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The epic story of the hero Perseus’ decapitation of the monstrous Gorgon Medusa is one of the more enduring tales from classical mythology. 1 There are several references to this Gorgon lore in Virgil’s Aeneid , careful consideration of which will

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Virgil, the bishop of Salzburg of Irish origin (749–784) opened a new chapter in the history of his episcopate: he had the earliest works of the historiography of Salzburg compiled: the Gesta sancti Hrodberti confessoris, the Libellus Virgilii and the Liber confraternitatum; he had the Rupert Cathedral constructed, which was consecrated in 774; he extended the rights of the episcopate and that of the Saint Peter Monastery and he organised the mission among the Carantanians. This paper deals with three aspects of the activity of Virgil, the abbot and bishop of Salzburg: the conflict between Bonifacius and Virgil (I.); the determination of the date of Virgil’s ordaining (II.); and the debates for the goods and rights of the Saint Peter Monastery and the episcopate of Salzburg, which were noted down by Virgil in the Libellus Virgilii.(III.).

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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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In this paper, I establish a connection between the manifold character of Fama as reported by Virgil in Aen. 4. 173 ff. and her ‘manifold speech’ (multiplex sermo) in the framework of a narratological reading. According to my interpretation, the short fama of the Virgilian Fama (4. 191-194), as a spectacular example of ‘polyphonic narrative’, radicalises and thus domesticates the dangers inherent in the epic discourse itself.

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In the framework of an European program that I direct — which is devoted to the enhancement of the humanist heritage of the Upper Rhine region (Southern Germany, Northern Switzerland and Alsace), that is the humanistic editions of the Greek and Roman authors held by the libraries —, a curious work to be found in the University Library of Basel has come to my attention. Indeed, I would like to speak about some aspects of the humanist reception of Virgil and more specifically of his Bucolica, concerning the form as well as the content.

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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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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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We found in the work in prose and verse of Sidonius Apollinaris (5th century) a few number of brief allusions to Augustus, and it comes to him in detail in the preface of Majorien’s Panegyric (Poems IV) and, indirectly, in the dedicatory poem of the same Panegyric (Poems III). We here consider for what purpose Sidonius refers to Augustus, how he is presented, and what are the qualities that are highlighted. It appears that his relations with Virgil and Horace represent an ideal relationship between the poets and the power that Sidonius wants to give as an example.

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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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