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Propertius on the Site of Rome
Classics Faculty Publication Series
  • Kenneth S. Rothwell, Jr., University of Massachusetts Boston
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The image of the site of Rome when it was hills, marshes and meadows, not yet spoiled by urban intrusion, was a favorite of Virgil and the Augustan elegists. In this paper I would like to examine the site as it appears in Propertius 4,1 ; 4,4 and 4,9. Although Propertius was following precendents from Tibullus 2,5 and Aeneid 8, his departures from the topography they mapped out need to be systematically examined. I will suggest (a) that Propertius generally offered a darker view of the site of Rome by endowing it with morally ambiguous qualities and by populating it with unappealing characters. Moreover (b) in fashioning this landscape Propertius settled on a view of the workings of nature -- consistent with other poems in Book 4 -- in which nature undermines human progress. This view of nature is further underscored by the suppression of the theme of the Golden Age.
Community Engaged/Serving
No, this is not community-engaged.
Citation Information
Kenneth S. Rothwell Jr.. "Propertius on the Site of Rome" Latomus, 55 (1995): 829-854.