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date: 29 March 2023

Laus Pisonislocked

Laus Pisonislocked

  • Tom Geue


The Laus Pisonis is a 261-line hexameter poem of praise for a certain aristocratic Piso and an application on the part of an unknown poet for Piso’s patronage. Previous scholarship has concentrated on the thorny issues of the poem’s author, addressee, and date, with current opinion putting the date around 65 ce and identifying the poem’s addressee with the anti-Neronian conspirator Gaius Calpurnius Piso. Beyond these contextual questions, the poem has been usefully seen, in Peirano’s formulation, as an epideictic “historical fiction” and a quasi-satire on poetic patronage. The poem is designedly playful and trivial, and contains a detailed excursus on the Roman board game of the ludus latrunculorum. It also contains a host of intertextual and intratextual features which grant it a versatility to match its subject.


  • Latin Literature

Updated in this version

Article rewritten to reflect current scholarship.

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