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At the end of the Georgics Virgil represents himself as someone nursed by sweet Parthenope (IV 536: dulcis alebat / Parthenope). According to the rather obscure tradition which goes back to Servius, Parthenope would be an allusion to one of the Sirens, patron divinity of Naples-Parthenopolis, which was the favourite place of the poet. Nevertheless, Parthenope used to be considered as a self-referential joke on the nickname of Virgil, called Parthenias (a virgin) because of his moral excellence. The paper offers a new metapoetic reading of the passage which wishes to complete the earlier interpretations based on biographical data and local tradition. The allusion should also be regarded as a statement about inspiration. By suggesting a new approach to the mythology (see the Muse replaced by the Siren), the name of Parthenope appears to create an homage to Parthenius of Nicaea and to his strange collection of erotic myths. The studies about the impact of the Erotica pathemata on Latin poetry generally focus on the Elegiacs and Ovid. Nevertheless, it cannot be excluded that the mythological allusions of the Georgics about the origins of plants, animals, etc. may be influenced by some typical narrative patterns of Parthenius. The series of these virgilian aetological notes alluding to tragic love stories of Greek mythology seems to prepare the great Orpheus myth of Book IV. On the other hand, Virgil’s short allusions might transmit a concept of human passion, which sometimes is rather similar to the emotional world of the Parthenian narratives, but which is always much more rich in ethical concerns.


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Journal Rank
Quartile Score
Archeology Q4
Classics Q4
Cultural Studies Q4
History Q4
Language and Linguistics Q4
Linguistics and Language Q2
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Cite Score Rank
Archeology 37/263 (Q1)
Classics 98/114 (Q4)
Cultural Studies 843/1002 (Q4)
History 1051/1259 (Q4)
Language and Linguistics 689/830 (Q4)
Linguistics and Language 740/884 (Q4)


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Editor(s)-in-Chief: Takács, László

Managing Editor(s): Krähling, Edit

Editorial Board

      Dezső, T.
      Maróth, M.
      Mayer, Gy.
      Nagyillés, J.
      Simon, L. Z.
      Szekeres, Cs.
      Szovák, K.
      Visy, Zs.


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      Crawford, M.
      Easterling, P.
      Gastgeber, Chr.
      Horváth, L.
      Johnston, P.
      Láda, Cs.
      Maehler, H.
      Mastrocinque, A.
      Ritoók, Zs.

László Takács
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