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LYGDAMUS 100.00%
A Roman poet. See TIBULLUS.
TIBULLUS 100.00%
A Roman elegiac poet, born about 55 B.C., of a wealthy and ancient equestrian family, which had lost a considerable part of its property in the Civil Wars. However, he still owned an estate at Pedum, between Tibur and Praeneste, and was able to lead a comfortable life. He obtained the favour of Messala Corvinus, whom he accompanied on his Aquitanian campaign in 31 B.C. Messala's invitation to accompany him to Asia be at first declined, being captivated by love for Delia, a freed-woman whose proper name was Plania. Afterwards, when he had determined to make the journey, he fell ill, and was compelled to remain behind at Corcyra. He returned to Rome, and there received the sad tidings that Delia was faithless to him, and had given her affections to a rich suitor. The poems which refer to his relations with Delia are contained in the first book of his elegies. The second book has as its subject his mistress Nemesis, who likewise embittered his love by her faithlessness. According to an epigram by a contemporary poet, he died soon after Vergil, in the year 19 B.C. or early in 18. Four books of elegies have come down to us under his name, but of these only the first two can be assigned to him with certainty. The whole of the third book is the work of a feeble imitator, who represents himself as called Lygdamus, and as born in the year 43. It treats of the love-passages between the poet and his mistress Neoera. Of the fourteen poems of the fourth book, the first, a panegyric in 211 hexameters, on Messala, composed during Messala's consulship in 31, is so poor a production that it cannot be assigned to Tibullus; especially as he already enjoyed the full favour of Messala, which is solicited by the author of the poem. Moreover, poems 8-12, short love-letters of a maiden to a lover named Cerinthus, possibly Tiberius' friend Cornutus, are from the pen of a poetess, Sulpicia, probably the grand-daughter of the famous jurist, Servius Sulpicius. There is no ground for not attributing the remaining poems to Tibullus. The spurious works owe their preservation among those of Tibullus to the fact that they are the production of the circle of Messala; and were published with the genuine works as part of the literary remains either of Messala or of Tibullus, who himself, at the very most, published the first book only during his lifetime. Among the ancients, Tibullus was considered the first master of elegiac composition. The two themes of his poetry are love and country life. Within this narrow range the poet moves with considerable grace and truthfulness of feeling, expressing his homely thoughts in correspondingly homely and natural language, without any of the obscure erudition characteristic or Propertius, but also without that poet's versatility and artistic skill.
Several Roman poetesses bear this name. For the first, see TIBULLUS. A second, who is mentioned by Martial about the time of Domitian, wrote amatory poems which are lost. A poem in seventy hexameters and entitled a Satire, being a complaint to the Muse for the expulsion of the philosophers from Rome by Domitian (89 and 93 A.D.), is written in her name; but this puerile performance is of a later date, her name having been wrongly attached to it.
The name given among the Greeks to a speech delivered before a panegyris; that is, an assembly of the whole nation on the occasion of the celebration of a festival, such as Panathenaea and the four great national games. This oration had reference to the feast itself, or was intended to inspire the assembled multitude with emulation, by praising the great deeds of their ancestors, and also to urge them to unanimous co-operation against their common foes. The most famous compositions of this kind which have been preserved are the Panegyricus and Panathenaicus of Isocrates, [neither of which, however, was actually delivered in public.] In later times eulogies upon individuals were so named. This kind of composition was especially cultivated under the Roman Empire by Greeks and Romans. In Roman literature the most ancient example of this kind which remains is the eulogy of the emperor Trajan, delivered by the younger Pliny in the Senate, 100 A.D., thanking the emperor for conferring on him the consulate, a model which subsequent ages vainly endeavoured to imitate. It forms, together with eleven orations of Mamertinus, Eumenius, Nazarius, Pacatus Drepanius, and other unknown representatives of the Gallic school of rhetoric, from the end of the 3rd and the whole of the 4th centuries A.D., the extant collection of the Panegyrici Latini. Besides these, we possess similar orations by Symmachus, Ausonius, and Ennodius. There are also a considerable number of poetical panegyrics; e.g. one upon Messala, composed in the year 31 B.C., and wrongly attributed to Tibullus; one by an unknown author of the Noronian time upon Calpurnius Piso; and others by Claudian, Sidonius Apollinaris, Merobaudes, Corippus, Priscian, and Venantius Fortunatus (q.v.).
ELEGY 6.82%
The general term in Greek for any poem written in the elegiac metre, a combination of the dactylic hexameter and pentameter in a couplet. The word elegos is probably not Greek, but borrowed from the Lydians, and means a plaintive melody accompanied by the flute. How it happened that the word was applied to elegiac poetry, the earliest representatives of which by no means confined it to mournful subjects, is doubtful. It may be that the term was only chosen in reference to the musical setting, the elegy having originally been accompanied by the flute. Like the epos, the elegy was a production of the Ionians of Asia Minor. Its dialect was the same as that of the epos, and its metre only a variation of the epic metre, the pentameter being no more than an abbreviation of the hexameter. The elegy marks the first transition from the epic to lyric proper. The earliest representatives of the elegy, Callinus of Ephesus (about 700 B.C.), and Tyrtaeus of Aphidnae in Attica (about 600), gave it a decidedly warlike and political direction, and so did Solon (640-559) in his earlier poems, though his later elegies have mostly a contemplative character. The elegies of Theognis of Megara (about 540), though gnomic and erotic, are essentially political. The first typical representative of the erotic elegy was Mimnermus of Colophon, an elder contemporary of Solon. The elegy of mourning or sorrow was brought to perfection by Simonides of Ceos (died B.C. 469). After him the emotional element predominated. Antimachus of Colophon (about 400) gave the elegy a learned tinge, and was thus the prototype of the elegiac poets of Alexandria, Phanocles, Philetas of Cos, Hermesianax of Colophon, and Callimachus of Cyrene, the master of them all The subject of the Alexandrian elegy is sometimes the passion of love, with its pains and pleasures, treated through the medium of images and similes taken from mythology, sometimes learned narrative of fable and history, from which personal emotion is absent. This type of elegy, with its learned and obscure maimer, was taken up and imitated at Rome towards the end of the Republic. The Romans soon easily surpassed their Greek masters both in warmth and sincerity of feeling and in finish of style. The elegies of Catullus are among their arliest attempts; but in the Augustan age, in the hands of Cornellus Gallus, Propertius, Tibullus, and Ovid, the elegiac style was entirely appropriated by Latin literature. Ovid in his Fasti showed how a learned subject could be treated in this metre. From his time onward the elegiac metre was constantly employed. In the later literature it was used, like the epic metre, for every possible subject, as, for instance, by Rutilius Namatianus in the description of his return from Rome to France (A.D. 416). In the 6th century A.D. the poet Maximianus, born in Etruria at the beginning of the 6th century, is a late instance of a genuine elegiac poet.
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