L. Ceccarelli, Contributions to the History of Latin Elegiac Distich

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Lucio Ceccarelli, Contributions to the History of Latin Elegiac Distich, Turnhout, 2018.

Éditeur : Brepols
Collection : Studi e testi tardoantichi 15
362 pages
ISBN : 978-2-503-57459-2
105 €

The life of the Latin elegiac distich spans over a very long period of time, from its importation into Rome in the second century B.C. to late antiquity, the Middle Ages and beyond. This study is based on almost all the available data from Latin elegiac poetry from Catullus to Venantius Fortunatus and offers a new reconstruction of the main lines of the evolution of the Latin elegiac distich in the first eight centuries of its history.
The volume is divided in two parts. The analysis, carried out with the help of statistical tools, is each time based on the whole of the works of the poets taken into account.
In the first part the data related to the classical distich (Catullus, Propertius, Tibullus, Ovidius, Lygdamus, Consolatio ad Liviam, Martialis) are presented and discussed. The analysis of the material shows how the form of the distich evolves from Catullus' to Ovidius' model. Catullus' distich is deeply modified, particularly due to Tibullus' work, to reach Ovidius' distich, which is the end point of the evolution of the Latin elegiac distich. Therefore particular attention is devoted to the way in which Tibullus in particular innovates the distich in comparison to Catullus' starting point and in which Ovidius, who now accepts Tibullus' proposals, now reseets them, now submits his own novelties and carries out the evolution of the distich. As for the classical authors following Ovid (the author of the Consolatio ad Liviam, Martialis and, probably, Lygdamus), it is analysed how they confront themselves with Ovidius' model.
The second part takes into account the late latin poets (Avianus, Ausonius, Paulinus of Nola, Prudentius, Claudian, Rutilius Namatianus, Prosper of Aquitaine, Orientius, Sidonius Apollinaris, Dracontius, Luxorius, Maximianus, Venantius Fortunatus, the authors of De Providentia and of the Carmen in Laudem Sanctae Mariae). Also in this case, the key issue is how these poets position themselves towards the Ovidian model (Knowledge of both Catullus and Tibullus is very limited in late antiquity and therefore they do not come in consideration as possible models). The conclusion of the analysis, not predictable a priori, is that the influence of Ovid's metrical technique in late antiquity is by far less strong than it could be expected.


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