Propertius re-invents Latin love-elegy in his third collection. Nearly a decade into the Augustan principate, the early counter-cultural impulse of Propertius' first collections was losing its relevance. Challenged by the publication of Horace's Odes, and by the imminent arrival of Virgil's Aeneid, in 23 BCE Propertius produced a radical collection of elegy which critically interrogates elegy's own origins as a genre, and which directly faces off Horatian lyric and Virgilian epic, as part of an ambitious claim to Augustan pre-eminence. But this is no moment of cultural submission. In Book 3, elegy's key themes of love, fidelity, and political independence are rebuilt from the beginning as part of a subtle critique of emerging Augustan mores. This book presents a series of readings of fourteen individual elegies from Propertius Book 3, including nostalgic love poems, an elegiac hymn to Bacchus, and a lament for Marcellus, the recently-dead nephew of Augustus.
About the Author
Jonathan Wallis is a Lecturer in Classics at the University of Tasmania. Jonathan has published numerous articles on Latin elegy and Roman culture; he also maintains a keen interest in Latin pedagogy, and at University of Tasmania has led the development of an innovative suite of digital materials to bring Latin language and literature to as wide an audience as possible.