Before Ibis: Invective Elegy in Tibullus - Rachel Philbrick - Vita e Pensiero - Articolo Aevum Antiquum Vita e Pensiero

Before Ibis: Invective Elegy in Tibullus

digital Before Ibis: Invective Elegy in Tibullus
Fascicolo AEVUM ANTIQUUM - 2021 - 21
Titolo Before Ibis: Invective Elegy in Tibullus
Before Ibis: Invective Elegy in Tibullus
Editore Vita e Pensiero
Formato Articolo | Pdf
Online da 07-2022
Doi 10.26350/020747_000082
Issn 1121-8932 (stampa) | 1827-7861 (digitale)
€ 6,00

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This paper argues that Tibullus’s elegies provide a key precedent for the anomalous combination of invective subject matter and elegiac meter found in Ovid’s Ibis. Tibullus  innovated within elegy by incorporating magical and invective elements not native to the genre, which he integrated through a strategy of self-presentation as a prophet figure. The poet’s  prophetic status develops over the two books of the Elegies and is constructed in opposition to female figures, primarily the witch and the priestess, who have similar access to  knowledge and power that is normally beyond the reach of humans. The poet resembles these figures in many ways, but ultimately distances himself from them by claiming superior  access to divine knowledge (e.g. through direct instruction from Venus). The prophetic persona is bound inextricably with the (meta)poetics of elegy: his poetry is threatened by  rivalrous figures who perform actions similar to the poet’s, and only by outdoing them on their shared territory can he assert his superiority and ensure the success of his poetry. All of these are themes and issues that Ovid exploits in his own invective elegy, which pays direct tribute to one of his most influential predecessors.


Tibullus, Ovid, elegy, iambic poetry, invective, Ibis, curses, lena, vates, prophecy, persona, allusion, intertextuality

Biografia dell'autore

Harvard University; email:

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