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The drowned and the saved: shipwrecks and the 'cursus' of Latin love elegy

Houghton, L. B. T. (2007) The drowned and the saved: shipwrecks and the 'cursus' of Latin love elegy. The Cambridge Classical Journal, 53. pp. 161-179. ISSN 1750-2705

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1017/S1750270500000099


Throughout the corpus of Latin love elegy, the imaginary tombs envisaged by the elegists for their own personae and for other inhabitants of their poetic world display a striking tendency to take on the characteristic attributes and personalities of those interred within. The final resting-place of Propertius, for instance, that self-proclaimed acolyte of Callimachean miniaturism and exclusivity, is to be sequestered from the degrading attentions of the passing populace (Prop. 3.16.25–30) and crowned with the poet's laurel (2.13.33–4). What remains of his meagre form will rest in a ‘tiny little urn’ (paruula testa, 2.13.32) beneath a monument declaring the lover's slavery to a single passion (2.13.35–6), and the grave is to be attended, or so he hopes, by the object of that passion herself (3.16.23–4), or occasionally (though he is not so confident of this) by his patron Maecenas (2.1.71–8). Likewise the memorial designed by Ovid for Corinna's pet parrot - an imitatrix ales endowed with the most distinctive foibles of the elegiac tradition - in Amores 2.6, comprising a burial mound pro corpore magnus (2.6.59) topped with a tombstone described as exiguus (‘tiny’, 2.6.60; cf. Prop. 2.1.72, 2.13.33), exhibits an elegiac emphasis worthy of the parrot's human counterparts among Ovid's poetic predecessors.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Humanities > Classics
ID Code:37766
Publisher:Cambridge Philological Society

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