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date: 28 September 2022

locus amoenuslocked

locus amoenuslocked

  • Philip Hardie

Extract

Locus amoenus, ‘charming place, pleasance’, a phrase (Cic. Fin. 2. 107; Isid. Etym. 14. 8. 33, etc. ) used by modern scholars to refer to the literary topos of the set description of an idyllic landscape, typically containing trees and shade, a grassy meadow, running water, song-birds, and cool breezes. The tradition goes back to *Homer's descriptions of the grotto of *Calypso and the garden of *Alcinous (1) (Od. 5. 55 ff., 7. 112 ff.); the rural setting for the dialogue in *Plato (1)'s Phaedrus was much imitated. In *Theocritus and *Virgil's Eclogues such landscapes form the backdrop for the songs and loves of shepherds. *Horace criticizes the fashion for such descriptions (Ars P. 16 ff.). This perfect nature is also the setting for the innocence of the *golden age and the blessedness of the Elysian Fields (see elysium); among real places the vale of *Tempe in Thessaly was idealized as a locus amoenus.

Subjects

  • Latin Literature
  • Reception

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