This paper argues for the need for further engagement with the poetry of Tibullus, particularly with respect to his use of a wide range of poetic genres in his Elegies, but also at a textual-critical level. Close readings of II 5 and I 1 reveal programmatic allusions to (inter alia) epic, pastoral, and philosophic discourses.
This paper shows how Spes in Tibullus II 6 is a literary construct re-elaborating Greek models (Hesiod, Theognis) and how the allusion to these is intertwined with and signposted by co-occurring allusions to other authors (Theocritus, Apollonius). The result of such stratified intertextuality is Tibullus’s appropriation of disparate literary portrayals of ‘hope’ to the code of Roman love elegy.
This paper discusses Tibullus I 4 with particular attention to three Callimachean intertexts, namely Iambus 9, Aetia fr. 41 and Iambus 3. Iambus 3 in particular proves to be a crucial intertext for the last portion of Priapus’ lecture on love. The paper argues that Tibullus does not merely echo the Alexandrian text but reacts to it and dramatically alters its implications. The Roman poet places this allusion at a crucial point, that is, at the end of Priapus’ lecture on homoerotic love. The appropriation and subversion of Callimachus’ Iambus 3 has a central place in Tibullus’ strategy ofestablishing the literary prestige of his own elegiac endeavor.
The basic argument in this paper is twofold: first, that Lucretius serves as an important target of allusion in Tibullan elegy; second, that through allusions to the De Rerum Natura Tibullus affirms the validity of the elegiac view of love over Lucretius’ Epicurean perspective. Tibullus’ allusions to Lucretius are primarily polemical. On the one hand, Lucretius represented for Tibullus the first hexameter Latin poet who wrote extensively about the human experience of love. Lucretius thus served Tibullus as a prominent model against which he could juxtapose his own poetry; not only does Tibullus use the DRN as a literary cipher through which he elevates elegy over hexameter poetry, but also part of this elevation involves singling out Lucretius as a strident opponent of the amatory exploits valued in elegiac poetry. On the other hand, the specific allusions to Lucretius explored in this paper fall into two basic groups: direct allusions to Lucretius’ repudiation of love and its effects at the end of DRN IV and allusions to other areas of Lucretian philosophy. This second group of allusions always implies what is explicit in the first group, insofar as these allusions implicitly reaffirm the value of the amatory life that Lucretius had vehemently denied. The allusions to Lucretius in this second group regularly show that Tibullus appropriates materialist language from Lucretius and applies it to the realm of human emotion; in the process, he valorizes the emotionality that characterizes the amatory relationships endorsed in his own elegiac poetry. In the final analysis, then, Tibullus’ reception of Lucretius is undamentally oppositional, as Tibullus rejects the Lucretian perspective on love, religion, death, and the value of emotion.
Tibullus’ sixteen canonical poems owe a debt to Horace’s invective Epodes, sixteen of which are in metres that feature alternating lines. Play and playfulness, in particular proleplay and wordplay, typify the creative dialogue between these poetry collections. This article teases out the links between Epode 16 and Tibullus II 5, both featuring Sibylline-style prophecy related to Rome and absence from Rome, with an iambic edge to the elegist’s depiction of the Parilia festival, and reminiscences of the etymology of iambic in a focus on magic that also pervades the other Nemesis poems. The poem spoken by Priapus, I 4, also contains iambic elements in the play on the names of the questioner and Tibullus’ own beloved Marathus, the gender politics with an attenuated god and hints of cinaedic activity, and the imagery of dogs. Uncovering such echoes enhances our understanding of the influences and achievements of both poets.
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.
Twentieth-century neglect of Tibullus is offset by the prominent position accorded to the elegist in earlier literary catalogues of elegiac, amatory and other poets. Latin authors of the Renaissance are enthusiastic in their praise of Tibullus, often employing terminology borrowed from or modelled on expressions in ancient literary criticism, and engagement with Tibullus’ own texts can likewise be used to convey appreciation of the poet’s literary stature. For elegists and literary commentators of the early modern period, Tibullus is a recurring fixture in lists of literary predecessors, and his name can even be deployed to represent the elegiac genre as a whole, suggesting that for writers of this period Tibullus played a crucial part in defining the character of Latin elegy and shaping attitudes towards this poetic form.
This paper focuses on Janus’ speech in Ov. fast. I 63-288 as a model for Lucan’s Book I (vv. 60 ff., the causes of the civil war) and for Statius’ silv. IV 1 (the panegyric for Domitian, consul for the seventeenth time). It highlights how the potential ambiguities inherent in Janus’ speech can lend themselves to multifaceted interpretations, halfway between unsettling readings and encomiastic ones.
This article focuses on Varro’s Sexagessis and offers an interpretation of the Satire in a socio-political direction, with the purpose of enlightening the formidable portrait of the Late Roman Republic offered by the fragments. In particular, I propose an historical reading of the text which points out the presence of the figure of Publius Clodius Pulcher. A straight comparison with Cicero’s ‘Clodian’ texts is particularly useful to enrich the picture, as well as a topographical analysis of the fragments.
The purpose of this paper is to shed light on some philosophical reappraisals of Ulysses. After a brief general introduction (I), I focus on Plato’s Ulysses, whom I consider as the symbol of “demotic virtue” (II). The following sections mainly deal with a passage from Cicero’s De finibus (I discuss Antiochus’ Ulysses compared to the Epicurean one: III), but they regard also the Stoic and the Neoplatonic (rather Plotinian) readings of the Homeric character (IV). I finally draw some provisional conclusions (V).
In the Homeric Hymn to Hermes, Hermes is associated with (a) the night(time) and (b) the characteristic of good eyesight. I argue that the Greek god shares these characteristics with the Vedic fire-god Agni.
In Confessions VIII 8, 19 Augustine draws upon an expression in one of Horace’s epistles. The borrowing is significant in that both writers are urging that spiritual well-being cannot be reached by physical means.
The myth of gigantomachy has long been read as a political myth, i.e. the fight of the subversive Giants against the established order, and in Flavian era it was used by poets to legitimate the power of the Flavians, who had successfully defeated the Giants/Vitellians in the fight of 69 CE on the Capitol hill. However, Pliny in his Panegyricus challenges this reading, and represents Domitian, who had ‘invaded’ Rome with new buildings and the Capitol hill with his own golden statues, as a monstrous Giant who threatens the Roman gods: Iupiter’s true defender is now Trajan, who finally managed to restore order.