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  • Author or Editor: Paola Gagliardi x
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Summary

Adonis presents a special case of Romans' wide interest in Eastern religions during the Augustan age: he was brought to Rome by poets, and for this reason his ‘existence’ in Latin culture was exclusively literary. His worship never had the same importance as in Hellenistic Egypt, but the pathos of this figure, and his story of love and death aroused the interest of the elegiac poets, in particular, who used his exemplum to illustrate certain τόποι of their genre and to emphasize the originality of their poetry. Through the analysis of his treatment in Propertius and in Ovid a series of reflections on elegy's nature and sense can be reconstructed in an interesting dialogue between the two poets.

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There is a clear link between Virgil’s Ecl. 1 and the ending of the Georgics, suggested by the quotation of Ecl. 1. 1 at Georg. 4. 566. Common to the two texts is a dualistic structure, in Ecl. 1 between the different situations of Tityrus and Meliboeus, and in Georg. 4. 559–566 between the different choices of life by Octavian and the poet. But the two texts are also linked by the figure of Octavian, in Ecl. 1 iuvenis deus, but also responsible for the land eviction suffered by Meliboeus, at Georg. 4. 560–562 thundering and shining god, opposite to Virgil’s leisure. It is a symptom of a constantly ambivalent attitude of Virgil towards him, confirmed once again at the end of the Aeneid: here in a new dualism (Aeneas/Turnus, mercy/vengeance) we find a figure (the hero) and a theme (revenge) closely related to Octavian. So these key-points of his poetry offer an opportunity to reflect on the range and limits of Virgil’s consent to the Augustan regime.

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