In the early modern age, pastoral poetry became a current genre of the praise of rulers, kings and emperors. In spite of its overwhelming richness and contemporaneous importance, this branch of the bucolic genre has received relatively little attention from researchers. Even in comprehensive works on the history of the genre, one often finds hasty remarks, e.g. that these panegyric poems were foremost influenced by Vergil’s Eclogue 4.
The present paper offers a short overview of the immense diversity of the genre, paying great attention not only to Vergil, but also to the decisive influence of Calpurnius Siculus, Sannazaro and Baptista Mantuanus, as well as to the techniques of the Kreuzung der Gattungen, mainly to the interaction between pastoral and epic poetry. The analysis shows that, in spite of the huge variety of forms and the large distances in time and space, the image of the ideal emperor is surprisingly constant, and that the picture of the mythical Golden Age is almost completely drawn with the motives of the idealized reign of Augustus taken from epic poetry.