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  • 1 Institut für Altertumskunde der Universität zu Köln D-50923 Köln, Albertus-Magnus-Platz
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This paper tries to develop the characteristics of Roman love elegy from the scanty remains of Greek Hellenistic elegy. The most important Hellenistic predecessors of love elegy are poems mourning a deceased partner, like the Lyde of Antimachos of Kolophon and the Epikedeion Aretes of Parthenios of Nikaia. These poems seem to have contained at least some subjective passages, even if they are difficult to verify in the fragmentary tradition. The novelty of Roman love elegy seems to consist not only in the intensivation of such subjective elements, but mainly in a change of direction of the mourning element still present there: the love elegist mourns not a beloved partner's external death, but his own death-like desolation because of the partner's infidelity. The motive of mourning death used literally in Hellenistic Elegy is metaphorized in Roman love elegy.