n Akroterion - Vergil, Propertius, and the Euphrates

Volume 55, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0303-1896
  • E-ISSN: 2079-2883
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It is now well known that Vergil exploited this twofold nature of the symbol of the Euphrates masterfully. On the one hand he uses it to refer back to Callimachus and in doing so to state his own views on poetry; on the other hand he invokes the famous river of the East to explain how events there impacts on Rome, her new princeps and ultimately his own capacity to write poetry. Propertius, too, was not insensitive to the possibilities afforded by the symbol of the Euphrates and, having Vergil as an example, could exploit the symbol in much the same way as the illustrious poet. This paper is primarily concerned with how Propertius uses the symbol of the Euphrates to speak about his own poetry and the socio-political circumstances in which he wrote.

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