- Lindsay Watson
ExtractThe author of seven pastorals, Calpurnius may be dated with reasonable security to the Neronian age. The crucial pieces of evidence are Eclogue 1. 75 ff., which seemingly allude to the comet that foretold *Claudius’ death and *Nero's accession in ce 54, and Eclogue 7, which celebrates the construction of a wooden amphitheatre in the *Campus Martius, and, almost certainly, the Munus Neronis (Neronian games) which inaugurated it in 57. Nevertheless, attempts continue to ascribe Calpurnius to a later period, on internal, stylistic, metrical, and lexical grounds. Of the author's life virtually nothing is known: his cognomen Siculus may not refer to his homeland, but symbolize his debt to *Theocritus. He is sometimes credited with the *Laus Pisonis (‘Panegyric on Piso’).Of the Eclogues, 1, 4, and 7 are court-poems, dealing in ascending chronological order with the early years of *Nero's reign. All three contain extensive monologues. By contrast, 2, 3, 5, and 6 are in dialogue form, and are concerned with rustic matters of a more traditional kind. In 1, two shepherds, Ornytus and Corydon—who is generally identified with Calpurnius—discover verses inscribed by Faunus on the bark of a tree, prophesying a new golden age. In contrast to Calpurnius’ model, Virgil Eclogue 4, the prophecy incorporates detailed references to contemporary politics.
- Latin Literature