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1 UNRAVELING ROMAN IDENTITY: PROPERTIUS, CALLIMACHUS AND ELEGIES 4.9 11 By THOMAS GEORGE HENDREN A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEG REE OF MASTER OF ARTS UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2009
2 2009 Thomas George Hendren
3 parentibus meis et fratri sororique
4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS This thesis is the result of the guidance and influence of countless in dividuals, though my chair, Dr. Timothy Johnson, and my committee, Dr. Jennifer Rea, and Dr. Konstantinos Kapparis deserve the bulk of my gratitude. Their hours of editing and thoughtful suggestions have contributed substantially to my work as a whole. I would further like to thank Mrs. Beth Hardy, Dr. Andrew Becker, and Dr. Terry Papillon, without whom this work would never have been started, much less completed. Thanks are also due to my fellow graduate students, whose input contributed to everything f rom the correction of infelicities to the title of the work. Of course, I assume responsibility for any mistakes and falsehoods.
5 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 4 ABSTRACT ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 6 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION ................................ ................................ ................................ .................... 8 2 PROPERTIUS 4.9: THE FAT SACRIFICE ................................ ................................ .......... 21 Epic in Elegy 4.9 ................................ ................................ ................................ ..................... 21 Callimachus in Elegy 4.9 ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 28 Romanitas in Elegy 4.9 ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 31 3 PROPERTIUS 4.10: THE SLENDER MUSE ................................ ................................ ....... 35 Introduction ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................. 35 Epic in Elegy 4.10 ................................ ................................ ................................ ................... 39 Romanitas in Elegy 4.10 ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 41 Callimachus and the Augustans in Elegy 4.10 ................................ ................................ ....... 45 4 PROPERTIUS 4.11: THE RETROSPECTIVE ................................ ................................ ...... 49 Introduction ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................. 49 Propertius, Cornelia, and the Feminine Voice ................................ ................................ ........ 51 Cornelia in the Underworld ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 58 5 CONCLUSION ................................ ................................ ................................ ....................... 64 LIST OF REFERENCES ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 66 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 72
6 Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts UNRAVELLING ROMAN IDENTITY: PROPERTIUS, CALLIMACHUS AND ELEGIES 4.9 11 By Thomas George Hen dren May 2009 Chair: Timothy Johnson Major: Classical Studies Propertius 4.9 11 are an earnest attempt by the author to reconcile the Callimachean poetic standard with the elegiac genre. Based on analyses of poems 4.9, 4.10, and 4.11, I further argue t hat the final three poems of Propertius' fourth book demonstrate the author's claim to be the Callimachus Romanus through the application of Callimachean poetic theory to a definition of Romanitas To these ends, it is necessary to demonstrate briefly Pro pertius' adoption of Callimachean themes, and to treat each poem individually as well as in context. Modern scholarship rarely considers poem 4.10, at all, let alone in context, though Harrison (1989) and Ingleheart (2007) have, I believe, have raised ser ious questions about what could be considered to date an enigmatic poem. With my new interpretation of poem 4.10, it is possible to reread poems 4.9 and 4.11, and develop a unique model for rendering the final three poems as a coherent whole. Poem 4.9 pre sents a negative exemplum of Romanitas through a paradoxical, Callimachean style, combining light themes with lengthy poetry (relative to poem 4.10). Propertius proceeds, in poem 4.10, to render the most epic of Roman traditions, the spolia opima in fort y eight lines of elegiac couplets. In doing so, he completes a positive definition of Romanitas filling out the negative definition offered by poem 4.9. When taken together, both poems attempt to define
7 Romanitas while raising serious questions concerni ng Roman patriotism in the new principate. In poem 4.11 Propertius questions, through the mouth of an honored Roman matron, Cornelia, the validity of Roman cultural constructions through the shifting of gender paradigms with his own elegiac voice. Thus h e renders meaningless those paradigms to which the honorable Roman leader (defined i n 4.9 and 4.10) and matron (4.11 ) adhere. I argue that when read in this way, these three poems constitute Propertius' claim to fame, thinly veiled and composed with immen se Callimachean influence. This paper contributes to the discourse concerning the scholarly treatment of Propertius 4.10, a poem often discarded for its brevity. When considered at all, the principal secondary works often deem the poem an artistic failure or polarize the discussion into either a vehemently patriotic work, or a caustic denunciation of Roman values. By evaluating not only poem 4.10, but treating it as an important part of a greater work I respond directly to the more recent treatments of t he poem (Ingleheart 2007), and treat the poem within its context of the final three poems as well as the fourth book as a whole. Furthermore, this paper deals specifically with the ways in which Propertius adapted the Callimachean aesthetic for aetiologic al elegy (Miller 1982) to a book of patriotic poetry. By reading poems 4.9, 4.10, and 4.11 as individual pieces, as well as within the scope of their mutual connections by proximity and textual associations, I conclude that Propertius links three poems of varying theme with the art, language, and style of his predecessor, contrasting artistic embellishment with the weight of patriotic Roman verse. Although Callimachean influence is found throughout book four (and the work of Properitus as a whole), nowher e is it more apparent than in the interaction of his final three poems, which individually as well as together constitute a testament to Propertius' claim to be the Roman Callimachus.
8 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION nil patrium n isi nomen habet Romanus alumnus ( Prop. 4.1.37 ) 1 T he offspring of Rome have not but the names of their fathers A professed aetiology of monumental Rome, Propertius' fourth book seems schizophrenic: divided between political and amorous poetry. This "hodgepodge" of elegies is then shr ouded in Callimachean themes, maxims, and even translations, further complicating our understanding of Propertius' final book. What is the impact of the author's pervasive use of Callimachus' poetry? How does Propertius' Callimacheanism affect our unders tanding of his program of Roman aetiology ? Miller recently explored aetiological elegy in the Augustan period. Skutsch, Nethercut, and Hutchinson have discussed the unifying principles of the Propertian book, and Pillinger, Hunter, and Hollis have demons trated the extensive use of Callimachean motifs in book four. 2 Propertius' imitation of Callimachean artistry, although a given in the secondary literature, extends well beyond individual thematic or literary refer ences to his predecessor's work, referenc es that until now have been seen only as artistic amusements and demonstrations of individual poetic genius. Propertius' poetry, however involves an adaptation of Callimachus' entire literary theory, and an application of that theory to the traditional Ro man social mores In his final three poems, Propertius sets up and tears down the Roman social constructions in which the elegist is forced to operate. This scheme is evident in the condemnation of contemporary Romans in his opening poem: nil patrium nis i nomen habet Romanus alumnus (4.1.37). 1 The text of Propertius is among the worst preserved from antiquity. The poems that I will discuss at length (4.9, 4.10 and 4.11) are often fragmentary in the manuscript tradition. With this in mind, I follow the edition of Paolo Fedeli (1984) in all citations, as he has provided the best possible readings in many hopeless cases, as well as the most complete apparatus criticus. For a detailed discussion of individual lines see Shackleton Bailey 1956. 2 For Augustan aetiological elegy, see Miller 1982. For the unity of Propertius' book, see Skutsch 1963; Nethercut 1968; Hutchinson 1984. For Propertius' adaptation of Callimachus, n. b. Pillinger 1969; Hollis 2006, 97 125.
9 Propertius' Roman aetiology demonstrates the idealized Roman (a concept hereafter referred to as Romanitas ) 3 through two models, parallel to the "fat sacrifice" and "skinny muse" of Callimachus Aet 1.24 2 5 Pf Th e first of these modalities, poem 4.9, presents a negative example (based in the foreign figures Hercules and Cac us) of the ideal Roman identity. This example can be read as parallel to Callimachus' poetic extreme of a "fat" work, that is, an overblown wo rk loaded with unnecessary detail and excessively melodramatic. This contrasts the positive example (found in native characters, Romulus, Cos sus, and Marcellus) of poem 4.10, which comprises Propertius' most outstanding Callimachean achievement: the compr ession of his most powerful Roman epic theme into forty eight lines of elegiac couplets. The concept of Romanitas as split between two extremes recalls Callimachus' literary theory from his prologue to the Aetia Propertius locates Romanitas within archa ic and implausible Roman social constructions, and poem 4.11, widely regarded as Propertius' magnum opus reflects upon their catastrophic reality When the elegiac lover Propertius assumes a feminine voice, he begins to share many attributes that Corneli a claims as a defense in poem 4.11. Cornelia herself, however, claims to be an ardent follower of traditional Roman social constructions, an idealized Roman similar to that delineated throughout Propertian elegy, and at odds with the persona of an elegiac lover. When Propertius assigns Cornelia, the voice of his traditional Roman mores, to an exceedingly 3 Romanitas has a wide range of meanings in secondary scholarship. Although readers of Roman literature must assume some understanding of "Roman," the word is in fact post classical: Tertullian coined it in the third century A.D. ( De Pallio 4.1). In this thesis, I opt to treat Romanit as as a Republican traditionalism that Augustan Romans theoretically strove to imitate. Galinsky captures the word in this sense when he defines Romanitas as the traditionalist character of the Romans and their obsession with the mos maiorum In order to restore the stable form of the res publica Galinsky argues, it was necessary for Augustus to "revitalize men's consciousness of the concepts and the spirit to which those forms owed their existence" (Galinsky 1998, 76). Accordingly, I use expressions su ch as "traditional Roman customs" or "Roman mores" interchangeably with Romanitas as part of the larger Roman identity rooted in the imitation of Republican values. On the word Romanitas see Kramer 1998, 81 2. On the association between literary style a nd Romanitas see Adams 2003, 184 205.
10 dark fate, he illustrates the grim catastrophe facing those who accept and live out an antiquated version of Romanitas as exemplified by poems 4.9 and 4 .10. In order to grasp the manner in which Propertius goes about defining and attacking Roman social constructions in only three poems (4.9, 4.10, and 4.11), one cannot overlook the whole. This thesis is organized on certain premises, namely that a pervas ive Callimachean influence exists in book four, and that Propertius employs this influence as more than a nod to his predecessor; rather, it is part of a larger theoretical definition of what exactly makes the ideal Roman "Roman" in Propertius' contemporar y political climate. The introduction then will comprise a brief overview of the thesis itself, a look at Propertius' pervasive use of Callimacheanisms, a review of literature on the three elegies, and finally a chapter summary explaining the key points within each elegy. The Callimachean allusions that play a key role in the interpretation of Propertius' view of Romanitas are demonstrable from the very first poem in Propertius' fourth book. In addition to his famous claim to be the Roman Callimachus (4. 1.64), Propertius' adaptation of one of the most Callimachean of poetic themes, the aition places him squarely within the sphere of his predecessor. This influence is comprised of both Callimachean themes and poetic theory and is evident from his program matic first poem The lines sacra diesque canam et cognomina prisca locorum: / has meus ad metas sudet oportet equus, "I will sing the sacred rites and days and the ancient names of places: it's fitting for my horse to strain towards this goal," (4.1.69 70), proclaim Propertius' aetiological intent and his claim to be the Roman Callimachus just five lines prior (4.1.64) roots his elegy in the Callimachean tradition 4 4 See Miller 1982, 378 80; Ross 1975, 31 38.
11 In addition to these overt references, Propertius' fourth book is littered with the langu age, themes, and style of Callimachus. The recusatio 5 an adaptation of Callimachus' prologue to the Aetia appears in Propertius' very same introductory poem, 4.1. Here, the astrologer Horos chasti ses Propertius for violating the limits of his genre: Quo ruis imprudens, vage, dicere fata, Properti? non sunt a dextro condita fila colo. Accersis lacrimas cantans, aversus Apollo: poscis ab invita verba pigenda lyra,' (4.1.71 74) "To where do you wanderer Propertius, rush witlessly to speak th e fates ? The spun threads are not from a lucky distaff You summon up tears. Apollo is turned aside. Y ou seek painful words from an unwilling lyre," These lines, like other recusationes of the Augustan period, expand upon the words of Callimachus' Apol lo, who calls upon the poet to avoid poetry which is overdone, clich, and so inevitably mediocre: !" # $ % & () *&+(,-(./ 0 1. 2 3 0 # 456(./ 7 89!" $.:/"-,/, ; *<66=/ ) > *)/ 1., ?:!,.3 @ .......]... A .,45, ( B 1 C / 8:.3 ((, *DE,-(./ 8&5F",, ( G ]/H I. J -"/ 4' K $"8 C 6)*("659/ 1.24 ( Aet 1.21 24 Pf. ) For when first I set the writing tablet on my knee, Lyci an Apollo said to me, "poet, raise a fat sacrifice, but make your muse slender." In the manner of Horace and Vergil, Propertius rejects partially the genre of epic, which poets either avoided, or claimed to avoid because of their own inferior poetic abilit y relative to Homer. 6 Horace, in the final ode of book four, rejects the genre of epic poetry concerned with the emperor: Phoebus volentem proelia me loqui victas et urbis increpuit lyra, ne parva Tyrrhenum per aequor 5 See Chapter three infra. 6 Cameron 1995, 452 53.
12 vela darem. (Hor. C. 4 .15.1 4) Phoebus rebuked me wanting to sing of battles and victories and cities, lest I should spread my tiny sails through the Tyrrhenian Sea. Horace appears immediately, in traditional lyric fashion, to reject outright any epic theme. However, in prac tice, the ode ironically employs many of the structural elements that have been rejected, in this case, an encomium of the emperor. This contradiction allows Horace to include a strict reading of the recusatio that is, an actual rejection of martial epic as well as an ironic reading, where the inclusion of an imperial encomium conflicts with the recusatio 7 Propertius and Horace both draw on the Vergilian precedent, his near translation of Callimachus' Aetia 1.21 24 Pf: cum canerem reges et proelia, Cyn thius aurem vellit et admonuit: pastorem, Tityre, pinguis pascere oportet ovis, deductum dicere carmen.' ( Ecl 6.3 5) When I was singing about kings and battles, Apollo plucked my ear and admonished me: "Tityrus, it's right for a shepherd to nourish fat sheep, and to sing a well spun song." Vergil's rejection of epic themes ( reges et proelia ) is an adaptation of Callimachus' recusatio which is repeated with varied details in the poetry of Horace and Propertus. Like his Augustan predecessors, Propert ius roots his poetry in this very Callimachean theory of literature: that, like the Odes of Horace and the Eclogues of Vergil, his elegy is an unfit medium for epic poetry. However, l ike Vergil and Horace he will overturn his recusatio and expand the bou ndaries of his art in order to encompass epic themes. Propertius continues his Call imachean obsession in poem 4.2 8 Here, like Callimachus, Propertius employs the direct address of a statue to develop an aetiological setting ; in this case a 7 Johnson 2004, 198 205; Davis 1991, 11 77. 8 For an excellent overview of the Callimachean aspects of poem 4.2, see Dee 1974, 43 55.
13 statue of the god Vertumnus explains his own name. Callimachus, at Ait ., fr. 114 Pf., has the statue of Delian Apollo explain his appearance and the various symbolic devices he holds (his bow and the Graces). 9 Furthermore, as James Dee correctly points out, Propertius Vertumnus elegy is littered with the language of farming, vocabulary that was well known to the Roman people, and is compressed into elegant elegiac verse. 10 This would certainly constitute what Dee calls a "Romanization of Callimachean subjects and styl e." The complexity and artistry with which Propertius has apparently "Romanized" Callimachean themes for what will amount to a false etymology seems futile. However, the poem is not merely aetiological in theme: it serves as a show piece, presented less as an actual aetiology, and more as an artistic representation of the author's skill for the audience's amusement. 11 Just as poem 4.2 places Callimachean artistry within a Roman setting, poem 4.6 manages a similar feat, but on a much grander scale. Here Pr opertius creates a Callimachean hymn for the battle of Actium, recalling on different occasions the language of Callimachus' Aetian prologue and his Coma Berenices as well as the overall characteristic style of Calimachean hymns. First, at 4.6.10, Proper tius writes: pura novum vati laurea mollit iter "a pure laurel smoothes a new path for the poet," a reference to the untrodden paths of Callimachus' Aet 1.27 28 Pf. Second, the very manner in which the battle is fought recalls Catullus' Latin translatio n of Callimachus' Coma Berenices Propertius' Actium begins and ends in one couplet, 4.6.67 68: "Thence Actian Phoebus got his monument, when each of his arrows sent forth ten ships defeated," similar in tone to Catullus' all powerful Ptolemy at 66.35 36: "in hardly a long time [Ptolemy] had added captured Asia to Egypt's boarders." 12 Finally, Propertius' opening lines (4.6.1 4) invoke the 9 See also Ia. IX, fr. 199 Pf. for a similar instance of dialogue with a statue: Pillinger 1969, 179. 10 Dee 1974, 44. 11 Dee 1974, 48. 12 Hollis 2006, 116 17. Here Callimachus' Greek text does not survive, and so we must rely on Catullus.
14 poet's highly religious stance, specifically his role as a vates 13 of Apollo (4.6.1). This equation of poetic and reli gious language draws Propertius closer to Apollo, himself the inspiration for poets, and recalls the intimate correspondence between Callimachus and Apollo in the Aetian prologue. 14 Poems 4.1, 4.2, and 4.6 provide a brief glimpse into Propertius' Callimach ean program, and coupled with the references found in poems 4.9, 4.10, and 4.11, should provide an adequate basis for our assumption that the poetry of Callimachus played a major role in the composition of book four. By overt references, Callimachus appea rs in over half of the poems of book four: beginning, middle, and end. Thus, because the final three poems of book four are loaded with Callimachean influence, and appear to be organized around Roman patriotic aetiology, one might naturally apply a Callim achean theory to Propertius' poetic definition of Romanitas Propertius' Romanitas is defined in the final three poems of book four through a Callimachean dichotomy: the fat sacrifice of poem 4.9, and the skinny muse of poem 4.10. 15 In the scholarship of t he past sixty years, poem 4.9 has been considered either a semi tragic epic, aimed at glorifying the new imperial system, 16 or a variation on patriotic epic (the theme recalls Aeneid 8.184 289), and in the latter case an anti Augustan piece. 17 This division along tragic and comic lines, and the marriage of these themes to a particular political stance (pro and anti Augustan, respectively) places the poem within our limited understanding of the politics of "Augustan" Rome, without allowing for the myriad exce ptions each interpretation requires. Indeed, as early as 1964 scholars were beginning to doubt the possibility of an entirely political reading, and that other issues such as generic conflation of elegy and epic must play a vital role 13 Ver gil popularized the term vates ( Ecl 7.27; 9.34), an archaic title for a divinely inspired prophet, priest, or seer. It would become common parlance among the Augustan poets as more praiseworthy title than poeta ; e.g., Hor. C. 1.1.35, 3.19.15, 4.9.28; Prop 2.10.19; Ov. Fast 3.177, 3.714. 14 Pillinger 1969, 191. For a more complete analysis of the Callimachean nuance in poem 4.6 see Pillinger 1969, 189 99. 15 See also Miller 1982, 384 85 on the Callimachean aspects of poem 4.4. 16 See Grimal 1952, 191 92; Ho llerman 1977, 79 92; Weeber 1977, 170 86. 17 See Anderson 1969; Pillinger 1969, 182 89; Galinsky 1972, 153 56.
15 in our understanding of 4.9. 18 This problem has been considered most recently by Micaela Janan (2001), Jeri Debrohun (2003), and Tara Welch (2005). Each in their own way addresses broader issues such as the deconstruction of gender and nationalism. 19 This wider spectrum of a nalysis is essential to appreciating the poem within the confines of its seemingly self contradictory poetic types, which combine elegy with epic, tragedy with farce. Poem 4.11 invites intense speculation (and few scholars of Propertius have had the restra int to avoid commenting), specifically when one considers the apparent reversal of Propertian elegiac ideals embodied in Cornelia. 20 The novelty of the poem is clear: Propertius, once obsessed with the urbane dura puella Cynthia, places an aristocratic uni vira (married to a single man for the duration of her life) into a primary speaking position. This poetic about face has spawned immense debate, divided essentially into two camps. As in the case of poem 4.10, Cornelia's elegy has been read on the one ha nd as Propertius' acceptance of Augustan marriage legislation, spoken through the poster child of Augustus' reforms, an aristocratic matron with three children. This view has inspired many interpretations of the poem as genuine admiration for Cornelia's l ifestyle, her attitude towards marriage, and her faithfulness even in death. 21 On the other hand, many find Cornelia's painful acceptance of mortality so bleak as to mask those attributes that she claims as praiseworthy. Cornelia is thus a heartless and i solated figure, resigned to misery as a victim of the patriarchal code under which she lived. 22 Weeber's reading 23 of the poem as supportive of the archaic values behind Augustus' marriage reforms is indicative of the overall problem: neither an interpretat ion which praises Cornelia's chastity and 18 Anderson 1964, 1 12. See also Cairns 1992, 65 95. 19 See also Spencer 2001, 259 84. 20 See Stahl 1985, 262; Wyke 1987, 171 72. 21 See Grimal 1952 449; Luck 1959, 115; Stahl 1985, 262; Wyke 1987, 171 72. 22 For Cornelia's subjection to Roman aristocratic values, s ee Richardson 1977, 481; for a generally dark reading of the poem, see Curran 1968; Hallett 1971, 163 75; Hubbard 1974, 145 49. 23 Weeber 1 977, 217 49.
16 by proxy Augustus' marriage legislation, nor one which lambasts Roman aristocratic gender constructions is adequately supported in the text. Thus scholarship to date, while interesting, places the poem too squarel y within the realm of Propertius' relationship with the princeps, without considering the impact of Propertius' feminine voice on his elegy as a whole. 24 Unlike poems 4.9 and 4.11, poem 4.10 is largely disregarded in secondary literature, partly because of its brevity, and partly due to the (false) perception that it is an incomplete or failed work Given such negative assessments there is certainly no scholarly consensus on the role of poem 4.10 within the aetiological program of Propertius' fourth book. Interpretations range widely, considering 4.10 either a patriotic piece of sorts or a vitriolic attack on Augustus. 25 It is within this atmosphere of a secondary literature, which has fragmented Propertius, that our reinterpretation of his final three elegi es takes shape. Chapter two (covering poem 4.9) begins a detailed look at Propertius' final three poems with emphasis on the author's pervasive Callimachean references, and specifically how these references degrade the hero and contribute to an overall la ughable portrayal of Hercules. Callimachean word play and thematic references, excessive violent language, the passivity of the hero, and even his political association with Antony all contribute to trivialization of heroic status. Propertius' Hercules i s not the monster slaying archetype known from Indo European epic, but rather the gluttonous caricature immortalized in authors like Callimachus ( Hymn to Artemis 148 61) and Aristophanes ( Ranae 60 65, 106). Propertius' Cacus lacks the violent characterist ics of his Vergilian counterpart, and at worst defiles the guest friendship of Hercules by stealing Hercules' cattle. 26 Without his malevolence, Cacus seems hardly a fitting counterpoint to the idealized hero who saved proto Rome from a hideous monster. B oth villain and hero recast the heroic aetiology of Aeneid 8 as a 24 Refer to Chapter four for a more complete analysis of feminist readings of 4.11. 25 See Janan 2001, 197 98, n. 13, also Welch 2005 133 65; Ingleheart 2007, 61 81; Garani 2007, 99 117. 26 Of course, this is the cattle which Hercules himself st ole from Geryon (4.9.2 and 4.9.18).
17 farce, and so contribute to Propertius' larger scheme of resituating Romanitas in a changing Roman world. In poem 4.9, Propertius has presented only one half of his version of Romanitas Ju st as Apollo urges Callimachus to keep a "fat sacrifice" and a "slender muse," so too Propertius divides his Romanitas between "fat" and "slender" extremes. Poem 4.9, with its weighty epic language and interwoven Callimachean allusions falls neatly into t he "fat" category. Depicted in this atmosphere of overblown epic, Hercules and Cacus become exempla (figures for analogous definition) of a negative Romanitas 27 This half of Propertius' Romanitas is negative in that Propertius utilizes external exempla. These figures are physically independent of Rome (both are foreigners in Propertius' as well as Vergil's version) and through their lackluster heroism/villainy depict for the reader what is "not Roman." The preposterous aetiology of Hercules and Cacus no t only fulfills Propertius' overt claims from poem 4.1 to write aetiology (4.1.69 70) and that he will become the "Callimachus Romanus" (4.1.64), but also begins to reconstruct the identity crisis in contemporary Rome. While poem 4.9 introduces a negative example within the realm of a Callimachean aition poem 4.10 (Chapter three) fills out that example by providing a positive complement. The foreign social constructions expounded in poem 4.9 (Hercules recollects his time as a Lydian seamstress as a pretex t for entrance to the Bona Dea shrine, 4.9.47 50) are replaced with the archaic values held dear to Rome from its birth. Gone are the semi heroic Hercules and the mythological Cacus, replaced by the archetypal Roman hero, Romulus, along with his entourage of fellow victors of the spolia opima Indeed, what better way to positively illustrate Romanitas 27 I follow the vocabulary of Janan 2001, 134 145, where internal and external exempla are used by Propertius to create Romanitas based purely in differences. In this paper, internal exempla will be those specifically de fined as Roman, that is Romulus, Cossus, and Marcellus, the traditional victors of the spolia opima The opposite, external exempla are those characters that Propertius employs to define the different, or non Roman: namely Hercules and Cacus.
18 than through an epic catalogue of Rome's most celebrated victors? The contrast is extraordinary, and once again Callimachean poetics plays a major role in our appreciation of Propertius' handling of Romanitas At forty eight lines, elegy 4.10 is by far the shortest of book four, and yet manages to comprise some of Propertius' weightiest epic themes and language. This combination of form and content openly recalls the often quoted Callimachean dictum: 1)$D L,L6M./ 1)$D !"! a direct judgment not of epic, as has often been read into the subsequent Augustan recusationes but rather of banal composition in general. 28 Propertius contrasts the humorous, length y poem 4.9, with the brief severity of poem 4.10, and once again achieves his professed goal to become the Roman Callimachus. Propertius not only treads new ground in his genre by writing aetiological Latin elegy, but also adheres to the literary traditio n of his predecessor by covering that new ground in a concise and well polished fashion. Just as in poem 4.9, Propertius mingles within his Callimachean discourse the exempla necessary to further his vision of Romanitas Rather than employ foreign heroe s, Propertius draws upon well known Romans, the canonical victors of the spolia opima : Romulus, Cossus, and Marcellus. Propertius' exempla defend Rome from foreign enemies and conquer the arrogant. The devotion of fewer lines to each victor serves not to diminish their accomplishments, but rather to emphasize those of Romulus, who so surpasses his successors in Romanitas that his victory covers nearly half the poem. All of the victors display a measure of violence in their victory, a hallmark of epic com bat; however Romulus, who vows to dedicate the arms of his opponent at the temple of Jupiter Feretrius, displays piety as well as virtus and thus becomes a figurehead for Romanitas The combination of the Romulus' positive example 28 Cameron 19 95, 452 53.
19 and Hercules' negative create a complete picture of the social constructions that disrupt the elegiac world. After developing these neat polarities of the negative (4.9) and the positive (4.10), Propertius closes by creating a dilemma. Adherence to old definitions proves inad equate if not downright destructive. Chapter four considers the final elegy of book four, in which Propertius rejects the social mores that poems 4.9 and 4.10 develop, through the voice of one of the most tragic victims of traditional Rome the Roman matr on Cornelia. The poem places Cornelia, a deceased Roman mother of three in the court of the underworld, forced to defend her life of as one of chastity and honor. However, the underworld in which Propertius places her is a far cry from the fields of the blessed lovers found in Tibullus and Vergil. Unlike Tibullus' Delia, Vergil's Dido, or even Propertius' own Cynthia, Cornelia is a victim of her environment, imprisoned within the marshy terrain for at least the duration of her trial. Indeed, that her tr ial lacks any verdict poignantly typifies Cornelia's bleak future in the afterlife. Cornelia's elegy holds particular significance when considered within the sphere of Propertian poetics, as Cornelia's defense relies heavily on her archetypal views of the feminine role, actually similar to that of the elegiac Propertius in his pursuit of Cynthia. Cornelia presents her life as lived completely in line with the Roman moral standards for women, a facet of the socially constructed Romanitas explored in poems 4 .9 and 4.10. A similar voice pervades Propertius' corpus, and depicts the author largely in the same terms that Cornelia uses to defend her life as one of monumental virtue. Thus, Propertius, through his elegiac voice displays the same personal attribute s as Cornelia, the ideal Roman matron: jealousy, servile devotion, and unwavering faithfulness. This common voice assumed by the elegiac poet and Roman matron creates an empathetic dialogue between the two. Propertius' Romanitas is now comprehensible
20 in an elegiac construct. His audience cannot deny the similarities between Cornelia and the elegiac lover without denying the very roots of traditional Roman mores. Of course, this by no means constitutes an equation between the elegiac Propertian lover and the accepted version of Romanitas In fact, the similarities throw that Romanitas into crisis, as Cornelia is Propertius' most tragic character. Thus any adherents who cling too firmly to traditional conceptions of Romanitas will suffer the same fate as Cornelia: a life and ultimately death bereft of meaning. This identity crisis forms the culmination of Propertius' program of defining Roman identity, developed through the aetiological elegy laced with Callimachean artistry throughout book four. Propert ius in poem 4.1 lays out not only the aetiological goal of his fourth book, but sets the tone in which this is to be accomplished: first, that the book will establish Propertius as a Roman Callimachus, and second that his poetry will not entirely praise th e values of contemporary Rome, as Propertius explains to Horos, "T he offspring of Rome have only the names of their fathers," (4.1.37). The pervasive intrusion of Callimachus' influence affects even Propertius criticism of Rome, and forces a dichotomous a nalysis of his fellow citizen's conception of Romanitas This analysis is naturally embodied in his two most Callimachean poems, 4.9 and 4.10, and divides Romanitas between positive Roman exempla (4.10), and negative, non Roman exempla (4.9). Elegy 4.11 then creates a calamity of Roman identity by comparing the male elegiac lover with the Roman matron. This comparison renders the characters as far too similar for any "happy ending" for the comfort of traditional Romanitas Coupled with the less than ide al placement of Cornelia in the underworld, Propertius' final three poems seem to set up and then question the very nature of Romanitas illustrating "Romanness" as nothing more than a disaster.
21 CHAPTER 2 PROPERTIUS 4.9: THE FAT SACRIFICE From the very fi rst elegy in book four, Propertius announces that he is the "Roman Callimachus" (4.1.64). Though he implements various Callimachean strategies in the poems prior to 4.9, Propertius has yet to reveal his full Callimachean character, a revelation which begin s to take shape in the amusing reinvention of Hercules in elegy 4.9. The current trend in scholarship focuses on the more severe aspects of poem 4.9, in which Propertius' treatment of Roman identity, or Romanitas is a completely serious matter. 1 Adherenc e to this interpretation excludes many of the humorous points of the poem, which are essential to understanding and appreciating the work of Propertius as the Roman Callimachus. Propertius' claim to be the "Roman Callimachus" begins to take shape only whe n we see the lighter side of Propertius' narrative through his anti epic portrayal of Hercules. Propertius' epic diction serves to illustrate the humor with which the deflated Hercules must be considered, while the poem itself is composed within the spher e of Callimachus' Hymn to Artemis Through this revision of the myth of Hercules and the Ara Maxima, Propertius creates a textual link between himself and Callimachus, and questions the use of aetiology as a mechanism for defining what it means to be "Rom an." Epic in Elegy 4.9 With the very first word of poem 4.9, Propertius puts his audience into an epic mindset: Amphitryoniades qua tempestate iuvencos egerat a stabulis, o Erythea, tuis, venit ad invictos pecorosa Palatia montis, et statuit fess os, fessus et ipse, boves, qua Velabra suo stagnabant flumine quaque 5 nauta per urbanas velificabat aquas. 1 For the serious aspects of 4.9 see Piccaluga 1964; Hollerman 1977; Cairns 1992; Janan 2001, Ch. 8; Spencer 2001; Welch 2004; Harrison 2005.
22 At that time when the son of Amphitryon lead his cattle from your stables, Erythea, he came to the unconquered hill of the cattle covered Pa latine, and stood his exhausted cows, himself exhausted, where the Velabrum welled up from its river and a sailor was sailing through the urban lake Patronymics are a common feature of epic literature, and this patronymic (Amphitryoniades), comprising se ven syllables, nearly half the hexameter line, commands the reader's attention and dictates their expectations from the outset. 2 The title refers to Alcmena's lawful husband, Amphitryon, creating two important associations for the reader, both of which de tract from Hercules' characterization as a hero. First, it ignores that Jupiter is the canonical father of Hercules, bypassing his divine ancestry. Second, the title recalls Alcmene's affair with Jupiter, and reminds the reader that Hercules is the illeg itimate child of a cuckolded husband. Therefore while being a signpost for epic, the patronymic lowers the status of the primary hero, Hercules. Ovid also illustrates this tactic in the Metamorphoses where he refers to Perseus either by name, or gives h im an elaborate matronymic ." Ovid refers to Acrisius, the grandfather of Perseus, as Abantiades at 4.607, while Perseus' divine parentage is called into question within the very first mention of his name, three lines later at 4.610 11: neque enim Iovis esse putabat / Persea, quem pluvio Danae conceperat auro "nor did he believe that he [Perseus] was the son of Jupiter, whom Dana had conceived from gold." Ovid gives Atlas the title Iapetionides at 4.632, and Aeolus is the son of Hippotas at 4.663, whi le Perseus remains merely "Perseus" at 4.639. Perseus is alternately refered to as Abantiades (5.138, 5.236), Acrisioniades (5.70), Agenorides (4.563) Danaeius heros (5.1), Inachides (4.720), and Lyncides (4.767, perhaps at 5.99, 5.185). Through the com parison with Ovid, we see exactly how Propertius has begun poem 4.9 with an amusing jab at the epic genre. Not only is the name long, almost to the point of absurdity as it 2 For Amphitryoniades as a common epic patronymic for Hercules, see: V. Fl. 1.635, 3.733; Verg. Aen 8 .214; Luc. BC 9.644; Stat. Theb 1.486, 5.401, 8.499, 11.47.
23 envelops half the line, but it recalls for the reader the less than heroic situati on surrounding Hercules' parentage: Amphitryon, though the husband of Alcmene, was not Hercules' father. Amphitryoniades is only Propertius' first word play at the expense of epic. Through the next six lines Propertius continues to create an ironic atmosp here via the double meanings within his epic language. The archaic use of tempestate (1), the apostrophe and hiatus in o Erythea (2) and the "unconquered hill" ( invictosmontis 3) all add an epic touch to the opening lines, while the flooded Velabrum (5 6) recalls a golden age at Rome, reminiscent of poem 4.1.1 8. 3 Propertius contrasts the expectations raised by employing language are a pair of superficial etymological associations: invictos which recalls the popular cult epithet of Hercules Invictus a nd the derivation of Palatia from percorosa, which Pillinger sarcastically describes as, "learned." However, Propertius' most clever word play comes in a feature of Hellenistic poetics quite uncommon in epic literature, an appositional construction, here in the form of pecorosa Palatia Consider venit ad invictos pecorosa Palatia montis (4.9.3), where pecorosa Palatia is clearly both an absurd etymology, linking the Palatia with pecorosa as well as an appositional construciton to invictos montis This c onstruction evokes the Hellenistic style of Vergil, found, for example, in Ecl 1.57: nectamen interea raucae, tua cura, palumbes In the Eclogues as in 4.9, tua cura is in apposition to raucae palumbes though without the inflated epic language of 4.9, which inevitably betrays the author's less than serious tone. Vergil's Eclogues contain multiple examples of this feature (1.57, 2.3, 3.3, 5.71, 7.21, 9.9) while the Aeneid contains a single parallel (6.842 43), itself in fact a reference to Ennius. Prop ertius has encased an archaic etymology meant to develop an epic atmosphere within a clearly Hellenistic, non epic construction, thereby creating a deliberately ironic reading. 4 3 Hollis 2006, 121. 4 Pillinger 1964, 184. See Var. L. 5.53 for the etymology in pecorosa Palatia
24 Propertius reinvents epic themes as well as language in poem 4.9, not only mim icking the characteristic diction of epic, but also calling to mind a popular rendition of the famous myth. Propertius plays off a Vergilian precedent in his description of Cacus' lair, recalling a well known passage for Propertius' highly educated audien ce ( Aen 8.193 97): hic spelunca fuit vasto summota recessu, semihominis Caci facies quam dira tenebat solis inaccessam radiis; semperque recenti 195 caede tepebat humus, foribusque adfixa superbis ora virum tristi pendebant pallida tabo. Here was a cavern set back in a deep recess, which was holding the harsh form of half human Cacus. The cave was inaccessible to sunlight; and its earth was always warm with fresh slaughter. Fixed to the high doors the pale and putrid faces of sad men were hanging. The pure brutality of the passage leaps off the page, progressively intensified by the violent and fantastic diction from semihominis Caci facies to recenti / caede tepebat humus and finally ora virum tristi pendebant pallida tabo Vergil's Cacus provides a fitting antagonist for Hercules, who is depicted by comparison as a brilliant epic hero and savior of Rome. However, the fear and violence indicative of Vergil's description are nowhere to be found in the verses of Propertius. Instead, the graphic details that fill out five hexameter lines in Vergil are dealt with in four rather placid verses by Propertius at (4.9.7 10): sed non infido manserunt hospite Caco incolumis: furto polluit ille Iovem. incola Cacus erat, metuendo raptor ab antro, per tria partitos qui dabat ora sonos. 10 But there was no safety for the guests of treacherous Cacus: secretly he violated Jove. Cacus lived there in the fear filled cave, who was giving separate sounds through three mouths. Cacus is no longer the paradigm of violent behavior, but merely an inhospit able host, and a lowly thief who hides in a cave. The three faces (an echo recalling Vergil's semihominis ), which "roar from a fearful cave," barely hint at the Cacus' traditional bloodlust, and seem to confuse the
25 monster with Geryon, referenced at 4.9.2 5 Propertius is thus able to recall the work of Vergil, and deflate the monstrous character of Cacus. In doing so, he has an equally adverse effect on the audience's reception of Hercules. The comparison between Hercules and Cacus continues into Propert ius' rendition of their combat, which characterizes Hercules in two distinctly negative ways. First Propertius's language renders Hercules as a passive agent throughout the battle, hardly a fitting narration for the supposed climactic scene of the aetiolo gy. Second, this language contrasts with the violent diction of the Aeneid again playing against Vergilian precedent. At 4.9.14 Propertius makes anger the active agent in Hercules' charge into Cacus cave, rather than the hero himself: furis et implacid as diruit ira fores "and anger pulled down the brutal doors." In contrast to Vergil's foribusque adfixa superbis / ora virum tristi pendebant pallida tabo Propertius' description of the physical layout of the cave is limited to a single adjective, impl acidas which I have generously translated as "brutal" but which Pillinger translates simply as "ungentle." 6 The battle with Cacus lasts little more than a single line: Maenalio iacuit pulsus tria tempora ramo Cacus "Cacus lay down, beaten on his three t emples by the Maenalian club," (4.9.15 16). Here again, Hercules is not the heroic agent of the action, but his club seems to defeat Cacus. Contrast Vergil's account ( Aen. 8.259 61) of Cacus' death, which demonstrates both the ferocity of the monster, as well as the heroism of Hercules: hic Cacum in tenebris incendia vana vomentem / corripit in nodum complexus, et angit inhaerens / elisos oculos et siccum sanguine guttur "He [Hercules] captured Cacus in the shadows, as he belched his fires in vain. Herc ules grabbed him by the neck and put it in a knot, holding on he choked him until his eyes stuck out, and his throat dried with blood." Hercules' imitable strength chokes the uncontrollable, barbaric Cacus. 5 Janan 2001, 141. 6 Pillinger 1964, 185.
26 Vergil, in this act of violence, creates an eff ective contrast between the heroic strength of Hercules and the inhuman, fire breathing monster Cacus. Propertius, on the other hand, problematizes Hercules' strength, when he refers to the hero in the line immediately following as Alcides (4.9.16), recal ling the epic patronymic from the first line and emphasizing his passive role in the death of Cacus. Thus, ironically, at what should be the understood climax of the poem, Propertius' Hercules is neither the active hero killing the monster, nor is his mon ster quite so monstrous. When Propertius' Hercules speaks, he deepens the absurdity of his own character. His speech, littered with incidental and ludicrous language, is not that of an epic hero. This high epic diction, coupled with an aetiological ref erence to the Forum Bovarium, is comprised within an address to gathered cattle at 4.9.16 20, and continues to paint Propertius' hero in an amusing light: Ite boves, Herculis ite boves, nostrae labor ultime clavae, bis mihi quaesitae, bis mihi praeda, boves arvaque mugitu sancite Bovaria longo: nobile erit Romae pascua vestra Forum.' 20 Come cattle, come cattle of Hercules, final labor of my club, twice sought by me, twice my prize, you cows sanctify the Bovarian fields with your long mooing: your pasture will be the noble Forum of Rome. The anaphora present in Ite bovesite bovesboves (4.9.16 18), which is intertwined with bis mihibis mihi (4.9.18), creates an overabundance of epic diction. Hercules presents us with yet another "learned" aetio logy in the arvaBovaria lowered by the idea of cows sanctifying a field with moos. It is worth noting once again that even Hercules himself acknowledges his own passive status in the climactic action of the poem, when he refers to the cows as the "final labor of my club." Propertius places into the mouth of Hercules words that draw the audience further from the realm of epic, despite the continued signposts for the epic genre.
27 When Hercules attempts to talk his way into the shrine through an exchange wi th the shrine's priestess, he employs three separate tactics, each more self deprecating than the last. First, Hercules begs for a mere sip of water from the spring at 4.9.36: et cava succepto flumine palma sat est "and water accepted by a hollow palm i s enough," though at 4.9.63 he will drain the entire spring dry, an act that will make his first request a flat out lie. Second, Hercules begins an epic catalogue of his deeds, claiming that they are proof of his right to enter the shrine (4.9.36 44), whi ch alone in the entire world denies him entrance (4.9.66). This catalogue depicts Hercules as essentially arrogant: that the hero was able to force his way into the underworld is not basis for his right to enter a shrine sacred to an honored Roman goddess His pride is later confirmed when he establishes an altar to himself (4.9.67 68) after the destruction of the Bona Dea shrine. 7 When he fails to gain access, he reverses his tactics and emphasizes his time spent as a female servant to the Lydian queen Omphale (4.9.47 50): idem ego Sidonia feci servilia palla officia et Lydo pensa diurna colo, mollis et hirsutum cepit mihi fascia pectus et manibus duris apta puella fui.' 50 I am that same one who performed the tasks of a slave girl in a Sidoni an gown, and spun my daily allotment at the Lydian distaff, a soft ribbon once held my hairy chest and I was a proper girl but with rough hands. As a self styled female servant, Hercules basically emasculates his own heroic persona. The "Sidonian gown" an d "Lydian distaff" recall Near Eastern cultures, often associated in the Roman mind with decadence, effeminacy, and weakness. 8 Ovid takes up a similar comic scene in the Fasti 2.303 58, recounting what he refers to as an antiqui fabula plena ioci "a tale full of old jokes" (3.304). Here Faunus, attempting to climb into bed with Omphale, does not realize that Hercules has swapped clothes with the queen, and pays the price for lifting the "woman's" 7 Welch 2004, 84. 8 See Hor. C. 1.38; Juv. 3.58 125 ; Plin. Nat. 29.13.
28 tunic (2.347 58). The three separate attempts by Hercule s to enter the shrine, that is, his claim to require but a tiny sip, his catalogue of famous deeds, and his time spent as a female slave, each undermine his credibility as a hero, while the final attempt outright reaffirms his weakness. Callimachus in Eleg y 4.9 The Priestess' response to Hercules constitutes one of the major points tethering Propertius to Callimachus, and sets off a number of Callimachean associations, which provide further evidence of the poem's irony. In warning Hercules, the nameless pr iestess relates the story of the blinding of Tiresias (4.9.53 7): parce oculis, hospes, lucoque abscede verendo; cede agedum et tuta limina linque fuga. interdicta viris metuenda lege piatur 55 quae se summota vindicat ara casa. magno Tiresias aspe xit Pallada vates, fortia dum posita Gorgone membra lavat. Spare your eyes, guest, and depart from this sacred grove; leave, all right, and flee the threshold in safe flight. It's forbidden to men and avenged by a fearful law, the altar which protects itself in this secluded hut. At a great price Tiresias the prophet saw Athena, while she was bathing her brave limbs with her aegis set aside. Here the priestess refers specifically to Tiresias as having seen Athena bathing, though the traditional tale h as Artemis another virgin goddess, as the violated deity. 9 She is referring in fact to Callimachus' Bath of Pallas in which he reinvents this myth by assigning a feminine role to a goddess with masculine attributes, Athena; similarly, Propertius has pla ced the most masculine of Greek heroes, Hercules in an emasculating situation. 10 Propertius even translates the crucial line, magno Tiresias aspexit Pallada vates from Callimachus' Hymn (5.102): 1,-8 N (. J (./ O 4) 2 / 1)$D6= "that man should see at a great price." 11 Propertius has thus quoted Callimachus twice: first, through the mouth of the priestess who opts to relate the less popular Callimachean 9 See Ov. Met. 3.138 252; Eur. Bacch. 337 340; Diod. Sic. 4.81.4. 10 Welch 2004, 81. 11 Hollis 2006, 122 n. 105.
29 take on a traditional myth, and second, through the translation of the critical line. In doing so he establi shes an interpretive context for his elegy. The Priestess' forbidden shrine, as opposed to the cattle thief Cacus, is enough to incite Hercules to become an active agent, and he enters the shrine by force. At 4.9.61 64, in what will amount to the true aet iology of Propertius' poem, Hercules finally assumes his active, heroic role, but only to perform a task hardly worthy of an Ara Maxima : sic anus: ille umeris postis concussit opacos, 61 nec tulit iratam ianua clausa sitim. at postquam exhausto iam flu mine vicerat aestum, ponit vix siccis tristia iura labris... Thus the old woman spoke: he [Hercules] broke down the shaded door posts with his shoulders, nor could the closed doors bear his angry thirst. But afterwards by draining the stream he conque red his thirst, and with lips scarcely dry he set up these severe laws Although the death of Cacus could be assumed to be a suitable aetiology for the foundation of the Ara Maxima, as in Vergil's account ( Aen. 8.338 61), Hercules was not the active partic ipant in the death of Cacus: his strength broke down the doors and his club subdued the monster. Now, however, Hercules is the active subject, and fittingly as well, for finally we have Propertius' actual aetiology, the destruction of the Bona Dea shrine. The active/passive contrast between the expected and actual aetiology of elegy 4.9 characterizes the hero in a less than admirable light. Hercules ingestion of the entire stream places him squarely within the confines of a Callimachean caricature, a not so subtle allusion to t he Hymn to Artemis which provides a comic context for Hercules' "heroic" act. Thus Propertius not only transports the infamous gluttony of Callimachus' Hercules from the Hymn to Artemis 148 61 into his account, but he also imitate s the very language of Callimachus at its most critical points: 8). # 4 P 0 # *D/()3 0 !)M/=, Q 669!(./ $)6<=-,, 1D6,-(" 4 C *)/8)& G R (S,
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31 Hercules recall Callimachus' lighthearted treatment of the hero, and in doing so Propertius adds a measure of humor to his elegy. This overview of the more comic moments that exemplify Propertius' Hercules both firmly root him within a specific interpretive context, that of an outrageous, arrogan t hero, as well as a literary context, alluding on multiple levels to Callimachus. From the opening word Propertius begins to detract from the hero's traditional epic associations, using subtle diction to deconstruct the hero. Hercules himself, in both s peech and action, falls into a Callimachean paradigm, solidifying the playful connotations of poem 4.9. Definite references to Callimachus lie interwoven in the text, stabilized by the multiple levels (both thematic and stylistic) in which the references are made. This characterization of Hercules, then, plays a crucial role in our appreciation of Propertius' title "Roman Callimachus," by firmly rooting him within the tradition of his predecessor. Romanitas in Elegy 4.9 Propertius, in writing a patriotic, aetiological poem, with Callimachean overtones, pinpoints a serious problem facing contemporary Romans: how exactly to define their "Romanness." An immense ambiguity unfolds in the character of Hercules, which raises the question what it is exactly that makes Romans "Roman." Propertius, through his retelling of the advent of Hercules, demonstrates the futility of defining "Romanness" through the traditional means of patriotic poetry, since it constitutes an impossible ideal (4.1.37 38), and relies on wha t is "not Roman" to define what is Roman. Throughout his fourth book, Propertius treats through aetiological elegy the definition of Romanitas and sets out, suitably, in 4.9 to write on the arrival of Hercules at Rome. He nevertheless fails (though this f ailure is no accident), due in part to the convoluted and indefinite
32 nature of the definition process. As Diana Spencer 13 has demonstrated, Propertius falls short of his goal from the outset in terms of methodology: By evoking a range of genres and mythic stories in a narrative firmly grounded in the topography of Rome past and (Augustan) present, Propertius simultaneously colludes in the rewriting or "refoundation" or Roman history and undermines the viability of all attempts to impose a monolithic version of the Roman experience. In crossing gender ( apta puella fui 4.9.50) and spatial (Hercules enters the sacred shrine, forbidden to men, and destroys it, 4.9.61 64) boundaries, Spencer argues that no single defining factor of "Romanness" remains, as all fa ctors can be deconstructed. Propertius' failure to accurately depict "Romanness" in a semi Platonic ideal is then a statement on the impossibility of such an ideal. 14 It is, in fact, this failure, among others, which raises the question of whether or not the archetypal understanding of "Roman" can actually exist. Propertius will attempt to sketch the vague concept of "Romanness," through various external comparisons, that is, defining that which is Roman by what is not Roman. As noted above, the descripti ons of Cacus and his cave do little to glorify Hercules, diminishing the epic qualities of the hero relative to Vergil's account. However, by refusing to depict Cacus and Hercules with the same violence as Vergil, Propertius' text lacks the essential natu re of the conflict: the definition by external comparison of barbarism (Cacus) vs. ordered heroism (Hercules, as a representation of Roman ideals). Neither figure is treated with enough narrative detail to establish either firmly within their respective s phere. Cacus' doors are simply implacidas and he himself is nothing more than an inhospitable host (4.9.7), while Hercules is throughout the poem merely a farcical reflection of his conventional self. Vergil, through the voice of Evander in the Aeneid is much more successful at aetiology, clearly rendering the 13 Spencer 2001, 260. 14 Spencer 2001, 261: "[The poem uses] offbeat angles and disturbing emphases to u nderline instability and artificiality in Augustan representation."
33 comparison between Hercules and Cacus as a parallel for Aeneas and Mezentius, and thus demonstrating through external comparison the heroic and barbaric characteristics of each figure, respectivel y. 15 Propertius fails to achieve a similar definition by comparison because Roman patriotism cannot be completely described in such vague non Roman terms. Hercules compounds this problematic definition through his actions at the Bona Dea shrine, where his b otched plan to enter the shrine mimics the failure of any attempt to define what is "Roman" by what is "not Roman." He first attempts a heavily masculine tactic to gain entry (4.9.38 41), that is, listing out his various achievements, and he thus draws a clear comparison with his second, less masculine tactic. At 4.9.49 Hercules wears a "soft ribbon" ( mollisfascia ) on his "hairy chest" ( hirsutumpectus ), illustrating a lack of masculinity through the style of his costume. Earlier, he refers to the "Lydi an distaff" ( Lydocolo 4.9.48) and his "Sidonian dress," ( Sidoniapalla 4.9.47), traditional female garments and activities that dress him in the weakness and effeminacy the Romans attributed to Near Eastern culture. In describing himself as a "fitting gi rl," (4.9.50) and a "female servant" of Omphale (4.9.47), Hercules uses language that, similar to the failed dichotomy with Cacus, seeks to describe himself as simply non masculine, just as Cacus was simply non Roman. In both cases the negative definition only speaks in terms of absent masculinity, thus mirroring and emphasizing the negative attempt to define "Romanness" in terms of "non Romanness." 16 This negative definition of Roman identity places before the reader a dilemma: how can Romans continue to d efine their identity in the traditional means (e.g. the patriotic poetry employed by Vergil) when nil patrium nisi nomen habet Romanus alumnus: / sanguinis altricem non putet esse lupam "The Roman has nothing except the name of his ancestor: nor does he 15 Janan 2001, 138. 16 Janan 2001, 144.
34 b elieve that a wolf was the nurse to his blood" (4.1.37 38)? The comparison of Hercules and Cacus, the effeminate nature of Hercules' plea to the priestess, and the very manner in which Propertius approaches his aetiology, deconstruct the accepted percepti on of Roman national identity. In turn, this identity crisis poses an open ended question about the nature and existence of Romanitas in Propertius' time. It now becomes evident, that two distinct elements of poem 4.9 have combined to give credence to Pro pertius' claim at 4.1.64 to be the Roman Callimachus. Though current scholarship has explored the implications of 4.9 in terms of gender, politics, and national identity, all too often this work sets aside the humor of the poem, and with it, Propertius' d ebt to Callimachus. A reading should seek neither to write off the poem as an amusing poetic exercise, nor limit the poem to a questioning of Augustus' cultural agenda. Instead, it should establish a middle ground, where the wit of Callimachus and the se verity of patriotic elegy demonstrate how Propertius has taken on the literary burden of the "Roman Callimachus." Propertius lays the groundwork for his claim by adopting Hercules as a humorous main character. By introducing a subtext that questions the very nature of Roman patriotism and by veiling this subtext within the faade of Callimachean poetry, Propertius has adapted and reinvented the poetry of Callimachus to suit the ostensible purpose of his fourth book, to "sing sacred rites and gods and anci ent names of places" (4.9.69). Propertius has begun to fulfill his promise to make Umbria swell with pride at its own Roman Callimachus, though in order to meet this goal, he must also adhere to an earlier statement on the modesty of his elegy, that "it w ill be enough to have been pleasing among the books of Callimachus and to have sung in your meter, Philitas" (3.9.43). Propertius, with his next elegy, will give a lesson on Callimachean "thinness."
35 CHAPTER 3 PROPERTIUS 4.10: THE SLENDER MUSE Introductio n The failure of poem 4.9 to arrive at a positive definition of Romanitas through aetiology come s full circle in poem 4.10. 1 The epic nature of poem 4.10 and its representation of Romulus as a model Roman citizen create a Roman epic aetiology in contrast to the external exempla of poem 4.9. The terms external and internal refer specifically to Hercules and Cacus (external characters) as capable of only defining the negative or "non Roman" aspect of Romanitas On the other hand, as we shall see, poem 4.10 presents the positive or "Roman" aspect of Romanitas Elegy 4.10's brief treatment of each victor in an unqualified epic atmosphere illustrate s Propertius' adhere nce to serious Roman themes and Callimachean stylistic nuance, and thus earn s him the title "Callimachus Romanus." Propertius glorifies Romulus through a series of references to his victory in single combat, a victory divinely ordained and secured through prayer. In order to further elevate Romulus, Propertius uses historic and legendary Roman figures, as opposed to the barbaric Cacus and the decidedly Greek Hercules. Romulus, Cossus, and Marcellus represent internal exempla through which Propertius presents the audience with a positive definition of Romanitas as necessary violence checked by p iety indicative of the example set by Romulus. Thus, Romulus, as hinted at in poem 4.6, defines the standard by which Romans are judged, and compared to whom even the greatest historical Roman leaders fall short. The Roman Callimachus recast s Roman patr iotism as a purely Roman construction, illustrated without the need of any foreign referent as in elegy 4.9. Poem 4.10 then, the final traditional aetiological poem of book four, represents the actual achievement of Propertius' professed goal. Where, by its very nature, the aetiology of poem 4.9 only provides a negative 1 The recent major treatments of the poem are Grimal 1952, 188 190; Burck 1966, 414 15; Nethercut 1968, 455 56; Becker 1971, 465 66; Hubbard 1974, 12 8 34; Weeber 1977, 203 16; Welch 2005, 133 165.
36 definition of Romanitas poem 4.10 will complete Propertius' definition by supplying the positive. The compression of epic motifs in poem 4.10 within the brief structure of the elegy is pa rt of Propertius' larger Callimachean program, which thrives off of the coexistence of contradictory elements within a single work As the shortest poem in book four, and nearly half the length of poem 4.11, 4.10 is often written off as so short that the author appears to have lost interest, or that the brief description of each victory does not adequately "engage our interest." 2 On the contrary, the laconic tenth poem of book four is in the tradition of Callimach us, whom Propertius has already referenced as early as book two (2.1.39 42), invoked in the programmatic poems of books three and four (3.1.1 2, 4.1.64), and alluded to throughout the fourth book This brevity of poem 4.10 after the length of poem 4.9 represents the Callimachean paradox The weig htiness of poem 4.10 condensed into forty eight lines falls in line with Callimachus' poetic theory, that the poet must keep his sacrifice "fat," and his muse "skinny." !" # $ % & () *& +(,-(./ 0 1. 2 3 0 # 456(./ 7 89!" $.:/"-,/, ; [*<]66=/ ) > *)/ 1., ?:!,.3 @ .......]... A .,45, ( B 1 C / 8:.3 ((, *DE,-(./ 8&5F",, ( G ]/H I. J -"/ 4' K $"8 C 6)*("659/ 1.25 *& B 3 45 -)] !" # (<4' Q /=$", ( % 1 G *"(5._-,/ f 1"^", ( % -()ML),/, g (5&=/ h E/," 1 G !"8' i 1D 4MT&./ 0 6 ] j H/ 194' k 1./ A / % *6"(:/, A 66 % !)6):8._3 A (&M*(.]_H3, ) O !" # (),/H.(5&9/ 0 6D-),3.@ (Cal. Aet 1.21 28) For when first I set the writing tablet on my knee, Lycian Apollo said to me, "poet, raise a fat sacrifice, but make your muse slender." And "do not follow paths which wagons tread on: do not drive your chari ot down another's streets. But follow the untraveled roads, even if the way is narrow." Callimachus presents a poetic theory that is essentially "quality" over "quantity." The ideal poem, according to Callimachus, displays the traits of both epic grandeu r (a fat sacrifice) and a polished, inspired poem (a skinny muse). This theory is not in fact an attack on the epic genre, 2 Richardson 1976, 476; Hollis 2006, 123.
37 although the Augustan authors appear to have adapted it in that way. 3 Rather, Callimachus lambasts the composition of trite poetry in general, no matter the genre. This dictum is, then a "plea for originality and quality ." 4 Propertius in the manner of Callimachus' paradox, writes two complementary poems, the first characterized by length and lightheartedness, the second by brevity and weight. Elegy 4.9 contains within a "fat" structure (seventy four lines) a very light, farcical rendition of Hercules. Elegy 4.10 on the other hand, at only forty eight lines, maintains a "thin" structure, while still dealing with violence, religious piety, and Roman patriotism. The contrast between length and epic bring together poems 4.9 and 4.10 as ideal models of Callimachean standards. The gravity of poem 4.10 can at first be seen in the shift from the themes of the previous elegy. Although wor king within the framework of Callimachean poetics as in poem 4.9, Propertius, in poem 4.10, does not utilize conflicted or futile aetiological exempla In place of the foreign characters of Cacus and Hercules, Propertius demythologizes Roman values with p urely indigenous, historic comparisons, all drawn against the archetypal Roman, Romulus. The use of semi historic, Roman models here has a threefold effect. First it illustrates the essential implausibility of the Hercules/Cacus model, in which a foreig ner, Hercules, is held up as a model of Roman virtue, while Cacus (technically a local inhabitant) represents foreign barbarity. 3 Augustan recusationes regularly appear to reject the lofty style and themes of martial epic in favor of the lesser genres (satire, elegy, lyric, bucolic). See Barc hiesi 1997, 179, commenting on Propertius 2.1.19 20: "Titonomachy and gigantomachy are rejected as emblematic of the "lofty" poetry associated with war and an Augustan commission, as in Propertius' celebrated model." Within the same poem, at 2.1.39 40, Pr opertius incorporates Callimachean imagery into his recusatio when he references his "narrow couch," (like Callimachus' "narrow lungs") from which he cannot adequately relate the battle between gods and giants. Following Callimachus' Aet 1.21 28, Augusta n poets proffess an inability to match Homeric Greek epic, and so refuse to try, or put off trying to a latter date. See also Verg. G 2.458 540, 3.16ff, esp. Ecl 6.3 5, which clearly quotes Aet 1.21 28; Hor. C 1.19.19 26 (where Callimachean imagery, s uch as the "trackless path" defend the novelty of his poetry), 2.12.6 12, Sat 2.1.10 20; Propertius 3.9.47 48, 4.1.71 74; Ov. Am. 1.1. 4 Cameron 1995, 452 53. "The perfect poem would be not long, not flabby, not noisy. These negatives do not add up to a ny particular genre or type of poem. Certainly not epic, since he wrote his own. Nor was he simply pushing elegy as an alternative, since his harshest words were reserved for an elegy. But if the Lyde epitomized badness, there are no precise indications just how goodness might be attained. It was hackneyed narrative he was attacking, in whatever metre."
38 Second, it defines Romanitas in strictly Roman terms, which Propertius has done already to some extent in poem 4.6. F inally, elegy 4.10 thematically as well as structurally focuses the reader's attention on Rom ulus as the ideal Roman patriot by implicit comparisons with the lesser victors Cossus and Marcellus The negative definition of "Romanness" in poem 4.9 was most evident as Propertius attempted to demonstrate the essential qualities of Romans with non Roman characters (Cacus and Hercules). Poem 4.9 created an ultimately futile comparison between Hercules, a foreigner representing native Roman customs, and Cacus, a local d enizen of Rome representing foreign barbarity. Poem 4.10 will successfully define Romanitas using purely Roman examples. This desire to use internal exempla to define Roman values is demonstrated not only in the breakdown of poem 4.9 but also in the high ly successful Actian hymn, poem 4.6. There Quirinus divides the battling Roman fleets into true Romans (Augustus) and false Romans (Antony) : altera classis erat Teucro damnata Quirino, pilaque femineae turpiter apta manu: hinc Augusta ratis plenis Iovis omine velis, signaque iam patriae vincere docta suae. (4.6.21 24) On one side was the fleet condemned by Trojan Quirinus, and the spear s wickedly fit for a girly hand; on this side was Augustus' ship with sails full of auspicious Jupiter, a nd now the standards learned to conquer for the fatherland. Quirinus condemns Antony's fleet and thus endorses the forces of Augustus. In doing so, he differentiates Augustus' truly "Roman" ships from the "foreign" ships of Antony. 5 Once again in poem 4. 10 as in 4.6, Propertius will illustrate Romanness through internal exempla, that is the comparison of Romans with Romans to explore the more traditional nature of the virtuous Roman. 5 Janan 2001, 136.
39 Epic in Elegy 4.10 Crucial to Propertius' positive definition of Roman itas are the grandeur and lofty themes of poem 4.10, evident from the poem's opening lines. From the outset we are faced with references to Roman aetiology, epic, and the poet's seemingly insurmountable task: Nunc Iovis incipiam causas aperire Feretri armaque de ducibus trina recepta tribus. magnum iter ascendo, sed dat mihi gloria vires: non iuvat e facili lecta corona iugo. (4.10.1 4) Now I will begin to lay open the origins of Feretrian Jove and the triple arms received from three generals. I climb up a great path, but glory gives strength to me: a crown taken from an easy height is not pleasing. In the first line Propertius defines his aetiological elegy as specifically Roman by referencing a Roman temple, recently restored by Augustus him self. There is, however, something different about this aetiology. The second line of the couplet begins with armaque here an epic signpost recalling the first word of the Aeneid The repetition of three ( trinatribus repeated again at 4.10.45) adds s pecial emphasis not only to the theme of the poem, the spolia opima but also the generals, Romulus, Cossus and Marcellus Propertius has summarized two distinct themes for his tenth poem, specifically Roman aetiology and epic all within a single elegiac couplet. Propertius further characterizes his own work by the expression magnum iter (3), which is itself supported only by the glory of his subject: sed dat mihi gloria vires Propertius will develop, through the glory of his Roman forefathers a defin ition of Romanitas through Roman heroic figures. As opposed to the lighthearted opening of poem 4.9, poem 4.10 begins with a reference to th e serious work of the poet: his attempt at an aetiological elegy that will utilize martial Roman themes.
40 Propertius use of violence in poem 4.10 makes its epic nature indisputable. 6 Romulus victory over the Sabine king Acron which is literally "soaked" in the diction of epic illustrates the graphic nature of this violence : tempore quo portas Caeninum Acronta pete ntem 7 victor in eversum cuspide fundis equum. Hic spolia ex umeris ausus sperare Quirini 11 ipse dedit, sed non sanguine sicca suo. (4.10.7 8, 11 12) At which time as a victor you [Romulus] with a spear laid low Caenian Acron from his ov erturned horse, Acron, attacking the gates [of Rome]. He [Acron], having dared to hope for spoils from the shoulders of Quirinus, gave them himself, and not dry of his own blood. Acron is "laid low," or perhaps more fittingly "poured out," by Romulus' spe ar, a word play emphasizing the bloody nature of Romulus' victory. This epic diction is reiterated at line 12, where Acron's armor is "not dry from his own blood," a litotes itself dramatized by the squirting alliteration of s : sed non sanguine sicca suo Gone is the mock violence of poem 4.9, where Hercules' club defeats Cacus, and his shoulders break down the doors of the Bona Dea shrine. Though violent in its own right, poem 4.9 lacks the "gory details" indicative of epic. Poem 4.10 uses violence to add epic credibility in contrast with poem 4.9, where such violence would have opposed Callimachean humor. Even more violent than Romulus' brutal victory is t he violence of his successors, which set the stage for Propertius' definition of the traditional R oman heroic character Each victor 6 For anger and violence in epic see Braund and Most 2003, 1 10; for violence as formulaic in epic see Watkins 1995, 471 83. Murder is a central feature of Indo European epic, where a single hero kills another hero or a monster. Scenes of heroic murder form the climax of the Iliad (the slaying of Hector: 22.306 375), the Odyssey (the slaying of the suitors: 22.1 501), Beowulf (the sla ying of Grendel: 791 836), and the Mahabharata (the battle of Kurukshetra). Scenes of murder are frequent in the Iliad (e.g. forty two named Greeks and Trojans are killed in book five alone), and highlight important scenes, as at 6.414 23, 10.476ff, and 1 6.823 28. In Latin literature, the violence of battle scenes in the Aeneid provides adequate evidence: 2.469 558; 3.613 654; 8.193 97; 8.259 260; 9.314 356; 10.439 520; 10.873 908; 12.919 52.
41 (Cornelius Cossus in 437 or 427 B.C. and Claudius Marcellus in 222 B.C.) 7 engages in acts of violence which far surpass Romulus' bloody combat with Acron : di Latias iuvere manus, desecta Tolumni 37 cervix Romanos sa nguine lavit equos illi virgatis iaculanti ante agmine bracis 43 torquis ab incisa decidit unca gula (4.10.37 38, 43 44) The gods favored Latin hands; the slit throat of Tolumnius bathed the Roman horses in blood. As Vidomarus in his striped pants attacks, throwing [spears] before the battle line, the collar fell from his sliced throat. The emphatic negation non sicca adequately demonstrates the violence of Romulus' defeat of Acron, however Cossus' triumph borders on bloodlust. The blood so aked language of Romulus' victory is continued, but here the blood does not merely wet the defeated general's armor, but bathes the Roman horses. Vidomarus' death at the hands of Marcellus is described in particularly brutal language as well. Vidomarus' entire head is removed, and his necklace falls from his sliced throat as a prize for M arcellus. Romanitas in Elegy 4.10 The arrangement of these epic scenes also presents Romulus as the archetypal example of ideal Roman virtue in comparison with Cossus an d Marcellus. The poem divides into five essential parts: Propertius' presentation of theme (1 4), Romulus' victory (5 22), Cossus' victory (23 38), Marcellus' victory (39 44), and the aetiology proper (45 48). Propertius has produced a highly specialized structure for his poem, progressively shortening the victory announcement for each hero so that Romulus emerges as the ideal Roman who wages war within appropriate limits. 7 Harrison 1989, 408.
42 Propertius is by no means unique in his use of Romulus as a model Roman citizen. O ne of the major tenets of Livy's work is the use of moral exempla as a proper anecdote for the corrupt present: Hoc illud est praecipue in cognitione rerum salubre ac frugiferum, omnis te exempli documenta in inlustri posita monumento intueri; inde tibi tu aeque rei publicae quod imitere capias, inde foedum inceptu foedum exitu quod vites. Livy, Pref 9 10 This is the especially beneficial and fruitful thing in the investigation: that you consider the lessons of every example placed in an illustrious monumen t, thence for yourself and your state you choose what to imitate and what despicable in beginning, and despicable in its result you ought to avoid. Romulus is in fact Livy's first moral exemplum, in 1.4 16, where the first king of Rome is depicted as a sym bol of Roman virtus and a successful guide for the fledgling Roman state. 8 The moral ambiguity of Romulus' actions (the murder of his brother and the rape of the sabines) may allow for alternate readings of Livy (as in the case of Propertius 4.10), though Romulus' success demonstrates that in some cases the ends justify the means. Livy proves this point by making Romulus the object of divine favor 9 earned through his reverence for the gods, despite any misgivings the audience may have about Romulus' actio ns. 10 Livy's Romulus, like Propertius', provides a positive exemplum for imitation, and in doing so creates an archetypal figure of Roman identity. In elegy 4.10, Propertius follows Livy's example and sets Romulus apart from his successors for his piety an d relative lack of bloodlust Like Livy, Propertius' Romulus exemplifies Roman ideals, which Cossus and Marcellus can only imitate, never surpass. Romulus achieves his victory not merely through military prowess, but through his devotion to 8 Stem 2007, 436. 9 Romulus is rescued fr om the Tiber that was flooding by "divine plan" ( forte quadam divinitus 1.4.4), and has an alleged apotheosis at 1.16.1 2. 10 Stem 2007, 440.
43 the gods, as he proclaims at lines 15 16, "Jupiter, today this victim Acron falls for you. He vowed, and that one [Acron] fell as a spoil of Jove." Romulus' piety is as much apart of his Roman virtus as is his skill in combat, which recalls Vergil's pi us Aeneas and a dds another layer of epic to elegy 4.10. While Romulus' vow to Jupiter, which virtually makes Romulus a priest of the god, sets him apart from Cossus and Marcellus, the defensive nature of his victory also distinguishes him as an exemplum of Romanitas 11 Romulus defeats Acron while the Sabine king is "attacking the gates" ( portas petentem 7) and terrorizing the borders of Rome ( Roma, tuis quondam finibus horror erat 10) Propertius portrays Rome's first king as a savior of the city in contrast to Cossu s and Marcellus who instigate their own wars At the same time Propertius depicts Romulus and Acron as equal in strength. 12 In doing so, Propertius elevates the epic showdown between Acron and Romulus Romulus is matched in strength by his barbarian op ponent, and nevertheless manages to capture the spolia opima Cossus, although his victory is over a glorified Veii (openly lamented by Propertius at 4.10.24 30), seems hubristic in his demand that "it would be better for brave men to fight in an open fie ld" (4.10.35). Unlike Romulus, Cossus is not the defender but the aggressor. He instigates his combat with Tolumnius who is in turn defending his own city. Further, Cossus defeats his opponent with a great deal more bloodshed than necessary (based on th e example of Romulus), especially considering the circumstances of Romulus' defensive victory. Like Cossus, Marcellus serves as a negative exemplum, one that fails to meet the standard of Romulus. Marcellus victory is described with the same bloodthirst y language as Cossus, and though he defeats an offensive enemy, Marcellus does not sanctify his victory by vowing his spoils to Jupiter, as in the case of Romulus (4.10.15) 11 Propertius notably uses the word exemplum (5) to introduce Romulus. 12 Ingleheart 2007, 68.
44 C ompared to Romulus, Cossus and Marcellus are inherently more violent and less pi ous, and so as exempla they serve as foils to further glorify Romulus As grand as the victory of Romulus over Acron may be, it is further complicated by the contemporary parallel of Augustus and Antony where the tension between past and present develops again according to the Callimachean paradox Antony had for many years emphasized the relationship between himself and Hercules, claiming direct descent through Hercules' son, Anton. 13 In addition to coins minted by L. Livineius Regulus which connect Ant ony with Anton a son of Hercules, Plutarch mentions that Antony's physical features were reminiscent of artistic representations of Hercules. 14 Octavian, on the other hand, initially considered the title "Romulus," in an attempt to foster the image of the "second founder" by restoring the temple of Jupiter Feretrius in 32 B.C. originally dedicated by Romulus himself. 15 Poem 4.10 employs the parallels between Octavian/Romulus and Hercules/Acron/Antony to both glorify the victory of Augustus over Antony, and to undermine Antony through the negative characteristics of Hercules. Antony in the contemporary historic parallel performs the roles of both Hercules and Acron. The negative force of Hercules in poem 4.9 emasculates and ridicules Antony by proxy 13 Hellenistic leaders often associated their public image with that of dieties and heroes: see Zanker 1988, 33 77, esp. 45 53 for Augustus as Apollo and Marc Antony as Hercules/Dionysus; Galinsky 1998, 215 20, 295 302. Prior to Augustus and Antony, Julius Caesar and Sulla bot h associated themselves with Venus. For Hellenistic ruler cults in general see Tondriau 1948, 106 25. 14 Antony's affinity for Hercules is attested on the coins: an aureus of L. Livineius Regulus of Rome on the obverse shows M. Antonius, and on the reverse shows Anton, ancestor of the Antonii and son of Hercules (British Museum inv. RR 4225). The association is also demonstrated in representations of statuary, such as a stone ring from Pompeii (Naples, Museo Nazionale inv. 25218), which depicts Antony with Hercules' attributes; see also Plut. Ant. 4. 15 Suet. Aug 7, 95. For the association between Romulus and Octavian see Scott 1925, 82 105; Getty 1950, 1 12. Commager 1995, 221, notes that Hor. C. 3.3 deals extensively with Romulus perhaps due to his impo rtance to Octavian: "Romulus redeems Rome from Juno's gravis iras ; Augustus, the second Romulus, has all but redeemed it from its acerba fata ." Welch 2005, 101, recalls the negative aspects of the association (hinted at in Propertius 4.6.43 36), which wou ld eventually lead to Octavian's rejection of the title Romulus. Welch follows Fantham 1997, 195, that Romulus' fratricide too closely paralleld Octavian's defeat of his fellow Roman, Antony.
45 while the conquered Acron of 4.10 references his defeat at Actium 16 Antony combines aspects of both 4.9 and 4.10, as he is both laughable and demeaning (Hercules in 4.9), as well as a threatening opponent bereft of piety (Acron, in 4.10). Propertius' character ization of Antony adheres to the Callimachean dictum. One might assume that, just as Callimachus' Aetia cannot be both metaphorically "skinny" and "fat," Propertius' Antony, logically, cannot be laughable while remaining a proper opponent of Augustus. Ho wever the Callimachus Romanus manages to render just such a paradoxical comparison, and entirely within a larger contradiction: epic, patriotic themes fashioned in Latin elegy. Callimachus and the Augustans in Elegy 4.10 Even staying within a strictly lite rary context, this Callimachean paradox (an elegiac epic) brings together Propertius' depiction of Romulus' victory and Hercules' heroic character in poem 4.9. On the one hand Propertius portrays Acron as a fitting enemy of Rome, glorifying his inevitable defeat and putting forward Romulus as the ideal Roman. Cacus, on the other hand, is lowered to the status of a bothersome thief, and at worst, a defiler of the sacred law associated with hospitality. Propertius tears down any heroic interpretation of He rcules through his characterization of Cacus. By elevating the danger associated with Acron (he threatens the very walls of Rome and terrorizes the countryside) and downplaying the threat of Cacus, Propertius simultaneously elevates Romulus/Augustus and b elittles Hercules/Antony. Because he works with characters commonly known to his audience, Propertius is able to keep the epic styled 4.10 short, which is appropriate to his professed Callimacheanism It is true that the condensation of epic had long been in practice under Alexandrian influence (leading to 16 The connection between Antony and Hercules is explored by Wel ch, 79, who notes that Antony was also "notorious for his excessive drinking" (see Plut. Ant. 2): cf. Hercules at 4.9.63, where he drains the sacred spring. Welch further notes that Augustus also adopted the Hercules motif after Actium, in an effort to re concile a Roman world torn by civil war.
46 the development of the epyllion), though the forty eight lines of poem 4.10 have often been considered more incomplete than concise. I contend, however, that because Romulus, Cossus, and Marcellus were well known names for the Romans 17 Propertius' aetiological elegy is able to pass over many details that the modern reader might consider important. Propertius also has stylistic precedence to cut the epic short and press on with the action, by playing off the expectations and prior knowledge of his audience. In the Ars Poetica published about the time of Propertius' fourth book, 18 Horace provides a brief glimpse into the mindset of the epic poet: semper ad eventum festinat et in medias res non secus ac no tas auditorem rapit, et quae desperat tractata nitescere posse, relinquit, 150 atque ita mentitur, sic veris falsa remiscet, primo ne medium, medio ne discrepet imum. (Hor. Ars 148 152) He always hastens the outcome, and snatches the reader into t he midst of the action as if the reader already knew the story and what he despairs to be able to handle and make 17 The accounts of Romulus and Cossus are found in Livy 1.10 and 4.20, respectively, and perhaps Marcellus as well, though that particular book of Livy does not survive. Plutarch devotes an entire vita to Marcellus. 18 It is often difficult to argue chronological priority for works by contemporaries, and t here is little in the way of conclusive evidence for the date of the Ars Poetica or Propertius' fourth book Dates for the Ars Poetica range from as early as 23 B.C to as late as 10 B.C. The lack of references to Vergil or the Aeneid leads Smith 1936 163 166, to suggest that the Ars was composed in 23 B.C. Nettleship 1883, 43 61, postulates 20 B.C, also prior to the publication of Vergil's epic. These dates requi re that the dedicatee of the poem be a certain Cn. Piso, who did have two sons, Cn. Piso and L. Piso. Based on the age of his sons (whom Horace addresses as youths), the consulship of Cn. Piso the elder in 23 B.C. fixes the earliest feasible date for the poem, which would make the likely date of composition around 14/13 B.C. Smith attributes this delay to an unfavorable reception by Augustus in 23 B.C. Another Piso, L. Calpurnius Piso Caesoninus (b. 101 B.C.) could be the pater of the Ars Poetica with a date of composition of 14/13 B.C. This identification is supported by Porphyrio, Brink 1982, who suggests a composition date of 14/13 B.C., as well as Perret 1959, who supports a date of 10 B.C. L. Piso, however, would have been in his eighties, and he had only one son we know of, L. Piso Pontifex (b. 48 B.C.; cons. 15 B.C.) who would have been at least twenty eight, when he entered his first quaestorship, and therefore far too old to be "shaped by his father's voice." Armstrong 1993, 185 230, believes that the relationship between the Ars Poetica and the poetics of Philodemus, and the immense library of Epicurean works (including many by Philodemus himself) found at L. Calpurnius Piso's "Villa of the Papyri" in Herculaneum, inexorably link Horace to at least one generation of the Pisones at Herculaneum. The pater from line twenty four, in Armstrong's opinion, refers to L. Calpurnius Piso Caesoninus' son, L. Piso Pontifex, dating the poem to 15 B.C. There is even less support to fix the date of Properti us' fourth book: dates range from 16 B.C. to the death of Propertius in 1 A.D. (Ov. Rem. Am. 764). Hutchinson 2006, 2, summarizes the evidence in his introduction. The death of Cornelia during her brother's consulship (4.11.51 2) date the book to either 18 B.C. or 16 B.C. though the lines are most likely corrupt. More helpful are references to the Sugambri, who defeated M. Lollius in 16 B.C. (possibly at 4.1.95 6) and were forced to sign a treaty by Augustus in the same year (4.6.77 surely refers to this victory and not later victories by Drusus and Tiberius). Horace references a similar treaty between Augustus and the Sugambri in C 4.14.51 2, published probably around 13 B.C.
47 shine, he leaves behind, and thus he lies, thus he mixes falsehood with truth, the middle is not distinguished from the start, the end from t he middle. Propertius would make a good epicist. He rushes to the midst of the action of his epic when he renders Romulus as already bearing the spoils of his enemy in the sixth line, before Acron has even been defeated. Propertius' selection of the spol ia opima as his epic theme mixes truth and falsehood by dealing with both legendary Roman figures (Romulus) and actual historic figures (Cossus and Marcellus). Finally, the structure of the poem forms unbreakable links between the beginning, middle and en d. The introduction parallels the aetiology in the final lines of the poem and draws the introduction and conclusion of the narrative together, while the body of the epic conveys action quickly and relies heavily on an audience well versed in Roman legend ary history. Modern critics characterize Propertius as distant or aloof, because they consider elegy 4.10 too short, as if the structure of the poem is unable to support the weight of its epic themes. On the contrary, Propertius is far from unique when he relies on his audience's prior knowledge in order to quickly advance his epic story Take for example, the retelling of the Orpheus and Eurydice tale in Vergil's Georgics at 4.465 527. Here, Vergil, relying heavily on an audience thoroughly familiar wi th a specific myth, skips from one scene to another, in a dream like narrative. At 4.465 Orpheus bemoans his lost bride, but by 4.467 he is standing at the very gates of Dis, and by 4.470 he has entered the court of Pluto himself: Ipse cava solans aegrum testudine amorem, te, dulcis coniunx, te solo in litore secum, 465 te veniente die, te decendente canebat. Taenarias etiam fauces, alta ostia Ditis, et aligantem nigra formidine lucum ingressus manesque adiit regemque tremendum nesciaque humanis precibus mansuescere corda. 470 (Verg. G 4.464 70)
48 Soothing his sick love with a hollow lyre, you, sweet wife, you only on the shore with him, you with the day coming, you with the day receding he was singing. Even the gorge of Taenarus, the high ports of hell, and the grove gloomy with black darkness he entered, coming among the dead and the terrible king, and hearts unable to be persuaded by human prayers. Here we would not call Vergil's rendition of this well known myth undignified, or less effective du e to its length (the action of the story ends ends at line 505, a total of forty lines). Vergil plays off the expectations of his audience and uses their familiarity with the story to quickly complete his rendition, an effect that remains as powerful as t he story is popular I contend that Propertius uses a similar tactic with the audience of poem 4.10: he relies on a series of well known historical events that had been elevated to heroic status in the Roman tradition. In elegy 4.9, Propertius presents hi s audience with a negative aetiology. Completing the definition of Romanitas begun in 4.9, poem 4.10 creates a positive Roman aetiology in the Callimachean fashion through its unqualified semi historical epic, laconic brevity, and the use of purely Roman exempla. Epic themes and diction inherent in the violent combat of each victory and Romulus' piety illustrate not only Propertius' Callimacheanism but set up Romulus himself as the model Roman. Elegy 4.10 is short, but within this brevity Propertius crea tes a mini epic, where Romulus' victory is less violent and his actions more pious than his successors Propertius' claim to be the Roman Callimachus becomes all the more apparent when we recognize that he has placed patriotic epic within the confines of Latin elegy, a dichotomy in the manner of a Callimachean paradox. Just as Callimachus strives to keep his sacrifice fat and his muse skinny, Propertius writes within two poetic extremes: the gravity of patriotic epic and the levity of the elegiac genre, r espectively illustrated in the short yet "heavy" poem 4.10, and the long yet "thin" poem 4.9 In doing so, Propertius is able to present not only the traditional image of Roman patriotism, but also establish his claim to the title "Callimachus Romanus."
49 CHAPTER 4 PROPERTIUS 4.11: THE RETROSPECTIVE Introduction Propertius completes his fourth book with what has been called the regina elegarum 1 the self defense from beyond the grave of a noble Roman matron, Cornelia. Although the subject of much scholar ly discourse, and a focal point for feminist interpretations of Propertius' work, elegy 4.11 is often limited to either praise for the archetypal Roman woman, or the opposite, an expos on the emptiness of such a lifestyle. However, an attempt to reduce P ropertius to a supporter or detractor of Roman values concerning women belies the complexity of his fourth book. Instead, a more holistic understanding of 4.11, which takes into account the poem's placement at the end of the collection, can be found in fe minist readings of Propertius, where the elegiac lover takes on the attributes traditionally ascribed by the Romans to women. The themes of poem 4.11 demonstrate the presence of just such a feminine voice, while the language with which Propertius depicts the afterlife paints a particularly horrific picture, relative to other portrayals of the underworld in Augustan poetry. Based on the feminine voice Propertius uses throughout his corpus (with pointed effect in poem 4.11), and the dark underworld Cornelia inhabits, I contend that elegy 4.11 is a self reflective commentary on the catastrophic state of Roman social constructions. The poem places Cornelia, a wealthy Roman matron of the patrician class with links to the emperor himself, in the court of the un derworld where she must defend her life. This setting encourages interpretations that contradict Propertius' previous stance on women and specifically call into question the exact function and nature of his feminine voice. Feminist readings of 1 Hbner 1877, 98: "Scalinger oder Valckenaer
50 Propertius 2 specifically those of Hallett and Gold, present Propertius' feminine voice as crucial to our understanding of poem 4.11. Hallett argues that Propertius' persona of an elegiac lover places him within a clearly feminine realm in which he becomes subservi ent, faithful, and reliant upon the attention of an alternately "mannish" elegiac mistress, in his case, Cynthia. Hallett concludes that Propertius' reversal of gender roles demonstrates that these roles are by no means natural or right, but the product o f arbitrary social construction. 3 Although others consider Propertius' elegiac technique in a more pessimistic light, 4 Hallett's reading alone adapts a continuation of Propertius' feminine voice into poem 4.11, in which his "feminist counterculture" final ly has a female spokesperson, a surprising one at that, the dead matron, Cornelia. Gold extends Hallett's views to include the manner in which Propertius, as an elegist with a feminine voice, presents women in general. She argues that Propertian women are consistently conceptualized as problematic, which in turn forces a reinterpretation of their representation in the text. Consider book four alone, where femininity is a constant source of difficulty for women of every social standing. 5 Propertius presen ts us with women who are plagued by their gender, such as the lena of poem 4.5, who because of her gender is described as a pimp with the attributes of a witch, and Arethusa in poem 4.3, who would follow her husband into war if only Roman camps admitted wo men ( Romanis utinam patuissent castra puellis! 4.3.45). Even the traitor Tarpeia, an aristocratic woman as well as a vestal virgin, cannot act on her love because of her place in society as a prominent woman. As with Acanthis, Arethusa, and Tarpeia, Cor nelia also requires reevaluation due to her gender, because of which she must defend her chastity 2 See Wyke 1994 and Janan 200 1, 175 77 n. 58 for an overview of feminist readings of Propertius. 3 Hallett 1971. 4 Cf. Wyke 1994, who follows Veyne 1988 and Kennedy 1993 in understanding Propertius' persona as an exercise in "discursive mastery" over an objectified Cynthia. 5 Gold 19 93.
51 before the court of Hades. The feminine voice that permeates Propertius' corpus, in particular the fourth book, plays a major role in the reevaluation of Cor nelia, and supports the arguments of Gold and Hallett. Propertius, Cornelia, and the Feminine Voice The use of a feminine voice and the subsequent reversal of gender roles can be found throughout the poetry of Propertius, connecting the author's assumed fe minine voice with those female figures in the fourth book, specifically Cornelia. These voices carry with them three distinct "feminine" points of tension: jealousy, servile devotion, and unwavering faithfulness, all characteristics demonstrated by both P ropertius, in his feminine voice, and the women of the fourth book. Jealousy makes momentary appearances in Propertius' work, notably in Cornelia's perhaps less than sincere wish for her husband to marry again in poem 4.11.85 90. Nevertheless, it is pres ent early in the corpus, in poems 1.3, 1.11 and 1.12, where Propertius bemoans the absence of Cynthia, fearful that while away she will find comfort in the arms of another. This is a lament familiar to Arethusa's love letter: (Propertius): ecquis in e xtremo restat amore locus? 6 an te nescio quis simulates ignibus hostis sustulit e nostris, Cynthia, carminibus? (1.11.6 8 ) Does any place remain for me in the furthest ends of your love? Or has some enemy, I don't know who, stolen you from my songs, Cynthia, with his pretended desires? (Arethusa): dic mihi, num teneros urit lorica lacertos? num gravis imbellis atterit hasta manus? haec noceant potius, quam dentibus ulla puella 25 det mihi plorandas per tua colla notas! (4.3.23 2 6 )
52 Tell me, doesn't your armor chafe your soft sides? Doesn't the heavy spear wear away your unwarlike hands? Let these things harm you, rather than let some girl give marks on your neck with her teeth for me to lament! Like Arethusa left behind by her soldier husband, Propertius takes on a feminine voice in his envious lament. Cynthia's absence has a palpable effect on Propertius ( non sum ego qui fueram 1.13.11) similar to the effect of Lycotas on Arethusa, whose tears smudge the ink in her letter (4. 3.3 4). In addition to harboring a jealous heart like the young bride Arethusa, Propertius also takes on other servile aspects of Arethusa. Propertius often mimics the slavish lines Arethusa writes to Lycotas, when she claims that she would be "faithful l uggage for your military service, nor would Scythian peaks slow me down, when the father turns deep waters with cold into frozen ice" (4.3.46 48). Propertius demonstrates the same willingness to follow his lover to the ends of the earth in elegy 2.26: unu m litus erit sopitis unaque tecto arbor, et ex una saepe bibemus aqua; et tabula una duos poterit componere amantis, prora cubile mihi seu mihi puppis erit. omnia perpetiar: saevus licet urgeat Eurus, 35 velaque in invertum frigidus Auster agat, quicumque et venti miserum vexastis Ulixem (2.26.31 37 ) We, asleep, will share a single shore and a tree shall be a single roof for each of us, and from one spring often we will drink water; and one plank will be able to hold us two lovers, whethe r my bed will be at the stern or the prow. I will endure through everything: although savage Eurus blow, though freezing Auster drive our sails in uncertain directions, and all those winds, whichever ones tormented miserable Ulysses Like Arethusa, Proper tius is willing to endure extremes of weather and habitation, if only to enjoy the company of his beloved. Just as Arethusa will be little more than luggage and undeterred by the fierce Scythian mountains, Propertius will sleep on the shore under a tree w ith Cynthia, or on a single wooden plank, enduring the violent East wind ( Eurus ) and the frigid
53 South ( Auster ). Here Propertius demonstrates his willingness to suffer extreme hardship even in the presence of his mistress, forgoing the conventional sufferi ng of the elegiac lover, which takes place at the locked door of his mistress. In his "feminine" servility, Propertius supersedes the standard of the paraklausithyron, 6 when he is willing to suffer physical torment continuously, whether Cynthia gives into his affections or not. This servile attitude is spelled at 2.5.14, where, addressing himself in references to Cynthia's love, Propertius advises dum licet, iniusto subtrahe colla iugo "while it is allowed, take your neck out from under an unjust yoke." The Latin iugum (yoke) has very specific connotations in terms of servitude, 7 particularly in the areas of friendship, marriage, and love. Cynthia holds Propertius captive in poem 3.11. In the opening lines of the poem she drags Propertius off, enslaved under her law ( trahitvirum 3.11.2). Indeed, the very first word of elegy 2.2 demonstrates his assumed role as a slave relative to Cynthia, when he describes himself as "free" ( liber ) from her love. Propertius translates this servitude into steadfast f aithfulness in poem 2.20. There, Propertius utilizes the imagery of bondage and slavery to emphasize his devotion to Cynthia: mi licet aeratis astringant brachia nodis, sint tua vel Danaes condita membra domo, in te ego et aeratas rumpam, mea vita, cat enas, ferratam Danaes transiliamque domum. me tibi ad extremas mansurum, vita, tenebras: ambos una fides auferet, una dies. (2.20.9 12, 17 18 ) Although bronze knots bind my arms, or your limbs be shut away in a Danaean house, I will break the bronze shackles for you, my life, and I will leap through the iron house of Danae. 6 The theme of the paraklausithyron appears frequently in the contemporaries of Propertius: e.g. Cat. 67; Hor. C 3.10 and 3.26; Tib. 1.2; Ov. Am. 1.6. For the genre of the exclusus amator see Copley 1956 and Cairns 1972. 7 E.g. Prop. 3.6.2: sic tib i sint dominaedempta iuga ; V. Max. 5.5.3: saeculum nostrumcui contigit fraternum iugum Claudiegentis intueri ; OLD 2a and 2b.
54 [I swear] that I will remain for you to the final shadows, my life: one day, one faith will bear us both away. Here the language that characterized Propertius' love as sub servient emphasizes his fidelity. Indeed, Propertius even uses the word servitium (2.20.20) to describe his love service to Cynthia. Whereas Cynthia's yoke over the enslaved Propertius created the image of a forced dedication endured by the suffering ele giac lover, here Propertius (though still subservient) demonstrates his feminine devotion to a single girl. This singular affection for one's partner is a major component in Propertius' elegiac voice as he adopts the feminine characteristics of Arethusa, Cornelia, and even Cynthia from poem 4.7. Through his relationship with Cynthia, Propertius takes on the characteristics of Cornelia's claim to be an univira that is, married to only one man for the duration of her life. Propertius' unifeminus 8 persona i s a major defining factor for his elegiac voice, since the author himself characterizes the ideal woman as unwaveringly loyal, while men (and notably, Cynthia) are often the exact opposite. Poem 1.12 accurately captures Propertius' faithfulness in a singl e couplet: mi neque amare aliam neque ab hac desistere fas est: / Cynthia prima fuit, Cynthia finis erit, "For me it's not right to love another, or to leave this girl: Cynthia was the first, Cynthia will be the last" (1.12.19 20). Propertius reiterates h is addiction to monogamy, and at the same time the jealous heart he shared with Arethusa above at 2.1.47 48, where he proclaims laus in amore mori: laus altera si datur uno / posse frui: fruar o solus amore meo "There is glory to die in love, glory again if it's given to be able to enjoy a single love; may I alone enjoy my love!" In one couplet Propertius has summarized both his devotion to Cynthia, and his refusal to share her with anyone, two major aspects of his feminine voice. Propertius muses once a gain on the infinite fidelity that Cynthia seems to have violated in poem 2.24b: 8 I make use of the term coined by Parker 1992.
55 at me non aetas mutabit tota Sibyllae, non labor Alcidae, non niger ille dies. tu me compones et dices Ossa, Properti, 35 haec tua sunt? Eheu tu mihi certus eras cert us eras eheu (2.24c.33 37 ) But the entire life of the Sibyl will not change me, nor the labors of Hercules nor that black day. Then you will lay me down and say "Are these your bones, Propertius? Alas you were faithful to me, faithful to me you we re, alas Propertius warns Cynthia not to be so fickle in love, because she will find none so faithful as himself, even in death. Propertius claims outright a similar fidelity from beyond the grave, where, in one of his most powerful couplets, he writes: illic quidquid ero, semper tua dicar imago: / traicit et fati litora magnus amor "there, wherever I will be, always will I be called your shade: great love crosses over even the shores of fate" (1.19.11 12). This kind of devotion from the dead is exempli fied in Cornelia. 9 Propertius has adopted the role of the matron to explain his immense commitment to his elegiac mistress. Propertius imagines that Cynthia herself, at least in speech if not in action, adheres to a similar dictum of faithfulness in poem 2.29: Quid tu matutinus,' ait, speculator amicae? 31 me similem vestris moribus esse putas? non ego tam facilis: sat erit mihi cognitus unus, vel tu vel si quis verior esse potest.' (2.29.31 34 ) "What are you, some kind of morning peeping tom of your own girlfriend?" she said. "Do you think that I'm similar to your sick gender? I'm not so easy; it's enough for me to know one man, either you or someone able to be true." Cynthia turns around Propertius' established feminine voice of loyal ty in love to accuse the elegist of faithlessness. Here Cynthia emphasizes Propertius' play with gender roles by 9 Although her speech my be somewhat unreliable, Cynthia claims a similar devoti on in poem 4.7.51 53: iuro ego Fatorum nulli revolubile carmen, / tergeminusque canis sic mihi molle sonet, / me servasse fidem "I swear by the song of the Fates, that no man can unravel, thus let the three headed dog bark softly for me I remained faithful ."
56 reminding the audience of the traditional positions of the male and female in love. Nonetheless, the elegiac lover and his mistress will cont inue to violate the social constructions surrounding gender and love. Cornelia herself will play a major role in the tearing down of these social constructs, as her life of chastity will make her little more than a "load carried by five fingers" (4.11.14) As the archetypal Roman matron, 10 Cornelia exhibits the three major aspects of Propertius' feminine voice. She continues to love her husband despite the insurmountable distance between them (though not without a hint of fearful jealousy). Furthermore, her love was servile in life and continues to be in death, and she was faithful beyond a doubt. Cornelia's prayer to her husband to remain chaste after her death recalls Propertius' love for Cynthia, which even death could not stop (2.24b.34). At 4.11.81 84, Cornelia calls on her husband: sat tibi sint noctes, quas de me, Paulle, fatiges, 81 somniaque in faciem credita saepe meam: atque ubi secreto nostra ad simulacra loqueris, ut responsurae singula verba iace. (4.11.81 84 ) Let the nights b e enough for you, that you might wear them out thinking of me, Paullus, and the dreams that assume my face. And when in secret you speak to my image, speak each and every word as if I would respond. This plea would lead the reader to assume that Cornelia continues to love Paullus with all the ardor of a living spouse, expecting the faithfulness in return which she gave in life. The dead Cornelia remains a servile lover, just as she was in life. She recognizes the immense burden placed on her husband and sympathizes, "you the father are now charged with the mother's lot" ( fungerepater 4.11.75), and "the entire house begins to be your work," ( totatuum 4.11.78). Clearly the matron Cornelia bore the responsibility of the household duties, not merely limi ted to the raising of children. At the same time, Cornelia, like Propertius, fears for her spouse's fidelity 10 Dufallo 2007, 76. Propertius' Cornelia is an "exemplary figure" of Roman feminine virtue.
57 and addresses her lover with a similar admonition. Like the noble Roman matron that she is, Cornelia advises her family to accept a stepmother, t hough not without double edged words: seu tamen adversum mutarit ianua lectum, 85 sederit et nostro cauta noverca toro, coniugium, pueri, laudate et ferte paternum (4.11.85 87 ) But if, nevertheless, the door exchanges the wedding bed opposite it, and a cautious stepmother will sit in my bed, praise and accept, boys, your father's marriage. Cornelia encourages her children to accept their new stepmother, while at the same time she undercuts the claim to care only for the wellbeing of her family. Cornelia dreads the thought of another in her bed, just like Arethusa and Propertius. The foundation of Cornelia's honorable marriage and family, her most prized virtue, which she expresses over and over again in poem 4.11, is her commitment to Paullus. As has been noted above, this faithfulness characterizes the idealized female in Propertius' corpus, which the author applies to himself through his use of a feminine voice. Immediately after setting the stage for her trial in the underworld, Cornelia be gins her defense with the claim that she lived such a life in marriage "that on this tombstone I am recorded to have been married to one man" ( utlegar 4.11.36). 11 Cornelia never brought shame to the memory of her ancestors, by whom she swears in lines 4. 11.41 44, and asserts, "I lived with complete honor between each torch" (4.11.46). Perhaps her most compelling testimony comes when Cornelia advises her own daughter to imitate her virtue: filia, tu specimen censurae nata paternae, / fac teneas unum nos i mitata virum "Daughter, you, born as a specimen of your fathers censorship, make it so that you hold fast to a single man, in imitation of me" (4.11.67 68). This command to her daughter highlights the importance of Cornelia's inherited virtue, a major asp ect of her defense (4.11.47 11 The poem is alternately read as an engraving on Cornelia's tombstone. Cf. ILS 8393 = CIL VI, 1527, the so called Laudatio Turiae
58 48). Cornelia names Claudia (4.11.52), Aemelia (indirectly at 4.11.53 54) and her mother, Scribonia, the former wife of Augustus (4.11.55), as ancestors whom she, and now her daughter, should strive to emulate. The closing lin es of Cornelia's advice to her daughter express clearly the feminine voice of elegy 4.11: haec est feminei merces extrema triumphi / laudat ubi emeritum libera fama rogum "this is the final prize for a feminine triumph when free rumor praises a deserving funeral" (4.11.71 72). Of course, the praise to which Cornelia refers is for her conformity to the aristocratic code of Roman matrons, and at the forefront of this code is unwavering faithfulness and servitude to one's husband. Despite their similar elegi ac roles, Cornelia and Propertius have more in common than meets the eye. We have already seen how Cornelia can be considered an exemplary figure of Roman virtue, perhaps in the same light as Romulus from elegy 4.10. Basil Dufallo argues that Propertius uses Cornelia, a character more suited to elegy, as a bridge between the mos maiorum of the past and the present. 12 Cornelia, as the model Roman matron, is the perfect character to connect the idealized Roman past (described in great detail in poems 4.9 an d 4.10, which, as we have seen, hope to restore a semblance of Rome's former identity through suitable exempla) with a present marked by civil conflict. It is Propertius' depiction of her placement in the underworld that complicates this "restorative" rol e, and ultimately casts a heavy shadow on the Roman identity delineated in 4.9 and 4.10. Cornelia in the Underworld Cornelia's defense may offer a picture of familial harmony, but her afterlife is far from promising. Her strict adherence to the traditiona l gender constructed role while alive has placed 12 Dufallo 2007, 88: "Where Roman identity is concerned, the restorative quality of Propertian elegyis nowhere more evident than in 4.7 and 4.11. The performance of these poems has the function of integrating past and present." How can Dufallo's "restoration" of Republican values be complete when Propertius leaves Cornelia in the underworld without a proper verdict?
59 her in an underworld darker and more terrifying than any yet conceived of in Augustan poetry. But what exactly makes Cornelia's afterlife so bleak, and how does this profound despair translate from the voic e of Cornelia to that of Propertius? Our first hint that Cornelia's afterlife will be uniquely disturbing is her direct address to the marshes and swamps of Hades: damnatae noctes et vos, vada lenta, paludes, 15 et quaecumque meos implicat unda pedes, immatura licet, tamen huc non noxia veni (4.11.15 17 ) Cursed night and you, slow shallows, swamps, and whatever marshes entangle my feet, although before my time, nevertheless I have come here innocent. Cornelia's address to the landscape of Hades actively personifies the swamp. This intensifies an already recognizable treatment of the underworld, where spirits are often victimized by the very terrain they inhabit. Compare Vergil's underworld from the Georgics and the Aeneid which share similar l anguage and imagery, although they lack the severity and immediacy of Propertius' depiction of Cornelia on trial: 13 quos circum limus niger et deformis harundo Cocyti tardaque palus inamabilis unda alligat et novies Styx interfusa coercet. 480 ( G 4 .478 80 ) [Those who died before their time] the black muck and the formless reeds of Cocytus and the disgusting swamp with its lazy waters hold fast, and Styx spread out nine times confines. fas obstat, tristisque palus inamabilis undae alligat et novies Styx interfusa coercet. ( Aen 6.438 39 ) It is forbidden, and the disgusting swamp of mournful waters holds [the suicides] fast, and Styx spread out nine times confines [them]. 13 See Williams 1968, 398 99; Curran 1968, 135.
60 Like Propertius, Vergil's underworld actively assaults its residents, a concept embodied in the verb alligat Propertius' swamp water entangles ( implicat ) Cornelia's feet, a more descriptive word for the binding action of swamp mud. The swamp does not merely hold Cornelia it engulfs her. Further, Vergil's underworld contain s elements of hope missing in Propertius' elegy 4.11, and not just the list of unborn dignitaries that Anchises narrates to Aeneas ( Aen 6.756 886). The interaction between Dido and Aeneas at Aen 6.440 76 places the former queen directly into the siniste r underworld described at Aen 6.438 39, but her reunion with Sychaeus adds a glimmer of hope to the "Fields of Mourning" ( Lugentes campi ) where she now resides. Although far from the paradise described in Propertius and Tibullus, Vergil at least allows t hat Dido be reunited with Sychaeus, mollifying her fate as a tragic victim of a pitiless deity. We might also compare the scenery of 4.11 with Propertius' elegy 1.19, which, provides a relatively optimistic journey through the underworld with its parade o f Greek heroines greeting the author (1.19.13 18), and the closing couplet that celebrates the affection (1.19.25 26). Gone from Propertius and Cornelia's underworld is Vergil's parade of future Roman statesmen, or his promise of comfort in death for the innocent victim of love, and (perhaps most importantly) the fields of the blessed where one might expect to find Cornelia. Affectionate love provides a high point for Tibullus' katabasis in poem 1.3.57 80 as well. Although he closes his trip through Hades on a rather dark note with a description of Tartarus, Tibullus, like Cynthia in elegy 4.7, reminds his audience that Elysium holds a special place for lovers: s ed me, quod facilis tenero sum semper Amori, i psa Venus campos ducet in Elysios. h ic choreae cantusque vigent, passimque vagantes d ulce sonant tenui gutture carmen aves, 60 f ert casiam non culta seges, totosque per agros f loret odoratis terra benigna rosis;
61 a c iuvenum series teneris inmixta puellis l udit, et adsidue proel ia miscet Amor. i llic est, cuicumque rapax mors venit amanti, 65 e t gerit insigni myrtea serta coma. (Tib. 1.3.57 66) But me since I'm always ready for tender Love, Venus herself will lead me through the Elysian Fields. Here the dance and song will flourish and everywhere the wandering birds sing a sweet song from slender throats, the fields, uncultivated bear cassia, and through every pasture the bounteous earth flowers with perfumed roses and a sequence of young men mixed with gen tle girls play and Love continuously stirs up battle There are those lovers to whom greedy Death came and their hair bears myrtle wreaths for everyone. Here is the underworld in which we might expect to place Cornelia ( facilis tenero Amori cf. poem 2 .22a) a lover who died an untimely death yet was entirely faithful in life. The optimistic setting places lovers within a "golden age" realm, where the land bears fruits and "perfumed roses" without cultivation (1.3.62), a perfect setting, mimicking the b lissful love Tibullus feels for Delia, and likewise, one might argue, Propertius for Cynthia. Cornelia's defense speech would give the impression that she belonged here as well, as at 4.11.17 she declares that she was taken before her time ( immatura ), tho ugh innocent ( non noxia ), and Tibullus' depiction of Elysium closes with a reference to lovers snatched by "greedy Death," that is, those who died young. When Cornelia lists her honorable female ancestors, and expresses her own desire to be placed among t heir ranks, she might raise expectations of a more blessed underworld, which would fit the nature of an encomiastic elegy. Indeed, even Cynthia's vision of Hades contains a depiction of an Elysium set aside for faithful lovers (4.7.59 70). Propertius opt s not to allow Cornelia to inhabit the fields of the blessed, at least not right away, in order to intensify the catastrophe of her life, made visible and all the more pitiable in her continued conformity in death. It becomes obvious by comparison with ot her depictions of the underworld that Propertius has purposefully darkened the landscape of Cornelia's trial. In fact, Cornelia's trial
62 receives no verdict, and our last image is of the weeping witnesses at her trial. 14 This is the repayment for Cornelia' s adherence to the idealized feminine voice (a gender construction to which Propertius adheres throughout his poetry): a terrifying vision of the afterlife and a miserable trial with no outcome. The mourning attendants at Cornelia's funeral provide an apt poetic image for Cornelia's funeral. This setting creates an atmosphere akin to the conclusion of the Iliad a fitting end to Propertius' patriotic epic, and a look back at the epic work that immediately precedes poem 4.11, the aetiology of Jupiter Feret rius. Cornelia abruptly ends her speech at 4.11.99: causa peroratast. flentes me surgite testes "I have finished my defense. Stand, witnesses who cry for me." The address to the men and women at her funeral recalls a powerful scene of mourning describ ed at length earlier in the poem: nec te, dulce caput mater Scribonia, laesi: 55 in me mutatum quid nisi fata velis? maternis laudor lacrimis urbisque querelis, defensa et gemitu Caesaris ossa mea. (4.11.55 58) Nor have I injured you, sweet head mother Scribonia. What would you want changed in me except for this fate? I am praised by maternal tears and the laments of a city, my bones defended by the groan of Caesar. In looking back to this particular passage, Propertius recalls the feminine laments at the closing of the Iliad from Andromache (24.723 45), Hecuba (24.748 59), and Helen (24.762 75). This epic signpost may seem slightly misplaced in a poem focused on the attributes of the ideal Roman matron, until it is considered as a concluding element to Propertius' fourth book, a work of patriotic epic. The mourning attendants at Cornelia's funeral recall the epic aetiology of Romanitas illustrated in poems 4.10 and 4.9, while disrupting the nature of that Romanitas by embodyi ng it in Cornelia, now lost to the bleak underworld. 14 Janan 2001, 163.
63 As a result of Propertius' feminine voice, Cornelia can be seen as a commentator on, not merely a victim of Roman society. 15 In this light Cornelia's fidelity may at first seem exemplary, but it loses i ts appeal when Propertius places the faithful heroine in such a dark setting In Propertius' final trip to the underworld he omits the positive aspects of other depictions of the underworld in Latin poetry and emphasizes the horrific nature of the afterli fe awaiting Cornelia. Just as Propertius' use of the feminine voice throughout his poetry illustrates the meaninglessness of socially constructed gender roles, the similarities between the elegiac Propertius and the matron Cornelia throw traditional socia l constructions into unnatural and ultimately destructive confusion. The lack of even a verdict for the trial creates a sense of hopelessness, which Propertius transfers to himself through the voice he shares with Cornelia. She herself recognizes the col d and fruitless results of her "exemplary virtue" when she exclaims: "What good was my marriage to Paullus? What good were the chariots of my ancestors or such great gifts of my fame? Cornelia does not have the Fates as any less of an enemy. Alas! I am s uch a load as five fingers could carry" (4.11.13 16). The character of Cornelia places in crisis the standard Roman social constructions in general, not merely those limited to gender, with which Propertius was concerned in books 1 3. Now, as Propertius writes the aetiology of Rome and sets out to define the ideal Roman, it becomes clear that such traditional definitions are the product of equally unnatural social constraints, and will leave their practitioner in Cornelia's disastrous state. 15 Janan 2001, 163: "She [Cornelia] remains a reproachful and bitter ghost who haunts Rome's vision of itself as the most moral of nations' with the spectre of a cruel deadlock it would prefer to forget."
64 CHAPTER 5 CO NCLUSION Cornelia desolate in an inhospitable underworld finishes off Propertius' fourth book, and places his patriotic aetiology in crisis. If Propertius has achieved his professed goal of becoming the Callimachus Romanus and thus defined Rome through the aetiological poetry of his predecessor, then why has Cornelia, one of the most devout followers of traditional Romanitas been condemned to a desolate underworld, when so many other young lovers spend their untimely afterlife in the comfort of Elysium? Propertius has thrown traditional Roman social constructions into crisis, and he has done it in Callimachean fashion. Secondary scholarship has discussed the individual allusions to Callimachus at length, though the interaction of these allusions with Pro pertius' overarching theme of patriotic Roman elegy has been addressed only in passing. To the contrary, Propertius' aetiological program cannot be divorced from his Callimacheanism. I have presented here a thesis unifying Propertius' Callimachean person ality with his aetiological goal. Propertian aetiology is Callimachean poetics. It splits the definition of Romanitas between the slender poem 4.10 and the fat poem 4.9. "The Roman" is defined in the final three poems, through the dichotomous relationsh ip of poems 4.9 and 4.10. Propertius first presents the pseudo heroic Hercules, a character rooted in epic themes and language, though presented in a hardly convincing epic atmosphere. Through direct allusions to Callimachus, Propertius sets a scene enti rely devoid of epic severity. Hercules is the gluttonous, cross dressing Greek from the poetry of Callimachus, a model opposed to the traditional Roman. Hercules is further deconstructed by his opponent, Cacus. Propertius' depiction of the fire breathin g monster falls well short of the horrifying imagery of Vergil, and Hercules' victory seems hardly praiseworthy. Indeed, the poem itself detracts from Hercules
65 heroism. The very climax of the poem does not match the aetiology presented: whereas one might expect Hercules' heroism to culminate in the death of Cacus, Hercules' greatest achievement appears to be the destruction of the ancient and venerated Bona Dea shrine. Romulus, on the other hand, represents the virtus that conforms to the traditional soc ial constructions of Roman identity, and unlike Hercules, does so in only forty eight lines. His victory over Acron is a defensive achievement worthy of the spolia opima characterized by bravery in combat as well as reverence for the gods. And here, whe re the climax of poem 4.9 detracts from the overall epic qualities of the elegy, poem 4.10 actually contributes to Propertius' aetiological goals, depicting each subsequent victor as parallel yet inferior to Romulus. Through these exempla Propertius defin es his Romanitas as opposites filling out a whole, which in turn places the poems within a distinctly Callimachean theoretical framework. Armed with his rendition of the traditional Roman hero, Propertius immediately casts doubt on that very model in his f inal elegy. Propertius' Roman epic aetiology, rather than affirming and lauding Roman values (as in the case of Vergil's Aen. 8) throws them into confusion by closely associating the elegiac lover with the Roman matron, and placing that matron on trial fo r her dignity. The absence of a verdict becomes a poignant reminder of the ambiguity that characterizes the entire elegy: Cornelia, the apparent poster child for Roman feminine morality, must defend herself while imprisoned in a terrifying vision of the u nderworld. Propertius in the end takes the Roman matron (and with her the accepted Romanitas) and condemns them to Hades. Compared to the katabases of other authors, Propertius' is far from picturesque. The Callimachus Romanus has composed an aetiology of identity crisis: "the offspring of Rome have not but the name of their fathers," (4.1.37).
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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Thomas George Hendren was born in Richmond, Virginia. He graduated from Mills E. Godwin High School in 2003, and, as a member of Phi Beta Kappa, he earned a B.A. with hono rs in Classics and History from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in 2007. He studied French at the Alliane Francais in Paris and archaeology at the American School of Classical Studies in Athens. George received a master's degree in c lassics from the University of Florida in May 2009.