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date: 29 September 2023

pastoral poetry, Latinlocked

pastoral poetry, Latinlocked

  • Yelena Baraz


A literary genre of pastoral, or bucolic, poetry is represented in Latin literature by three surviving collections. Vergil’s Eclogues create the genre in Latin by reworking a selection of Hellenistic Idylls of Theocritus and integrating contemporary historical figures and concerns about land. Vergil’s collection of ten poems is carefully structured and highly allusive, and engages in generic experimentation. The seven-poem collection of Calpurnius Siculus, commonly dated to Nero’s reign, is self-consciously belated. Calpurnius draws on Vergil and Theocritus, but also Ovid and elegiac poets for a new imperial conception of the genre. The four Eclogues by Nemesianus, a court poet of emperor Carus (late 3rd century), add Calpurnius as a source, but otherwise stay largely within the Vergilian tradition. In addition to these hexameter collections, the pastoral mode is widely used by Latin poets, before Vergil (Lucretius) and after (Tibullus, Ovid’s Metamorphoses).


  • Latin Literature

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