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The tragedies of Hercules and Orpheus in Vergil’s Georgics anticipate their respective elevations in the afterlife.

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A Georgica legvégének dulcis alebat Parthenope sorát (IV, 563–564) a Serviusig visszanyúló olvasati hagyomány hol a Szirének egyikével, Neapolis/Parthenopolis védőistenségével hozza kapcsolatba; hol a szűzi tisztasága miatt Partheniasnak nevezett költőre utaló autoreferenciális játékot vél felfedezni benne. Az életrajzi és a lokális tradíción alapuló korábbi értelmezések kiegészítéséül a tanulmány a hely metapoetikus olvasatának lehetőségét veti fel. Parthenope megidézése a sphragisban az erotikus elbeszéléseiben a mítosz megújításával kísérletező, Vergiliusszal és Galluszal szoros kapcsolatban álló Parthenios előtti tisztelgésként is értelmezhető. Az Erótika pathémata latin utóéletének kutatása döntően az elegikusokra és Ovidiusra korlátozódik, noha a Georgica rejtett mitológiai allúzióinak hátterében ugyancsak jellegzetes partheniosi narratív sémák sejlenek fel. Vergilius rövid, többnyire szerelmi szenvedéstörténeten alapuló aitionjai tekinthetők egyes partheniosi történetvázak erkölcsi téttel kiegészülő, egységes világképbe rendeződő újraírásának is.

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Drawing on established connections between Roman identity and an agricultural landscape, this paper examines how the imagery of disrupted pastoral and agrarian landscapes and characters represent the effects of civil war on the Roman people in Vergil’s Aeneid and Lucan’s Bellum Civile. While disturbance and turmoil are already a part of the natural landscape in Vergil’s Eclogues and Georgics, in epic, a genre that concerns itself with how empire and imperial power mediate Roman identity, the displacement of shepherds and agriculture partially redefines Roman identity in militaristic terms. Vergil’s pastoral characters, written into military roles as civic landscapes displace agrarian ones in the Aeneid, survive but fail to find a place in Lucan’s ruined and desolate Pharsalian landscape in the Bellum Civile. There, the broken natural landscape, unfit for agriculture, pastoralism, or trade, mirrors the redefinition of what is “Roman” and the occlusion of Rome’s link to an idealized bucolic past.

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Ovid’s representation of Orpheus is strictly related to Virgil’s texts. A wide range of studies have proved so far that the 10 th book of Metamorphoses follows the Georgics as far as narrative structure and use of vocabulary are concerned. Nevertheless it has been omitted, that Ovid’s work contains a number of patterns derived not from the Georgics but the Eclogues . Important textual parallelisms — such as Orpheus as being the representative of the elegy in contrast to epic, recusatio, the descent into the nether world, the motif of mourning nature, Hyacinthus, Adonis et Eurydice, the problem of a poet’s immortality, the mourning nature — attest that both Virgil’s and Ovid’s view of Orpheus is rooted in Epitaphios Bionos consequently this work is one of the most significant literary sources of both texts.

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Metamorphosis and Disruption

Comments on Seneca's 114th Epistula Moralis

Acta Antiqua Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae
Author: László Takács

Seneca, in the 114th piece of his Moral letters (written most probably in the fall of 64 A.D.), evokes a part of Virgil's Georgics, which he already quoted and construed more than 10 years earlier in De clementia, addressed to Nero. At the same time, he lashes out on Maecenas. Since Seneca mentions such characteristics of Maecenas that, according to historical sources, resemble some of Nero's actions, and since he evokes a fragment already analyzed for Nero, it seems very likely that the letter should be viewed as the philosopher-statesman's critique of Nero.

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At the beginning of the 19th century, when the poets wanted to create the national epic poem of Hungarians, they followed the Aeneid; at the end of the 18th century, when the agricultural reform was established in Hungary under the Habsburgs, the poets wrote agricultural poems in Vergilian form and translated and modernized his Georgics. The world of Vergil depicted in the Eclogues and in the Georgics became the idealized Arcadia, and poets and writers or the aristocracy — influenced by Vergil — wanted to create their own Arcadia. The pastoral theme and the bucolical forms were very popular in Hungarian literature of this period, at the end of the 18th century. The poets had pastoral names, and very different topics were expressed in eclogues (e.g. actual events of politics). In the first half of the 20th century Vergil had a new renaissance connected to the bimillennium of his birth. And this renaissance reached the most expressive element of the presence of Vergil’s Bucolics in the poetry of Miklós Radnóti (1909–1944), whose eclogues are the most tragic expression of cruelty of war. My paper focuses on the influence of Virgil’s Bucolics in Radnóti’s poetry, but his examples can attest to the deep influence of Vergil on Hungarian literature.

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The Georgics is in generally considered as a linear composition established by four major topics corresponding to the four books. The analysis seeks to demonstrate the presence of another, less evident structure of the poem. This is constituted by the mythological allusions made at the stylistic level of the text, in the description of the different beings, plants and animals, stars and mountains. Most of the allusions are aetiological myths with a tragic love story. The series of these reminiscences serves to prepare the final erotic-aetiological myth at the narrative level, so the story of Orpheus, Aristaeus and the bees can be regarded as an organic part of the poem (against the tradition of the laudes Galli). The analysis of the hidden erotic myths may help the interpretation of the Vergilian notion of durus amor which, together with the labor improbus, are the principles of human existence.

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Cato und die Bienen •

Zur Rezeption der vergilischen Georgica in Einigen Gleichnissen Lucans

Acta Antiqua Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae
Author: Markus Kersten

The paper focuses on the bee-simile (9. 283–293) and its application to Cato. Via a detailed analysis of the motif, the passage, and the context as well as the inter- and intratextual aspects of Lucan’s Bildsprache (especially with respect to Vergil’s Georgics) the author discusses how the Lucanean Cato can be understood and how he may be assessed with regard to an interpretation of the narrative as a whole. The elaborate simile not only gives a frightening insight into the figure’s character, but also, by evoking the similes previously used for Pompey, it inevitably draws the characters into relation with each other. The famous, but perhaps simplistic idea that Cato, the perfect stoic and republican, is the real ‘hero’of the poem, is challenged.

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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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