perdere litem.

'si me amas,' inquit 'paulum hic ades.' 'inteream, si

aut valeo stare aut novi civilia iura;

et propero quo scis.' 'dubius sum, quid faciam', inquit,               40

'tene relinquam an rem.' 'me, sodes.' 'non faciam' ille,

et praecedere coepit; ego, ut contendere durum

cum victore, sequor. 'Maecenas quomodo tecum?'                       the real point? access to M.?

hinc repetit. 'paucorum hominum et mentis bene sanae.

nemo dexterius fortuna est usus. haberes               45

magnum adiutorem, posset qui ferre secundas,

hunc hominem velles si tradere: dispeream, ni

summosses omnis.' 'non isto vivimus illic,

quo tu rere, modo; domus hac nec purior ulla est                        defends Maecenas

nec magis his aliena malis; nil mi officit, inquam,      50

ditior hic aut est quia doctior; est locus uni

cuique suus.' 'magnum narras, vix credibile.' 'atqui

sic habet.' 'accendis quare cupiam magis illi                                         the wrong approach

proximus esse.' 'velis tantummodo: quae tua virtus,                            ironic

expugnabis: et est qui vinci possit eoque               55

difficilis aditus primos habet.' 'haud mihi deero:

muneribus servos corrumpam; non, hodie si                                         the wrong approach again

exclusus fuero, desistam; tempora quaeram,

occurram in triviis, deducam. nil sine magno                                  as in this poem!

vita labore dedit mortalibus.' haec dum agit, ecce               60

Fuscus Aristius occurrit, mihi carus et illum                                          mischievous Fuscus

qui pulchre nosset. consistimus. 'unde venis et

quo tendis?' rogat et respondet. vellere coepi

et pressare manu lentissima bracchia, nutans,

distorquens oculos, ut me eriperet. male salsus               65

ridens dissimulare; meum iecur urere bilis.

'certe nescio quid secreto velle loqui te

aiebas mecum.' 'memini bene, sed meliore

tempore dicam; hodie tricensima sabbata: vin tu                    Jewish festival (joke)

curtis Iudaeis oppedere?' 'nulla mihi' inquam               70

'religio est.' 'at mi: sum paulo infirmior, unus

multorum. ignosces; alias loquar.' huncine solem

tam nigrum surrexe mihi! fugit inprobus ac me

sub cultro linquit. casu venit obvius illi

adversarius et 'quo tu, turpissime?' magna               75

inclamat voce, et 'licet antestari?' ego vero

oppono auriculam. rapit in ius; clamor utrimque,

undique concursus. sic me servavit Apollo.                    Homeric escape (Iliad 5; maybe Lucilian too, 118 W)







Week 3A


Emerging Augustan literature 3: Horace, Satires 2 and Epodes


Satires 2.1.1-34 – consulting Trebatius:


'Sunt quibus in satura videar nimis acer et ultra                      response to Book 1

legem tendere opus; sine nervis altera quidquid

conposui pars esse putat similisque meorum

mille die versus deduci posse. Trebati,                                        lawyer

quid faciam? praescribe.' 'quiescas.' 'ne faciam, inquis,               5

omnino versus?' 'aio.' 'peream male, si non                                ironic programme

optimum erat; verum nequeo dormire.' 'ter uncti                     (i) 12 tables sacer esto (ii) T and

transnanto Tiberim, somno quibus est opus alto,                     swimming [Cic.Fam.7.22]

inriguumque mero sub noctem corpus habento.

aut si tantus amor scribendi te rapit, aude               10

Caesaris invicti res dicere, multa laborum                                 post-Actium?

praemia laturus.' 'cupidum, pater optime, vires

deficiunt; neque enim quivis horrentia pilis

agmina nec fracta pereuntis cuspide Gallos                              expected targets of the time

aut labentis equo describit volnera Parthi.'               15              (heritage of J.C.)

'attamen et iustum poteras et scribere fortem,

Scipiadam ut sapiens Lucilius.' 'haud mihi dero,                       Lucilius and Scipio Aemilianus

cum res ipsa feret: nisi dextro tempore Flacci

verba per attentam non ibunt Caesaris aurem:

cui male si palpere, recalcitrat undique tutus.'               20       issue of addressing Caesar

'quanto rectius hoc quam tristi laedere versu                            [Ep.1.13, Ep.2.1]

Pantolabum scurram Nomentanumque nepotem,        1.8.11     Pantolabo scurrae Nomentanoque nepoti

cum sibi quisque timet, quamquam est intactus, et odit.'

'quid faciam? saltat Milonius, ut semel icto

accessit fervor capiti numerusque lucernis;               25            high and low culture

Castor gaudet equis, ovo prognatus eodem

pugnis; quot capitum vivunt, totidem studiorum

milia: me pedibus delectat claudere verba

Lucili ritu, nostrum melioris utroque.                  I can only be a satirist        

ille velut fidis arcana sodalibus olim               30

credebat libris neque, si male cesserat, usquam            autobiographical Lucilius

decurrens alio neque, si bene; quo fit ut omnis

votiva pateat veluti descripta tabella

vita senis. sequor hunc, Lucanus an Apulus anceps…


Satires 2.5.1-22 (Odysseus consults Tiresias – cf. 2.1 [consultation], 1.5 [Odyssey]):


'Hoc quoque, Tiresia, praeter narrata petenti               sequel to Odyssey 11.98ff (‘Tell me X,Y,Z)

responde, quibus amissas reparare queam res             [T. tells O. about suitors there]

artibus atque modis. quid rides?' 'iamne doloso

non satis est Ithacam revehi patriosque penatis

adspicere?' 'o nulli quicquam mentite, vides ut               5         Problem: Ovid Met.3.323ff

nudus inopsque domum redeam te vate, neque illic

aut apotheca procis intacta est aut pecus: atqui

et genus et virtus, nisi cum re, vilior alga est.'

quando pauperiem missis ambagibus horres,                           satiric advice: captatio

accipe qua ratione queas ditescere. turdus               10

sive aliud privum dabitur tibi, devolet illuc,

res ubi magna nitet domino sene; dulcia poma

et quoscumque feret cultus tibi fundus honores

ante Larem gustet venerabilior Lare dives.

qui quamvis periurus erit, sine gente, cruentus               15      any rich man will do

sanguine fraterno, fugitivus, ne tamen illi

tu comes exterior, si postulet, ire recuses.'

'utne tegam spurco Damae latus? haud ita Troiae                   epic v. satire

me gessi, certans semper melioribus.' 'ergo

pauper eris.' 'fortem hoc animum tolerare iubebo;               20

et quondam maiora tuli. tu protinus, unde                     Od.20.18 ‘Endure, my heart; a worse

divitias aerisque ruam, dic, augur, acervos.'                 thing even than this didst thou once endure

on that day when the Cyclops, unrestrained

in daring, devoured my mighty comrades’


Epode 1


Ibis Liburnis inter alta navium,                                        The Actium campaign (32-31)

      amice, propugnacula,                                                    Archilochean themes: sailing, comrades

paratus omne Caesaris periculum                                   (fr.24 W., fr.105 W.)

      subire, Maecenas, tuo:

quid nos, quibus te vita sit superstite

      iucunda, si contra, gravis?                                          parallel friendships

utrumne iussi persequemur otium

      non dulce, ni tecum simul,

an hunc laborem mente laturi, decet

      qua ferre non mollis viros?

feremus et te vel per Alpium iuga                                     Catullus 11 (travel + male friendship, lyric)

      inhospitalem et Caucasum                                           N, E, W

vel occidentis usque ad ultimum sinum

      forti sequemur pectore.

roges, tuom labore quid iuvem meo,

      inbellis ac firmus parum?                                    H. the weaker Archilochus

comes minore sum futurus in metu,

      qui maior absentis habet:

ut adsidens inplumibus pullis avis                                   eagle chicks destroyed in Archilochus

      serpentium adlapsus timet                                          fr.172-181 W 

magis relictis, non, ut adsit, auxili

      latura plus praesentibus.

libenter hoc et omne militabitur

      bellum in tuae spem gratiae,

non ut iuvencis inligata pluribus                                      no desire for material riches

      aratra nitantur meis

pecusve Calabris ante Sidus fervidum

      Lucana mutet pascuis

neque ut superni villa candens Tusculi                            Lake Tahoe?

      Circaea tangat moenia:                                               epic ambitions?

satis superque me benignitas tua

      ditavit, haud paravero

quod aut avarus ut Chremes terra premam,                  no comic role

      discinctus aut perdam nepos.


Epode 2


Surprise speaker revealed at end: cf. Archilochus fr.19 West (Charon the carpenter and wealth).

Ironising the non-farmer and non-shepherd Vergil?

Praise of country life: Vergil Eclogues and esp. Georgics 2.458ff (to come in 29).


'Beatus ille qui procul negotiis,                 Georgics 2.458-9 o fortunatos nimium … / … agricolas

      ut prisca gens mortalium,

paterna rura bubus exercet suis

      solutus omni faenore                                         moneylender speaks!

neque excitatur classico miles truci          Georgics 2.501-4 [avoiding forum and limina regum,

      neque horret iratum mare                   avoiding the dangers of sea-trading]

forumque vitat et superba civium                       

      potentiorum limina.

ergo aut adulta vitium propagine                        Georgics 2 (viticulture)

      altas maritat populos

aut in reducta valle mugientium                          Georgics 3 (cattle)

      prospectat errantis greges

inutilisque falce ramos amputans

      feliciores inserit

aut pressa puris mella condit amphoris              Georgics 4 (bees/honey)

      aut tondet infirmas ovis.

vel cum decorum mitibus pomis caput

      Autumnus agris extulit,

ut gaudet insitiva decerpens pira                         Georgics 2 (fruit-growing)

      certantem et uvam purpurae,

qua muneretur te, Priape, et te, pater                 Priapus: Georgics 4.111

      Silvane, tutor finium.                                        Silvanus: Georgics 1.20, 2.494

libet iacere modo sub antiqua ilice,                      Ecl.7.1 consederat arguta … sub ilice

      modo in tenaci gramine:                                  Ecl.5.46 in gramine

labuntur altis interim ripis aquae,                       Ecl. 8.87 propter aquae riuum

      queruntur in silvis aves                                    Ecl.1.58 nec gemere aëria cessabit turtur ab ulmo

frondesque lymphis obstrepunt manantibus,     Ecl. 7.45 Muscosi fontes

      somnos quod invitet levis.                                Ecl.1.55 leui somnum suadebit inire susurro

at cum tonantis annus hibernus Iovis                 Georgics 1.307 hunting as winter activity

      imbris nivisque conparat,

aut trudit acris hinc et hinc multa cane              

      apros in obstantis plagas                                 Georgics 3.44-6  hunting with hounds

aut amite levi rara tendit retia                            

      turdis edacibus dolos

pavidumque leporem et advenam laqueo gruem  Georgics 1.307 trapping cranes

      iucunda captat praemia.

quis non malarum quas amor curas habet        Ecl.10.55-60 hunting as cure for love

      haec inter obliviscitur?

quodsi pudica mulier in partem iuvet

      domum atque dulcis liberos,                            Georgics 2.523-4    chaste home and children

Sabina qualis aut perusta solibus

      pernicis uxor Apuli,

sacrum vetustis exstruat lignis focum                 Georgics 1.287ff indoor winter work of wife

      lassi sub adventum viri

claudensque textis cratibus laetum pecus

      distenta siccet ubera

et horna dulci vina promens dolio                       Georgics 2.89ff wine-making

      dapes inemptas adparet:

non me Lucrina iuverint conchylia                      Georgics 2.463ff no brand-name/foreign luxury

      magisve rhombus aut scari,

siquos Eois intonata fluctibus

      hiems ad hoc vertat mare,

non Afra avis descendat in ventrem meum,

      non attagen Ionicus

iucundior quam lecta de pinguissimis

      oliva ramis arborum                                         Georgics 2.181ff olive oil

aut herba lapathi prata amantis et gravi

      malvae salubres corpori

vel agna festis caesa Terminalibus                      pastoral lambs and kids (Eclogues)

      vel haedus ereptus lupo.

has inter epulas ut iuvat pastas ovis

      videre properantis domum,

videre fessos vomerem inversum boves              ploughing in Georgics 1

      collo trahentis languido

positosque vernas, ditis examen domus,             Georgics 2.524 casta domus

      circum renidentis Laris.'

haec ubi locutus faenerator Alfius,

      iam iam futurus rusticus,                                 Vergil?

omnem redegit idibus pecuniam,

      quaerit kalendis ponere.




Week 3B


Emerging Augustan literature 3B: Vergil Georgics


[READ: Georgics 1.1-203, 1.463-515, 2.135-76, 2.458-542, 3.1-48, 4.1-148;  SJH Generic Enrichment Ch.4; all of Georgics in translation]


Georgics ‘published’ first half of 29 (August triumphs of Augustus anticipated, see below)?


Greek tradition of agricultural hexameter didactic: Hesiod Works and Days.

Roman tradition of agricultural literature in prose: Cato De Agr, Varro Res Rusticae.

Georgics as verse paraphrase of Varro (Hellenistic didactic trope: Aratus

Phaenomena/Eudoxus, Nicander Theriaka and Alexipharmaka, and especially Lucretius

and Epicurus). Varro RR (36/35 BCE): three books, 1.1 begins with the twelve 

rustic gods (cf. G.1), and the last major section (3.16) is on bees (cf. G.4). Nicander’s Georgika

gives its title to Vergil’s poem, but seems to have been about horticulture, expressly

omitted by Vergil (cf.  G.4.116-48, The Old Man of Corycus, below).

Astronomy – some in Hesiod, but much more in Aratus, Phaenomena (v.popular).

Cicero’s version (80s BCE?) is likely to have been known to Lucretius and certainly to

Vergil  – see Emma Gee, Aratus and the Astronomical Tradition (2013).


Political allegory in didactic – V’s contribution?(cf. Eclogues, Aeneid?). Aratus’ poem has received Stoicising allegorical commentary (see Gee), but extensive political allegory seems to be first found in the Georgics.


Georgics 1.1-42 - programmatic opening of Lucretian length:


Quid faciat laetas segetes, quo sidere terram                            Works and Days [Hesiod]

uertere, Maecenas, ulmisque adiungere uitis                            Book 1 ploughing, Book 2 vines

conueniat, quae cura boum, qui cultus habendo                       Book 3 livestock, Book 4 bees

sit pecori, apibus quanta experientia parcis,                              [cf. Lucretius 1.55-61, 127-35]

hinc canere incipiam. uos, o clarissima mundi               5         Gods/stars 1. Sun  2. Moon

lumina, labentem caelo quae ducitis annum;                             [Alexander Helios/Cleopatra Selene]

Liber et alma Ceres, uestro si munere tellus                              3 Liber   4 Ceres [cf. Lucretius 5.14-15]

Chaoniam pingui glandem mutauit arista,                                [Liber/Antony]

poculaque inuentis Acheloia miscuit uuis;

et uos, agrestum praesentia numina, Fauni               10            5 Fauni/Dryades

(ferte simul Faunique pedem Dryadesque puellae:

munera uestra cano); tuque o, cui prima frementem              6 Neptune

fudit equum magno tellus percussa tridenti,                              [Neptune/Sextus Pompeius]

Neptune; et cultor nemorum, cui pinguia Ceae                         7 Aristaeus (cf. Book 4 = Caesar?)

ter centum niuei tondent dumeta iuuenci;               15

ipse nemus linquens patrium saltusque Lycaei

Pan, ouium custos, tua si tibi Maenala curae,                            8 Pan [Eclogues?]

adsis, o Tegeaee, fauens, oleaeque Minerua                               9 Minerva

inuentrix, uncique puer monstrator aratri,                                10 Triptolemus (Hom.Hymn.Demeter)

et teneram ab radice ferens, Siluane, cupressum:     20           11 Silvanus

dique deaeque omnes, studium quibus arua tueri,                    [Varro’s 12]

quique nouas alitis non ullo semine fruges

quique satis largum caelo demittitis imbrem.

tuque adeo, quem mox quae sint habitura deorum

concilia incertum est, urbisne inuisere, Caesar,               25     12 Caesar, destined for divinity

terrarumque uelis curam, et te maximus orbis                          -on land [divine visitation?]

auctorem frugum tempestatumque potentem

accipiat cingens materna tempora myrto;                                 Venus as divine ancestor

an deus immensi uenias maris ac tua nautae                            -in the sea [Venus link?]

numina sola colant, tibi seruiat ultima Thule,               30        exaggeration

teque sibi generum Tethys emat omnibus undis;                      [S.Pompeius again]

anne nouum tardis sidus te mensibus addas,                             -among the stars [cf. Julius?]

qua locus Erigonen inter Chelasque sequentis                           [astronomical detail: Aratus]

panditur (ipse tibi iam bracchia contrahit ardens

Scorpius et caeli iusta plus parte reliquit);               35

quidquid eris (nam te nec sperant Tartara regem,                   -NOT the underworld and NOT a king

nec tibi regnandi ueniat tam dira cupido,

quamuis Elysios miretur Graecia campos                                  [underworld as Greek poetic theme]

nec repetita sequi curet Proserpina matrem),

da facilem cursum atque audacibus adnue coeptis, 40            didactic voyage (NOT Lucretius)

ignarosque uiae mecum miseratus agrestis                               farmers as citizens

ingredere et uotis iam nunc adsuesce uocari.                             be called upon in prayer (cf. Ecl.1.42-3)


Georgics 1.463-515: ominous celestial signs and Roman civil wars of 30s


solem quis dicere falsum

audeat? ille etiam caecos instare tumultus

saepe monet fraudemque et operta tumescere bella;  465

ille etiam exstincto miseratus Caesare Romam,                                    44 BCE [cf. Suetonius Div.Iul.]

cum caput obscura nitidum ferrugine texit                                            darkness

impiaque aeternam timuerunt saecula noctem.

tempore quamquam illo tellus quoque et aequora ponti,                     signs on land and sea

obscenaeque canes importunaeque uolucres               470                    dogs and birds [Homeric battle?]

signa dabant. quotiens Cyclopum efferuere in agros                           Sicily [S.Pompeius]

uidimus undantem ruptis fornacibus Aetnam,                                      Aetna as poetic topos [Pindar,

flammarumque globos liquefactaque uoluere saxa!                             [Aesch.] PV]

armorum sonitum toto Germania caelo                                                 Germany(border of Caesar’sGaul)

audiit, insolitis tremuerunt motibus Alpes.               475                        Caesar over the Alps in 49 

uox quoque per lucos uulgo exaudita silentis

ingens, et simulacra modis pallentia miris                                             = Lucr.1.123 [but no ghosts!]

uisa sub obscurum noctis, pecudesque locutae

(infandum!); sistunt amnes terraeque dehiscunt,                                 pun

et maestum inlacrimat templis ebur aeraque sudant.               480

proluit insano contorquens uertice siluas

fluuiorum rex Eridanus camposque per omnis                                      river Po (Caesar crosses in 49)

cum stabulis armenta tulit. nec tempore eodem                                    Caesar as destructive force?

tristibus aut extis fibrae apparere minaces

aut puteis manare cruor cessauit, et altae               485

per noctem resonare lupis ululantibus urbes.                                        Roman wolf reversed?

non alias caelo ceciderunt plura sereno

fulgura nec diri totiens arsere cometae.                                                

ergo inter sese paribus concurrere telis                                                  civil war x 2

Romanas acies iterum uidere Philippi;               490                              Thessaly = Macedonia!

nec fuit indignum superis bis sanguine nostro

Emathiam et latos Haemi pinguescere campos.                                    pun

scilicet et tempus ueniet, cum finibus illis                                               retrojected prophecy now fulfilled

agricola incuruo terram molitus aratro                                                 in ploughing farmer of this book?

exesa inueniet scabra robigine pila,               495                                    grand word order (Ecl.4)

aut grauibus rastris galeas pulsabit inanis

grandiaque effossis mirabitur ossa sepulcris.

di patrii Indigetes et Romule Vestaque mater,                                      gods of Rome

quae Tuscum Tiberim et Romana Palatia seruas,                                 home of young Caesar?

hunc saltem euerso iuuenem succurrere saeclo               500                cf. Ecl.1.42 iuvenem [contrast JC]

ne prohibete. satis iam pridem sanguine nostro

Laomedonteae luimus periuria Troiae;                                                  grand word order (Ecl.4)

iam pridem nobis caeli te regia, Caesar,                                                 the R word

inuidet atque hominum queritur curare triumphos,                            

quippe ubi fas uersum atque nefas: tot bella per orbem,   505

tam multae scelerum facies, non ullus aratro

dignus honos, squalent abductis arua colonis,

et curuae rigidum falces conflantur in ensem.                                       swords into ploughshares

hinc mouet Euphrates, illinc Germania bellum;                                    campaigns of 30s (Antony etc)

uicinae ruptis inter se legibus urbes                                 510                  Sicily and S.Pompeius?

arma ferunt; saeuit toto Mars impius orbe,                                           father of Romulus (498)

ut cum carceribus sese effudere quadrigae,                                            sport to war? cf. Iliad 22.150

addunt in spatia, et frustra retinacula tendens                                     chariot: state and poem?

fertur equis auriga neque audit currus habenas.                                  young Caesar/Apollo/Phaethon?

                                                                                                                        [cf. Lucan 1.48-52]

Georgics 2.135-76 – praise of Italy and this poem

Sed neque Medorum siluae, ditissima terra,                                          Medes = Parthians

nec pulcher Ganges atque auro turbidus Hermus                                 West and East

laudibus Italiae certent, non Bactra neque Indi                                     Alexander locations – new A?

totaque turiferis Panchaia pinguis harenis.

haec loca non tauri spirantes naribus ignem               140                    Italy/Georgics

inuertere satis immanis dentibus hydri,                                                 not the Argonautica

nec galeis densisque uirum seges horruit hastis;

sed grauidae fruges et Bacchi Massicus umor                                       Books 1,2,3 of this poem

impleuere; tenent oleae armentaque laeta.

hinc bellator equus campo sese arduus infert,               145

hinc albi, Clitumne, greges et maxima taurus

uictima, saepe tuo perfusi flumine sacro,

Romanos ad templa deum duxere triumphos.

hic uer adsiduum atque alienis mensibus aestas:                     fantastic: encomium or otherwise?

bis grauidae pecudes, bis pomis utilis arbos.               150

at rabidae tigres absunt et saeua leonum

semina, nec miseros fallunt aconita legentis,

nec rapit immensos orbis per humum neque tanto

squameus in spiram tractu se colligit anguis.                            snakes or big snakes?

adde tot egregias urbes operumque laborem,               155

tot congesta manu praeruptis oppida saxis                               Italian hill-towns

fluminaque antiquos subter labentia muros.                             Mantua? Rome?

an mare quod supra memorem, quodque adluit infra?

anne lacus tantos? te, Lari maxime, teque,                                Italian Lakes promo (Como, Garda)

fluctibus et fremitu adsurgens Benace marino?               160  

an memorem portus Lucrinoque addita claustra                      lacus Lucrinus and portus Iulius

atque indignatum magnis stridoribus aequor,                          [naval wars of 30s

Iulia qua ponto longe sonat unda refuso

Tyrrhenusque fretis immittitur aestus Auernis?                      

haec eadem argenti riuos aerisque metalla               165           exaggeration again

ostendit uenis atque auro plurima fluxit.

haec genus acre uirum, Marsos pubemque Sabellam

adsuetumque malo Ligurem Volscosque uerutos

extulit, haec Decios Marios magnosque Camillos,

Scipiadas duros bello et te, maxime Caesar,               170          latest great Roman

qui nunc extremis Asiae iam uictor in oris                                 30-29 BCE  - cf. 4.559-66 below?

imbellem auertis Romanis arcibus Indum.                                 new Alexander; high word-order

salue, magna parens frugum, Saturnia tellus,

magna uirum: tibi res antiquae laudis et artem

ingredior sanctos ausus recludere fontis,               175

Ascraeumque cano Romana per oppida carmen.                      Hesiod; high word-order



Georgics 2.458-542: praise of farming life; Lucretian ambitions; country life and the Golden Age


O fortunatos nimium, sua si bona norint,                                   Horace Epode 2.1 Beatus ille … [farmer]

agricolas! quibus ipsa procul discordibus armis                       poem of peace (land and Eclogues?)

fundit humo facilem uictum iustissima tellus.               460      rejection of materialism: Lucr.2 proem

si non ingentem foribus domus alta superbis                             Lucr.2.24 si non …

mane salutantum totis uomit aedibus undam,                           artificial materialism of the city

nec uarios inhiant pulchra testudine postis                               Lucr.2.27 nec domus argento fulget inlusasque auro uestis Ephyreiaque aera,                                  auroque renidet [+ other luxuries]

alba neque Assyrio fucatur lana ueneno,               465               Roman nostalgia for peasant simplicity

nec casia liquidi corrumpitur usus oliui;

at secura quies et nescia fallere uita,                                           the real riches of country life

diues opum uariarum, at latis otia fundis,

speluncae uiuique lacus, at frigida tempe

mugitusque boum mollesque sub arbore somni     470

non absunt; illic saltus ac lustra ferarum

et patiens operum exiguoque adsueta iuuentus,

sacra deum sanctique patres; extrema per illos

Iustitia excedens terris uestigia fecit.                                          Dike in Aratus (end of Golden Age)

     Me uero primum dulces ante omnia Musae,        475           Lucretian ambitions: Lucr.1.923-4

quarum sacra fero ingenti percussus amore,                             percussit thyrso laudis spes magna mi

accipiant caelique uias et sidera monstrent,                              meum cor/et simul incussit suavem

defectus solis uarios lunaeque labores;                                       in pectus amorem    Lucr 5.751 Solis           

unde tremor terris, qua ui maria alta tumescent                      item quoque defectus lunaeque latebras

obicibus ruptis rursusque in se ipsa residant,               480      Lucretius 5.914 maria alta

quid tantum Oceano properent se tingere soles

hiberni, uel quae tardis mora noctibus obstet.

sin has ne possim naturae accedere partis

frigidus obstiterit circum praecordia sanguis,

rura mihi et rigui placeant in uallibus amnes,               485    

flumina amem siluasque inglorius. o ubi campi

Spercheosque et uirginibus bacchata Lacaenis

Taygeta! o qui me gelidis conuallibus Haemi

sistat, et ingenti ramorum protegat umbra!                              Lucretius 3.1072 naturam primum

felix qui potuit rerum cognoscere causas                        490     studeat cognoscere rerum

atque metus omnis et inexorabile fatum

subiecit pedibus strepitumque Acherontis auari:                      Lucretius 1.78 pedibus subiecta

fortunatus et ille deos qui nouit agrestis

Panaque Siluanumque senem Nymphasque sorores.               Gods of Georgics 1 proem

illum non populi fasces, non purpura regum               495        Lucr. 3.996 a populo fasces

flexit et infidos agitans discordia fratres,                                   2x brothers in law?

aut coniurato descendens Dacus ab Histro,                               mid 30s?

non res Romanae perituraque regna; neque ille

aut doluit miserans inopem aut inuidit habenti.

quos rami fructus, quos ipsa uolentia rura               500

sponte tulere sua, carpsit, nec ferrea iura

insanumque forum aut populi tabularia uidit.

sollicitant alii remis freta caeca, ruuntque                                 sailing and materialism (Ecl.4)

in ferrum, penetrant aulas et limina regum;                             Pompey in 47?

hic petit excidiis urbem miserosque penatis,               505

ut gemma bibat et Sarrano dormiat ostro;                                Lucr.2.35 ostroque rubenti

condit opes alius defossoque incubat auro;                                Lucr.2.51 auro

hic stupet attonitus rostris, hunc plausus hiantem

per cuneos geminatus enim plebisque patrumque

corripuit; gaudent perfusi sanguine fratrum,               510      civil wars

exsilioque domos et dulcia limina mutant

atque alio patriam quaerunt sub sole iacentem.                       exile (common, Ecl.1)

agricola incuruo terram dimouit aratro:

hic anni labor, hinc patriam paruosque nepotes

sustinet, hinc armenta boum meritosque iuuencos.        515

nec requies, quin aut pomis exuberet annus

aut fetu pecorum aut Cerealis mergite culmi,

prouentuque oneret sulcos atque horrea uincat.

uenit hiems: teritur Sicyonia baca trapetis,

glande sues laeti redeunt, dant arbuta siluae;               520

et uarios ponit fetus autumnus, et alte

mitis in apricis coquitur uindemia saxis.

interea dulces pendent circum oscula nati,                     Lucr.3.895     dulces occurrent oscula nati

casta pudicitiam seruat domus, ubera uaccae

lactea demittunt, pinguesque in gramine laeto               525

inter se aduersis luctantur cornibus haedi.

ipse dies agitat festos fususque per herbam,

ignis ubi in medio et socii cratera coronant,

te libans, Lenaee, uocat pecorisque magistris

uelocis iaculi certamina ponit in ulmo,               530

corporaque agresti nudant praedura palaestra.

hanc olim ueteres uitam coluere Sabini,                                     stages of Roman history

hanc Remus et frater; sic fortis Etruria creuit

scilicet et rerum facta est pulcherrima Roma,

septemque una sibi muro circumdedit arces.         535

ante etiam sceptrum Dictaei regis et ante

impia quam caesis gens est epulata iuuencis,

aureus hanc uitam in terris Saturnus agebat;

necdum etiam audierant inflari classica, necdum

impositos duris crepitare incudibus ensis.               540            no (civil) wars

     Sed nos immensum spatiis confecimus aequor,

et iam tempus equum fumantia soluere colla.                           didactic chariot : Lucr.6.93 spatium


Georgics 3.1-48 – the poet’s future career and Pindaric links


Te quoque, magna Pales, et te memorande canemus               Book 3: herd animals  Italian deity

pastor ab Amphryso, uos, siluae amnesque Lycaei.                 Apollo as herdsman in Greece

cetera, quae uacuas tenuissent carmine mentes,

omnia iam uulgata: quis aut Eurysthea durum                        Choerilus SH 317 (already end of 5C)

aut inlaudati nescit Busiridis aras?               5                             story of Hercules (Panyassis e.g. 5C)

cui non dictus Hylas puer et Latonia Delos                                Hylas: Apollonius, Theocritus

Hippodameque umeroque Pelops insignis eburno,                   Delos: Callimachus H4  Pelops: Pindar

acer equis? temptanda uia est, qua me quoque possim            Ol.1.27 ἐλέφαντι φαίδιμον ὦμον

tollere humo uictorque uirum uolitare per ora.                         κεκαδμένον  Ennius’ self-epitaph:

primus ego in patriam mecum, modo uita supersit,       10      uolito uiuu' per ora uirum

Aonio rediens deducam uertice Musas;                                       1. Hesiod [Ecl.6.65] 2. conquest of primus Idumaeas referam tibi, Mantua, palmas,                     Greece repeatedx2    Idumea: Herod !

et uiridi in campo templum de marmore ponam                       Temple: 1. Pindaric poetics  Ol.6, P.6

propter aquam, tardis ingens ubi flexibus errat                        2. Italian locations: Mantua, but also

Mincius et tenera praetexit harundine ripas.               15          Rome (Mausoleum, Herc.Musarum)

in medio mihi Caesar erit templumque tenebit:                        divine occupation

illi uictor ego et Tyrio conspectus in ostro                                  real and poetic triumphs; Actian games

centum quadriiugos agitabo ad flumina currus.                       chariot: triumph and racing

cuncta mihi Alpheum linquens lucosque Molorchi                    Greek athletics: Pindar again

cursibus et crudo decernet Graecia caestu.               20             [Olympia, Nemea]

ipse caput tonsae foliis ornatus oliuae                                        peaceful victory garland

dona feram. iam nunc sollemnis ducere pompas                      triumph-style procession

ad delubra iuuat caesosque uidere iuuencos,                                                     sacrifice

uel scaena ut uersis discedat frontibus utque                                                     drama (Varius Thyestes)

purpurea intexti tollant aulaea Britanni.               25                 Britain – future conquest?

in foribus pugnam ex auro solidoque elephanto                       India – Alexander again

Gangaridum faciam uictorisque arma Quirini,                         E and W juxtaposed

atque hic undantem bello magnumque fluentem                      Egypt 30 BCE  [rhyme]

Nilum ac nauali surgentis aere columnas.                                 Actium 31

addam urbes Asiae domitas pulsumque Niphaten     30          Asia 30-29

fidentemque fuga Parthum uersisque sagittis;                          Parthians – more unfinished business?

et duo rapta manu diuerso ex hoste tropaea                              broad geography – TWO not THREE

bisque triumphatas utroque ab litore gentis.                             East/West [Illyricum/Egypt?]                  

stabunt et Parii lapides, spirantia signa,

Assaraci proles demissaeque ab Ioue gentis               35            descent from Troy – link to Aeneid?

nomina, Trosque parens et Troiae Cynthius auctor.                Forum Augustum anticipated?

Inuidia infelix Furias amnemque seuerum                                 Phthonos – Pindaric (P.1,7 Ol.6)              

Cocyti metuet tortosque Ixionis anguis                                       Underworld – Pindaric (Ol.2; Ixion P2)

immanemque rotam et non exsuperabile saxum.                      Ixion and Antony: sexual offence?

interea Dryadum siluas saltusque sequamur               40         Callimachean originality [Aet.1 pref.]

intactos, tua, Maecenas, haud mollia iussa:                              commissioned? poem like farming?

te sine nil altum mens incohat. en age segnis                             [G.1.121-2 pater ipse colendi         

rumpe moras; uocat ingenti clamore Cithaeron                       haud facilem esse uiam uoluit]

Taygetique canes domitrixque Epidaurus equorum,                Greek animal breeds/Latin poem

et uox adsensu nemorum ingeminata remugit.               45

mox tamen ardentis accingar dicere pugnas                             Future plans – conventional Roman

Caesaris et nomen fama tot ferre per annos,                             praise epic [Ecl.4, 6, 8], or the Aeneid?

Tithoni prima quot abest ab origine Caesar.                              [iconic word order]

 Georgics 4: bees and mock-epic – why a whole book on bees?



Protinus aerii mellis caelestia dona

exsequar: hanc etiam, Maecenas, adspice partem.

Admiranda tibi levium spectacula rerum

magnanimosque duces totiusque ordine gentis             [epic language]

mores et studia et populos et proelia dicam.               5  Od.1.3  ’he saw the cities of many men and got

In tenui labor; at tenuis non gloria, si quem                  to know their way of thinking’

numina laeva sinunt auditque vocatus Apollo.             [Callimachean aesthetics]


Link with 3.1-48: the poetic career from didactic to epic via mock-epic?  Battle of Frogs and Mice (Batrachomuomachia), probably pre-Vergilian, in which the warring ampihibians and rodents are described like Homeric heroes (cf. Batr.4  ‘a limitless strife, the work of Ares full of the din of war’).

Cf. Statius, preface to Silvae 1 (80s CE): ‘but we give recognition to both the Culex and the Battle of Frogs, and there is no famous poet who has not made some sport before his great works in a more relaxed style’.  


Georgics 4.116-24 – nothing on gardens: links to Nicander’s Georgika?

atque equidem, extremo ni iam sub fine laborum

vela traham et terris festinem advertere proram,

forsitan et pinguis hortos quae cura colendi

ornaret canerem biferique rosaria Paesti,

quoque modo potis gauderent intiba rivis

et virides apio ripae, tortusque per herbam

cresceret in ventrem cucumis; nec sera comantem

narcissum aut flexi tacuissem vimen acanthi

pallentisque hederas et amantis litora myrtos.


The list of horticultural topics which the poet would sing of, had he time, looks very like the contents of Nicander's Georgika: roses (119) ~ Nicander fr.74, endive (120) ~ Nicander  fr.71.3; two of the four species of flower mentioned in 122-4 occur in fr.74 : the acanthus (74.55-6) and ivy (74.17-24).


The old man and Nicander (125-29):

namque sub Oebaliae memini me turribus arcis,

qua niger umectat flaventia culta Galaesus,

Corycium vidisse senem, cui pauca relicti

iugera ruris erant, nec fertilis illa iuvencis

nec pecori opportuna seges nec commoda Baccho.

Ionian Corycus 50km from Colophon, Nicander's birthplace. A Greek in Italian exile – like Nicander as appropriated (or not) by Vergil? senex = literary ancestor, cf. Ecl.6.70 Ascraeo … seni (Hesiod)?

For the full argument see SJH, ‘Virgil’s Corycius Senex and Nicander’s Georgica : Georgics 4.116-48’ in Latin Epic and Didactic Poetry : Genre, Tradition and Individuality, ed. M.Gale (2004) 109-23.


 SJH: ‘In the long account of bougonia (regeneration of bees through the slaughter of a bullock) which forms the climax of the didactic information of the poem (4.281-558), scholars have long acknowledged that the outer frame of the material on Aristaeus, his encounter with his mother Cyrene and his discovery of the technique of bougonia is derived from Homeric epic (see below), while the inner Orpheus narrative  (4.453-527) owes much to the short hexameter narrative poem or epyllion’.

Callimachean links: bougonia as aetiological (Call.fr.383), happens in Egypt, Call’s country of residence (4.285-94), Cyrene Call’s birthplace; Pfeiffer (on Call. fr.471) suggested that Callimachus narrated the story of Aristaeus in a lost passage which was also used by Apollonius.


SJH ‘The Homeric texture of the frame-narrative of the story of Orpheus (4.315-452), in which Aristaeus, seeking a solution to the problem of regenerating his bees, applies first to his mother Cyrene and then (on her instructions) to the sea-god Proteus, needs little argument here… The meeting of the hero with his nymph mother and her sisters reworks the encounter of Achilles with Thetis and the Nereids in Iliad 18, while his encounter with Proteus looks back to Menelaus’ account of his own meeting with the same divinity in Odyssey 4’.


Aristaeus as mythical representation of the farmer of the poem (4.326-32):

‘en etiam hunc ipsum uitae mortalis honorem, 

quem mihi uix frugum et pecudum custodia sollers                             G 1 and 3

omnia temptanti extuderat, te matre relinquo.

quin age et ipsa manu felicis erue siluas,                                                G 2

fer stabulis inimicum ignem atque interfice messis,     330

ure sata et ualidam in uitis molire bipennem,                                       G 2

tanta meae si te ceperunt taedia laudis.'


SJH: ‘The inserted epyllion in the bougonia-episode, narrated by Proteus, famously explains that Aristaeus can regenerate his bees only after he atones for the death of Eurydice and the consequent end of Orpheus (4.453-527). That the achievements of Aristaeus, with his violent but successful technique of regenerating the bee-state, explicitly compared with Rome, resembles the contemporary achievements of Caesar/Augustus in recreating the Roman state after the violent civil wars,  has been several times suggested by scholars. The parallels between the two figures can be taken further : both have a divine parent, and both can hope for apotheosis as a result of their labours on earth.    The conclusion on the metaliterary level could even be that the ultimate victory of Aristaeus, whose narrative is framed in such strongly Homeric terms, looks forward to the future triumph of both martial epic and Augustan politics, combined in the form and content of the Aeneid, a development already anticipated (as we have seen) at the beginning of Georgics 3; the ultimate defeat of Orpheus, onn the other hand, would represent the demise of a past literary form and of another way of viewing the world in post-Actium Rome’.


Georgics 4.559-66 [ending]:

 Haec super arvorum cultu pecorumque canebam

et super arboribus, Caesar dum magnus ad altum              

fulminat Euphraten bello victorque volentes

per populos dat iura viamque adfectat Olympo.

Illo Vergilium me tempore dulcis alebat

Parthenope studiis florentem ignobilis oti,

carmina qui lusi pastorum audaxque iuventa,               

Tityre, te patulae cecini sub tegmine fagi.


‘This was my song on the care of fields, flocks and trees, while great Caesar thunders at the Euphrates in war, and grants laws as victor to willing peoples, and tries his way to Olympus. At that time sweet Naples nourished me, Vergil, as I flourished in the pursuits of ignoble leisure, I who played with the songs of herdsmen and bold in youth sang of you, Tityrus, under the shade of the spreading beech’.


Here the effect of citing the first line of the Eclogues at the end of the Georgics seems to be that of ending a phase in the Vergilian poetic career, and in the teleological transition of the Georgics towards military epic which this chapter has sketched, the target of poetic ascent and the theme of a full ‘Homeric’ epic is strongly present in the mighty military achievements of Caesar/Augustus.



Week 3C


Elegy before Ovid:   Propertius 1-3


[READ: Propertius 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 2.1, 2.7, 2.10, 3.1, 3.3]


Love-elegy - some key ideas

servitium amoris: the (elite male) lover is the devoted slave of the (socially inferior) puella.

Ancestor of medieval courtly love (via Ovid); startling reversal of normal Roman social values.

militia amoris: the idea that love is a form of war, mirroring normal Roman male elite activity (the mistress is besieged, sex is a battle, consummation is victory).


Realism: how far should we take the characterisation of poet and puella as realistic?

(a)       realists: Lyne 1980 (emotionally convincing), Griffin 1985 (realistic lifestyle).

(b)       constructivists: Veyne 1978 (entertaining fiction), Wyke 2002 (masculine construction of the feminine,  metapoetics and political subversion)? Need for infidelity and caprice?

How is this any different to any other first-person poetry (e.g. Shakespeare’s  sonnets)?

Are the roles of lover and puella intrinsically unrealistic for their Roman context?

Puella: name implies NOT a matrona. The puella sometimes has a vir, but this need not be a husband (the term can just mean ‘man’); in no case is a puella clearly married, but her status is usually unclear; this is not much helped by the general focus of Roman elegy on the male poet’s feelings rather than the feelings (or even the appearance) of the puella. The name domina (mistress of slaves) implies not the head of a household but the ‘owner’ of the lover who is dependent on her for satisfaction. Recent work has argued that the puella is a professional courtesan and the poet is trying to persuade her to perform for free through his poems, a strategy which she can detect (James 2003).


Politics: militia amoris? Wyke 2002 (elegy presents an alternative and subversive world). Greene 1998: elegy not only objectifies the puella but also expresses anxiety about the effeminacy of the lover by Roman standards, though the life of love turns out to be no less defined by dominance and competition than the life that it claims to avoid.


Contact with other genres: New Comedy (love plots, dramatic incidents, meretrices, materialism), Hellenistic epigram (metre, erotic interests, concept of lament and sadness, structured poetry-collections), epic (inversion and rejection).



B.K.Gold (ed.), A Companion to Roman Love Elegy (Chichester, 2012)

T.S.Thorsen (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Latin Love Elegy (Cambridge, 2013)

P.Allen Miller, Latin Erotic Elegy (London, 2002) [reader, notes on some poems]

D.E.McCoskey and Z.M.Torlone, Latin Love Poetry  (London, 2014). [useful synthesis of recent work]

Other books

Still useful: R.O.A.M. (Oliver) Lyne, The Latin Love Poets (1980) [male romantic perspective]

Deconstruction: P.Veyne, Roman Erotic Elegy (1988, Fr.1983) [elegy as entertaining fiction]

Feminist/female approaches:

Maria Wyke, The Roman Mistress (2002; material from 1980s)

Ellen Greene, The Erotics of Domination: Male Desire and the Mistress in Latin Love Poetry (1998)

Sharon James, Learned Girls and Male Persuasion: Gender and Reading in Roman Love Elegy, 2003) [working girls who need to be persuaded]

Ruth Caston, The Elegiac Passion. Jealousy in Roman Love Elegy (2012) [emotions]

Hunter Gardner, Gendering Time in Augustan Love Elegy (2013) [poetic deferral and delay]

Emma Scioli, Dream, Fantasy and Visual Art in Roman Elegy (2015) [dreams/ekphrasis]


Propertius – first book c.28, post-Actium but no Caesar except 1.21.7 (uncomplimentary).

Maecenas appears in Book 2, which like Book 3 confronts some Augustan themes.


Propertius 1.1.1-18 – the impact of love

Cynthia prima suis miserum me cepit ocellis,                           Hostia?   militia amoris

    contactum nullis ante cupidinibus.                                           disease

tum mihi constantis deiecit lumina fastus

    et caput impositis pressit Amor pedibus,                                military victory

donec me docuit castas odisse puellas                 5                      

    improbus, et nullo vivere consilio.                                           random alternative lifestyle

ei mihi, iam toto furor hic non deficit anno,                               madness

    cum tamen adversos cogor habere deos.

Milanion nullos fugiendo, Tulle, labores                                     Milanion and Atalanta: need for effort

    saevitiam durae contudit Iasidos.                 10                       cruel mistress

nam modo Partheniis amens errabat in antris,                         Gallus in Ecl.10 (57 Parthenios … saltus)

    rursus in hirsutas ibat et ille feras;

ille etiam Hylaei percussus vulnere rami

    saucius Arcadiis rupibus ingemuit.                                          Ecl.10.26 Arcadiae 10.58 rupes

ergo velocem potuit domuisse puellam:                 15                  subjugation

    tantum in amore fides et benefacta valent.                            erotic service

in me tardus Amor non ullas cogitat artes,                                but I am not so resourceful…

    nec meminit notas, ut prius, ire vias.


Propertius 1.2 – rebuking Cynthia:

Quid iuvat ornato procedere, vita, capillo                                  elaborate hairstyle

    et tenuis Coa veste movere sinus,                                             luxurious transparent dress

aut quid Orontea crines perfundere murra,                               expensive hair-oil

    teque peregrinis vendere muneribus,                                       foreign products and girl for sale

naturaeque decus mercato perdere cultu,                 5

    nec sinere in propriis membra nitere bonis?                          why not be natural?

crede mihi, non ulla tua est medicina figurae:

    nudus Amor formam non amat artificem.

aspice quos summittat humus non fossa colores,

    ut veniant hederae sponte sua melius,                 10                ‘behold, the lilies of the field’

surgat et in solis formosior arbutus antris,

    et sciat indocilis currere lympha vias.

litora nativis praefulgent picta lapillis,

    et volucres nulla dulcius arte canunt.                                     

non sic Leucippis succendit Castora Phoebe,                 15         heroines needed no devices

    Pollucem cultu non Hilaira soror;                                            heroine = Cynthia, hero = Prop.

non, Idae et cupido quondam discordia Phoebo,

    Eueni patriis filia litoribus;                                                       [Marpessa]

nec Phrygium falso traxit candore maritum                              [Pelops]

    avecta externis Hippodamia rotis:                 20

sed facies aderat nullis obnoxia gemmis,

    qualis Apelleis est color in tabulis.

non illis studium fuco conquirere amantes:

    illis ampla satis forma pudicitia.                                              impossible for Cynthia?

non ego nunc vereor ne sis tibi vilior istis:                 25

    uni si qua placet, culta puella sat est;                                      monogamy: realistic?

cum tibi praesertim Phoebus sua carmina donet                      performer on lyre/recipient of poems?

    Aoniamque libens Calliopea lyram,                                        

unica nec desit iucundis gratia verbis,

    omnia quaeque Venus, quaeque Minerva probat.                 30

his tu semper eris nostrae gratissima vitae,

    taedia dum miserae sint tibi luxuriae.                                     the key point


Propertius 1.3.1-10 - the poet returns from a night out

Qualis Thesea iacuit cedente carina                                             Ariadne (Prop. as Bacchus; Theseus?)

    languida desertis Cnosia litoribus;

qualis et accubuit primo Cepheia somno                       

    libera iam duris cautibus Andromede;                                    freed from what?

nec minus assiduis Edonis fessa choreis                 5                   exhausted after revelling

    qualis in herboso concidit Apidano:

talis visa mihi mollem spirare quietem

    Cynthia consertis nixa caput manibus,

ebria cum multo traherem vestigia Baccho,                               drunk

    et quaterent sera nocte facem pueri.                 10


1.3.35-46 – Cynthia speaks – but is she lying?

'tandem te nostro referens iniuria lecto                           35        possible reciprocation?

    alterius clausis expulit e foribus?

namque ubi longa meae consumpsti tempora noctis,

    languidus exactis, ei mihi, sideribus?                                      possible reciprocation?

o utinam talis perducas, improbe, noctes,

    me miseram qualis semper habere iubes!                 40          but what really happened?

nam modo purpureo fallebam stamine somnum,                     weaving – but luxury item (1.2)   

    rursus et Orpheae carmine, fessa, lyrae;                                lyre – Orpheus or hetaira?

interdum leviter mecum deserta querebar                                 by whom?

    externo longas saepe in amore moras:

dum me iucundis lassam Sopor impulit alis.                 45

    illa fuit lacrimis ultima cura meis.'


2.1 – Maecenas and Callimachus first appear, and together:

Quaeritis, unde mihi totiens scribantur amores,                       second book

    unde meus veniat mollis in ore liber.

non haec Calliope, non haec mihi cantat Apollo:                      not traditional inspirations           

    ingenium nobis ipsa puella facit.                                              but puella herself

sive illam Cois fulgentem incedere cernis,

    hac totum e Coa veste volumen erit;

seu vidi ad frontem sparsos errare capillos,

    gaudet laudatis ire superba comis;

sive lyrae carmen digitis percussit eburnis,

    miramur, facilis ut premat arte manus;

seu cum poscentis somnum declinat ocellos,

    invenio causas mille poeta novas;

seu nuda erepto mecum luctatur amictu,

    tum vero longas condimus Iliadas;                                          militia amoris

seu quidquid fecit sive est quodcumque locuta,

    maxima de nihilo nascitur historia.                                         history

quod mihi si tantum, Maecenas, fata dedissent,                        Maecenas/recusatio

    ut possem heroas ducere in arma manus,

non ego Titanas canerem, non Ossan Olympo                          epic topics: Titanomachy, Gigantomachy

    impositam, ut caeli Pelion esset iter,

nec veteres Thebas, nec Pergama nomen Homeri,                    Thebaid    Iliad

    Xerxis et imperio bina coisse vada,                                          Choerilus Persica [Verg.G.3.1ff]

regnave prima Remi aut animos Carthaginis altae,                Ennius      Naevius

    Cimbrorumque minas et bene facta Mari:                              Cicero Marius

bellaque resque tui memorarem Caesaris, et tu                        Augustus

    Caesare sub magno cura secunda fores.

nam quotiens Mutinam aut civilia busta Philippos                  Mutina (43)  Philippi (42)

    aut canerem Siculae classica bella fugae,                               Bellum Siculum (38-36(

eversosque focos antiquae gentis Etruscae,                                Perusia (41)              

    et Ptolomaeei litora capta Phari,                                              Alexandria (30)

aut canerem Aegyptum et Nilum, cum attractus in urbem     triumph of 29

    septem captivis debilis ibat aquis,

aut regum auratis circumdata colla catenis,

    Actiaque in Sacra currere rostra Via;

sed neque Phlegraeos Iovis Enceladique tumultus                    recusatio

    intonet angusto pectore Callimachus,                                      unepic Callimachus

nec mea conveniunt duro praecordia versu

    Caesaris in Phrygios condere nomen avos.                            not the Aeneid

                                                                     (cf. G.3.48 Tithoni prima quot abest ab origine Caesar)

Maecenas, nostrae spes invidiosa iuventae,

    et vitae et morti gloria iusta meae,

si te forte meo ducet via proxima busto,                                     morbidity [cf.Tibullus]

    esseda caelatis siste Britanna iugis,                                         Maecenas’ Mercedes                      

taliaque illacrimans mutae iace verba favillae:

    'Huic misero fatum dura puella fuit.'                                       epigrammatic topos: elegiacs


2.7 – Caesar and Cynthia conflict:

Gavisa est certe sublatam Cynthia legem,                                  20s BCE – failed marriage legislation

    qua quondam edicta flemus uterque diu,

ni nos divideret: quamvis diducere amantis

    non queat invitos Iuppiter ipse duos.

'At magnus Caesar.' sed magnus Caesar in armis:                   some encomium?

    devictae gentes nil in amore valent.

nam citius paterer caput hoc discedere collo                             Cynthia not marriageable

    quam possem nuptae perdere more faces,                              accendere amore?

aut ego transirem tua limina clausa maritus,

    respiciens udis prodita luminibus.

a mea tum qualis caneret tibi tibia somnos,

    tibia, funesta tristior illa tuba!

unde mihi Parthis natos praebere triumphis?                           anti-militarism

    nullus de nostro sanguine miles erit.

quod si vera meae comitarem castra puellae,

    non mihi sat magnus Castoris iret equus.

hinc etenim tantum meruit mea gloria nomen,

    gloria ad hibernos lata Borysthenidas.

tu mihi sola places: placeam tibi, Cynthia, solus:

    hic erit et patrio nomine pluris amor.

2.10 – promise to celebrate Caesar in time

Sed tempus lustrare aliis Helicona choreis,

    et campum Haemonio iam dare tempus equo.

iam libet et fortis memorare ad proelia turmas

    et Romana mei dicere castra ducis.                                          Augustus’ wars                    

quod si deficiant vires, audacia certe

    laus erit: in magnis et voluisse sat est.

aetas prima canat Veneres, extrema tumultus:                        

    bella canam, quando scripta puella mea est.                         Cynthia then Caesar

nunc volo subducto gravior procedere vultu,

    nunc aliam citharam me mea Musa docet.

surge, anima, ex humili, iam, carmine, sumite vires;

    Pierides, magni nunc erit oris opus.

iam negat Euphrates equitem post terga tueri                          Parthia (20s)

    Parthorum et Crassos se tenuisse dolet:

India quin, Auguste, tuo dat colla triumpho,                             India (Alexander)                after 27

    et domus intactae te tremit Arabiae;                                       Arabia (26-25)

et si qua extremis tellus se subtrahit oris,

    sentiat illa tuas postmodo capta manus!

haec ego castra sequar; vates tua castra canendo

    magnus ero: servent hunc mihi fata diem!

at caput in magnis ubi non est tangere signis,

    ponitur hac imos ante corona pedes;

sic nos nunc, inopes laudis conscendere carmen,

    pauperibus sacris vilia tura damus.                                         modest praise poetry

nondum etiam Ascraeos norunt mea carmina fontis,

    sed modo Permessi flumine lavit Amor.                                  still love-elegy


Propertius 3.1 – a new poetic programme, reacting to Horace’s Odes (after 23)

Callimachi Manes et Coi sacra Philitae,                                     Hellenistic Greek elegists

    in vestrum, quaeso, me sinite ire nemus.

primus ego ingredior puro de fonte sacerdos                            Hor.Odes 3.1.3 Musarum sacerdos

    Itala per Graios orgia ferre choros.                                         cf. Verg.G.2.176      Ascraeumque cano dicite, quo pariter carmen tenuastis in antro     Romana per oppida carmen, Hor.Odes 3.30.13-14

    quove pede ingressi? quamve bibistis aquam?           Aeolium carmen ad Italos /deduxisse modos

a valeat, Phoebum quicumque moratur in armis!

    exactus tenui pumice versus eat,                                              Callimachean polish

quo me Fama levat terra sublimis, et a me                                 poetic triumph: Georgics 3 proem

    nata coronatis Musa triumphat equis,

et mecum in curru parvi vectantur Amores,                              Gallus?

    scriptorumque meas turba secuta rotas.

quid frustra immissis mecum certatis habenis?

    non datur ad Musas currere lata via.                                      Callimachean originality

multi, Roma, tuas laudes annalibus addent,

    qui finem imperii Bactra futura canent.                                  Alexander

sed, quod pace legas, opus hoc de monte Sororum                   Verg.G.3.11 Aonio rediens deducam

     detulit intacta pagina nostra via.                                            uertice Musas (poetic peaceful plunder)

mollia, Pegasides, date vestro serta poetae:                              muse and garland: Odes 3.30.15-16

    non faciet capiti dura corona meo.                                          hard/soft = elegy/epic

at mihi quod vivo detraxerit invida turba,

    post obitum duplici faenore reddet Honos;

omnia post obitum fingit maiora vetustas:

    maius ab exsequiis nomen in ora venit.

nam quis equo pulsas abiegno nosceret arces,                           Homer and the Trojan War

    fluminaque Haemonio comminus isse viro,

Idaeum Simoenta Iovis cum prole Scamandro,

    Hectora per campos ter maculasse rotas?

Deiphobumque Helenumque et Pulydamantis in armis

    qualemcumque Parim vix sua nosset humus.

exiguo sermone fores nunc, Ilion, et tu

    Troia bis Oetaei numine capta dei.

nec non ille tui casus memorator Homerus

    posteritate suum crescere sensit opus;

meque inter seros laudabit Roma nepotes:

    illum post cineres auguror ipse diem.

ne mea contempto lapis indicet ossa sepulcro

    provisumst Lycio vota probante deo.                                      Lycian Apollo: Call.Aet. fr.1/22


Propertius 3.3 – Callimachean poetic vision [cf. Aetia prologue]

Visus eram molli recubans Heliconis in umbra,                        Helicon: Hesiod

    Bellerophontei qua fluit umor equi,

reges, Alba, tuos et regum facta tuorum,                        Ennian-style historical epic (Alban kings)

    tantum operis, nervis hiscere posse meis;

parvaque iam magnis admoram fontibus ora

    (unde pater sitiens Ennius ante bibit,

et cecinit Curios fratres et Horatia pila,                                      early Rome

    regiaque Aemilia vecta tropaea rate,

victricisque moras Fabii pugnamque sinistram                        Punic Wars

    Cannensem et versos ad pia vota deos,

Hannibalemque Lares Romana sede fugantis,

    anseris et tutum voce fuisse Iovem),                                        Gallic crisis 390

cum me Castalia speculans ex arbore Phoebus                        

    sic ait aurata nixus ad antra lyra:                                           break from epic?

'quid tibi cum tali, demens, est flumine? quis te                         river of epic (Callimachus H.2)

    carminis heroi tangere iussit opus?

non hinc ulla tibi sperandast fama, Properti:

    mollia sunt parvis prata terenda rotis;                                   elegy

ut tuus in scamno iactetur saepe libellus,

    quem legat exspectans sola puella virum.

cur tua praescriptos evectast pagina gyros?

    non est ingenii cumba gravanda tui.

alter remus aquas alter tibi radat harenas,                               elegy not epic?

    tutus eris: medio maxima turba marist.'

[Calliope speaks – cf. 2.1.3 non haec Calliope, non haec mihi cantat Apollo!]

'contentus niveis semper vectabere cycnis,

    nec te fortis equi ducet ad arma sonus.

nil tibi sit rauco praeconia classica cornu

     flare, nec Aonium tingere Marte nemus;

aut quibus in campis Mariano proelia signo                              Marius: Cicero

    stent et Teutonicas Roma refringat opes,

barbarus aut Suebo perfusus sanguine Rhenus                         Suebi: Caesar

    saucia maerenti corpora vectet aqua.

quippe coronatos alienum ad limen amantes

    nocturnaeque canes ebria signa morae,

ut per te clausas sciat excantare puellas,

    qui volet austeros arte ferire viros.'

talia Calliope, lymphisque a fonte petitis

    ora Philitea nostra rigavit aqua.                      cf.3.1.1 [programmatic sequence]


Week 4A


Elegy before Ovid:   Tibullus

Vergil Aeneid [preliminaries]



Tibullus Book 1

Published after 27 BCE (after Georgics and Propertius 1)

No mention of Caesar, old or young – Messalla the dedicatee (aristocrat, general, orator, now Caesarian) – a literary patron like Maecenas (friend of Horace, early patron of Ovid).


Tibullus 1.1.1-28 – programmatic poem

Divitias alius fulvo sibi congerat auro                             bioi as opening [cf. Horace Satires 1, 30 BCE]

     Et teneat culti iugera multa soli,                                 large extent – large poetry?

Quem labor adsiduus vicino terreat hoste,                     much labour – much poetry?  battle – epic?

     Martia cui somnos classica pulsa fugent:

Me mea paupertas vita traducat inerti,               5          quiet life and peaceful elegy

     Dum meus adsiduo luceat igne focus.

Ipse seram teneras maturo tempore vites                      vines: Georgics 2? rustic element

     Rusticus et facili grandia poma manu;                      (cf. Gallus Ecl.10, contrast Propertius 1)

Nec spes destituat, sed frugum semper acervos

     Praebeat et pleno pinguia musta lacu.               10

Nam veneror, seu stipes habet desertus in agris           rustic religion: G.1 338 in primis venerare deos

     Seu vetus in trivio florida serta lapis,                         2.394-6

Et quodcumque mihi pomum novus educat annus,

     Libatum agricolae ponitur ante deo.                          gods of agriculture: G.1 proem

Flava Ceres, tibi sit nostro de rure corona               15   G.1.96 flava Ceres                landowner                

     Spicea, quae templi pendeat ante fores,

Pomosisque ruber custos ponatur in hortis,

     Terreat ut saeva falce Priapus aves.

Vos quoque, felicis quondam, nunc pauperis agri         confiscations of 41? cf. Eclogue 1

     Custodes, fertis munera vestra, Lares.               20

Tunc vitula innumeros lustrabat caesa iuvencos,

     Nunc agna exigui est hostia parva soli.                     small sacrifice = small poem: Callimachean

Agna cadet vobis, quam circum rustica pubes               (cf. Horace Odes 4.2 end)

     Clamet 'io messes et bona vina date'.

Iam modo iam possim contentus vivere parvo               25

     Nec semper longae deditus esse viae,                         1. military career (cf. 1.7) 2.epic?

Sed Canis aestivos ortus vitare sub umbra                     Ecl.7.10  5.46-7  8.87

     Arboris ad rivos praetereuntis aquae.                        Eclogues


1.1.57-62      make love not war – and the poet’s morbidity:

Non ego laudari curo, mea Delia; tecum                        ‘inactive’ poetry and lifestyle

     Dum modo sim, quaeso segnis inersque vocer.                                

Te spectem, suprema mihi cum venerit hora,                death in love not battle

     Te teneam moriens deficiente manu.               60

Flebis et arsuro positum me, Delia, lecto,

     Tristibus et lacrimis oscula mixta dabis.                    Achilles and Patroclus?

1.3.1-10  - Tibullus fails to go to war with Messalla in the East:

Ibitis Aegaeas sine me, Messalla, per undas,

     O utinam memores ipse cohorsque mei.

Me tenet ignotis aegrum Phaeacia terris,                                               ?Corfu (on eastern route)

     Abstineas avidas, Mors, modo, nigra, manus.                                  the poet’s death as theme

Abstineas, Mors atra, precor: non hic mihi mater               5               Roman funerary practice

     Quae legat in maestos ossa perusta sinus,

Non soror, Assyrios cineri quae dedat odores                                      

     Et fleat effusis ante sepulcra comis,

Delia non usquam; quae me cum mitteret urbe,                                   not a normal elegy?

     Dicitur ante omnes consuluisse deos.               10                               no funeral possible like 1.1


1.3.53-64  – the poet’s potential death and visit to the Underworld:

Quodsi fatales iam nunc explevimus annos,

     Fac lapis inscriptis stet super ossa notis:

'Hic iacet inmiti consumptus morte Tibullus,               55          embedded epigram

     Messallam terra dum sequiturque mari.'

Sed me, quod facilis tenero sum semper Amori,

     Ipsa Venus campos ducet in Elysios.                                       erotic Underworld – like Tibullus’

Hic choreae cantusque vigent, passimque vagantes                 world above?

     Dulce sonant tenui gutture carmen aves,               60

Fert casiam non culta seges, totosque per agros                       country (cf. 1.1)

     Floret odoratis terra benigna rosis;

Ac iuvenum series teneris inmixta puellis                                   life of love there                  

     Ludit, et adsidue proelia miscet Amor.                                   (opposes Virgil G.4?)


1.7 – Messalla’s triumph of 27 BCE (epic topic in elegy – problem?)

Hunc cecinere diem Parcae fatalia nentes                                  birthday poem/ genethliakon

     Stamina, non ulli dissoluenda deo,                               [Gk epigrams: Crinagoras AP 6.227, 262]

Hunc fore, Aquitanas posset qui fundere gentes,                      Aquitanian triumph

     Quem tremeret forti milite victus Atax.                                  [traditional Roman epic subject]

Evenere: novos pubes Romana triumphos               5

     Vidit et evinctos bracchia capta duces;

At te victrices lauros, Messalla, gerentem

     Portabat nitidis currus eburnus equis.

Non sine me est tibi partus honos: Tarbella Pyrene                 unlike the East – 1.3?

     Testis et Oceani litora Santonici,               10

Testis Arar Rhodanusque celer magnusque Garunna,             rivers of Gaul

     Carnutis et flavi caerula lympha Liger.

An te, Cydne, canam, tacitis qui leniter undis                            learned discourse on rivers:

     Caeruleus placidis per vada serpis aquis,                              Callimachus Rivers of the World

Quantus et aetherio contingens vertice nubes               15

     Frigidus intonsos Taurus alat Cilicas?

Quid referam, ut volitet crebras intacta per urbes

     Alba Palaestino sancta columba Syro,

Utque maris vastum prospectet turribus aequor

     Prima ratem ventis credere docta Tyros,               20

Qualis et, arentes cum findit Sirius agros,

     Fertilis aestiva Nilus abundet aqua?

Nile pater, quanam possim te dicere causa                                the Nile: Call.H.4.208 (source)

     Aut quibus in terris occuluisse caput?

Te propter nullos tellus tua postulat imbres,               25

     Arida nec pluvio supplicat herba Iovi.

Te canit atque suum pubes miratur Osirim

     Barbara, Memphiten plangere docta bovem.                       learned Egyptian lore

[29-48 : Osiris and Dionysus]

Huc ades et Genium ludis Geniumque choreis                           return to Roman culture

     Concelebra et multo tempora funde mero:               50        

Illius et nitido stillent unguenta capillo,

     Et capite et collo mollia serta gerat.

Sic venias hodierne: tibi dem turis honores,                              metapoetic gift?

     Liba et Mopsopio dulcia melle feram.                                     Greek/Roman   Mopsopia: Call.fr.351

At tibi succrescat proles, quae facta parentis               55          back to Messalla

     Augeat et circa stet veneranda senem.

Nec taceat monumenta viae, quem Tuscula tellus                    very Roman!

     Candidaque antiquo detinet Alba Lare.                                 via Latina

Namque opibus congesta tuis hic glarea dura

     Sternitur, hic apta iungitur arte silex.               60

Te canit agricola, a magna cum venerit urbe                           

     Serus inoffensum rettuleritque pedem.

At tu, Natalis multos celebrande per annos,

     Candidior semper candidiorque veni.






Vergil Aeneid – preliminaries


Aeneid 1.1-7 (proem):

arma virumque cano, Troiae qui primus ab oris                                 Iliad and Odyssey  (NB no naming of Aeneas)
Italiam, fato profugus, Laviniaque venit
litora, multum ille et terris iactatus et alto
vi superum saevae memorem Iunonis ob iram;                                  
divine opposition and ‘homeward’ voyage: Odyssey
multa quoque et bello passus, dum conderet urbem,                         
sufferings in war: Iliad

 inferretque deos Latio, genus unde Latinum,
Albanique patres, atque altae moenia Romae.                                     
positional and ideological climax              


Aeneid 1.92-101 (the hero appears):

Extemplo Aeneae solvuntur frigore membra:                                        first naming: ainos, ‘man of sorrow’? unusual?

ingemit, et duplicis tendens ad sidera palmas

talia voce refert: 'O terque quaterque beati,

quis ante ora patrum Troiae sub moenibus altis               95             nostalgia and burial; Iliadic back-story

contigit oppetere! O Danaum fortissime gentis

Tydide! Mene Iliacis occumbere campis                                                  NB Diomedes in Book 11

non potuisse, tuaque animam hanc effundere dextra,

saevus ubi Aeacidae telo iacet Hector, ubi ingens

Sarpedon, ubi tot Simois correpta sub undis               100

scuta virum galeasque et fortia corpora volvit?'


Aeneid 1.148-56 (Neptune calms the storm) :

Ac veluti magno in populo cum saepe coorta est                                 popular riot in urban location (Rome, civil war?)

seditio, saevitque animis ignobile vulgus,

iamque faces et saxa volant—furor arma ministrat;         150

tum, pietate gravem ac meritis si forte virum quem                           intervention of authoritative leader

conspexere, silent, arrectisque auribus adstant;

ille regit dictis animos, et pectora mulcet,—                                          diplomatic skills

sic cunctus pelagi cecidit fragor, aequora postquam                         reverse simile (nature to culture)

prospiciens genitor caeloque invectus aperto               155

flectit equos, curruque volans dat lora secundo.


Aeneid 1.197-209 (Aeneas encourages his men) :

 dictis maerentia pectora mulcet:                              diplomatic skills

'O socii—neque enim ignari sumus ante malorum—

O passi graviora, dabit deus his quoque finem.

Vos et Scyllaeam rabiem penitusque sonantis               200

accestis scopulos, vos et Cyclopea saxa

experti: revocate animos, maestumque timorem

mittite: forsan et haec olim meminisse iuvabit.

Per varios casus, per tot discrimina rerum

tendimus in Latium; sedes ubi fata quietas               205

ostendunt; illic fas regna resurgere Troiae.

Durate, et vosmet rebus servate secundis.'

Talia voce refert, curisque ingentibus aeger

spem voltu simulat, premit altum corde dolorem.                               diplomatic self-repression (admirable for Romans)


Aeneid 1.286-96 (the coming of Caesar):

nascetur pulchra Troianus origine Caesar,
imperium oceano, famam qui terminet astris,—
Iulius, a magno demissum nomen Iulo.                                                 
why not ‘Augustus’? Prophetic ambiguity? Date?
Hunc tu olim caelo, spoliis Orientis onustum,                                     
East: post 31
accipies secura; vocabitur hic quoque votis.                                        
as well as Aeneas? or as well as JC as well?   
Aspera tum positis mitescent saecula bellis;                                         
age of peace (must be post 31?)
cana Fides, et Vesta, Remo cum fratre Quirinus,
iura dabunt; dirae ferro et compagibus artis
claudentur Belli portae; Furor impius intus,
saeva sedens super arma, et centum vinctus aenis                            
civil war symbolism; ekphrasis of picture

post tergum nodis, fremet horridus ore cruento.                                 in Forum Augustum? Pliny NH 35.93-4



Vergil Aeneid – some considerations  Weeks 4B and 5A


Augustus, Aeneas and encomium (laudare Augustum a parentibus [Servius])


Aeneid 6.791-801  (Augustus in the Underworld – the new Alexander and Hercules):

hic uir, hic est, tibi quem promitti saepius audis,

 Augustus Caesar, diui genus, aurea condet
saecula qui rursus Latio regnata per arua
Saturno quondam, super et Garamantas et Indos
proferet imperium; iacet extra sidera tellus,              
extra anni solisque uias, ubi caelifer Atlas
axem umero torquet stellis ardentibus aptum.
huius in aduentum iam nunc et Caspia regna
responsis horrent diuum et Maeotia tellus,
et septemgemini turbant trepida ostia Nili.              

nec uero Alcides tantum telluris obiuit …


This is the man, this is him, whom you so often hear

promised you, Augustus Caesar, son of the Deified,

who will make a Golden Age again in the fields

where Saturn once reigned, and extend the empire beyond

the Libyans and the Indians (to a land that lies outside the zodiac’s belt,

beyond the sun’s ecliptic and the year’s, where sky-carrying Atlas

turns the sphere, inset with gleaming stars, on his shoulders):

Even now the Caspian realms, and Maeotian earth,

tremble at divine prophecies of his coming, and

the restless mouths of the seven-branched Nile are troubled.

Truly, Hercules never crossed so much of the earth..

Aeneid 8.678-81 (Augustus on shipboard on the Shield of Aeneas – symbolic prophecy)


hinc Augustus agens Italos in proelia Caesar
cum patribus populoque, penatibus et magnis dis,
stans celsa in puppi, geminas cui tempora flammas              
laeta uomunt patriumque aperitur uertice sidus.


On one side Augustus Caesar stands on the high stern,

leading the Italians to the conflict, with him the Senate,

the People, the household gods, the great gods, his happy brow

shoots out twin flames, and his father’s star is shown on his head.

 Aeneid 10.260-4 (Aeneas on shipboard as he returns to his men):

Iamque in conspectu Teucros habet et sua castra             

stans celsa in puppi, clipeum cum deinde sinistra
extulit ardentem. clamorem ad sidera tollunt
Dardanidae e muris, spes addita suscitat iras…


Now, he stood on the high stern, with the Trojans and his fort

in view, and at once lifted high the blazing shield, in his left hand.

The Trojans on the walls raised a shout to the sky, new hope

freshened their fury…



Aeneid 10.270-1 (fire from his head):

ardet apex capiti tristisque a uertice flamma            

funditur et uastos umbo uomit aureus ignis:


Aeneas’s crest blazed, and a dark flame streamed from the top,

and the shield’s gold boss spouted floods of fire:

Aeneid 8.362-5 (Aeneas and Hercules – cf. Augustus and Hercules in Book 6):

ut uentum ad sedes, 'haec' inquit 'limina uictor
Alcides subiit, haec illum  regia cepit.
aude, hospes, contemnere opes et te quoque dignum
finge deo, rebusque ueni non asper egenis.'   

When they reached the house, Evander said: ‘Victorious Hercules

stooped to entering this doorway, this palace charmed him.

My guest, dare to scorn wealth, and make yourself worthy too

to be a god: don’t be scathing about the lack of possessions’.


The darker side of recent history?


Aeneid 12.503-4 (narratorial comment: civil war?):

           tanton placuit concurrere motu,
Iuppiter, aeterna gentis in pace futuras


Jupiter, was it your will that races who would live

together in everlasting peace should meet in so great a conflict?

Aeneid 7.313-17 (Juno’s viciousness and 49 BCE):

non dabitur regnis, esto, prohibere Latinis,
atque immota manet fatis Lauinia coniunx:
at trahere atque moras tantis licet addere rebus,             
at licet amborum populos exscindere regum.
hac gener atque socer coeant mercede suorum


I accept it’s not granted to me to withhold the Latin kingdom,

and by destiny Lavinia will still, unalterably, be his bride:

but I can draw such things out and add delays,

and I can destroy the people of these two kings.

Let father and son-in-law unite at the cost of their nations’ lives:

Aeneid 6.830-4 (Caesar and Pompey, 49 BCE, no names):

aggeribus socer Alpinis atque arce Monoeci               
descendens, gener aduersis instructus Eois!
ne, pueri, ne tanta animis adsuescite bella
neu patriae ualidas in uiscera uertite uiris

Julius Caesar, the father-in-law, down from the Alpine ramparts, from the fortress of Monoecus: Pompey, the son-in-law, opposing with Eastern forces.

My sons, don’t inure your spirits to such wars,

never turn the powerful forces of your country on itself.


cf. Catullus 29.23-4 (Caesar and Pompey in 50s BCE, no names)

eone nomine, urbis o piissimi,

socer generque, perdidistis omnia?


By that name, you most dutiful of citizens,

Have you destroyed everything, father-in-law and son-in-law?

Aeneid 2.554-8 (death of Priam; Pompey in 48?):


haec finis Priami fatorum, hic exitus illum
sorte tulit Troiam incensam et prolapsa uidentem               
Pergama, tot quondam populis terrisque superbum
regnatorem Asiae. iacet ingens litore truncus,
auulsumque umeris caput et sine nomine corpus.


Death and decapitation of Pompey on the shore of Egypt:

Lucan Bellum Civile 8.663-711, Plutarch Pompeius 79-80,

HBO Rome series 1 episode 8 (2005).


This was the end of Priam’s life: this was the death that fell to him

by lot, seeing Troy ablaze and its citadel toppled, he who was

once the magnificent ruler of so many Asian lands and peoples.

A once mighty body lies on the shore, the head

shorn from its shoulders, a corpse without a name.




                 Priam killed by Neoptolemus

                                                                        detail of an Attic black-figure amphora, ca. 520–510 BC


Head of Pompey, Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen                           Kenneth Cranham as Pompey in Rome.


Dido and Cleopatra: some political parallels

Both (non-African) queens in African countries who are disastrously involved with Roman leaders (Aeneas, Antony) and kill themselves as a consequence (30 BCE). Both represent serious political opposition to Rome (the Antonian side against Augustus in the civil war of Actium, Carthage and the Punic wars), but also receive something of a sympathetic treatment (cf. e.g. 4.653-58 [obituary], 8.711-13 [return to the Nile]). Antony has a wife in Italy (Octavia, Augustus’ sister) but chooses to stay with his Eastern lover; Aeneas leaves his Eastern lover for his future wife in Italy (Lavinia), showing his greater sense of duty (pietas).


Dido’s perspective in Book 4 – the inside view?


The beginning (4.1-5):

at regina gravi iamdudum saucia cura

vulnus alit venis et caeco carpitur igni.                           from metaphor to literality in this book

multa viri virtus animo multusque recursat

gentis honos; haerent infixi pectore vultus

verbaque nec placidam membris dat cura quietem.

'But the queen, already for some time wounded with deep feeling, nourished a wound in her veins and was consumed by an unseen fire. The great manly courage of the hero came back to her mind, and the great prestige of his people; his features and words stayed fixed in her heart, and her passion denied peaceful sleep to her limbs'.


Dido as powerful woman from Greek tragedy (as well as Cleopatra, above)

The two-sister dialogue at the start of the book (tough and soft) recalls the opening of Sophocles’ Antigone [defier of male order]: also echoed are Euripides’ Alcestis, who dies for love of her husband, and the dangerous Euripidean Medea, user of curses and magic and avenger of a lover’s ingratitude (how far is Aeneas a Jason who abandons the woman to whom he owes so much?).


The poet’s [rare] comment – poet as tragic chorus (4. 65-73):

heu, vatum ignarae mentes ! quid vota furentem,       

quid delubra iuvant  ? est mollis flamma medullas                  fire

interea et tacitum vivit sub pectore vulnus.                                wound

uritur infelix Dido totaque vagatur

urbe furens, qualis coniecta cerva sagitta,                                 hind – sympathy?

quam procul incautam nemora inter Cresia fixit                     

pastor agens telis liquitque volatile ferrum                                Paris or commander?

nescius : illa fuga silvas saltusque peragrat                              ignorance

Dictaeos, haeret lateri letalis harundo.


'Alas, ignorant minds of prophets ! What help are prayers or shrines to one who is raging ? Meanwhile the soft flame consumes her very marrow, and an undetected wound lives beneath her breast. Unhappy Dido is on fire and wanders raging over the whole city, just like a deer after the shooting of an arrow, transfixed unawares from some way off amongst the woods of Crete by a shepherd, who drives her away with his weapons and leaves his flying metal behind, all ignorant; she in flight passes through the forests and glades of Mt.Dicte, but the deadly arrow stays embedded in her side'.





The cave-scene – no sex please, I’m an epic poet? (4. 165-72):

speluncam Dido dux et Troianus eandem

deveniunt. prima et Tellus et pronuba Iuno

dant signum; fulsere ignes et conscius aether

conubiis summoque ulularunt vertice Nymphae.                      marriage?

ille dies primus leti primusque malorum

causa fuit; neque enim specie famave movetur

nec iam furtivum Dido meditatur amorem:

coniugium vocat, hoc praetexit nomine culpam.                       whose view? tragic excess?


'Dido and the Trojan leader arrived at the same cave. First Earth and then Juno, goddess of weddings, gave their sign; fires flashed and the heaven was witness to the marriage, and the Nymphs wailed from the mountain top. That day was the beginning of her death, the earliest cause of her sufferings; for Dido is not moved by appearances or rumour, and does not any longer plan a secret passion; she calls it a marriage, and conceals her blame with this title'.


Founding the wrong city – Aeneas gets his marching orders from Mercury (4.265-7):

continuo invadit : 'tu nunc Carthaginis altae

fundamenta locas pulchramque uxorius urbem            Antony in 30s?

exstruis ? heu regni rerumque oblite tuarum !


'Immediately he attacked : 'So now you're setting the foundations of lofty Carthage, and constructing a beautiful city in fondness for your 'wife' ? Shame on your forgetting your kingdom and your own business !'


Aeneas on breaking the news –emotional cowardice? Or humane distress? (4.283-4):

heu, quid agat ? quo nunc reginam ambire furentem

audeat adfatu ? quae prima exordia sumat ?


'Alas, what was he to do ? With what kind of address would he dare to try to win round the raging queen ? Where should he make his beginning?' Unfortunately for Aeneas, Dido finds out through Fama (a major feature of Book 4). Cf. Twitter. But note that we are now moving towards seeing things from Aeneas’ perspective.


Aeneas with Dido: self-repression in community interest? Or callousness? (4.393-6):

At pius Aeneas, quamquam lenire dolentem

solando cupit et dictis avertere curas,

multa gemens magnoque animum labefactus amore

iussa tamen divum exsequitur classemque revisit.


'But dutiful Aeneas, although he wished to soothe her grief with consolation and remove her cares with speech, nevertheless, with many a groan and shaken in his spirit with a mighty love, followed the bidding of the gods and went back to his fleet'.


cf. 1.208-9

Talia voce refert, curisque ingentibus aeger

spem voltu simulat, premit altum corde dolorem.

Aeneas under pressure from Anna – shaken but not stirred (4.441-449):

ac velut annoso validam cum robore quercum

Alpini Boreae nunc hinc nunc flatibus illinc                   multiple-correspondence

eruere inter se certant; it stridor, et altae

consternunt terram concusso stipite frondes;

ipsa haeret scopulis et quantum vertice ad auras

aetherias, tantum radice in Tartara tendit:

haud secus adsiduis hinc atque hinc vocibus heros

tunditur, et magno persentit pectore curas;

mens immota manet, lacrimae volvuntur inanes.         whose tears?


‘And as when the Alpine north winds strive amongst themselves to uproot a mighty oak tree with ancient timber, with blasts now on this side, now on that: the roar goes on, and the high branches strew the ground as the trunk is shaken, while the tree itself sticks fast to the rocks and stretches as far down to the Underworld with its roots as it extends up to the breezes of heaven: just so was the hero pounded with cries on this side and on that, and felt distress in his mighty heart: his mind remained unmoved, the tears fell to no avail’.


Dido’s tragic distress –madmen from the tragic stage [Greek/Roman] (4.469-73):

Eumenidum veluti demens videt agmina Pentheus       Pentheus:DOOMED? [Accius Pentheus ?]

et solem geminum et duplices se ostendere Thebas,                                             [Euripides Bacchae]           

aut Agamemnonius scaenis agitatus Orestes,                Orestes:SAVED? Divine role?

armatam facibus matrem et serpentibus atris

cum fugit ultricesque sedent in limine Dirae.                 [Aeschylus Oresteia/Euripides Orestes]


'Just as Pentheus sees the forces of the Furies and a double sun and two cities of Thebes, or Agamemnon's son Orestes, hounded on the stage, sees his mother armed with torches and dark serpents, as he flees the avenging Furies who sit on the threshold'


Note the gender-bending here: Dido from the start takes on a traditional man’s role in the ancient world – cf. 1.364 dux femina facti, ‘a woman was leader of the enterprise’. Note how women who try to take on political or military leadership in the Aeneid generally come to grief in this man’s world – the manipulative queen Amata (Book 12) and the warrior-maiden Camilla (Book 11) as well as Dido. Here Dido suffers the madness of male kings and princes in tragic circumstances.


Dido’s curse speech – mad, bad and dangerous to know (4.590-629)?

Here Dido threatens to burn Aeneas' ships, says she should have fought him and massacred his family rather than offering him a share in her kingdom, and finally launches a double curse, praying first that Aeneas will have troubles in Italy and die prematurely, and then that an avenger will arise from her bones to attack the Trojans. Both these predictions come true, which is why we should regard them as curses; Aeneas will die prematurely but will also be turned into a god, while the avenger that will arise from her bones is generally taken to be Hannibal, the great leader of her city of Carthage who so nearly defeated the Romans. This last element will have been important for Roman readers in making their assessment of Dido, since it reminds them and us that Dido is the founder of Carthage, Rome's greatest and most dangerous enemy until its systematic destruction by the Romans in 146 B.C.  Dido's death and curse is represented as the historical reason for the emnity between Rome and Carthage, but it also puts Dido in something of an unfavourable light for the Roman reader, brought up on tales of the vicious and devious Carthaginians such as we find in Livy's history. We also remember that contemporary Romans would link her with Cleopatra (see above), often demonised in the propaganda of the period (e.g. Horace Epodes).



Dido’s suicide and self-obituary – both tragic and Roman?


Address to the ‘marriage-bed’: Alcestis in Euripides’ Alcestis (self-sacrificing wife).

Death on the pyre: suttee of Evadne in Euripides’ Suppliants

Self-obituary (4.653-6):

vixi et quem dederat cursum fortuna peregi,                            

et nunc magna mei sub terras ibit imago.                                 

urbem praeclaram statui, mea moenia vidi,                             

ulta virum poenas inimico a fratre recepi ...


'I have lived my life and passed through the course which fortune had given me, and now my mighty ghost will pass beneath the earth. I set up a glorious city, I saw my own walls, I avenged my husband and exacted the penalty from my brother, who was my enemy ...'


Cf. epigraphic obituary of M.Cornelius Scipio Hispanus,  praetor 139 B.C.:

                        Virtutes generis mieis moribus accumulavi,

                           progeniem genui, facta patris petiei.

                        maiorum optenui laudem, ut sibei me esse creatum

                           laetentur ; stirpem nobilitavit honor.


'I added to the virtues of my family with my own character, I fathered offspring and sought to emulate the deeds of my father. I gained praise from my ancestors, so that they should rejoice that I was born from them; my honour ennobled my stock'.



Dido by her death is something of a rich and contradictory mixture - abandoned lover, noble and self-sacrificing wife, angry and proud heroine, cursing witch, ancestor of the enemy power of Carthage, high achiever with a first-class C.V. which reads in a very Roman way. She is to be pitied (cf. Greek tragedy according to Aristotle) as the tool of the gods and as one who tries to do the best she can in the circumstances; Dido and Aeneas might well have fallen in love in the natural course of events, but it is the pressure placed on both parties from the gods which leads to the tragic outcome.

She receives much more focus than Aeneas: in the 705 lines of Book 4 Aeneas speaks fewer than 40, in only two speeches, whereas Dido speaks about 180, in seven speeches, and he is virtually absent after line 450. In the end, Aeneas must lose Dido and what she stands for, his chance for personal fulfilment, on the long road to Italy, and it is clear that he feels deeply for her, though circumstances prevent him telling her; he is certainly not untouched by her fate, as their encounter in Book 6 in the Underworld shows (she there rejects him, and has some consolation in returning to her first husband Sychaeus in death: 6.450-76). But Aeneas is the classic Roman hero, ‘born not for himself but for his country’ (Cicero).



Dido and Aeneas: Low Ham mosaic, UK, 4C CE.         Joshua Reynolds, The Death of Dido (1781)

Aeneid 12 – some key passages


Turnus returns nobly to the battle (12.676-80) :

'iam iam fata, soror, superant, absiste morari;

quo deus et quo dura uocat Fortuna sequamur.

stat conferre manum Aeneae, stat, quidquid acerbi est,

morte pati, neque me indecorem, germana, uidebis                             positive presentation (cf. Dido)

amplius. hunc, oro, sine me furere ante furorem.'  


Aeneas and the Italian landscape (12.701-3):

quantus Athos aut quantus Eryx aut ipse coruscis                                Greece/Sicily/Italy

cum fremit ilicibus quantus gaudetque niuali

uertice se attollens pater Appenninus ad auras.


Italian fight for passion (12.715-24) :

ac uelut ingenti Sila summoue Taburno               715                             Italy

cum duo conuersis inimica in proelia tauri                                            Georgics 3 and battling bulls

frontibus incurrunt, pauidi cessere magistri,

stat pecus omne metu mutum, mussantque iuuencae

quis nemori imperitet, quem tota armenta sequantur;                        battle for rule

illi inter sese multa ui uulnera miscent               720

cornuaque obnixi infigunt et sanguine largo

colla armosque lauant, gemitu nemus omne remugit:

non aliter Tros Aeneas et Daunius heros

concurrunt clipeis, ingens fragor aethera complet.


Divine endgame (12.791-802) :

Iunonem interea rex omnipotentis Olympi

adloquitur fulua pugnas de nube tuentem:

'quae iam finis erit, coniunx? quid denique restat?                               closural questions

indigetem Aenean scis ipsa et scire fateris

deberi caelo fatisque ad sidera tolli.               795

quid struis? aut qua spe gelidis in nubibus haeres?                              Hera/aer

mortalin decuit uiolari uulnere diuum?

aut ensem (quid enim sine te Iuturna ualeret?)

ereptum reddi Turno et uim crescere uictis?

desine iam tandem precibusque inflectere nostris,               800

ne te tantus edit tacitam dolor et mihi curae

saepe tuo dulci tristes ex ore recursent.


Juno’s (temporary?) settlement (Punic Wars?) (12.830-40):

'es germana Iouis Saturnique altera proles,               830

irarum tantos uoluis sub pectore fluctus.

uerum age et inceptum frustra summitte furorem:

do quod uis, et me uictusque uolensque remitto.

sermonem Ausonii patrium moresque tenebunt,                                  Latin language and culture

utque est nomen erit; commixti corpore tantum               835

subsident Teucri. morem ritusque sacrorum

adiciam faciamque omnis uno ore Latinos.

hinc genus Ausonio mixtum quod sanguine surget,

supra homines, supra ire deos pietate uidebis,                                      Roman piety and rule

nec gens ulla tuos aeque celebrabit honores.'                                         Juno from Veii 396 BCE

The end of the poem – political issues (12.930-52):


ille humilis supplex oculos dextramque precantem      930

protendens 'equidem merui nec deprecor' inquit;

'utere sorte tua. miseri te si qua parentis                                                should work on Aeneas?

tangere cura potest, oro (fuit et tibi talis

Anchises genitor) Dauni miserere senectae                                            even more so?

et me, seu corpus spoliatum lumine mauis,               935

redde meis. uicisti et uictum tendere palmas

Ausonii uidere; tua est Lauinia coniunx,                                                 full concession

ulterius ne tende odiis.' stetit acer in armis

Aeneas uoluens oculos dextramque repressit;

et iam iamque magis cunctantem flectere sermo            940                real hesitation

coeperat, infelix umero cum apparuit alto

balteus et notis fulserunt cingula bullis                                                   crucial object

Pallantis pueri, uictum quem uulnere Turnus                                        balance

strauerat atque umeris inimicum insigne gerebat.

ille, oculis postquam saeui monimenta doloris               945

exuuiasque hausit, furiis accensus et ira                                                 rage –necessary?

terribilis: 'tune hinc spoliis indute meorum

eripiare mihi? Pallas te hoc uulnere, Pallas

immolat et poenam scelerato ex sanguine sumit.'                                 sacrifice/punishment

hoc dicens ferrum aduerso sub pectore condit               950

feruidus; ast illi soluuntur frigore membra

uitaque cum gemitu fugit indignata sub umbras.


What happens. Turnus is disablingly wounded. Aeneas stands over him, debating whether to finish him off. Turnus asks for mercy or at least for burial, evoking his aged father Daunus and Aeneas’ father Anchises, and concedes Lavinia and the war to Aeneas. Aeneas hesitates but then sees the belt of Pallas, his young friend and quasi-son whom Turnus has killed in Book 10, and kills Turnus in angry revenge. Turnus’ soul goes down to the shades complaining. CUT! cf. end of Book 10.


Real politics. In having Aeneas kill Turnus Vergil achieves a politically sensible move of Roman realism; the unstable Turnus would be a hostage to fortune in the new state, and Romans commonly killed defeated barbarian generals – e.g. Jugurtha, Vercingetorix.


Complexities. But he also shows Aeneas humanely hesitating between two virtuous courses of action in Roman terms: sparing Turnus (clementia) and taking revenge for his dead friend Pallas (ultio). Both these are Augustan values: clementia (along with virtus, pietas, and iustitia) was one of the virtues ascribed to Augustus on the presentation shield of 27 BC (see Res Gestae 34.2), while in Res Gestae 2 Augustus proudly points to his avenging of Caesar’s assassination (pietas). These two values are famously encapsulated in Aeneid 6.853 (Anchises on the mission of Rome) Parcere subiectis et debellare superbos, ‘To spare the conquered and to war down the proud’.


The victim’s perspective. The poem ends in a brilliantly ambivalent moment : the death of Turnus is a victory for Aeneas, but the last voice is not that of the triumphant victor but the complaining victim, and the Latin line describing Turnus’ death (952 illi soluuntur frigore membra, ‘his limbs are loosed in the chill’) splendidly echoes Aeneas’ own first despairing appearance in the storm of Book 1 (1.92) extemplo Aeneae solvuntur frigore membra. Hero and victim are alike and neither is a wholly simple character.



Vergil and Homer : Some Points


1. Rivalry or Homage ? Note Propertius 2.34.65-6 (20's B.C.) : cedite Romani scriptores, cedite Grai ! / nescioquid maius nascitur Iliade. The Aeneid does not explicitly claim to outdo the Homeric poems, but it does not defer to them either (contrast Statius Thebaid 12.816-9). Implicitly, Vergil surely sets out to rival Homer, as Ennius had done.


2. The Aeneid as both Iliad and Odyssey. The poem encapsulates the two Homeric epics : arma virumque cano suggests that Aeneas is both an Odyssean wanderer, searching to return to his 'home' in Italy through the Dardanus connection (cf. Aeneid 3.167-8), and an Achillean warrior, fighting in a foreign land for the sake of a woman. Aeneid 1-6 are largely Odyssean (wandering), with an Iliadic panel in Book 5, where the funeral games primarily imitate those of Iliad 23; Aeneid 7-12 are largely Iliadic (fighting), with an Odyssean panel in Book 8, where the voyage up the Tiber recalls the journeys of Telemachus in Odyssey 3-4. There are also major insertions from Greek epic outside Odyssey and Iliad: Aeneid 2 replays the Iliou Persis, the lost archaic epic on the sack of Troy, while Aeneid 4 owes much to the depiction of Jason and Medea in Apollonius' Hellenstic Argonautica (though Dido the erotic delayer is also a version of Circe, Calypso and Nausicaa).

            Aeneid 7-12 in particular presents much complex Homeric role-playing. The war in Latium is proclaimed as a re-run of the Trojan war (6.86-94), but who is playing which part ? Aeneas is Trojan, but he is also by the end the new Achilles; Turnus is Greek by descent (Aeneid 7.382, 409-10) and is the new Achilles against the Trojans (6.88-89), but is by the end the new Hector. The death of Pallas clearly plays the same pivotal role as the death of Patroclus in the Iliad, provoking fatal revenge, but note that Aeneas does not sulk in his tent. Lavinia is in a sense another Helen (6.93-4, 7.322): who is Paris the 'wrong' husband, and Menelaus the 'right' one ? Aeneas is compared to Paris by Juno (7.321), but Turnus, who at least according to the poet is not the husband intended for Lavinia by Latinus (note 7.54-80, 268-73), has more similarity; note how the Aeneas/Turnus duel in Aeneid 12 recalls that of Paris and Menelaus in Iliad 3. Remember too that Odysseus on arriving in his homeland has to face rival suitors (cf. Turnus) in a battle to claim the wife he is entitled to (cf. Lavinia).


3 : The Aeneid as Homeric reception. As with Homeric theology, many other Homeric elements are modified in the light of subsequent cultural changes. The Aeneid is providentially teleological (looking forward to a future historical objective) and aetiological (explaining how the present emerged from the past), both elements absent from Homer; the first of these owes much to Stoic theology, the second to Hellenistic poetry (esp. Callimachus' Aetia) and to Roman antiquarianism (Varro). Ideas about virtue are clearly different (collective and self-sacrificing pietas, not competitive individualism), owing something to the Roman national ethos (non sibi sed patriae natus) as well as to philosophical ideas about endurance and emotional restraint (primarily Stoic). Both poems have a sense of the tragedy of history, and in both heroic achievement is costly but glorious, though for rather different reasons.


4 : Recasting Homeric episodes. Relocation adds a new edge : the funeral games in Vergil come before and not after the war (training, not relaxation). Ideology transforms : the contact with the Underworld and the provision of new armour for the hero become political showpieces about Rome and Augustus. Intertextuality complicates : Aeneas is most disturbing when he is most like Achilles (e.g. 10.513-7, 12.940-7), though the element of pietas extenuates. Style remodelled : denser and more emotional rewriting show how poetic style has developed through Hellenistic and neoteric influence - see e.g. Austin's notes on 1.498ff and 6.309ff.

The Gods of the Aeneid


1. Homeric Background. The theology of the Homeric poems presents a group of anthropomorphic gods who behave with 'sublime frivolity', aiding their individual mortal favourites but able to distance themselves from mortal sufferings at any moment, being capricious, selfish and unreliable. Zeus is the chief god and has an overall plan which is fulfilled (the fall of Troy, the return of Odysseus), but its intermediate stages can be influenced by the interventions of other gods. These basic elements all reappear to some degree in Vergil.


2. Criticism of Homer. Reaction against Homeric theology begins as early as Xenophanes (6th C. B.C.), who attacked the immorality of Homer's gods. In the 5th century it is particularly notable in the plays of Euripides (e.g. Bacchae 1348 'Gods should not be like mortals in their passions', Heracles 1340-46). The philosophies influential in Vergil's day, Stoicism and Epicureanism, both believed in gods but not in anthropomorphic deities who intervene personally in human affairs, and followed the Platonic tradition (Republic 2) in criticising the Olympian theology of Homer and other poets.


3. Philosophical Theologies. Plato's Socrates describes the gods as wholly good and the source of all good (Euthyphro). Epicurus rejected stories of divine intervention and placed the gods in a distant paradise undisturbed by human affairs (cf. Lucretius 2.646-51). The Stoics allegorised Olympian myths as ethical exempla (cf. Horace Epistles 1.2) but emphasised fate and Zeus as its controller, working with a fixed and beneficent purpose. In these terms, the theology of the Aeneid has Stoic as well as Homeric overtones, though the Epicurean idea of the gods is famously mentioned by Dido (Aeneid 4.379-80).


4. Roman Views. The gods of the Aeneid would be viewed as literary fictions by the poem’s original readers, but were still objects of cult at Rome, especially Augustan gods such as Venus and Apollo; the gods of the poets, gods of the state and gods of the philosophers were distinguished by contemporary writers such as Varro.. The depiction of religious cult (rather than the divine characters) in the Aeneid is serious and realistic, no doubt related to the religious revivalism of Augustus (Res Gestae 20-21). Cultic ritual rather than theological belief is the basis of Roman religion; divine cult was politically and historically important, and seen as the cause and justification of Roman greatness (cf. Aeneid 12.839). The idea that men can posthumously become gods through service to mankind is also important for Roman life as for the Aeneid (Anchises, Aeneas and Hercules achieve this, just like Julius Caesar and Augustus).


5. Literary Presentation.

            (i) Levels of Explanation. Dryden noted in 1697 (Dedication of the Aeneis, p.246 in Everyman ed.) that the gods of the Aeneid largely performed actions that could also be explained in purely human psychological terms; the same is true of passages in Homer (e.g. Athena's intervention to stop Achilles killing Agamemnon in Iliad 1). This is the basis of Lyne's 'working with' (Further Voices 67-71), and the more extreme allegorism of Gordon Williams (Technique and Ideas 17-39).

            (ii) Sources of Tension. Fom its beginning, the Aeneid highlights the tension between Homeric amoral frivolity and moralising philosophical theology : Aeneid 1.11 tantaene animis caelestibus irae ?. This issue is perhaps most prominent in the case of Jupiter, both Stoic-type arbiter of fate (Aeneid 1.261-2) and mythological philanderer and rapist (Aeneid 4.198, 12.878-9); cf. Lyne Further Voices 75-99. As often, no easy answer is suggested.


Important theological passages : 1.1-80, 223-417, 2.589-623, 4.90-128, 4.693-705, 5.779-818, 7.286-474, 9.184-5, 10.464-73, 12.791-842.

Vergilian Narrative Technique : Some Aspects



(a) Subject-matter and functions. Usually from the natural world or from artefacts or buildings (for the latter cf. e.g. Aeneid 8.18-25, 10.134-7, 12.473-480), the former Homeric, the latter also partly reflecting a later and more sophisticated material culture; Aeneid 1.148-53 famously raises a Roman political dimension. Comparisons are used to characterise individuals in particular ways : Turnus is often compared to wild animals, Aeneas rarely (Pöschl [trans.] 98-99), while the precious young Ascanius is compared to a jewel (10.134-7). This is partly Homeric: compare Iliad 6.506ff (the vain and womanising Paris compared to a magnificent and randy stallion). Note the use of repeated imagistic elements to create atmosphere and continuity of imagery, a sort of sub-narrative (the serpent and the flame) : B.M.W.Knox, AJP 71 (1950) 379-400; similes can also fill narrative gaps, and are generally more closely linked with narrative than in Homer (Lyne, Words and The Poet 63-99). Similes tend to be most dense and frequent in dramatic narrative (lots in Aeneid 2 and Aeneid 12), and least frequent when many events need to be narrated swiftly (only one in Aeneid 3). Their deployment is one of many ways of heightening the narrative at crucial points.

(b) Multiple-correspondence (D.A.West, JRS 59 (1969) 40-9 = OR).

E.g. 4.441-49 :

                        ac velut annoso validam cum robore quercum

                        Alpini Boreae nunc hinc nunc flatibus illinc

                        eruere inter se certant; it stridor, et altae

                        consternunt terram concusso stipite frondes;

                        ipsa haeret scopulis et quantum vertice ad auras

                        aetherias, tantum radice in Tartara tendit:

                        haud secus adsiduis hinc atque hinc vocibus heros

                        tunditur, et magno persentit pectore curas :

                        mens immota manet, lacrimae volvuntur inanes.


Even as when northern Alpine winds, blowing now hence, now thence, emulously strive to uproot an oak strong with the strength of years, there comes a roar, the trunk quivers and the high leafage thickly strews the ground, but the oak clings to the crag, and as far as it lifts its top to the airs of heaven, so far it strikes its roots down towards hell—even so with ceaseless appeals, from this side and from that, the hero is buffeted, and in his mighty heart feels agony: his mind stands steadfast; his tears fall without effect.


Clear correspondences, stressed by verbal similarities: Aeneas/tree (annoso ... robore, magno ... pectore), Anna's tears and protests/winds (flatibus / vocibus), Aeneas' firmness/tree's firmness (haeret/manet). These are helpful in interpretation (clearly Anna's tears, not Aeneas';  Aeneas is shaken, not stirred ). Note how tunditur (‘is buffeted’) fits the simile better than the narrative (transfusion or 'trespass' of metaphor - Lyne Words and The Poet 92-99).


(c) Point of view/focalization (D.P.Fowler, PCPS n.s. 36 (1990) 42-63).

E.g. 10.565-70 (Aeneas in battle, compared to Aegaeon) :

                        Aegaeon qualis, centum cui bracchia dicunt

                        centenasque manus, quinquaginta oribus ignem

                        pectoribusque arsisse, Iovis cum fulimna contra

                        tot paribus streperet clipeis, tot stringeret ensis:

                        sic toto Aeneas desaevit in aequore victor

                        ut semel intepuit mucro.


Just like Aegaeon, who (they say) had a hundred arms and a hundred hands, and fire flaming from his fifty mouths and chests, when, against the thunderbolts of Jupiter, he was making such a din with so many identical shields, drawing so many swords: just so Aeneas followed his rage to the end over the whole plain in victory, once his sword-point had warmed up.

Aeneas is described as an impious giant - but from whose point of view ? Perhaps that of the enemy, rather than the view of the poet/narrator (though Fowler disagrees).



            The Homeric epic narrator is largely recessive; only the sympathetic characters Menelaus and Patroclus are addressed by the poet in the Iliad, and Eumaeus in the Odyssey, and other first-person appearances are restricted (cf. M.W.Edwards, Homer : Poet of the Iliad, 29-41).Vergil follows this by using such devices sparingly, particularly (like similes) at crucial or heightened moments of the narrative; in the Dido-episode such comments are particularly common, and may recall the choric comments of Greek tragedy. Apart from the regulation first-person announcements of themes at the beginning of the two halves of the poem (1.1-11, 7.37-45), note the following : Aeneid 2.402  heu nihil invitis fas quemquam fidere divis ! [rape of Cassandra], 4.65 heu vatum ignarae mentes !, 4.296 quis fallere possit amantem ?, 4.408ff quis tibi tum, Dido ... ? [Dido as sympathetic character - cf. similarly 7.733, 10.185, 10.507, 10.791] Aeneid 9.446 fortunati ambo, si quid mea carmina possunt [Nisus and Euryalus, sympathetic characters, celebrated at death - the poet comes out ?], Aeneid 10.501 nescia mens hominum fati sortisque futurae [a crucial moment, when Turnus seals his fate, but also expressing some sympathy ?].


3 : 'SUBJECTIVE STYLE'  [Heinze 286-314, Otis 41-96]


            Injection of emotional colour and sympathy into the narrative; a restricted amount of this in Homer, but much more in Vergil, aided by the neoteric sensibility (e.g. Catullus 64) and the emotional colour of Roman rhetoric (e.g. Cicero).


E.g. 2.403-6 (pathos - Vergilian speciality):

                        ecce trahebatur passis Priameia virgo

                        crinibus a templo Cassandra adytisque Minervae

                        ad caelum tendens ardentia lumina frustra,

                        lumina, nam teneras arcebant vincula palmas.

Lo! Priam’s daughter, the maiden Cassandra, was being dragged with streaming hair from the temple and shrine of Minerva, vainly uplifting to heaven her blazing eyes—her eyes, for bonds confined her tender hands.


      6.305-14 (pathos again, more subjective than Homeric model):

                        huc omnis turba ad ripas effusa ruebat,

                        matres atque viri defunctaque corpora vita

                        magnanimum heroum, pueri innuptaeque puellae,

                        impositique rogis iuvenes ante ora parentum.

Hither rushed all the throng, streaming to the banks; mothers and husbands and bodies of high-souled heroes, their life now done, boys and unwedded girls, and sons placed on the pyre before their fathers’ eyes.


     9.698-701  (violence - like Homer, Vergil is not averse to this):

                                                            volat Itala cornus

                        aera per tenerum stomachoque infixa sub altum

                        pectus abit; reddit specus atri vulneris undam

                        spumantem, et fixo ferrum in pulmone tepescit.

Through the yielding air flies the Italian cornel shaft and, lodging in the gullet, runs deep into the breast; the wound’s dark chasm gives back a foaming tide, and the steel grows warm in the pierced lung.



Week 5B


After the Aeneid: Propertius 4


Aeneid as watershed in Latin (and world) literature? c.19 BCE. How to react?


Propertius 4: Structure and Themes

[after 16 BCE: 4.11]



Confrontation : new nationalist aetiology (Aeneid) and old erotic themes.

Clear interaction with Aeneid 8.


Vertumnus : aetiology but also genre/gender bending




Arethusa and Lycotas : erotic epistle (cf. Ovid Heroides 1-15), but explicitly set in a contemporary nationalist context rather than a mythological one.


Tarpeia : nationalist aetiology AND erotic themes (and interest in early Rome – Livy?)


The lena (female pimp) : standard erotic theme (cf. Ovid Amores 1.8)



Palatine Apollo : nationalist-aetiological centrepiece of the book




Cynthia returns as a ghost : erotic themes revived (echoes of  Iliad)


Cynthia returns as a living character : erotic themes revived (echoes of Odyssey)



Hercules and the Ara Maxima : nationalist aetiology (links with Augustus/Aeneid 8)


Jupiter Feretrius : nationalist aetiology (links with Augustus)


Cornelia : the ultimate matrona and anti-puella (links with Augustus)



Date : after 16 BC (4.6, 4.11)

After Aeneid : 4.1, 4.4, 4.6, 4.9.

After Ovid, Heroides and early Amores : 4.3, 4.5?


Propertius 4.1 – integration achieved?


1-12 – replaying Evander’s tour of Rome in Aeneid 8 (306-69)?

Hoc quodcumque vides, hospes, qua maxima Romast,            3x Pallas/Evander to Aeneas

  ante Phrygem Aenean collis et herba fuit;                               

atque ubi Navali stant sacra Palatia Phoebo,                            4.6 [programme]

  Euandri profugae procubuere boves.   

fictilibus crevere deis haec aurea templa,           5                      aurea [temples] 8.348

  nec fuit opprobrio facta sine arte casa;

Tarpeiusque Pater nuda de rupe tonabat,                                  Tarpeiam 8.346  rupem 8.190     

  et Tiberis nostris advena murus erat.   

qua gradibus domus ista, Remi se sustulit olim:          

  unus erat fratrum maxima regna focus.           10

Curia, praetexto quae nunc nitet alta senatu,   

  pellitos habuit, rustica corda, Patres.                                        8.105 pauperque senatus

57-70 – the Roman Callimachus (Aetia especially):

moenia namque pio coner disponere uersu:                              nationalism as antiquarianism

    ei mihi, quod nostro est paruus in ore sonus!                         Callimachean aesthetics

sed tamen exiguo quodcumque e pectore riui                            small size and stream

    fluxerit, hoc patriae seruiet omne meae.

Ennius hirsuta cingat sua dicta corona:                                     Ennian epic

    mi folia ex hedera porrige, Bacche, tua,                      Bacchus to inspire (Horace Odes 2.19, 3.25?)

ut nostris tumefacta superbiat Vmbria libris,

    Vmbria Romani patria Callimachi!                                         Roman Callimachus

scandentis quisquis cernit de uallibus arces,                              Umbrian hill-towns

    ingenio muros aestimet ille meo!

Roma, faue, tibi surgit opus, date candida ciues

    omina, et inceptis dextera cantet auis!

sacra diesque canam et cognomina prisca locorum:

    has meus ad metas sudet oportet equus.

137-46 - intervention of Horos (cf. Apollo in Callimachus): still a love-poet!

'at tu finge elegos, fallax opus (haec tua castra),

  scribat ut exemplo cetera turba tuo.

militiam Veneris blandis patiere sub armis,                   militia amoris

    et Veneris pueris utilis hostis eris.

nam tibi uictrices quascumque labore parasti,

    eludit palmas una puella tuas:

et bene cum fixum mento discusseris uncum,

    nil erit hoc: rostro te premet ansa tuo.

illius arbitrio noctem lucemque uidebis:

    gutta quoque ex oculis non nisi iussa cadet.               servitium amoris

nec mille excubiae nec te signata iuuabunt

    limina: persuasae fallere rima sat est.’




4.6 – Actium, but not as we know it, Jim (cf. Aeneid 8):


1-14 – the vates of Odes 3.1, but also the speaker-actor of Call.Hymns:

sacra facit uates: sint ora fauentia sacris,

    et cadat ante meos icta iuuenca focos.

serta Philiteis certet Romana corymbis,                         Philetas and Callimachus again (3.1, 3.3)

    et Cyrenaeas urna ministret aquas.

costum molle date et blandi mihi turis honores,

    terque focum circa laneus orbis eat.

spargite me lymphis, carmenque recentibus aris

    tibia Mygdoniis libet eburna cadis.

ite procul fraudes, alio sint aere noxae:                          Odes 3.1.2 favete linguis

    pura nouum uati laurea mollit iter.                             Callimachean aesthetics

Musa, Palatini referemus Apollinis aedem:

    res est, Calliope, digna fauore tuo.

Caesaris in nomen ducuntur carmina: Caesar              aetiological encomium

    dum canitur, quaeso, Iuppiter ipse uaces!                 

Apollo during the battle (55-68):

dixerat, et pharetrae pondus consumit in arcus:

    proxima post arcus Caesaris hasta fuit.

uincit Roma fide Phoebi: dat femina poenas:               

    sceptra per Ionias fracta uehuntur aquas.

at pater Idalio miratur Caesar ab astro:                        reversal of divi filius?

    "sum deus; est nostri sanguinis ista fides."

prosequitur cantu Triton, omnesque marinae

    plauserunt circa libera signa deae.

illa petit Nilum cumba male nixa fugaci,

    hoc unum, iusso non moritura die.                               Odes 1.37

di melius! quantus mulier foret una triumphus,

    ductus erat per quas ante Iugurtha uias!

Actius hinc traxit Phoebus monumenta, quod eius       aetiology of temple

    una decem uicit missa sagitta ratis.

Horatian sympotic celebration (69- 86; cf. Odes 3.14.17 –victory followed by party):

bella satis cecini: citharam iam poscit Apollo               1.temple statue  2.lyric theme

    uictor et ad placidos exuit arma choros.                     from epic to lyric topic (in elegy)

candida nunc molli subeant conuiuia luco;

    blanditiaeque fluant per mea colla rosae,

uinaque fundantur prelis elisa Falernis,

    terque lauet nostras spica Cilissa comas.

ingenium positis irritet Musa poetis:

    Bacche, soles Phoebo fertilis esse tuo.

ille paludosos memoret seruire Sygambros,                  16 BCE

    Cepheam hic Meroen fuscaque regna canat,              Egypt 15 years on

hic referat sero confessum foedere Parthum:                19 BCE

    "reddat signa Remi, mox dabit ipse sua:

siue aliquid pharetris Augustus parcet Eois,

    differat in pueros ista tropaea suos.                            Gaius/Lucius (grandsons, adopted 17)

gaude, Crasse, nigras si quid sapis inter harenas:       Crassus and Parthia: Odes 3.5

    ire per Euphraten ad tua busta licet."

sic noctem patera, sic ducam carmine, donec

    iniciat radios in mea uina dies!





4.11 – Cornelia, ideal Augustan woman (and final anti-Cynthia)

[wife of L. Aemilius Paullus, cos.34, censor 22, daughter of Scribonia, ex-wife of Augustus and of a Cornelius Scipio, granddaughter of triumvir Lepidus, still alive, but not mentioned; brother consul 16 BCE, terminus post quem for this poem]


1-6 – dead woman speaks (sepulchral epigram?):

Desine, Paulle, meum lacrimis urgere sepulcrum:

    panditur ad nullas ianua nigra preces;

cum semel infernas intrarunt funera leges,

    non exorato stant adamante uiae.

te licet orantem fuscae deus audiat aulae:

    nempe tuas lacrimas litora surda bibent.


17-20  - defence plea before the infernal court (male role?):

immatura licet, tamen huc non noxia ueni:

    det Pater hic umbrae mollia iura meae.

aut si quis posita iudex sedet Aeacus urna,

    in mea sortita uindicet ossa pila.


35-6 – sepulchral inscription:

iungor, Paulle, tuo sic discessura cubili,

   ut lapide hoc uni nupta fuisse legar.


41-2 – no marital offence (adultery?):                   Lex Iulia de adulteriis coercendis 17 BCE

me neque censurae legem mollisse neque ulla

     labe mea nostros erubuisse focos.


67-8 – three children:

et tamen emerui generosae vestis honores,                    Lex Iulia de maritandis ordinibus 18 BCE

   nec mea de sterili facta rapina domo.


55-8 – distinguished mourners:

nec te, dulce caput, mater Scribonia, laesi:

    in me mutatum quid nisi fata uelis?

maternis laudor lacrimis urbisque querelis,

    defensa et gemitu Caesaris ossa mea.              [distinguished supporters in oratory]


99-102 – end of plea

causa perorata est. flentes me surgite, testes,   Cic.Cael.70  Dicta est a me causa, iudices, et perorata

    dum pretium uitae grata rependit humus.

moribus et caelum patuit: sim digna merendo,

    cuius honoratis ossa uehantur auis.


Long inscriptions to dead women: Laudatio Turiae (ILS 8393, 1C BCE, 2nd person), Allia Potestas (CIL VI.37965, 50+ verse lines, most hexameters, 3rd person, 3/4C CE). First-person statements in epitaphs: usually men (cf. e.g. ILS 6, epigraphic obituary of M.Cornelius Scipio Hispanus,  praetor 139 B.C, but see e.g. CIL VI.12652 (80 BCE, elegiacs in the mouth of a dead wife) and Dido at Aeneid 4.653-6 [week 6]). Cornelia a reaction to Dido as well as Cynthia? Grand male relatives, speaks in the Underworld where Dido refuses to speak, has the same ideal of univiratus (4.11.67-72)more conventionally virtuous?

Week 5C


After the Aeneid: Horace Odes 4 and Epistles 2.


Horace Odes 4 – return to lyric after a decade (c.13BCE, Odes 1-3 c.23)


4.1 – return to love poetry (NOT symposium or Lesbian lyric):


     Intermissa, Venus, diu                                       Ov.Am.1.1.1-2 (from war to love)

rursus bella moves? Parce precor, precor.          Arma gravi numero violentaque bella parabam

     Non sum qualis eram bonae                                    edere, materia conveniente modis.

sub regno Cinarae. Desine, dulcium                    Cinara in Epistles 1 but not Odes 

     mater saeva Cupidinum,               5                  Odes 1.19.1 mater saeva Cupidinum

circa lustra decem flectere mollibus

     iam durum imperiis: abi,                                  H.50 = 15 BCE

quo blandae iuvenum te revocant preces.           Elegy: the young Ovid?

     Tempestiuius in domum

Pauli purpureis ales oloribus               10

     comissabere Maximi,                                         Maximus as patron of young Ovid who wrote a

si torrere iecur quaeris idoneum;                         wedding song for him: Ov.Pont.1.2.131-2

      namque et nobilis et decens                             marries Augustus’ cousin Marcia about this time

et pro sollicitis non tacitus reis

     et centum puer artium               15

late signa feret militiae tuae,                                militia amoris: Ov. Am.1.9.1 Militat omnis amans

     et, quandoque potentior

largi muneribus riserit aemuli,                             rich rival: Ov. Am.1.8.31

     Albanos prope te lacus

ponet marmoream sub trabe citrea.               20

     Illic plurima naribus

duces tura, lyraque et Berecyntia

     delectabere tibia

mixtis carminibus non sine fistula;

     illic bis pueri die

numen cum teneris virginibus tuum               25

     laudantes pede candido

in morem Salium ter quatient humum.

     Me nec femina nec puer                                     cf. Ov.Am.1.1.19-20:            

iam nec spes animi credula mutui               30     nec mihi materia est numeris levioribus apta,

     nec certare iuvat mero                                           aut puer aut longas compta puella comas.'              

nec vincire novis tempora floribus.

     Sed cur heu, Ligurine, cur                                 cf. Ov.Am.1.1.25-6:

manat rara meas lacrima per genas?                 Me miserum! certas habuit puer ille sagittas.       

     Cur facunda parvm decoro               35               uror, et in vacuo pectore regnat Amor.

inter verba cadit lingua silentio?                        

     Nocturnis ego somniis

iam captum teneo, iam volucrem sequor

     te per gramina Martii

campi, te per aquas, dure, volubilis.    


Odes 4 and the rising generation of aristocrats: Syme, The Augustan Aristocracy (1986):

4.2 (Iullus Antonius, cos. 10 BCE), 4.4, 4.14 (the young princes Drusus and Tiberius), 4.7 (a Manlius Torquatus, possibly in his 30s), 4.8 (the young Censorinus, cos. 8 BCE).

4.2 (Pindar and praising Augustus) – cf.  SJH 1995 and 4.8


Pindarum quisquis studet aemulari,

Iulle, ceratis ope Daedalea                                                            imitating Pindar (updated Roman epinician?)

nititur pinnis, vitreo daturus                                                      how relevant to Iullus the addressee?

     nomina ponto.

Monte decurrens velut amnis, imbres               5                    Pindaric impetus

quem super notas aluere ripas,

fervet inmensusque ruit profundo

     Pindarus ore,

laurea donandus Apollinari,                                                       (like Horace: Odes 3.30.15-16)

seu per audacis nova dithyrambos               10

verba devoluit numerisque fertur                                              Pindaric metre not understood until 20C

     lege solutis,

seu deos regesque canit, deorum

sanguinem, per quos cecidere iusta

morte Centauri, cecidit tremendae               15                       Augustus and civil wars (cf. Odes 3)

     flamma Chimaerae,

sive quos Elea domum reducit                                                    epinician (imitated by Horace in 4.4 and 4.14)

palma caelestis pugilemve equomve

dicit et centum potiore signis

     munere donat,                                                            20

flebili sponsae iuvenemue raptum                                             threnoi [lyric laments]

plorat et viris animumque moresque

aureos educit in astra nigroque

     invidet Orco.

Multa Dircaeum levat aura cycnum,          25                        (Horace as swan: Odes 2.20)

tendit, Antoni, quotiens in altos                                                  grand and dangerous name (cf. 2 BCE)?

nubium tractus; ego apis Matinae                                             poet as bee: Pindar P.10.53-4

     more modoque

grata carpentis thyma per laborem

plurimum circa nemus uvidique               30

Tiburis ripas operosa parvus

     carmina fingo.

Concines maiore poeta plectro                                                    epic poem (author of 12-book Diomedea)

Caesarem, quandoque trahet ferocis

per sacrum clivum merita decorus               35                       typical epic topic at Rome

     fronde Sygambros;

quo nihil maius meliusve terris

fata donavere bonique divi

nec dabunt, quamvis redeant in aurum

     tempora priscum.                                                      40

Concines laetosque dies et Urbis                                                 Iullus as aedile 16 BCE

publicum ludum super impetrato                                              return of Augustus (expected, happens in 13 BCE)

fortis Augusti reditu forumque

     litibus orbum.

Tum meae, si quid loquar audiendum,               45

vocis accedet bona pars, et: 'O sol

pulcher, o laudande!' canam recepto

     Caesare felix;

teque, dum procedis, io Triumphe!

non semel dicemus, io Triumphe!               50

civitas omnis, dabimusque divis

     tura benignis.

Te decem tauri totidemque vaccae,                                           symbolic gifts: epic scale v. Callimachean craft (this poem)

me tener soluet vitulus, relicta

matre qui largis iuvenescit herbis               55

     in mea vota,

fronte curuatos imitatus ignis

tertius lunae referentis ortum,

qua notam duxit niveus videri,

     cetera fuluus.                                                  60

4.7 (spring ode, cf. 1.4):


Diffugere nives, redeunt iam gramina campis

                                arboribus comae;                        [human]

mutat terra vices et decrescentia ripas

                                 flumina praetereunt;


Gratia cum Nymphis geminisque sororibus audet                 

                                ducere nuda chorus.

Inmortalia ne speres, monet annus et almum

                                quae rapit hora diem.


Frigora mitescunt Zephyris, ver proterit aestas,

                                interitura simul                                              

pomifer autumnus fruges effuderit, et mox

                                bruma recurrit iners.


Damna tamen celeres reparant caelestia lunae:

                                nos ubi decidimus

quo pater Aeneas, quo dives Tullus et Ancus,                              

                                 puluis et umbra sumus.


Quis scit an adiciant hodiernae crastina summae

                                tempora di superi?

Cuncta manus avidas fugient heredis, amico

                                quae dederis animo.                                                   


Cum semel occideris et de te splendida Minos

                                fecerit arbitria,                                  [lawyer:

non, Torquate, genus, non te facundia, non te   Ep.1.5]

                                restituet pietas;                                                


infernis neque enim tenebris Diana pudicum               

                                liberat Hippolytum,

nec Lethaea valet Theseus abrumpere caro

                                vincula Pirithoo.


tr. A.E.Housman (1897):

The snows are fled away, leaves on the shaws

And grasses in the mead renew their birth,

The river to the river-bed withdraws,

And altered is the fashion of the earth.


The Nymphs and Graces three put off their fear

And unapparelled in the woodland play.

The swift hour and the brief prime of the year

Say to the soul, Thou wast not born for aye.


Thaw follows frost; hard on the heel of spring

Treads summer sure to die, for hard on hers

Comes autumn with his apples scattering;

Then back to wintertide, when nothing stirs.


But oh, whate’'er the sky-led seasons mar,

Moon upon moon rebuilds it with her beams;

Come we where Tullus and where Ancus are

And good Aeneas, we are dust and dreams.


Torquatus, if the gods in heaven shall add

The morrow to the day, what tongue has told?

Feast then thy heart, for what thy heart has had

The fingers of no heir will ever hold.


When thou descendest once the shades among,

The stern assize and equal judgment o'er,

Not thy long lineage nor thy golden tongue,

No, nor thy righteousness, shall friend thee more.


Night holds Hippolytus the pure of stain,

Diana steads him nothing, he must stay;

And Theseus leaves Pirithous in the chain

The love of comrades cannot take away.

                                                                                                [Walt Whitman]


Expanded epigram? Epodic metre recalls elegiac couplets? First line = very close to hexameter



Leonidas of Tarentum (pre-Cicero) AP 10.1 (cf. also AP 10.2,4,5,6,14,15,16)


πλος ραος· κα γρ λαλαγεσα χελιδν

    δη μμβλωκεν, χ χαρεις Ζφυρος·

λειμνες δ᾿ νθεσι, σεσγηκεν δ θλασσα

    κμασι κα τρηχε πνεματι βρασσομνη.

γκρας νλοιο, κα κλσαιο γαια,

   ναυτλε, κα πλοις πσαν φες θνην.

ταθ᾿ Πρηπος γν πιτλλομαι λιμεντας,

   νθρωφ᾿, ς πλοις πσαν π᾿ μπορην.


It is the season for sailing; already the chattering swallow has come, and the pleasant Zephyr, and the meadows bloom, and the sea with its boiling waves lashed by the rough winds has sunk to silence. Weigh the anchors and loose the hawsers, mariner, and sail with every stitch of canvas set. This, O man, I, Priapus, the god of the harbour, bid thee do that thou mayst sail for all kinds of merchandise.


4.15 – the Odes and the Aeneid



Phoebus volentem proelia me loqui

victas et urbes increpuit lyra,

     ne parva Tyrrhenum per aequor                     modest lyric v. Vergilian sea of epic

        vela darem. Tua, Caesar, aetas

fruges et agris rettulit uberes               5               What has Augustus ever done for us?

et signa nostro restituit Iovi                                  fertility

     derepta Parthorum superbis                            victory

        postibus et vacuum duellis                             peace

Ianum Quirini clausit et ordinem                         moral reform

rectum evaganti frena licentiae               10         ancestral values

     iniecit emovitque culpas

        et veteres revocavit artes

per quas Latinum nomen et Italae

crevere vires famaque et imperi

     porrecta maiestas ad ortus               15

        solis ab Hesperio cubili.

Custode rerum Caesare non furor

civilis aut vis exiget otium,

     non ira, quae procudit enses

        et miseras inimicat urbes.              20

Non qui profundum Danuvium bibunt               

edicta rumpent Iulia, non Getae,                         

     non Seres infidique Persae,

       non Tanain prope flumen orti.

Nosque et profestis lucibus et sacris               25

inter iocosi munera Liberi                                     sympotic lyric?

     cum prole matronisque nostris

         rite deos prius adprecati,

virtute functos more patrum duces

Lydis remixto carmine tibiis               30              mixed with Etruscan Vergil?

     Troiamque et Anchisen et almae

        progeniem Veneris canemus.                         subject of Aeneid


SJH GE 2007:

‘The poem has successfully incorporated epic material into a lyric framework, and though canemus, a verb highly appropriate to lyric song, appears in the future tense and as the last word of the poem, it can be referred to the present performance, a Pindaric usage.   This is emblematised by the allusion to ‘song mixed with Lydian pipes’, a metapoetical statement of the blending of lyric and epic elements. The tibia is non-epic and an instrument of Horatian lyric (cf. Odes 3.4.1), but ‘Lydian’, though it suggests the soft and erotic Lydian musical mode suitable for lyric (Plato Rep.2.398e),    also looks back to the poem’s initial allusion in Tyrrhenum … aequor to the Etruscan ethnicity of Vergil, who in the Aeneid had lost few opportunities of referring to the supposed Lydian origin of the Etruscans, even referring to the Etruscans straightforwardly as Lydi (9.11).   Epic material thus enters lyric song in this poem, but that ‘guest’ material is carefully accommodated in modal form to the ‘host’ generic framework.’
Epistles 2: Horace’s last work (after 12 BCE, perhaps including Ars Poetica)

sermo: more colloquial in approach and style – is it ‘poetry’?


Epistles 2.1.1-22 – addressing Augustus:

Cum tot sustineas et tanta negotia solus,                        after death of Agrippa in 12 BCE?

res Italas armis tuteris, moribus ornes,                          moral legislation of 18-17

legibus emendes, in publica commoda peccem

si longo sermone morer tua tempora, Caesar.

Romulus et Liber pater et cum Castore Pollux,               5         mortal to immortal

post ingentia facta deorum in templa recepti,

dum terras hominumque colunt genus, aspera bella

componunt, agros adsignant, oppida condunt,

plorauere suis non respondere fauorem                         great heroes not always suitably honoured

speratum meritis. Diram qui contudit hydram               10       Hercules: mortal to immortal.

notaque fatali portenta labore subegit,

comperit inuidiam supremo fine domari.                       dangers of invidia

Vrit enim fulgore suo qui praegrauat artes

infra se positas; extinctus amabitur idem.

Praesenti tibi maturos largimur honores               15

iurandasque tuom per numen ponimus aras,                divine honours

nil oriturum alias, nil ortum tale fatentes.

Sed tuus hic populus sapiens et iustus in uno

te nostris ducibus, te Grais anteferendo

cetera nequaquam simili ratione modoque               20

aestimat et, nisi quae terris semota suisque

temporibus defuncta uidet, fastidit et odit …                  right about Caesar, wrong about literature…