Lucretian Receptions: History, the Sublime, Knowledge 0521760410, 9780521760416

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Lucretian Receptions: History, the Sublime, Knowledge
 0521760410, 9780521760416

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LUCRETIAN RECEPTIONS Lucretius’ De Rerum Natura, one o f the greatest Latin poems, worked a powerful fascination on Virgil and Horace, and continued to be an important model for later poets in and beyond antiquity, including Milton. This innovative set o f studies on the reception o f Lucretius is organized round three major themes: history and time, the sub­ lime, and knowledge. The D e Rerum Natura was foundational for Augustan poets’ dealings with history and time in the new age o f the principate. It is also a major document in the history o f the sublime; Virgil and Horace engage with the Lucretian sublime in ways that exercised a major influence on the sublime in later antique and Renaissance literature. The D e Rerum Natura presents a confident account o f the ultimate truths o f the universe; later didactic and epic poets respond with varying degrees o f certainty or uncertainty to the challenge o f Lucretius’ Epicurean gospel. h a r d ie is one o f the leading critics o f Latin literature in the world today. This book contains both revisions o f previously published articles and new chapters. He is a Senior Research Fellow at Trinity College, Cambridge, and Honorary Professor o f Latin Literature in the University o f Cambridge. He is also a Fellow o f the British Academy. His previous publications include Virgil's Aeneid: Cosmos and Imperium (1986), Virgil’s Epic Successors (1993), and O vid’s Poetics o f Illusion (2002). He is editor o f The Cambridge Companion to O vid (2002) and co-editor o f The Cambridge Com­ panion to Lucretius (2007). p h il ip

LU CRETIAN RECEPTIONS History, The Sublim e, Knowledge

PHILIP H ARDIE Senior Research Fellow, Trinity College, Cambridge, a nd Honorary Professor o f Latin Literature, University o f Cambridge

C a m b r id g e U N IV E R SIT Y PR ESS


Cambridge, N ew York, Melbourne, Madrid, Cape Town, Singapore, Sao Paulo, Delhi, Dubai, Tokyo Cambridge University Press The Edinburgh Building, Cambridge CB2 8r u , U K Published in the United States o f America by Cambridge University Press, N ew Y ork Information on this title: www.cambridge.0rg/9780521760416 © Philip Hardie 2009


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12. viii. 1989 — 17. ix. 2008 breuis annos fa ta dederunt

First published 2009 Printed in the United Kingdom at the University Press, Cambridge A catalogue record fo r this publication is available from the British Library Library o f Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Hardie, Philip R. Lucretian receptions : history, the sublime, knowledge / Philip Hardie. p. cm. is b n 978-0-521-76041-6 (Hardback) 1. Didactic poetry, Latin-H istory and criticism. 2. Epic poetry, Latin-H istory and criticism. 3. Lucretius Carus, Titus. De rerum natura. 4. Lucretius Carus, Titus—Influence. 5. Virgil-C riticism and interpretation. 6. H orace-Criticism and interpretation. 7. H istory in literature. 8. Sublime, The, in literature. 9. Knowledge, Theory of, in literature. 10. Epicureans (Greek philosophy) I. Title. PA6029.P45H37 2009 8 7 1'.0 1—dc22

2OO9O33248 is b n

978-0-521-76041-6 Hardback

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List o f illustrations Acknowledgements

page viii ix




Time, history, culture



Cultural and historical narratives in Virgil’s Eclogues and Lucretius



Virgilian and Horatian didactic: freedom and innovation



Sublime visions



Virgil’s Fama and the sublime



The Speech o f Pythagoras in Ovid Metamorphoses 15: Empedoclean epos



Lucretian visions in Virgil



Horace’s sublime yearnings: Lucretian ironies


Certainties and uncertainties


Lucretian multiple explanations and their reception in Latin didactic and epic


The presence o f Lucretius in Paradise Lost





List o f works cited Index o f passages discussed General index

297 303 Vll



2 3 4

After drawing o f Franz Cleyn, engraving o f Dido and Aeneas entering the cave and Fama, in Publii Virgilii Maronis Opera, ed. John Ogilby (London 1658). By permission o f the Syndics o f Cambridge University Library. ‘Rainbow Portrait’ o f Queen Elizabeth I, after Taddeo Zuccari. The Bridgeman Art Library. A. Paul Weber Das Gerücht, 1969. © D A C S 1999. Joseph Mallord William Turner, Ulysses deriding Polyphemus —Homer’s Odyssey, 1829. © The National Gallery, London.

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p age m 112 113


M y debts go back over many years to audiences in different parts of the world, and to individual readers of different parts o f this book and those who have advised in other ways, including Alessandro Barchiesi, Francesco Citti, Séverine Clément-Tarantino, Henry Day, Maria Luisa Delvigo, Marco Fantuzzi, Marco Fernandelli, Don Fowler, Monica Gale, John Hale, Stephen Harrison, Richard Hunter, Helen Lovatt, Fiachra Mac Gorâin, Jay Macpherson, Charles Martindale, Theodore Papanghelis, Alessandro Schiesaro, Jürgen Paul Schwindt, Andrew Zissos. Chapter 1 is a revised version o f ‘Cultural and historical narratives in Virgil’s Eclogues and Lucretius’, first published in M. Fantuzzi and T. Papanghelis (eds.) B rill’s Companion to Greek and Latin Pastoral (Leiden and Boston 2006) 275-300 (with thanks to Koninklijke Brill N. V.); Chapter 2 a revised version o f ‘Time in Lucretius and the Augustan poets: freedom and innovation’, first published in J. Schwindt (ed.) La representation du temps dans la poésie augustéenne (Heidelberg 2005) 19-42 (© 2005 Universitätsverlag Winter GmbH Heidelberg); Chapter 4 a revised version o f ‘The Speech o f Pythagoras in Ovid Metamorphoses 15: Empedoclean epos’, first published in Classical Quarterly 45 (1995) 204—14; Chapter 6 a revised version of ‘Horace’s sublime yearnings: Lucretian ironies’, first published in PLLS 13 (2008) 119-72; Chapter 7 a revised version o f ‘Lucretian multiple explanations and their reception in Latin didactic and epic’, first published in M. Beretta and F. Citti (eds.) Lucrezio, la natura e la scienza (Florence 2008) 69-96; Chapter 8 a revised version o f ‘The presence o f Lucretius in Paradise Lost’, first published in Milton Quarterly 29 (1995) 13-24 (with permission). Translations o f Lucretius are for the most part based on those o f H. A. J. Munro. Translations o f Virgil’s Aeneid and Horace’s Odes are mostly those o f David West (sometimes slightly adapted), with the kind permission o f the translator.



We know very little for certain about the life o f Lucretius.1 The late-antique legend o f a poet writing in the intervals o f sanity after a love-potion given to him by his wife drove him mad, fostered the idea o f a lone genius struggling to complete his visionary masterpiece on philosophical enlighten­ ment against the constant threat of total mental breakdown. An unpre­ judiced reading o f the poem might yield the impression of a fanatical adherent o f Epicureanism who sweeps aside the traditional cultural and political concerns o f Roman society in order to propagate the message o f a Greek philosophical school which advocated an alternative life-style of ethical self-perfection in the company of a few like-minded individuals —a ‘fundamentalist’, somewhat to extend the meaning o f that term as applied to Lucretius by David Sedley,2 at odds with the prevailing values o f late Republican Rome, and whose one goal is to persuade his readers o f the urgent need to convert to Epicureanism. Yet recent work in Latin literary studies on genre, allusion, and intertextuality has made it increasingly clear that this apparently selfmarginalizing author is very much at the centre o f the literary history of the last years o f the Republic and of the early Empire - just as much so, indeed, as is his contemporary Catullus, whose poetry more obviously locates itself on the wider social, political, and cultural stage of contem­ porary Rome. Even allowing for the inevitable distortion in our percep­ tion of intertextualities consequent on the fact that the Catullan corpus

1 For an ingenious attempt at a reconstruction, based on unprovable identifications with other ancient evidence, see Canfora 1993; see also P. G. Fowler and D . Fowler 2003: 888. The traditional dating o f the D e Rerum Natura in the m id 50s b c has been called into question by Hutchinson 2001, arguing for a date o f 49 or 48 b c . 2 Sedley 1998: ch. 3 ‘Lucretius the fundamentalist’, an argument that Lucretius has no serious philosophical interest in anything other or later than the unmediated doctrines o f Epicurus himself, and thus that Lucretius is deliberately out o f touch with intervening philosophical developments.



and the De Rerum Natura are the first fully extant substantial works of non-dramatic Latin poetry, no-one now would seriously doubt that both Catullus and Lucretius are decisive for some of the major directions, and much o f the detail, o f the poetic production of the following decades in Rome.3 For Lucretius this has always been clear in the case o f the genre of didactic, a kind o f poetry marginal to post-Romantic notions o f the literary, but central within an ancient poetics where entertainment and instruction were never kept rigorously apart. The De Rerum Natura is massively influential on Virgil’s Georgies, and thereby on the later didactic poems o f Ovid and Manilius. The importance o f Lucretius for the Georgies is already registered in Macrobius’ lists o f parallels;4 it was emphasized by W. Y. Sellar,5 and has now been comprehensively mapped by Monica Gale.67In my 1986 book on the A eneidl made a case that the De Rerum Natura is hardly less a presence in the Aeneid than it is in the' Georgies7 M y emphasis there was on the ways in which the cosmological structures of the De Rerum Natura were diverted to the imperial ideology that informs the setting and actions of a heroic narrative epic, a process eased by the prior exploitation by Lucretius of epic themes in his didactic poem. One o f the results of these two instances o f the ‘contamination’ o f epic and didactic models is the reinforcement o f what is in any case an originary association in the Greco-Roman tradition between the two kinds o f epos, hexameter poetry on the deeds of gods and heroes and hexameter poetry o f instruction. Chapters 4, 5, 7, and 8 o f this volume extend, in various directions, this exploration o f the links between narrative epic and didactic. The tradition that in his youth Virgil was an Epicurean has led to a search for elements of Epicureanism in his first major work, the Eclogues, encouraged by otium as a value shared by practitioners o f Hellenistic philosophy and the fictive inhabitants o f the pastoral world, by the rejection o f warfare and political ambition by pastoral poet and his

3 For a fuller survey o f Lucretius and later Latin literature in antiquity see P. Hardie 2007a. There is a significant number o f places in the poetry o f Virgil and Horace where there is combined allusion to Catullus and Lucretius (for an example see 36—7), a phenomenon that I shall examine in more detail elsewhere. 4 Sat. 6 (with many parallels also for the A en eid). 5 Sellar 1877: 199 ‘T he influence, direct and indirect, exercised by Lucretius on the composition and style o f the Georgies was perhaps stronger than that exercised, before or since, by one great poet on another.’ 6 Gale 2000. See also P. Hardie 1986a: 158—67; Farrell 1991: 84—104, 169—206 on Lucretius in the Georgies. 7 P. Hardie 1986a: ch. 5.



characters, and by the Epicurean retreat into the Garden. Many individual I allusions to the De Rerum Natura have been spotted in the Eclogues, but a sense that the genres of pastoral and natural-philosophical didactic stand far apart from one another may have inhibited a more far-reaching search for the Lucretian in the Eclogues. It could recently still be claimed that ‘Lucretius was known to Virgil when he wrote the Eclogues, but does not yet seem to affect him in more than a superficial way.’8 In Chapter 1 1 read the Eclogues book for a sustained engagement with large-scale structures o f thought and image in the De Rerum Natura. M y conclusion on Virgil’s fascination with the De Rerum Natura in all three o f his major works is that ‘It is almost as if at the beginning o f his career Virgil intuits that / Lucretius’ capacious textual universe will provide space within which to develop the projects o f all three o f his major works.’9 The other major conduit for the channelling o f Lucretian intertextuality into the mainstream o f Augustan poetry is Horace, the close friend of Virgil, Plotius Tucca, and Varius Rufus, all members o f an Epicurean circle,10 and himself the subject o f a life-long interest in Epicureanism. Varius Rufus is one o f the great gaps in our knowledge o f Augustan poetry, clearly a major figure whose works now survive only in exiguous fragments. One o f Varius’ lost poems the De Morte may well have been an Epicurean poem on the fear o f death, inspired by the De Rerum Natura and the Epicurean philosopher Philodemus’ prose treatise On Death, if so, another mainstream channel for the conveyance o f Lucretian material into triumviral and Augustan poetry (allusion to the De Morte in Virgil’s eighth Eclogue gives a terminus ante quern o f 39 b c ) . 11 Horace’s extensive use of Lucretius in the Satires and Epistles, both hexameter works with strong generic affinities with didactic, is well recognized. Horace makes a loud Lucretian signal in his adaptation o f the honeyed-cup simile {D R N 1.936—42) at the beginnning o f his first satire, 1.1.24—6 quamquam ridentem dicere uerum I quid uetat? ut pueris olim dant crustula blandi I doctores, elementa uelint ut discere prim a ‘although what stops a man laughing from telling the truth? As teachers often coax boys by giving them little cakes, to encourage them to learn the first elements’, at the same time as the next line seeks to establish a distance between Horace and his Lucretian model, sed tamen amoto quaeramus seria ludo ‘but let us

8 9 10 11

Jenkyns 1998: 211. P. Hardie 2007a: 127. Moles 2007: 168, referring for the claim that Horace him self was an Epicurean to Armstrong 2004. See Hollis 2007: 260—73.



put aside games to inquire into serious matters’ —ironically, since there is far more laughter in the Satires than in the De Rerum Natura. In Chapter 6 I trace a set o f Lucretian allusions across the whole œuvre of Horace, and demonstrate that Lucretius (as opposed to Epicurean material more generally) is more pervasive in the Odes than has hitherto been recognized. Turning from the imitators o f Lucretius to the De Rerum Natura as viewed by modern criticism,12 a number o f features o f the poem now generally recognized show that, despite its apparent tunnel vision as a vehicle for Epicurean evangelism, it was always at the centre o f Roman literary institutions. Since E. J. Kenney’s classic article on the Alexandrian learning worn by Lucretius, we have become accustomed to the idea that the archaic, Ennian, patina o f much of the poem, so far from being the mark o f an old-fashioned poet out of touch with contemporary literary developments, is only part o f a complex poetic self-positioning within the history o f Greek and Latin poetry up to and including the Hellenistic poets and their Roman ‘Alexandrian’ successors.13 Whatever the conclu­ sion about Lucretius’ position within the history o f Epicureanism, he is no conservative ‘fundamentalist’ when it comes to poetic traditions. A strong sense o f an allusive literary history is found, for example, in the account at D R N 1.117-26 o f the Dream o f Homer at the beginning of Ennius’ Annals. As well as making a polemical point about the belief in the post-mortem survival o f the soul, this passage also constructs a chain o f succession running from Homer through Ennius to the modern poet Lucretius, retrospectively defining an epic-didactic tradition o f hexameter poetry de rerum natura. Stephen Hinds has showed us that this kind o f literary history by allusion reaches far back in the history o f Latin literature.14 We are most used to it in the neoteric poets and their Augustan successors: in Chapter 4 I analyse a large-scale example in the most self-conscious of all Latin poets, Ovid, in a climactic position near the end o f the Metamorphoses, which both alludes to and overgoes Lucretius’ proemial engagement with Homer and Ennius. Other aspects o f the ‘modernity’ of Lucretius have to do with the structure and organization of his material. ‘Lucretius’ is the earliest surviving Latin poem in which the “book” is handled as an artistic unit and plays an integral part in the literary architecture o f the whole.’15 Iz 13 14 15

For a succinct survey o f recent scholarly and critical trends see Gale 2007a ‘Introduction’ . Kenney 1970. O n the range o f genres alluded to in the D R N see Gale 2007b: 67-70. Hinds 1998: ch. 3. Kenney 1971: 18. Until Herculaneum yields up a complete text, we cannot know for certain how carefully organized Ennius’ Annals was in this respect. For the detail see Farrell 2007: 76—91.



In this the De Rerum Natura is in keeping with what we can reconstruct o f the practice of Hellenistic poems in multiple books, or poetry books with multiple poems, and anticipates the complex architecture of, for example, ^ the Georgies or the Aeneid. At the level o f the linear reading of the text, the De Rerum Natura is characterized by an alternation o f moods, of passages o f dark and light, o f more and less technical passages, whose purpose, according to many critics, is the deliberate manipulation o f the reader’s response to clearly defined protreptic and rhetorical ends,16 this in opposi­ tion to an earlier fashion for seeing such variation as the symptom of a poet whose heart was at odds with his head, an ‘anti-Lucrèce chez Lucrèce’. If that is true, nevertheless the changes in pace and mood, apparent contradictions which turn out to be nothing o f the sort, were a fertile point o f departure for poets like Virgil and Horace whose texts are standardly these days read for ideological and psychological tensions and contradictions. In her book on the use o f the De Rerum Natura in the Georgies Monica Gale shows how Lucretian complexity translates into K Virgilian contradiction and aporia. In Chapters 5 and 6 o f this volume I look at how Lucretius’ handling of the marvellous and the sublime (in fact an area where it is arguable that Lucretius does not achieve a totally integrated manipulation o f the reader’s psychology) provokes an undecided oscillation between an aspiration to lofty flights and visions, and a failure o f nerve. The essays in this volume are grouped under three broad headings, each o f them an area o f major concern for poets engaged with the political, cultural, and artistic conditions of the emerging and early principate. I TIM E, HISTORY, CULTURE

At De Rerum Natura 1.445-82 Lucretius argues that time has no existence in itself separate from bodies and their motion. Events in the past have no per se existence, but are the accidents of the places where they occurred, and of the bodies and the spaces once occupied by those bodies. In one of his most brutal acts o f reduction, Lucretius presents five lines o f richly imagistic and epicizing summary o f the Trojan War from the Rape of Helen to the Sack o f Troy: all this, the stuff o f traditional epic, the narrative that lies at the origin o f the foundation and history o f Rome, vanishes into insubstantiality compared with the reality o f atoms and space. Time and that which is measured by time, history, have no reality 16 An overview o f the literature in Gale 2007a: 5—7.


o f their own. For the individual the memory o f past philosophical conversations and friendships is a source o f pleasure, but what happened in the remoter past is as much a matter o f indifference as what will happen after our death: another o f Lucretius’ exercises in the epic manner shows that the world-shattering events o f the Punic Wars, the most critical turning point in Roman history, are nothing to us {D R N 3.832—7). Jane Austen’s novels never refer to the events o f the Napoleonic Wars, but modern criticism has not found it difficult to embed her work in its contemporary historical context. It is perhaps not surprising that in an age o f historicisms o f various kinds, o f what Charles Martindale refers to as ‘culturalism’ or ‘ideology critique’,17 recent work has increasingly drawn attention to the ways in which Lucretius is engaged with the realities and representations o f Roman history and politics.18 And the De Rerum Natura has its own epic plot that pivots on a before and after, the revolution in the condition o f humankind brought about by the coming o f Epicurus and his revelation o f Epicurean truth. This salvation history is o f a kind that was in the air in both the western and eastern Mediterranean in the later first century b c , and offered a powerful resource to Octavian and his supporters in their claim to have saved Rome from the chaos and pmoral decline o f civil war. The figurative divinity with which Lucretius I invests his philosophical saviour Epicurus is akin to the forms o f godhead in which Julius Caesar and then Octavian/Augustus were cloaked; the Eclogues, one o f the earliest poetic texts to feel its way towards what would become institutionalized as the cult of the emperor, draws recurrently on Lucretian imagery o f the divine great man (see 31—2). Furthermore book five o f the De Rerum Natura presents one o f the most elaborate and nuanced o f surviving histories of human culture from antiquity. Lucretius’ purpose is to present an anti-teleological and antiprovidential history o f mankind that accounts for the whole o f recorded and unrecorded time in terms o f his atomist philosophy. His vivid and persuasive pictures o f the various stages o f human development provided rich material for later poets’ location o f the remarkable times in which they lived within a long perspective o f human and Roman history, whether through acceptance of or polemical engagement with the Lucretian version o f things. Chapters 1 and 2 trace a number o f responses to Lucretius on time and history in Virgil and Horace, reaching from Virgil’s first major work, the Eclogues, to possibly Horace’s last composition, the 17 Martindale 2005. 18 See D . Fowler 1989; Schiesaro 2007.




Ars Poética. Lucretian models are useful for thinking about histories both political and literary (but in Rome literary histories tend to reflect political and military narratives).



The sublime has been a rather understudied category in modern histories o f Latin literature. Notable exceptions to this statement are Gian Biagio Conte’s essays on Lucretius and the Aeneid\ 9 the last, however, is written without reference to Conte’s own anatomy o f the Lucretian sublime. James Porter has written extensively on the sublime in antiquity, and points to intriguing parallels between Lucretius and ps.-Longinus that suggest that both are parts o f a wider history o f the sublime in antiquity that remains to be written.20 Piet Schrijvers has drawn attention to the close affinities, both in broad outline and in detail, between On the Sublime and Latin literature o f the first centuries b c and a d in their treatment of the awe and wonder aroused by great natural phenomena, with particular reference to Silius Italicus, whose Punica is deeply indebted in this as in other respects to the AeneidN The chapters in this section are contributions to this still incomplete history o f the sublime in Latin literature. The response o f both Virgil and Horace to the Lucretian sublime is profound and conflicted, manifesting a complexity that results from a failure to achieve what might be called a Lucretian purity o f purpose. One might doubt, indeed, whether even Lucretius succeeds in taming the psychological experience o f the sublime sufficiently to conform with the Epicurean ideal o f ataraxia. His chief strategy is to divert the thrill and amazement aroused by a pre-Epicurean experience o f an unpredictable, mysterious, and god-filled universe to exhilaration at the scientific vision of an infinity o f atoms tumbling through an infinite void. The Virgilian and Horatian sublime is experi­ enced in the face o f a universe to which the gods have returned; it is also a sublime transferable from the natural world to the world o f Roman history (Schrijvers refers to the ‘historical/political sublime’),22 so inscrib­ ing the sublime at the origins o f an imperial aesthetic that will find grandiose expression later in the literature o f the Neronian and Flavian 19 Lucretius: Conte 1966 and 1994; Virgil: Conte 2007. 20 Porter 2007. A conference on ‘The Classical Sublime5 was held in Cambridge on 14—15 March 2008. 21 Schrijvers 2006. 22 Schrijvers 2006: IOI.



periods. This is an aesthetic that neither Virgil nor Horace find it entirely easy to control, and in the case o f Horace there is a distinct sense of discomfort, visible in an alternation of attraction to and distancing from a Lucretian sublime. Lucretius is the major catalyst, I argue, in the development o f an early imperial aesthetic o f the sublime in Virgil and Horace, but the Lucretian sublime itself comes with a history. One o f the most sublime (if perhaps surprisingly so) episodes in the Aeneid is the intervention o f Fama together with its sequel in Book 4. In Chapter 3 I attempt to demonstrate that the person o f Fama is largely put together out o f Lucretian bits and pieces; but Fama, one o f the meanings o f whose name is ‘tradition’, is also generated out o f Ennian material already put to use by Lucretius, and, further back, out o f Ennius’ own Empedoclean source. Lucretius, as we have seen, is as concerned as Virgil or Ovid, to give a version o f the’ literary history that stretches back before his poem. Chapter 4 is a revised version o f an older article in which I discuss an Ovidian commentary on and continuation o f this literary history of what I label ‘Empedoclean epos’ .

o f explanation with expressions of alternative explanation at home in the non-didactic hexameter tradition. In Chapter 8 I move forward in time to one of the latest, and one of the greatest, major exercises in the classical epic tradition, Milton’s Paradise Lost. This is a poem which, unlike the ancient line o f Virgil’s epic successors, does assert a confidence in the poet’s ability to achieve an assured knowledge o f reality and to convey this to the reader. I argue for a far-reaching analogy between the didactic strategies o f Lucretius and Milton, based on an attentive and insightful reading o f the De Rerum Natura by Milton. Paradise Lost, the masterpiece o f the Christian Milton, turns out to be one o f the most Lucretian o f epics in the classical tradition.




One aspect of the Virgilian and Horatian failure (or reluctance) to commit to the Lucretian ‘purity o f purpose’ is the inability to match sublime viewings to an assured possession of an intellectual truth (paradigmatically Lucretius’ sublime vision o f Epicurean physics at the beginning o f De Rerum Natura 3). A contrast between Lucretian certainties and Virgilian uncertainties plays well for adherents o f the ‘Harvard School’ o f Virgilian criticism.2·3 Chapter 4 in the previous section o f this volume has already shown how recurrent sublime - Lucretian - viewings in the Aeneid do not lead to a clear and monolithic intellectual grasp on reality. In this section I look at further responses to the authority o f the Lucretian ‘epic o f knowledge’ . Chapter 7 takes a formal feature of Epicurean and Lucretian argument, the use o f multiple explanations, used in the De Rerum Natura in orthodox Epicurean fashion to reinforce philosophical certainty, and pursues its use in later didactic and epic, from Virgil’s Georgies to Statius’ Fhebaid. There is a clear line o f descent from the Lucretian models, but complexity — and further uncertainty — results from the combination, or contamination, o f the Epicurean model 23 E.g. Perkell 1989: 10 -11.



Time, history, culture


Cultural and historical narratives in V irgil’s Eclogues and Lucretius


On the face o f it there might appear to be a contrast between an Augustan concern with historical achievement, energetic activity in the present guided both by the awareness o f the long reach o f the past and by the demands o f the future, and the Lucretian philosophy of carpe diem.1 But the De Rerum Natura has a very well-developed sense of time and history. This is most obvious in the great history o f human culture at the end of Book 5, a major model for all exercises in culture history in the Augustan poets. But we should also remember Lucretius’ emphatically processual understanding o f natura as a ‘coming to birth’ (from the verb nascor). Nature is viewed as something that happens over time, involving processes o f change and continuity. It is as a personification o f bringing to birth that Venus appears in the opening hymn. The first o f a series o f gen- words occurs as the second word o f the poem, Aeneadum genetrix ‘mother o f the race o f Aeneas’, introducing Venus as a principle o f maternity in the historical, Roman, world. The historical perspective immediately gives way to a view of generation in the natural world, with three more gen- words: 4 genus, 11 genitabilis, 20 generatim. The relative importance of attention to tem­ poral process in the natural world and o f attention to historical process matters both to Lucretius, for whom human achievement is measured above all by the acquisition and internalization of truths about the natural world, and to later Latin poets, for whom, as for most Romans, a deep investment in Roman history is primary. The opening o f the main section on atomic motion in De Rerum Natura 2 is stamped with repetitions o f 1 See the diatribe at the end o f D R N 3 on the discontents o f a constant searching for something new, an angst-ridden set to futurity: 3.108 0-1 praeterea uersamur ibidem atque insumus usque I nec noua uiuendo procuditur ulla uoluptas (procudere is used o f the continuation o f generations into the future at 5.850 utpropagando possintprocudere saecld).


Time, history, culture

Virgil’s Eclogues and Lucretius

the verb gigno and cognates, 2.62—6 nunc age, quo motu gen italia material I corpora res uarias gignant genitasque resoluant. . . expediam ‘Now listen, and I will explain by what motion the generative bodies o f matter generate different things, and break them up after they have been generated.’ The phrase genitalia corpora, for which there is no equivalent in Epicurus’ Greek, may conceal a polemical comparison o f atomic history and Roman history: Don Fowler ad loc. suggests that it may be ‘deliberately antiprovidential’, since genitalis, an Ennian coinage according to Cicero, is used by Ennius o f the divine origin o f the founder o f Rome, Ann. no—n Sk. Romulus in caelo cum dis genitalibus aeuom I degit ‘Romulus passes his life in heaven with the gods who gave him birth.’ Another gen- word with a history in the epic tradition occurs towards the end o f the Lucretian paragraph, 2.77 augescunt aliae gentes, aliae minuuntur ‘some peoples wax, others wane’, a version o f the famous Homeric line that concludes Glaucus’ comparison o f the generations o f men and o f leaves, Ilia d 6.149 ώς άνδρών γενεή ή μεν φύει, ή δ ’ άπολήγει ‘so one generation o f men comes to birth, another passes away’.1 Lucretius’ atomic aetiology places the primordia, corpora prim a at the start o f temporal chains o f causality and generation, as in the ‘syllabus’ at 1.55-61:

places the chief emphasis on their dynamic generative powers’.23 With the Lucretian atomic ‘syllabus’ one might compare the aetiological ‘syllabus’, so to speak, o f the Aeneid, with its talk o f origins from first beginnings, leading to the birth and continuing propagation o f a race: i qu iprim u s ab oris·, 6 genus unde Latinum, y j regnum dea gentibus esse, 33 Romanam condere gentem ‘the man who first from the shores (of Troy) . . . whence came the Latin race . . . the goddess (wanted Carthage) to rule the peoples o f the world . . . to found the Roman race’. Ovid footnotes the ‘atomic’ origin of Rome at Ars Amatoria 3.337 etprofugum Aenean, altaeprimordia Romae ‘and the exile Aeneas, the first beginning o f lofty Rome’: ‘a striking hexameter ending which grandly implies that Aeneas is the (Lucretian) “original substance” o f Rome’.4 Lucretius, like Roman poets before and after him, is interested in both pasts and futures, and in how past is linked to future through the present. Commenting on Lucretius’ account of the prehistory o f mankind in De Rerum Natura 5, Gordon Campbell notes: ‘Prehistories provide an aetiology for the way things are, or seem to be, today, and show how they may be better in the future.’5 ‘Better in the future’: that phrase is also a good description o f the didactic goals of the De Rerum Natura, at the levels o f both the Roman nation and o f the individual reader. At the end o f the opening hymn to Venus, Lucretius returns from the natural to the historical world, as he calls upon the goddess, whom he had introduced as ancestress o f the Romans, Aeneadum genetrix, to effect a decisive change in the Roman patria in the future, through the bringing o f peace. This poem will also revolutionize the future life of the individual reader, once we have completed our retracing of the epoch-making journey o f Epicurus, which is narrated in the next section of the proem (62-79). This is a journey completed in the past by the philosophical saviour, but a journey into the future for every reader of the De Rerum Natura. For both patria and reader this Epicurean future will be experienced as a liberation from the oppression o f civil strife, the bonds o f superstition, the slavery of mental darkness - a liberation, too, from the world o f history, since Epicurean enlightenment releases mankind from the fears and desires that motivate actors on the public stage o f history.


rerum primordia pandam, unde omnis natura creet res auctet alatque quoue eadem rursum natura perempta resoluat, quae nos materiem et genitalia corpora rebus reddunda in ratione uocare et semina rerum appellare suemus et haec eadem usurpare corpora prima, quod ex illis sunt omnia primis. I will reveal the first-beginnings o f things, from which nature gives birth to all things and gives them growth and nourishment, and into which nature again breaks them up when they are destroyed; in giving an account o f them, we are used to calling them matter and the generative bodies o f things, and to name them seeds o f things, and also to term them first bodies, since from these first things comes everything.

David Sedley, speaking o f Lucretius’ practice of rendering Greek technical terms with his own live metaphors, notes that all these terms for atoms ‘concentrate not on the smallness o f atoms but on their role as the primitive starting-points from which other entities are built up . . . he 2 D . Fowler 2002 on D R N z .y y notes the multiple meanings o f gentes, ‘peoples’, ‘families’, ‘generations’, ‘species’.


3 Sedley 1998: 38-9. 4 Gibson 2003 ad loc., further noting that ''primordia does not occur in Catullus or the other Augustan poets, but Lucretius uses it 72 times’ . C f. Ov. Her. 15.57 Pbrygiae prim ordia gentis·. thereafter prim ordia gentis becomes a common epic phrase. 5 Campbell 2003: 9.


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Epicurus is the only named protos heuretes to find a place in Lucretius’ otherwise insistently evolutionist and gradualist history of human culture; the sense o f slow and inevitable progress is crucial for Lucretius’ polemic against the possibility o f arbitrary supernatural intervention in the world.6 There is a sharp contrast between the emphasis, in the summary of cultural development at the end of Book 5, on the step-by-step evolution o f human progress, and the saltation o f the sudden appearance o f the godlike blaze o f Epicurus’ discoveries, 5.1452—7:

tension in the plot o f the Aeneid between a journey into the unknown, and a journey back to origins. In this chapter and the next I examine some reflexes o f Lucretian patterns of time in Virgil and Elorace. Lucretius’ response to the crisis o f the late Republic is a turning away from history to an inner world of philosophical truth and enlightenment.9 Virgil and Horace respond both to the desperate times o f the last years o f the Republic and to the hopes for a new future under Octavian/Augustus by an intense engagement with Roman history, and find Lucretian patternings o f time helpful for their own very different articulations o f history. At a more private level, both Virgil and Horace also adapt Lucretian patterns to construct narratives about their own poetic careers and ambitions.

usus et impigrae simul experientia mentis paulatim docuit pedetemptim progredientis. sic unumquicquid paulatim protrahit aetas in medium ratioque in luminis erigit oras. namque alid ex alio clarescere corde uidebant, artibus ad summum donee uenere cacumen.7 Practice together with the inventiveness o f the untiring mind gradually taught men as they advanced step by step. Thus time gradually brings each thing to public view and reason raises it into the borders o f light. For they saw one thing after another become clear in their mind, until they came to the highest peak of the arts.

Athens’ gift o f Epicurus to mankind at the beginning o f the next book (6.4-6) is the culmination of the history o f civilisation. At 6.5 the appearance o f Epicurus is presented in the language o f natural generation {[Athenae[ cumgenuere uirum ...). Elsewhere, however, in the accounts of Epicurus’ violent assault on religio at 1.62—79, or in the revelatory utter­ ances o f Epicurus in the proem to Book 3, his discoveries constitute an unexpected revolution in the course o f history. Epicurus’ mental journey of discovery is a one-off innovation, a nouum, a kind of miracle, but, it turns out, he brings back that which has always been the case, the eternal, and ahistorical, truth about the eternal universe, that than which nothing can be more fundamentally known, notum.8 Compare, very generally, the

6 Strictly, prehistory: it might be objected that history is different, and that named protoi heuretai are to be expected then: note 5.1105—7 inque dies magis h i nictum uitamque priorem \ commutare nouis monstrabant rebus et igni I ingenio q u i p ra esta b a n t et corde uigebant. 7 On the problem o f building the sudden appearance o f Epicurus into an Epicurean history o f civilization see Furley 1978. 8 At the beginning o f B ook 6 the content o f Epicurus’ teaching, however sudden the appearance o f the teacher, is presented as the demonstration o f a continuous path on which we are all embarked, 6.26—8 exposuitque bonum summum quo tendimus omnes I quidforet, atque uiam monstrauit, tramite paruo I qua possemus a d id recto contendere cursu.Qd. the Lucretian colouring o f Aeneas’ path at Aen. 1.205—6 tendimus in Latium, sedes ubi fata quietas I ostendunt.


L U C R E T I U S IN T H E ‘ E C L O G U E S ’

The importance of Lucretius for the Georgies and the Aeneid has been thoroughly charted. A number o f studies have brought out Virgil’s intensive engagement with the De Rerum Natura at various points in the Eclogues, and it is no surprise that a poet for whose youthful commitment to Epicureanism there is strong biographical evidence should early have been fascinated by Lucretius’ poem. Yet differences o f genre and purpose between the De Rerum Natura and the Eclogues might appear to militate against more than incidental contacts between the two works. In this chapter I aim to show not only that in his first major work Virgil already practises a far-reaching and sustained dialogue with Lucretius, but that this is conducted in areas where the didactic and pastoral projects might seem most alien to each other. Specifically I shall show how, on to the local rhythms o f the pastoral world, regulated by the alternation o f day and night and only intermit­ tently open to the more momentous temporal patterns o f the world outside the green cabinet, there is imposed a larger set o f temporal narratives, histories o f large-scale process and change, o f a kind central to Lucretius’ interests. These operate at the level both o f the individual, who grows up and is educated (the Lucretian didactic addressee, a ‘child’ afraid o f the dark who must be educated into enlightenment), and of the race (for Lucretius the historical appearance of Epicurus is the trans­ forming climax o f the history of civilization narrated in the latter part of 9 T he pressure o f history on Lucretius in making this choice will be the more acute i f Hutchinson 20 0 1 is correct in redating the D e Rerum Natura to 49 or 48 b c .


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De Rerum Natura 5). Lucretius is also a source for the Virgilian analogy between the history o f the individual and the history o f the race: the language used o f the gradual progress o f civilization at the end of De Rerum Natura 5 is closely paralleled in programmatic admonitions in the first book to the didactic addressee to make progress.101 One result o f this exposure of pastoral to the poem of Lucretius is to constitute pastoral poetry itself as a product o f a Lucretian historical narrative. A second result is to expand the ways in which the Eclogues already anticipate the themes o f historical process and change in Virgil’s later works.

o f civilization, in his account o f the invention o f human music in a tuneful rustic landscape (5.1379-407), at 1398 agrestis enim turn musa uigebat ‘for then the rustic Muse flourished’. At the end of Eclogue 10 a harmful shade prompts the pastoral singer to rise to higher things, 75—6 surgamus: solet esse grauis cantantibus umbra, I iuniperi grauis umbra; nocent etfrugibus umbrae ‘let us arise: shade is liable to harm singers, the harmful shade o f the juniper; shade harms the crops too’. This is a Lucretian shadow, cast by a discussion o f naturally occur­ ring exhalations harmful to human senses, which is designed to show that the deadly effects o f lake Avernus are themselves o f a purely materialist nature, D R N 6.783—5:

Lucretian bookends

arboribus primum certis grauis umbra tributa usque adeo, capitis faciant ut saepe dolores, siquis eas subter iacuit prostratus in herbis.13

The importance o f Lucretius for the Eclogues is signalled by the fact that the book opens and closes with Lucretian allusion. The first line o f the first Eclogue already contains verbal parallels with the De Rerum N a tu ra l The siluestris Musa which Meliboeus ascribes to Tityrus in the second line o f the first Eclogue, and which functions almost as a title for the book as a whole, is a phrase from Lucretius’ discussion o f the delusory effects of echo in the countryside, 4.589 fistula siluestrem. ne cesset fundere musarn ‘so that the pipe should not cease to pour forth the woodland Muse’.12· The variant on this phrase, agrestis Musa, with which Virgil defines his own poetic field and thereby inaugurates the second half o f the book at Eclogues 6.8 agrestem tenui meditabor harundine Musam ‘I shall practise the rustic Muse on a slender reed’, is found in the course of Lucretius’ history 10 W ith D R N 5.1454-7 (history o f civilization, quoted above) cf. 1.114 -17 (progress o f the didactic addressee) haec sicpernoscesparua perductus opella; I namque a lid ex alio clarescet nec tibi caeca I nox iter eripiet, quin ultima natural \peruideas: ita res accendent lumina rebus, and 1.407—9 sic alid ex alio p er te tute ipse uidere \ talibus in rebuspoteris caecasque latebras I insinuate omnis et uerum protrahere inde. 11 1 sub tegmine (caeli): D R N 2.663, 5·ΐοι6, but also in Cicero’s poetry and possibly Ennian (see Clausen 1994 on Eel. 1.1); Giesecke 2000: 48 notes the quasi-pastoral context o f flocks and water at D R N 2.663. recubans: D R N 1.38 hunc tu, diua, tuo recubantem corpore sancto (the only occurrence o f the word in Lucr.); Clausen notes ‘Recubo is a rather unusual verb, here perhaps with a connotation o f luxurious ease’ , citing Cic. D e Or. 3.63 (Cyrenaic philosophy personified) in hortulis quiescet suis . . . ubi etiam recubans molliter et delicate nos auocat a rostris·, see also Ramorino 1986: 307-8. Virgil hints at a community o f spirit between Tityrus’ pastoral world and hedonistic philosophies, o f a kind that has often been noted. M odern readers like to hear an echo o f the first line o f Theocritus’ first Id y llm the sound effects o f the first line o f the Eclogues·, might we also catch an echo o f an address to Tite Lucreti Care in Tityre, tu patulae recubans . . . ? O n the programmatic Lucretian echoes at the beginning o f the first and second halves o f the Eclogues book see Lipka 2001: 66—7. siluestris!agrestis Musa also alludes to a Hellenistic model, Meleager A P 7.196 (13 G-P), 2 ά γρ ονό μο ν μέλπεις μούσαν: see Gutzwiller 1998: 320-1.


Firstly certain trees possess a shade so harmful that they often cause headache if someone lies stretched out on the grass under them.

This is the kind o f tree from under which the makers o f a primitive pastoral poetry at the end o f Book 5 might well wish to rise: 5.1392—3 saepe itaque inter se prostrati in gramine molli I propter aquae riuum sub ramis arboris altae . .. ‘so, often stretched out together on the soft grass by a stream o f water under the branches of a high tree’ {^ D R N 2.29-30). Virgil may have been further encouraged to make a connection between Lucretius’ harmful shade and poetry by the lines that follow in Book 6, 786—7 est etiam magnis Eleliconis montibus arbor I floris odore hominem taetro consueta necare ‘there is also in the great mountains o f Helicon a tree with the property o f killing a man with the foul smell o f its flower’.14 But the threat of a headache, rather than o f a death in aromatic pain, may be enough to silence a pastoral singer: Theocr. 3.52 άλγέω τάν κεφαλήν, τιν δ ’ ού μέλει, ούκετ’ άείδω ‘my head aches, but you don’t care. I’ll sing no more.’ carmina nulla canam ‘I will sing no more songs’, as Meliboeus says at the end of the first Eclogue (77). Theocritus’ petulant singer says 13 Bailey 1947 on Lucr. 6.783, followed by Coleman 1977 on Eel. 10.76, cite Plin. Nat. Hist. 17.89 (in a chapter on the properties, harmful or not, o f the shade o f various trees) on walnut-trees (iuglandes) grauis et noxia etiam capiti humano omnibusque iuxta satis. 14 These noxious plants are in contrast to the trees and flowers o f Helicon that mark the successful singer at D R N 1.118 detulit ex Heliconeperenni fio nde coronam, and 1.928—9 iuuatque nouos decerpere flores I insignemque meo capitipetere inde coronam, a headache cure, i f anything. It is intriguing (but perhaps no more), given the Arcadian setting o f Eclogue 10, that Bailey’s parallels at D R N 6.786 include Pliny Nat. Hist. 16.51 milacem . . . esse in Arcadia tarn praesentis ueneni, ut qui obdormiant sub eo cibumue capiant moriantur.


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Time, history, culture

that he will lie where he falls, 53 HEiaeupai Se Tteacbv; at the end o f the last Eclogue Virgil, sadder and wiser perhaps after what he has learned about love, will rise up (75 surgamus)T

Life-histories o f the race and o f the individual Tityrus will rise in more ways than one. There is a generic elevation, from pastoral to didactic. Also implied is a key stage in the ascent o f man: as he moves on from the Eclogues to the Georgies, Virgil lifts his strain from the minimalist, quasi-Golden Age society o f pastoral to the more complex social structures o f a late-coming Iron Age. What o f the poet’s own career? Should we see the passage from pastoral to georgic as the sign o f a poetic maturation, as the poet ‘grows up’, leaving behind the games and rash, exuberance o f his youth {Geo. 4.565 carmina qui lusi pastorum audaxque iuuenta. . . ‘I who played at shepherd’s songs, and emboldened with youth . . . ’), on course to gird himself like a man ( Geo. 3.46 accingar) for the fully adult enterprise o f the epic Aeneidi The harmful effects o f shade occur again in a context that links a history o f the individual to an implicit history o f the race near the beginning o f the second Georgic (2.47—59): sponte sua quae se tollunt in luminis oras, infecunda quidem, sed laeta et fortia surgunt; quippe solo natura subest. tamen haec quoque, si quis inserat aut scrobibus mandet mutata subactis, exuerint siluestrem115 ani mum, cultuque frequenti in quascumque uoces artis baud tarda sequentur. nec non et, sterilis quae stirpibus exit ab imis, hoc faciat, uacuos si sit digesta per agros; nunc altae frondes et rami matris opacant



15 Theocritus 3 does more work in the opening and closing scenes o f the Eclogue?, (i) Eel. 1: at the beginning o f Theocr. 3 the unnamed goatherd is in conversation with a Tityrus; he sings, in an attempt to woo Amaryllis, as he reclines by a pine (3.38), the bucolic cliché represented by Tityrus at the beginning o f E d . 1, teaching the woods to echo 'Am aryllis, (ii) Eel. 10 has been ‘sung’ while the goats were feeding (7): cf. Theocr. 3.1-3. Meliboeus’ assertion that he will stop singing is mirrored in the cessation o f all pastoral singing at the end o f Eel. 10, 70, and Meliboeus’ despairing cry to his goats at 1.74 ite mede, felix quondam pecus, ite capellae! is echoed in ‘V irgil’s’ final command to his goats in the last line o f E el 10, 77 ite domum saturae, uenit Hesperus, ite capellae. 1 Lucretius uses siluestris o f the environment o f primitive man at D R N 5.948. 967, 970, 1245, 1411. C f. D R N 3.1361-78 on the spread o f agriculture, as the siluae (1370) retreat up the mountains before the advance o f cultura agelli (1367), and fructusque feros mansuescere (1368); the paragraph, beginning 136 1-2 at specimen sationis et insitionis origo I ipsa fu it rerum prim um natura creatrix, is a model for the whole o f this Virgilian passage.


crescentique adimunt fetus uruntque ferentem. iam quae seminibus iactis se sustulit arbos, tarda uenit seris factura nepotibus umbram, pomaque dégénérant sucos oblita priores.15*17 Those trees which spontaneously rise into the shores o f light are infertile, to be sure, but they rise flourishing and strong; for a natural force is in the soil. But these too, if one were to graft them or transplant them into well-worked trenches, will put o ff their wild spirit, and by constant cultivation they will readily submit to whatever accomplishments you summon them to. An infertile sucker shooting from the base o f a trunk would do likewise, if it were planted out in an empty plot; as it is the lofty leaves and branches o f its mother overshadow it, depriving the growing plant o f fertility and blighting its prod­ uctivity. And the tree that shoots up from dispersed seeds grows slowly, to provide shade for generations far in the future, and its fruits degenerate, forgetting their previous sap.

Spontaneously growing plants are ‘educated’ through transplantation into culture and the arts, like Lucretius’ primitive man coming out o f the woods into an age o f agriculture and arts. Suckers are children that need to be planted out, or else they will atrophy in their mother’s shade.18 The last in the list o f pests that afflict the farmer at Georgies 1.119-21 is shade (umbra nocet). The focus is then immediately widened to the largest cultural history with the words pater ipse colendi I baud facilem esse uiam uoluit ‘the father himself did not wish the path of agriculture to be easy’, introducing the ‘theodicy’ , and the invention of agriculture through the educational programme o f Jupiter’s school o f hard knocks.19 Reading back, this sequence hints at a movement at the end of the Eclogues larger than simply that from one stage of the poet’s career to the next, a movement rather from one stage o f civilization to the next, from life in the woods to the life of agriculture. The idea that bucolic poetry originates in the infancy o f mankind, and that Virgil’s career itself mirrors the development of human culture was to

17 See Gale 2000: 161 n. 49 on the danger o f shade here and at 1.121 and 2.410, noting the connection with Eel. 10.75—6. ,s But note the irony o f V irgil’s self-description in the sphragis to the Georgies·, he looks back to the youthful exploits o f the Eclogues, but as author o f the Georgies he is still at an infantile stage, at least compared to the true epic uir Caesar, 4.563-4 illo Vergilium me tempore dulcis alebat I Parthenope studiis florentem ignobilis oti, figuring him self in the epithalamial image o f the virginal flower, still in a mother’s embrace; cf. Cat. 64.87-8 (Ariadne) quam suauis exspirans castus adores I lectulus in molli complexu matris alebat. 19 Note also the ring-composition at the end o f the theodicy, 1.155-7 nisi . . . ruris opaci Ifa k e premes um bras . . .

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be explicitly formulated by Donatus, and received schematic representation in the medieval rota Vergilil·.

nostri autem ut sanctum diuas Helicona colentes coeperunt primum in Latium transferre, fluebant uersu incomposito informes, artisque Pelasgae indociles Musa fundebant carmina agresti siluicolas inter Faunos23 . . . atque ita deinde rudes paullatim sumere uersus24 coeperunt formam insignem, penitusque Latini agrestem exuerunt morem .. .


quae cum omnia dicantur, illud erit probabilissimum, bucolicum carmen originem ducere a priscis temporibus, quibus uita pastoralis exercita est, et ideo uelut aurei saeculi speciem in huiusmodi personarum simplicitate cognosci, et merito Vergilium processurum ad alia carmina non aliunde coepisse nisi ab ea uita, quae prima in terra fuit. nam postea rura culta et ad postremum pro cultis et feracibus terris bella suscepta. quod uidetur Vergilius in ipso ordine operum suorum uoluisse monstrare, cum pastores primo, deinde agricolas canit et ad ultimum bellatores. When all that has been said, the most likely explanation is that bucolic poetry originated in primitive times, when the pastoral life was pursued, and for that reason an image as it were o f the golden age is discernible in the simplicity o f characters o f this kind; and since Virgil was going to go on to other kinds of poetry, he rightly took as his starting point the kind o f life that was first found on earth. For later mankind took up agriculture, and finally, in place o f tilled and fertile fields, warfare. Virgil appears to have wished to illustrate this in the order itself o f his works, seeing that he sings first o f herdsmen, next o f farmers, and finally o f warriors. (Donatus Vita Vergilii 23—4 Diehl)“

This version o f the origin o f bucolic is not recorded in ancient literary scholarship before Donatus, but it is possible that Lucretius alludes to such a reconstruction in his account of the origin o f human music-making at De Rerum Natura 5.1379—407, which seems to tell of the origins o f what will become the genre o f pastoral.2,1 And if Lucretius is not himself thinking in generic categories, what Virgil does in his allusion to the Lucretian agrestis Musa will retrospectively make o f Lucretius’ rustic music-making the origins o f the genre o f the Eclogues (see 29-30). An early sixteenth-century Renaissance imitator o f Virgil took the hint, and shows how ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny in his parallel accounts o f the history o f Latin poetic culture and o f the history o f the individual poet. Here is Girolamo Vida on the beginnings o f Latin poetry (De Arte Poetica 1.149-53, 161-3), weaving Virgilian floscules on to the ground of a Lucretian cultural history:20 2122


But when our poets first began to import into Latium the goddesses that dwell on sacred Helicon, they flowed in shapeless and clumsy verse, and untrained in Greek art they poured forth songs o f a rustic muse, amidst the woodland Fauns [before Ennius sought the glory o f a Greek poetic crown]. And then gradually the rough verses began to take on clear shape, and the Latin poets thoroughly shed their rustic character [with the final appearance o f Virgil].

And here is Vida’s advice to the boy starting out on a poetic career (1.459-61): sed neque inexpertus rerum iam texere longas audeat Iliadas. paullatim assuescat, et ante incipiat graciles pastorum inflare cicutas. But let not the unskilled boy yet dare to compose long Iliads. Let him gain experience gradually, and first start to blow on the shepherds’ slender pipes.

For Vida pastoral song marks the childhood both o f Italian civilization and o f the poet. This is indeed a favourite Virgilian analogy: Eclogue 4, after all, maps the history o f the world on to the life-history of a child, and in the Aeneid the maturation - and education - o f the epic hero also carries a message about a much larger history. Among other sources for the bio­ logical model o f history, Virgil takes a hint from Lucretius who, as noted above, suggests an analogy between the large-scale progress o f civilization and the individual progress o f the addressee, for whom to read the De Rerum Natura is to put behind him the fears and ignorance o f childhood.25 Childish poetics and teachers In this section I take a closer look at didacticism in the Eclogues and at the figure o f the boy as subject o f instruction. The Eclogues are a young man’s

20 See Gutzwiller 1991: 184-5, pointing to the importance o f Donatus’ statement for the later theory o f pastoral. 21 O n the poetic and mythological allusions in the Lucretian passage see Gale 1994: 133—6; Buchheit 1984. Despite its title Gillis 1967 has little specific to say on Lucretius and the genre o f pastoral; he refers to an unpublished essay by P. D e Lacy on ‘Lucretius’ debt to Greek pastoral poetry’. O n Ovid’s allusion in the Syrinx episode in Met. 1 to the Lucretian account o f the invention o f pastoral as the original form o f music (filtered through allusion to the Eclogues) see Fabre-Serris 2003. 22 T he text is available in Williams 1976.

23 V ida uses a Virgilian phrase (Aen. 10.551 siluicolae Fauno), but remembers the Fauns at D R N 4.581; and behind both Virgil and Lucretius he alludes to Enn. Ann. 207 Sk. uorsibus quos olim Faunei uatesque canebant. 24 Eel. 6.36 coeperit et rerum paulatim sumere formas·, paulatim also occurs at D R N 5.1388 in the Lucretian history o f rustic music (the line, excised in modern editions, will have stood in the text available to Vida), paulatim occurs x 2 in Eel·, x 2 in Geo.·, x 7 in Aen. 25 T he analogy also has Catullan precedents (esp. Cat. 64), highlighted by Pecrini 1997.

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poetry with a largely boyish cast o f characters. A fair amount o f teaching takes place in the Eclogues, some of it directed at boys, some o f it not. The Greek bucolic tradition already offers a cast o f boys and scenes of instruction; Virgil takes these over, and forges new links with the teaching situations and audiences o f Lucretius. At the end o f the Eclogues the poet is ready to graduate to the more advanced didacticism o f the Georgies. The ‘childishness’ o f Theocritus’ bucolic poetry is emblematized in the eephrasis o f the boy weaving a cricket trap on the cup at Theocr. 1.45-54, ‘an image of the bucolic poet, constructing something beautiful from “natural materials’” .26 Generally Theocritus shares the newness, smallness, and (apparent) unpretentiousness of a ‘childish’ poetics with other Hellenistic poets, such as Callimachus ‘rolling out his little epos like a child’ {Ait. fr. 1.5—6 P£). More particularly this is the poetics of a genre, bucolic, that deals in the simple world of naive country folk. This is a world in which the epic Polyphemus is still an adolescent (Theocr. 11.9) who has not yet detached himself from his mother’s apron-strings (11.67—71). The singers o f the ‘masque’ o f the young Polyphemus in Idyll 6 are themselves in first adolescence or early youth (6.2-3); both singers in the post-Theocritean Idyll 8, imitating Idyll 6, have the down o f first adolescence (8.3), and are labelled τταίδες (28, 8i). The young singers o f Idyll 8 have already learned to be expert at piping and singing (8.4 συρίσδεν δεδαημένω), and are themselves qualified to teach others their art: at the end the goatherd who has been called in to umpire their contest asks the victorious Daphnis to teach him, offering him a goat as his fee (86 δίδακτρα). Idyll 7 is a complex dramatization o f the process o f learning to be, o f being initiated as, a bucolic poet; Simichidas, addressed by Lycidas as a ‘young shoot’ (44 έρνος) boasts that he has already been taught poetry (92 Νύμφαι κήμε δίδαξαν ά ν ’ ώρεα βουκολέοντα ‘the Nymphs taught me too as I herded my cattle in the mountains’ (cf. Hes. Theog. 22—3). That claim suggests that an origin of bucolic may be located in the didactic poetry o f Hesiod.27

Hesiod figures overtly in the climactic scene of poetic initiation in Eclogue 6 when Linus announces to Gallus that the Muses are giving him the pipes that they once gave to ‘the Ascraean old man’. Whatever one makes of the initiation o f Gallus in terms o f generic categories, one o f the meanings o f the naming o f Hesiod, in the context o f a book of pastoral poems, is a recognition o f the Hesiodic origin that Simichidas declares for his entry into bucolic. A less overt allusion to Hesiod has been detected in the programmatic command o f the iuuenis o f Eclogue 1 to Tityrus, 1.44—5 hie mihi responsum primus dedit ille petenti: I ‘pascite ut ante boues, pueri, submittite tauros! ‘Here he was the first to give a response to my petition: “Pasture your cattle as before, boys, raise your bulls.” ’ The puzzling primus, and the curious use o f the plural pueri in response to the singular Tityrus, are both paralleled in the Muses’ address to Hesiod at Theogony 24—6 (immediately after the lines to which Simichidas refers at Theocr. 7.92): τόνδε δέ με πρώτιστα θεα'ι προς μΰθον έειπον . . . “ποιμένες ά γρ α υλ ο ι. . . ” ‘these were the words that the goddesses first spoke to me . . . “Shepherds of the fields .. .’” 28 The notion o f teaching occurs in a scene o f poetic succession at the end o f Eclogue 5, modelled in part on the award by the umpire at the end of Idyll 8 of the pipe o f the defeated Menalcas to Daphnis. In Eclogue 5 the older poet Menalcas recognizes the achievement o f the younger Mopsus (addressed as puer at 19, 49), whom he has already praised for coming level with his ‘master’ (48), by conferring on him his own hemlock pipe (86-7): haec nos ‘formosum Corydon ardebat Alexin ’, I haec eadem docuit ‘cuium pecusi an M eliboei?’ ‘this pipe taught me “Corydon burned for beautiful Alexis”, and the same pipe taught me “Whose flock? Is it Meliboeus’?”’ The pipe is a symbol o f the bucolic tradition that ‘taught’ Menalcas/Virgil Eclogues 2 and 3, whose first lines are here quoted. But the hemlock {cicutd) is also a part o f the natural world that has ‘taught’ a human singer his art. Some light is shed on this enigmatic proposition by a passage in Lucretius’ account o f the invention o f music through the observation o f natural phenomena, 5.1382—3 et zephyri, caua per calamorum, sibila primum I agrestis docuere cauas inflare cicutas ‘the whistling o f the west wind through the hollow reeds first taught the countryfolk to blow into hollow hemlock-pipes’.29


26 R. Hunter 1999 on Theocr. 1.45—54, with further bibliography. On the poetics o f childishness see also M organ 2003. 27 Bucolic teaching elsewhere: Mosch. Lament fo r Bion 94-5 ού ξένος φδάς βουκολικός, ά λ λ ’ αντε διδάξαο σέιο μαθητάς; Calp. Sic. 2.28 dociles . . . auenas. Erotodidaxis is naturalized in the pastoral world o f Longus3 Daphnis and Chloe. At 3.48 Daphnis is taught the techne o f love (3.19 έρωτική παιδαγω γία) by Lycaenion. Daphnis’ simplicity is not just that o f the child, but an αίπολική αφέλεια. A t the end o f the novel the young lovers are finally put to bed, 4.40 καί έδρασέ τ ι Δάφνις ών αυτόν έπαίδευσε Λ υκα ίνιον. καί τότε Χλόη έμαθεν ότι τα επί τής ύλης γενόμενα ή ν παιδιών παίγνια. The completion o f Chloe’s educadon coincides with her emergence from the bucolic woods.


28 See Hanslik 1955: 16 -17 ; W right 1983: 117—18. 29 Mizera 1982: 371 ‘In the light o f Vergil’s transformation o f Daphnis through the medium o f Lucretian allusions, we are perhaps entitled to see Menalcas’ cicuta as an emblem o f Lucretius’ gift to Vergil, a legacy o f his tradition and poetic inspiration.’

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The dense allusions to poetic filiation and succession that close Eclogue 5 and the first half o f the Eclogues book, before the ‘proem in the middle’ that opens the second half, form a ring with the equally dense and allusive programmatic signals that open the first Eclogue. A striking use o f docere occurs in the fifth line formosam resonare doces Amaryllida siluas ‘you teach the woods to echo beautiful Amaryllis’. As at 5.87 the act o f teaching personifies the natural world, with the difference that here the human singer Tityrus is the subject o f the verb, and the vegetable woods are the recipient o f instruction. As we saw above, siluestrem ... Musam in the first line has already activated a context o f Lucretian discussions o f musical noises in the countryside. In line 5 Virgil combines allusion to the passage on the delusive animation o f the landscape by echo in De Rerum Natura 4, with allusion to the account in De Rerum Natura 5 of nature’s teaching of early man. As Brian Breed points out, ‘Whereas Tityrus teaches . . . the’ woods to echo “Amaryllis” , in Lucretius the winds teach [5.1383—4 docuere, didicere\ . . . [E]cho reverses the relationship between a natural origin and man’s imitation that first produces music on Lucretius’ telling.’30 The Lucretian echoing landscape is peopled only by insentient atoms, while the Virgilian woods have minds that can be taught, so that their echoes are signs o f a real presence. Coming where it does so near the beginning of the book, the word doces itself might be read as a generic signal, an allusion to the didactic poet Lucretius (as both Breed and van Sickle suggest). Going further, one might see in the allusion a Romanization o f Simichidas’ location at Theocritus 7.92 o f the origin o f Theocritean bucolic in a repetition o f the initiation o f Hesiod as a didactic poet at the beginning o f the Theogony (see 24), and, within the first Eclogue, doces can be read as an anticipation of the Hesiodic allusion in the words o f the iuuenis at line 45. Tityrus first appears in the role o f a ‘teacher’, teaching the woods to echo the name o f Amaryllis. At line 28 he informs us that he is no longer young and that his beard is going white. It was at this stage o f life that he went to Rome, to receive the response o f the iuuenis, 45 pascite ut ante

boues, pueri, submittite tauros ‘pasture your cattle as before, boys, raise your bulls’ , pueri is usually taken to mean ‘slaves’;31 but this programmatic address by the divine young man who takes the place o f the Muses in authorizing Virgil’s pastoral world, and whose words probably allude to the Hesiodic address to ‘shepherds’,32 also identifies an important group o f inhabitants of the pastoral world as, literally, ‘boys’.33 Boys, pueri, are to be found in every Eclogue save the seventh and tenth. At the end o f the third Eclogue the umpire Palaemon addresses the two singers as pueri (3.111). In Eclogue 5 the younger singer Mopsus is addressed as puer by Menalcas (19, 49). The subject o f the songs o f Eclogue 5, the archetypal pastoral ‘hero’ Daphnis, is labelled a puer (54), as is another Daphnis at 3.14. In Eclogue 6 the pueri (14, 24) Chromis and Mnasyllos extract the song from the senex Silenus. At the end o f Eclogue 9 Moeris tells Lycidas (66) desineplura, puer ‘sing no more, boy’, in context a signal that the songs o f pastoral boys are drawing to a close; at 9.51-2 Moeris remembers how when a boy he had the power o f endless song, but now with the passage o f time his memory is failing. In the previous poem, 8, the suicidal lover o f Damon’s song looks back to a lost age of innocence when he was a 12-year-old boy. His present song o f experience records the cruelty o f another puer, the god o f love (45, 49, 50), the god whose activities will definitively close off the pastoral world in Eclogue 10. To complete the tally, pueri are objects o f homosexual desire at 2.17, 45; 3.70; addressed as practitioners o f typical pursuits in the pastoral world at 3.93, 98; and Eclogue 4 is wholly dedicated to the story o f a puer (4.8, 18, 60, 62). Boys and teaching come together in the central Eclogues 4, 5, and 6. 5 we have already considered. In Eclogue 6 the pueri Chromis and Mnasyllos, inhabitants o f a mythologized pastoral landscape, turn into the recipients o f a Lucretian didaxis. The verb cognosco with which Silenus bids them (25) carmina quae uultis cognoscite ‘learn, get to know, the songs that you want to hear’ is used by Lucretius admonishing his didactic audience; and Silenus begins his song with an extended pastiche o f Lucretian cosmology. For this space o f time the boys fill the role of the childlike audience for whom Lucretius smears the honey on his bitter philosophical cup, 1.939—40 utpuerorum aetas improuida ludificetur I labrorum tenus ‘so that


30 Breed 2000: 14. See also van Sickle 2000: 47 ‘T he idea o f teaching woods also counters Lucretius5 account o f cultural origins . . . The picture o f a lover teaching trees creates, too, a dynamic o f succession with Callimachus.5 Note that van Sickle’s reference to Callim. fr. 73 should in fact be to Aristaenet. 1.10.58—61 ‘Trees, I wish that you had a m ind and a voice, so that you could just say “ Cydippe is beautiful.” At least may you carry carved on your bark as many letters as spell out “ beautiful Cydippe” ,’ possibly preserving Callimachean material: at the beginning o f the Eclogues the woods are imagined as sentient beings capable o f being taught the name o f the beloved; at the end, Eel. 10.52—4 (cf. Callim. Ait. fr. 73) trees have turned into the passive bearers o f the poet’s inscribed amoves, as writing replaces voice.


31 On the uses o f puer, pueri as forms o f address see D ickey 2002: 191—5. 32 T he iuuenis as Muse or god o f poetry: W right 1983: 14-23. 33 T he paradoxical combination o f boy and old man may also allude to the prologue to Callimachus’ A itia where the aging poet looks back to his youthful initiation by Apollo, and who continues to write poetry ttcuc; a te , although his years are many.



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the unthinking age o f children should be fooled as far as the lips’, and who need Epicurean enlightenment to stop them from being afraid like children in the dark, 2.55—6 (=3.87—8, 6.35—6) nam ueluti pueri trepidant atque omnia caecis I in tenebris metuunt ‘for just as children are anxious and afraid o f everything in the dark shadows’ . But this is an ironical setting for Lucretian teaching, for Silenus performs his song in a version o f the supernaturally populated landscape that Lucretius rejects in his account o f echoic delusion at 4.580—94: Eel. 6.27—8 turn uero in numerum Faunosque ferasque uideres I ludere ‘then indeed you might see Fauns and wild beasts keeping time as they sported’.34 After Silenus finishes, the poem ends with the Lucretian multiple echoes operating in a divinized and sentient landscape where, as at Eel. 1.5, trees can be the subjects o f instruction, 82—4 omnia, quae Phoebo quondam meditante beatus I audiit Eurotas iussitque ediscere lauros, I ille canit, pulsae referunt ad sidera ualles ‘he sung all the things that the happy river Eurotas once heard as Apollo rehearsed them, and told the laurels to learn them, and the echoing valleys repeated them to the stars’.35* I turn now to Eclogue 4. Lucretius’ De Rerum Natura provides the (childlike) reader with an education that constructs an Epicurean world system; if we successfully learn our A BC (elementa = letters’) we will also have put the building blocks (elementa = ‘physical elements’) o f the universe in their proper place. Eclogue 4 charts the development o f a puer which by a mysterious sympathy simultaneously reorders the world. The very unLucretian sympathy between child and cosmos is expressed in very Lucretian language at 4.50—1 aspice conuexo nutantem pondere mundum, I terrasque tractusque mans caelumque profundum ‘behold the universe nodding with its rounded mass, the earth, the expanse o f the sea, and the high heaven’. The content o f the boy’s own education is also unLucretian, a traditional upper-class Roman’s study o f the great men o f the epic and historical past (4.26-7). The child will grow up not as a philosophical Hercules (cf. D R N 5.22-38), but as the Hercules whose education as a model for the training o f kings is the subject o f one o f Theocritus’ non-bucolic

idylls, 24 {Herakliskos).36At the same time the choice as subject o f Eclogue y o f a puer is not just a token o f adherence to a generally Alexandrian, Callimachean, ‘childish poetics’ (as Llewelyn Morgan persuasively sug­ gests),37 but more specifically a continuation by other means o f the tales of pastoral pueri. The book’s last piece o f Lucretian didaxis, as we have seen, is the information about the harmful effect o f the shade o f the juniper (and from Pliny Nat. Hist. 17.89—91 we may also gather that there was a welldeveloped body o f doctrine on the effects o f the shade o f various trees); it is as if we were graduating from the bucolic fantasies o f the Eclogues, where trees can literally (in some sense) be subjects of instruction, to a more scientific botany, where trees are merely the subject-matter of instruction:38 Eel. 10.75—6 might form part o f the classification o f trees and shrubs found in Georgies 2. The pastoral umbra has turned harmful, and the lines in which this is stated themselves begin to perform the poem to which the poet must now rise.

34 W ith ludere cf. D R N 4.582 ludoque iocanti. in numerum ludere: cf. D R N z.630—1 (Curetes) inter se forte quod armis I ludunt in numerumque exsultant sanguine laeti. Ramorino 1986: 326—7 suggests further links between the scene o f the binding o f Silenus and Lucretius’ statement o f his poetic mission at 1.921—50 (1.926—50 = 4.1—25, where the lines function as a ‘proem in the middle’ ; that might encourage us to see the binding o f Silenus in Eel. 6 as an extension o f the proem in the middle constituted by lines 1—12). 35 T he notion o f teaching picks up the metaphor at D R N 4.578—9 ita colies collibus ipsi I uerba repulsantes iterabant docta referri (docta is Lachmann’s emendation); c f also D R N 2.327-8 clamoreque montes I icti reiectant uoces a d sidera mundi.

Cultural history and poetic aetiology in Eclogue 1 I return from the life-cycle and education o f the individual to larger histories. Recent studies o f the opening o f Eclogue 1 have made increasingly clear the complex set o f allusions by which Virgil articulates the genealogy o f his Bucolica. Beyond the simple delineation o f his own literary succes­ sion, Virgil also alludes to passages in earlier texts that explicidy or implicitly construct a cultural or literary aetiology, or ‘foundation myth’, o f bucolic poetry. The poem’s opening image o f Tityrus reclining under a tree and making music alludes not just to the opening of Theocritus 1, but also to the anticipation in the song of Lycidas in Theocritus 7 of a song by Tityrus about the mythical singer Komatas, who is imagined making music as he reclines under oaks or pines (88-9). As Richard Hunter makes clear in his commentary, this passage is a ‘foundation myth’ for ‘aipolic song’.39 But Lucretian, as well as Theocritean, stories about origins are con­ tained within Virgil’s opening lines. The phrase siluestris musa, as we have seen, is taken from a passage in which Lucretius speaks of origins of a sensory-psychological kind: the phenomenon o f echo is the source of 36 See Clausen 1994: 122—3. 37 L. Morgan 1992: 79 ‘the Child . . . is a symbol o f the artistic principles which underlie [Eel. 4]’. 38 But note that the idea o f teaching the natural world returns in the Georgies, in the recurrent image o f the farmer’s cultivation as a kind o f instruction or training o f the crops: see Hardie 2004a. 39 R . Hunter 1999: 175. See in particular van Sickle 2000: 23—8.

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a deluded belief in a supernatural pastoral music-making, in which the pipes are played by Pan, the mythical inventor o f the instrument (D R N 4.572—94).40 We have also seen how the reference to pastoral echo in the fifth line o f Eclogue 1 ‘reverses the relationship between a natural origin and man’s imitation that first produces music on Lucretius’ telling.’41 If we pair Eclogue 1.2 siluestrem tenui Musam meditaris auena ‘you practise the woodland Muse on a slender oat’ with the reprise at 6.8, agrestem tenui meditabor harundine Musam ‘I will practise the rustic Muse on a slender reed’, we are referred to Lucretius’ account o f the historical origins o f (pastoral) music at De Rerum Natura 5.1379-415; 1398 agrestis enim turn musa uigebatEor the rustic Muse flourished at that time’. Tityrus at the beginning of the first Eclogue, reclining under a tree (cf. D R N 5.1393 sub ramis arboris altae) is then retrojected into an idyllic past near the beginning o f Lucretius’ history of human civilization.42 As William Berg says, ‘the situation o f Lucretius’ original singers has been reproduced in the world o f Tityrus’.43 Poetic and cultural genealogies are tightly bonded with the glue o f Lucretian allusion.44

project Tityrus back into a time near the beginning of history, Tityrus’ reply reveals that he is very much the man o f the modern world, in terms both of the history o f Rome in the late 40s b c , and of Lucretian allusion. While line 6 haec otia ‘this peaceful state’ reproduces the condition of Lucretius’ primitive rustics —D R N 5.1389 per loca pastorum deserta atque otia dia ‘in the deserted places and divine peaceableness o f shepherds’ is the only instance o f otium in Lucretius —, this otium is not the result of an original state o f innocence, but a peace restored after the catastrophes of war (just as Lucretius’ Epicurean will through his philosophical exertions win through to a state approximating to the simple rustic pleasures of primitive man).45 The ‘divine’ merits o f the young man in Rome who has created this otium are praised in language that alludes heavily to Lucretius’ praise of Epicurus: with Eel. 1.6—7 0 Meliboee, deus nobis haec otia fecit. I namque erit ille mihi semper deus. . . ‘O Meliboeus, a god created this state o f peace for us; for that man will always be a god to me . . . ’, compare Lucretius 5.7-12:


Elistories o f the world Virgilian bucolic invests not just in poetic and cultural genealogies, but in social and political histories on the grandest scale. Here too Lucretian allusion is determinative. If Meliboeus’ words at the beginning o f Eclogue 1 40 See Breed 2000: n —13. 41 Breed 2000: 14. See also van Sickle 2000: 47 ‘T he idea o f teaching woods also counters Lucretius’ account o f cultural origins . . . T he picture o f a lover teaching trees creates, too, a dynamic o f succession with Callimachus.’ 42 T he fourfold nunc XL Eel. 3.56-7 marks the plenitude o f spring as Damoetas and Menalcas sit down to their song contest; the anaphora also alludes to the springtime setting for the first beginnings o f music at Lucr. 5.1395-8 praesertim cum tempestas ridebat et anni I témpora pingebant uiridantis floribus herb as. I turn ioca, turn sermo, turn dulces esse cachinni I consuerant. agrestis enim turn musa uigebat. turn refers in the first place to the time o f year (spring), not to a period in history, but the imperfects also consign this springtime activity to a historical past, whose separation from the present day is marked at 1423—4 tunc igitur pelles, nunc aurum et purpura curis I exercent hominum uitam belloque fatigant. Lucretian archaeological reconstruction becomes the immediate poetic ‘now’ o f Virgil’s pastoral singers. Once again Lucretian cultural history is overlaid on Greek bucolic models: with the Virgilian anaphora cf. [Theocr.] 9.7-8 áÓi) psv . . . áóu 5 e (see Wills 3:996: 358), and Bion fr. 2.17 eiapi . . . eiapoc;. For the ‘springtime o f the world’ cf. Geo. 2.338—9, modelled on D R N 5.780-820. 43 Berg 1974: 104. 44 R. Hunter 2006: 134—5 suggests that the fading o f the pastoral voice in Eel. 9, with a move from orality towards poetry ‘in composition’, finds a parallel in the use o f writing to transmit epic res gestae at a late stage in human history at D R N 5.1444—7, in a time far distant from the innocent spring-time o f the agrestis musa at 5.1398.


nam si, ut ipsa petit maiestas cognita rerum, dicendum est, deus ille fuit, deus, inclute Memmi, qui princeps uitae rationem inuenit earn quae nunc appellatur sapientia, quique per artem fluctibus e tantis uitam tantisque tenebris in tarn tranquillo et tarn clara luce locauit. For, famous Memmius, if I am to speak as the acknowledged dignity o f the subject requires, that man was a god, a god, who first discovered that way o f life which is now called wisdom, and who through his skill rescued human life from such great storms and darkness, to place it in such calm and in so bright a light.

Here at the beginning o f Book 5 Lucretius praises the philosopher whose ‘divine’ discoveries and benefactions mark the summit o f human achieve­ ment, the culmination o f the history that will be traced at length in the last part o f Book 5, to be capped by repetition, at the beginning o f Book 6, o f the praise o f the diuina reperta ‘divine discoveries’ (6.7) o f Epicurus. A comparable circle is joined between the beginning o f Eclogue 1 and Eclogue 5, the poem that marks a provisional closure halfway through the Eclogues book, and also a poem that is replete with Lucretian allusion.46 The Lucretian god-man is now not the living iuuenis, but the dead and 45 See n. 11 above on recubans, describing both Tityrus’ ideal otium, and Mars reclining in the lap o f the Lucretian Venus, an image o f the desired peace in the Roman world that is also a mythological picture o f the calm pleasure enjoyed by the Epicurean. 46 See especially Mizera 1982.

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deified Daphnis. Like Epicurus he has died {Eel. 5.20 exstinctum. cf. D R N 6.7 extinct1), and, like Epicurus, he now enjoys an Odyssean sky-reaching fame: Eel. 5.43 hinc usque adsidera notus ‘known from here right up to the stars’; 52 Daphnin ad astra feremus ‘we will raise Daphnis to the stars’: cf. D R N 6.7—8 propter diuina reperta I diuulgata uetus iam ad caelum gloria fertur ‘because o f the publication o f his divine discoveries his glory has long past been carried to the skies’. But, unlike Epicurus, Daphnis has literally been translated to the place of the gods, Eel. 5.63—4 ipsae iam carmina rupes, I ipsa sonant arbusta ‘ deus, deus Me, Menalcal’ ‘the very rocks and trees now sound out in song: “A god, a god is he, Menalcas!” ’47 At the beginning o f the first Eclogue it was the human Tityrus who mouthed a Lucretian gemination of deus (6-7); here it is the echoing rocks and trees, now advanced learners in a pastoral didaxis in which they were first taught how to babble trivialities such as ‘Amaryllis’.48 Daphnis,' like Tityrus, is a lover o f otium. 61 amat bonus otia Daphnis. The Julian allegory barely concealed in the figure o f Daphnis shows Virgil already adapting the structures o f Lucretian cultural history to what will become the ideology o f the pax Augusta. It is in the three central Eclogues 4, 5 and 6 that Virgil widens the pastoral lens to take in the most capacious views of historical process. In all three poems the breadth of view reveals the enabling power of a Lucretian vision, but in all three Virgil swerves from the truths of Epicurean doctrine. The heresies of Eclogue 5 we have already looked at; Eclogue 4 receives fuller treatment below. In Eclogue 6 Silenus’ universal song, which reaches, to adapt Ovid, prim a ab origine mundi ad Vergilii tempora, starts out in grandiose Lucretian manner (31—40), but we have already been told that the song is performed in a version o f the supernaturally populated landscape that Lucretius rejects in his account o f echoic delusion, a landscape where trees as well as boys can go to school (see 26). The Song o f Silenus itself is a comprehensive survey of cosmic and human history, that begins in an obtrusively Lucretian mode, but then seems to veer in an anti-Lucretian direction with the catalogue of stories o f metamorphosis and disastrous love from line 41. Yet even here there may be a Lucretian trace, for Silenus’ narrative combines histories o f progress and progressive unhappi­ ness, in a manner broadly comparable to the complex mix o f primitivism

and progressivism in the Lucretian history o f civilization,49 a combination o f narratives o f decline and progress which has often been noted in the Georgies, where the Lucretian model is also determinative.50 Gallus as climax o f human history is a very different culture-hero from Epicurus; presiding over his poetic initiation is Linus, a legendary poet with a sad history and a bitter garland, 68 floribus atque apio crinis ornatus amaro ‘his hair adorned with flowers and bitter celery’, leaving a different taste from the picture o f the primitive practitioners of the agrestis musa at De Rerum Natura 5.1399—400 turn caput atque umerosplexis redimire coronis Ifloribus etfoliis lasciuia laeta monebat ‘then their happy playfulness gave them the idea of binding head and shoulders with garlands woven o f flowers and leaves’. Will the bitter celery give the singer a headache?51 Lucretian cosmic history is also exploited to articulate the internal structure o f the Eclogues book at the hinge between poems 5 and 6. The fifth poem’s provisional closure, at the end of the first half o f the book, is signalled intratextually by Menalcas’ gift to Mopsus at the end o f the poem o f the pipes that ‘taught’ him the second and third Eclogues (85—7), but before that intertextually, in the reworking — in the resurrected culture-hero Daphnis — o f the Lucretian version o f the end o f history with the coming o f a philosophical saviour to reveal his ‘theory o f every­ thing’. The second half of the book similarly has two beginnings: Virgil’s song opens with another scene o f poetic initiation in the Callimachean ‘proemio al mezzo’, while Silenus’ song opens with the grander beginning o f cosmogony, in lines that contain the densest concentration o f verbal allusion to Lucretius anywhere in the Eclogues,52 starting even before the introduction o f the void with the conjunction uti (31), the archaic form ‘frequent in Lucretius, [but] not found elsewhere in the Eclogues’ P


47 On the imitation o f a Lucretian sublime in the first part o f the Song o f M opsus see 133—5. 48 O n the gemination o f deus see W ills 1996: 61—2. Is there any significance in the fact that D R N 6 and E d . 6 both begin prima(e), with reference to a famous Greek city?


Eclogue 4 and Lucretian world-views The fourth Eclogue’s sense o f time is generally seen within the two frames of, firstly, a religious tradition o f apocalyptic history, exemplified in the Sibylline Oracles, and, secondly, o f the Hesiodic races o f mankind as

49 So Castelli 1967: 188. 50 See Gale 2000: 38-43, 63-6; Feeney 2007: 114. 51 amarus, not elsewhere applied to celery (Clausen 1994 ad 6.68) looks like a pointed revision o f the ‘sweetsmelling celery’ woven into a garland at Theocr. 3.23 (see R. Hunter 1999 ad loc.). 52 O n Lucretian elements in E d . 6 see Farrell 1991: 301—7. 53 Clausen 1994 ad loc. (uti: x 2 in Geo., x 4 in A en ).

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Virgil’s Eclogues and Lucretius

filtered through Catullus 64. Lucretius is a no less important presence. One aspect o f this presence is perceptively sketched out by Richard Jenkyns. Despite his misguided assertion o f the marginality o f Lucretius in the Eclogues,54 Jenkyns notes that ‘ [The Aeneid’s\ sense o f time, history and process . . . are to be found already in an unlikely place, the fourth Eclogue’.54 55 He then comments on the poem’s ‘concern for process’,56 expressed through inceptives and the adverb paulatim, and makes the Lucretian connection thus: ‘In Virgil the sense of process will be more fully explored; but when he first takes up the theme, in the fourth Eclogue, we find him learning from Lucretius and using the elements that we see here: the word “paulatim” in association with inceptive verbs.’5758 It is no surprise, then, to find Eclogue 4 drawing on Lucretian accounts o f the history o f the world. There is a well known echo right at the beginning o f the fourth Eclogue’s narrative: with 4.7 iam noua progenies' caelo demittitur alto ‘now a new race is sent down from the lofty sky’ compare De Rerum Natura 2.1153—4 baud, ut opinor, enim mortalia saecla superne I aurea de caelo dem isit funis in arua ‘for, in my view, it was no golden rope that let down the races of mortal creatures to the fields from the heavens above’. Rather, by a typical ‘correction’ o f mythological convention, for Lucretius all living things are the children o f a Mother Earth, whose generative powers have so declined that we live in ‘a broken and exhausted age’ (2.1150 fracta . .. aetas effetaque tellus), a senescence reversed in the Virgilian new age, introduced by the noua progenies. The passage as a whole (2.1144—74), which is an important source for Virgil’s vision o f an unforgiving nature in the Georgies?* finds recurrent echoes by inversion in the fourth Eclogue?9

Related to the passage at the end of the second book o f De Rerum Natura is 5.821—36, on the contemporary exhaustion o f ‘mother’ Earth, which in the past (822—4) genus ipsa creauit I humanum atque animalprope certo tempore fu d it I omne quod in magnis bacchatur montibu ’ passim ‘herself gave birth to the human race and almost at a fixed time brought forth every animal that runs wild all over the great mountains’. In Eclogue 4 the earth recovers her primitive profusion, 19—20 errantis hederas passim cum baccare tellus I mixtaque ridenti colocasiafundet acantho ‘the earth will bring forth everywhere ivy wandering with baccar, and the Indian lotus mingled with the laughing acanthus’.60 Lucretius goes on to generalize about the successive ages o f the earth, 5.834—6:


54 See 3. 55 Jenkyns 1998: 199. 56 Jenkyns 1998: 202. 57 Jenkyns 1998: 242, with ref. to DüTVi.188-91; cf. also ibid. 205 n. 196 ‘Virgil’s manner o f describing gradual process surely owes something also to the end o f Lucretius’ fifth book (especially 5.1452 if.).5 On the use o f Lucretian cultural history in Eel. 4 see also Ramorino 1986: 314—17. 58 Gale 2000: 64—5. 59 D R N 2.1139 integrare nouando ‘to make whole by renewing5: c f Eel. 4.5 ab integro, 7 noua progenies. Lucretius applies Golden Age imagery to the condition o f the earth in the remote past, D R N 2.1157—9 praeterea nítidas firuges uinetaque laeta I sponte sua prim um mortalibus ipsa creauit, I ipsa dedit dulcís fetus et pabula laeta-, D R N 2.1167 {grandis arator) laudat fortunas saepe parentis-, c f Eel. 4 .26 -7 et simul heroum laudes et facta p a ren tis I iam legere . . . poteris; D R N 2.1151—2 uix animalia parua creat quae cuneta creauit I saecla deditque ferarum ingentia corpora partu: c f the child o f Eel. 4 who is called (49) magnum Iouis incrementum, and is the subject o f a song in which the poet himself is able to expand his scale, 1 paulo maiora. That phrase itself occurs at D R N 2.137, perhaps coincidentally the only other example o f paulo maior in the neuter plural recorded at TLL x .i 832.9.


sic igitur mundi naturam totius aetas mutat et ex alio terram status excipit alter, quod tulit ut nequeat, possit quod non tulit ante. Thus old age changes the nature o f the whole world, and one state o f the earth is replaced by another, so that it can no longer bear what it once did, and is able to bear that which it did not before.

In the world o f Eclogue 4 this limitation is transcended: 39 omnis feret omnia tellus ‘every land will bear all things’ . The verbal detail here is closer to Lucretius 1.166 ferre omnes omnia possent ‘all trees could bear all fruits [if things could come from nothing]’,61 but the context, o f changing ages o f the world, is shared with the passage in Lucretius 5. Rather less expected is Virgil’s exploitation, in his prophecy of the unfolding new age, of a passage in which Lucretius speaks not about historical process, but about a fixed and inalterable state of affairs, the differences in human character that result from differing mixtures o f the elements o f fire, wind, and air in the soul (D R N 3.282-322). Lucretius tells us (i) that these elemental traits canw ibe totally eradicated from the soul, any more than a lion can cease to be irascible, a deer fearful, or a cow placid; but (ii) that these traces are so small as not to prevent our leading a life worthy of the gods:

60 Coleman 1977 ad loc. suggests that the unidentified plant baccar ‘may well have been given a false etymology from Bacchus; bacchatur in the Lucretian passage might indeed trigger the association. T he Lucretian passage may also lie behind Eel. 6.40 rara per ignaros errent animalia montis, where errent may be set beside Eel. 4.19 errands. C f. also D R N 5.917 (in the beginning) tempore quo prim um tellus animalia fu d it. 61 C f. Geo. 2.109 nec uero terrae ferre omnes omnia possent. On Virgil’s inversion o f Lucretian ideas about limits and gradual change at the beginning o f the second book o f the Georgies see Gale 2000: ch. 6.


Time, history, culture

(i) Ineradicability o f elemental traces: quamuis doctrina politos constituât pariter quosdam, tamen ilia relinquit naturae cuiusque animi uestigia prima, nec radicitus euelli mala posse putandumst. quin procliuius his iras decurrat ad acris, ille metu citius paulo temptetur, at ille tertius accipiat quaedam clementius aequo. DRN 3.307-13 However much education may bring some men to an equal state o f refine­ ment, nevertheless it leaves fundamental traces o f the nature o f each soul. You should not think that faults can be so totally eradicated that one man is not more prone to run into bitter anger, another is a little more quickly assailed by fear, while a third responds to some things more meekly than is proper.

(ii) Possibility o f becoming godlike: illud in his rebus uideo firmare potesse, usque adeo naturarum uestigia linqui paruula quae nequeat ratio depellere nobis, ut nil impediat dignam dis degere uitam. D RN 3.319-22 In this connection I note that I can affirm that the traces o f our natures that reason is unable to drive out are so small that there is nothing to prevent us leading a life worthy o f the gods.

Virgil in Eclogue 4 tells o f the maturation o f a Wunderkind into a life ‘worthy o f the gods’, but, unlike Lucretius, Virgil has in mind the literally physical co-presence o f man and god. Further this is accompanied by radical, and unLucretian, innovation in, or renovation of, the laws of nature. The child’s accession to the life o f the gods is foreseen at beginning and end o f Eclogue 4: 15—16 ille deum uitam accipiet diuisque uidebit Ipermixtos heroas et ipse uidebitur ipsis ‘he will be admitted to the life o f the gods, and will see the heroes mingling with the gods, and he himself will be seen by them’; 63 nec deus hunc mensa, dea nec dignata cubili «¿-‘ [unless the child smiles on his mother] a god will not consider him worthy o f his table, nor a goddess o f her bed’. Virgil combines Lucretian allusion with allusion to Catullus 64.407—8 quare nec talis dignantur uisere coetus, I nec se contingi patiuntur lumine claro ‘ [in the present corrupt age, the gods] therefore do not see fit to visit such human societies, nor do they allow themselves to be met in broad daylight’, in contrast to the day o f the first voyage o f the

Virgil’s Eclogues and Lucretius


Argo, when mortal eyes gazed on naked sea nymphs (16-18), and to the occasion o f the wedding o f Peleus and Thetis, in a time when gods still came to the houses o f mortal heroes (384—6).62 Lucretius speaks o f natural uestigia ‘traces’ (a favourite word o f his) that cannot be eradicated, using the word twice in this passage (309, 320). The fourth Eclogue twice refers to uestigia of sinfulness that will disappear as the world returns to the Golden Age: 13—14 te duce, si qua manent sceleris uestigia nostri, I inrita perpetua soluentform idine terras ‘under your leader­ ship, whatever traces o f our sinfulness remain will be erased, freeing the earth from everlasting dread’; 31 pauca tamen suberuntpriscae uestigia fraudis ‘but there will remain a few traces o f the former guilt’, which will be eradicated once the child has grown into a man.63 Virgil describes a world made radically new, in which lions will no longer have fiery hearts, to judge from 22 nec magnos metuent armenta leones ‘nor will the herds fear great lions’, a world in which fear shall be absolutely no more, 14 [uestigia] inrita perpetua soluent form idine terras. But in the Lucretian world the formido that resides in a soul in which wind predominates (D R N 3.290 est et frigida multa comes form idinis aura ‘there is (in the soul) an abundance o f cold breeze, the companion o f fear’) can never be shaken off entirely (312 ille metu citius paulo temptetur ‘another man is a little more quickly assailed by fear’). Eclogue 4 eradicates the anger o f the lion and the fearfulness o f the deer. We are left with the third way of the cow, placed between the lion (whose soul contains an excess o f fire) and the deer (whose soul contains an excess o f cold wind): De Rerum Natura 3.292—3 est etiam quoque pacati status aeris ille, \pectore tranquillo qui fit uultuque sereno ‘then there is also the condition o f calm air, which comes about when the heart is peaceful and the face is serene’. I would hesitate even to suggest an allusion to this bovine ataraxia in Virgil’s prophecy of a world pacified in the traditional Cn This combination o f Catullan with Lucretian allusion becomes something o f a trick in Eclogue 4. Line 62 qu i non risere parenti is a well-known allusion to Catullus 61.209—12 Torquatus uolo paruulus . . . dulce rideat ad patrem, but the formulation two lines before, 60 incipe, parue puer, risu cognoscere matrem, contains a Lucretian line-ending, 2.349—50 nec ratione alia proles cognoscere m atrem I nec mater possetprolem. Eel. 4.40—1 non rastrospatietur humus, non uineafalcem; I rohustus quoque iam tauris iuga soluet arator draws both on D R N 5.933—6 [during nouitas mundi, the infancy o f the world] nec rohustus erat curui moderator aratri I quisquam, nec scib at. . . altis I arboribus ueteres decidere fa lc ib u s ramos, and Cat. 64.39—41 non humilis curuispurgatur u inea rastris, I non glebam prono conuellit uomere taurus, I non f a lx attenuat frondatorum arboris umbram. 65 This is another example o f combined Catullan and Lucretian allusion, for (as noted by Jenkyns 1998: 205) Virgil also alludes to Catullus 64.295 (Prometheus) extenuata gerens ueteris uestigia poenae. T he Catullan line is also imitated at Aen. 4.23 agnosco ueteris uestigia flammae·. D ido has not succeeded in eradicating the fieriness o f love from her soul.

Time, history, culture

Virgil’s Eclogues and Lucretius

Roman way at Eclogue 4.17 pacatum que reget patriis uirtutibus orbem ‘he will rule over a world pacified by his father’s virtues’, were it not for the close verbal similarity between the Lucretian description o f the bovine soul and a formulation o f the blessed state o f the gods (whither the child o f Eclogue 4 is headed) at De Rerum Natura 2.1093—4 nam pro sancta deum tranqu illa pectora pace I quaeplacidum deguntaeuum uitamque serenam . . . ‘for by the holy hearts o f the gods, which in their calm peace pass their days in tranquillity, a life o f serenity, . . . ’ And in the major statement of the blessed condition o f the gods at Lucretius 2.646-51 we are told that the gods are free from pain and danger (hence free from fear), and that they are not affected by anger —free that is from the perturbations o f both deer and lions. As Xenophanes said, if cows had hands .. Z4

innovates on Lucretius because it breaks through the deeply fixed laws that govern the Lucretian universe. Lucretius encourages what might be called the jaded view; we no longer experience, and should no longer experience, that wonder at the sight o f the heavens which must have struck the first man to look up to the stars, De Rerum Natura 2.1030-9: 1038-9 quam tibi iam nemo, fessus satiate uidendi, I suspicere in caeli dignatur lucida tempia!"just think how nobody these days, weary and sick o f seeing, thinks it worthwhile to look up at the bright spaces o f the sky’.67 Virgil memorably conjures up the ‘stupore fanciullesco’68 o f that first seeing in the cosmogony o f the Song o f Silenus at Eel. 6.37 iamque nouum terrae stupeant lucescere solem ‘and now the earth is amazed at the light o f the new sun’. But this novelty survives, or is rather recreated, in the miraculous remakings o f Virgil’s new world. In Eclogue 5 the resurrected Daphnis marvels at the sight o f the threshold of Olympus and this wonder is reinforced by the sight of the clouds and stars beneath his feet {Eel. 5.56-7), a defamiliarization o f the all-too familiar sight o f the heavens above our heads (cf. D R N 2.1039 suspicere ‘look up at’).69 At 5.907—12 Lucretius scoffs at the idle love of novelty that leads people to imagine the existence o f impossible hybrid monsters at the beginning o f the world:


The shock o f the new. Lucretian, Virgilian, and Ovidian novelties Perhaps that is an image we should not allow to take root in our mind’s eye. I will end with an image that some readers wish were not in the text of Eclogue 4, the sheep with red and yellow fleeces (43-5), and consider it in the light o f Lucretian and Virgilian takes on novelty.6 65 4 In the previous poem, Eel. 3.86, we are told that Pollio himself com­ poses noua carmina. In the next amoebaic snatch the wish is expressed that he who loves Pollio should also ‘arrive at the fullness o f a pastoral musician’s art’, as Coleman paraphrases line 88, and that such a one should be rewarded with streams of honey and with cardamum-bearing brambles, in a kind o f Golden Age o f poetry.66 Pollio will be the suitable recipient o f a most unusual (nouus in the sense o f ‘strange’) poem, Eclogue 4, which tells the story o f a noua progenies and o f the complete making new o f the world in a new Golden Age. This is a return to the nouitas mundi {D R N 5.780, 818, 943), the freshness at the beginning o f the world that is so vividly depicted by Lucretius; but Virgil’s is also a novelty that 64 . . . they would make gods in the likeness o f themselves (Xenophanes fr. 15 D K ). Note also that Lucretius exemplifies the ability o f mother and child to recognize each other (jD.ftV2.349 cognoscere matrem = Eel. 4.60: see n. 62) with the pathetic vignette o f a cow searching for her sacrificed calf, D R N 2.352-66. T he idea o f bovine tranquillity may be linked to the image o f the peaceful condition o f the cities o f Italy (Aen. 7.46 longa placidas in pace), disrupted by the war in Latium in the second h alf o f the Aeneid, i f we consider (i) Turn us5 shield-device o f Io metamorphosed into cow (Aen. 7.789-90), and subsequently to be driven w ild with the gadfly by Juno, who in this book has driven Turnus wild with the aid o f Allecto; and (ii) the common etymology o f Italia a uitulis, ‘the land o f cattle’ : on V irgil’s use o f the bovine associations o f Italy see L. M organ 1999: 130-4. 65 C f. Fabre-Serris 2003 on O vid’s allusion to the Lucretian novelty o f the first music ( D R N 1). 1403-4) in his emphasis on the alluring novelty o f the new pan-pipes at Met. 1.678, 709. 66 W ith line 89 cf. Theocr. 5.124-7; 1.132-3.


quare etiam tellure noua caeloque recenti talia qui fingit potuisse animalia gigni, nixus in hoc uno nouitatis nomine inani, multa licet simili ratione effutiat ore, aurea turn dicat per terras flumina uulgo fluxisse et gemmis florere arbusta suesse .. . And so he who pretends that such animals could have been born even when the earth was young and the sky new, relying only on this idle name o f novelty, might with equal reason babble on about many things, saying that at that time rivers o f gold commonly flowed over the earth, and that trees used to blossom with jewels.

In these images Monica Gale wants to see a ‘sarcastic exaggeration o f the tradition’ o f the Golden Age,70 reduced to self-evident absurdities pro­ voked by the itch for the new. Ovid could not resist scratching the itch, 67 Gale 2000: 196-201 ‘Ratio and miratio . 6S The felicitous phrase o f Ramorino 1986: 326. 69 Daphnis’ revelation is also a reworking o f the vision o f the gods and the universe effected by the reason o f Epicurus at Lucr. 3.18-30 (see Ramorino 1986: 310-12). 70 Gale 1994: 162—4. W ith uulgo at D R N 5.911 cf. Eel. 4.25 Assyrium uulgo nascatur amomum (uulgo only here in Eel·, X 15 in D RN).


Time, history, culture

and delights in drawing our attention to his paradoxical novelties: he uses the ‘empty word’ nouitas both of the hybrid Minotaur, Met. 8.155—6 foedumquepatebat I matris adulterium monstri nouitate biformis ‘the shame o f his mother’s adultery was revealed by the novelty o f the hybrid monster’ , and o f the stream o f gold that surprises Midas at 11.126—7 fusile per rictus aurum fluitare uideres. I attonitus nouitate m ali. . . ‘you could see molten gold flow through his mouth. Astounded by the novelty of his misfortune. . . ’ Novelty is o f course the name o f Ovid’s game in the Metamorphoses·, one o f the daughters o f Minyas, those most neoteric of the poem’s internal narrators, chooses a tale with which, 4.284, dulcique animos nouitate tenebo ‘I will captivate your minds with the charm of novelty’.71 There are those who wince at Ovidian readings o f the Aeneid, let me try to shock with an Ovidian reading of the fourth Eclogue, and suggest that the lines forming the climax of the new Golden Age, the sheep with spontaneously red and yellow fleeces, are a deliberately provocative exercise in taking nouitas to - and beyond? - the limit. Virgil outrageously asserts his claim to be a nouus poeta for a new age. 71 C f. also Met. 2.31 rerum nouitatepauentem, Phaethon in the Palace o f the Sun, a most unusual view o f the heavenly body; 12.175 monstri nouitate, o f the bisexual Caeneus/-is, whose name means ‘new’; 15.408 mirae nouitatis o f bisexual hyena, nouitas occurs x 15 in D RN ; x 17 in Ovid ( x 9 in Met.).


Virgilian and Horatian didactic: freedom and innovation

In this chapter I look at some o f the engagements with Lucretian patterns o f time in poems belonging to, or closely related to, the didactic genre o f the De Rerum Natura: Virgil’s Georgies, and Horace’s Epistles and Ars Poetica.1 The focus is on two related themes, not without a bearing on the ideology o f the emerging Augustan regime. Firstly, predictability and novelty, the tension between the inevitable and the sudden, between a slow and law-bound process and unexpected innovation (a theme that we have already explored in the previous chapter with reference to the Eclogues). Secondly, the possibilities o f freedom, o f not being bound by the constraints of the past.

H I S T O R Y IN T H E ‘ G E O R G I C S ’

The Georgies are marked by a recurrent expansion o f the narrow horizons o f the farmer to embrace the largest perspectives o f space and time. Taken as a whole, the Georgies develop a narrative momentum that reaches back to the remotest origins o f human culture and looks forward, perhaps more in hope than in certainty, to a future state o f affairs. The prayer at the beginning o f book one already sketches out an overall history o f civilization. The first gods invoked (in markedly Lucretian language) are the clarissima mundi lumina ‘brightest lights o f the world’ (5-6), Sun and Moon, whose movements mark out the annual round of the farmer’s year (time’s circle), the immediate subject of the Georgies as a didactic poem for farmers. But with the second pair o f gods, Bacchus and Ceres, we shift to a much longer view o f time (time’s arrow), going back to the first beginnings o f agriculture when acorns were exchanged for O n the close relationship between the Epistles and the D e Rerum Natura see above all Ferri 1993; see also 187-90.


Time, history, culture

Virgilian and Horatian didactic: freedom and innovation

the gods’ gifts o f wine and corn.12 Monica Gale points to the aetiological emphasis in the invocation of many o f the other gods in the prayer as the inventors or bestowers of various aspects o f agriculture, and analyses the resulting dialogue with Lucretius’ history o f culture.3 The prayer ends, however, with a glimpse into the future, with the invocation to Caesar (who plays the parts o f two Lucretian gods, Venus and Epicurus). The future deification o f Caesar will be the definitive stamp on the new dispensation o f the new saviour, but the precise nature o f that future godhead eludes the confident certainties o f a Lucretian-style didactic poet: 24—5 quem mox quae sint habitura deorum I concilia incertum est ‘which companies o f the gods will shortly own him, is uncertain.’ The uncer­ tainty could be explained as no more than a panegyrical device: you are so great, Octavian, that you could have your pick of divine roles.’ But it might reflect a more urgent anxiety about the course o f the future of mankind. The main body o f Georgies 1 begins with a return to the annual round, uere nouo (43). This is also a Lucretian beginning, since Venus brings spring with her at the beginning o f De Rerum Natura. uere nouo·. the ‘beginning o f spring’ , but also a suitable beginning for Virgil’s new poem, and perhaps an anticipation too o f the equation, in a very Lucretian passage at Georgies 2.323-45, of the annual return o f spring weather with the climatic conditions at the beginning o f the world (336 prim a crescentis origine mundi), the ‘spring’ o f the world that corresponds to the Lucretian nouitas mundi ‘newness o f the world’ (Lucr. D R N 5.780—820).4* The description o f the first ploughing has a Lucretian model, De Rerum Natura 5.208—9 bidenti I ingemere et terram pressis proscindere aratris ‘to groan over the hoe and furrow the land by pressing on the plough’. ingemere is repeated in Geo. 1.45—6 depresso incipiat iam turn mihi taurus aratro I ingemere ‘then is the time for the ox to groan as the plough is pressed down’. Virgil delays use o f the second verb, proscindere, until another line that both foregrounds the novelty o f the present undertaking and suggests an equivalence of short-term cyclical time with long-term linear time, 50 ac prius ignotum ferro quam scindimus aequor ‘before we

cleave the unknown plain with iron’. The sea-faring image activated by the ambiguous aequor (‘sea’/'plain’) allows allusion to the Catullan account o f the journey o f the first ship, the Argo, Cat. 64.12 proscidit aequor,5 while ferro reminds us that the Golden Age ends with the first ship, ignotum encapsulates the multiple perspectives o f the line: an ‘unknown’ piece o f land, virgin soil or at least soil that we have not farmed before, and whose properties we must therefore first explore; land ‘unknown’ to the readers who are total novices at farming, those ignari uiae ‘ignorant o f the path’ (41) who are beginning their journey through the poem; from this point o f view ignotum also refers self-reflexively to the ‘new’ path o f this poem; and land previously ‘unknown’ in an allusive global cultural history, like the ‘unknowing/unknown’ landscape at Eel. 6.40 ignaros montis (where ignaros can mean either ‘unknown’ or ‘unknowing’). There follows a very Lucretian section on ‘Laws and limits’ (1.50-61).6 At 61 we switch from a view o f the geography o f the whole earth to a sudden view o f a global chronology, 61-3 quo temporeprimum I Deucalion uacuum lapides iactauit in orbem, I unde homines nati, durum genus ‘at the time when Deucalion first threw stones into an empty world, from which were born men, that hard race’. The unLucretian mythological account o f the origin o f mankind is combined with a Lucretian formulation of the hardness o f the stone- or earth-born first race of men, the genus humanum . .. durius o f De Rerum Natura 5.925—6, who (934) nec scibat ferro molirier arua ‘did not know how to work the fields with iron’. This is the beginning o f mankind’s path. Where will it end? That question is urgent at the end o f the first Geòrgie, in another example of the expansion o f the local and short-term to the universal and long-term. The future becomes the subject o f the third main section o f the book, the use o f weather signs to predict short-term variations in the farming climate, 1.351—463. This leads into the list o f astronomical and other portents that foretell the much greater upheavals o f civil war, with conse­ quences for the remote future. The oppressive religiosity o f this passage is pointedly un-, or anti-Lucretian.7 But a Lucretian feeling for time emerges at the two points where Virgil looks into the future: first in a considered


1 M ight 8 Chaoniam pun on Chaos, suggesting a Hesiodic and Callimachean {Aitia fr. 2.3) beginning? C f. Geo. 4.347 aque Chao . . . 3 Gale 2000: 28-31. 4 O LD s.v. novus 11b ‘ (of a period, condition) in its early stages’ , gives as the first examples (of what seems not to be a common usage) this and Aen. 1.430 aestate nouo, where the new season also marks a beginning on a longer time-scale, the foundation o f (1.366) nouae Karthaginis arcem. Note also Geo. 2.332—3 inque nouos soles audent se gramind tuto I credere, cf. Eel. 6.37 iamque nouum terrae stupeant lucescere solem.


5 C f. Aen. 8.113 ignotas temptare uias, in a context that contains other allusions to the journey o f the Argo: cf. Eel. 4.32 tem ptare Thetim ratibus. W ell discussed by Gale 2000: 201—6. 7 Note in particular 1.467 cum caput obscura nitidum ferrugine texit (the sun at the death o f Julius Caesar), where heavenly concealment is as much a source o f religious terror as is the revelation o f the head o f Religto at D R N 1.64 quae caput a caeli regionibus ostendebat.

Time, history, culture

Virgilian and Horatian didactic: freedom and innovation

forecast o f the longer-term future, and secondly in an anxious concern for the immediate future.

(ii) The Virgilian ploughman in a time far off contemplates the result of a sudden catastrophe in history. Lucretius speaks o f a gradual process of decline, fully intelligible to the enlightened reader, unlike the ploughman who, in the last two lines o f the book, ‘does not realise that everything is gradually decaying and nearing its end, worn out by old age’, 1173-4 nec tenet omnia paulatim tabescere et ire I ad f scopulum f spatio aetatis defessa uetusto. By contrast the very end o f Georgies 1 describes a precipitate decline in human affairs, summed up in the closing simile o f the out-of-control chariot (512—14). There is a close connection between the end o f the book and the pessimistic statement at 1.197—203 o f the universal law o f the degeneration of nature, if unchecked by human labour.9 The image there of the boat swept headlong downstream if the oarsman once relaxes his arms, might seem disproportionate to the more gradual process of the degeneration of seeds, but it anticipates the more appropriate image of speed out o f control in the charioteer simile at the end of the book. The orderly progression along a path to the future has become the mad chariot race.


(i) Geo. 1-493-7 scilicet et tempus ueniet, cum fmibus illis agricola incuruo terram molitus aratro exesa inueniet scabra robigine pila grandiaque effossis mirabitur ossa sepulcris. Certainly there will also come a time when the farmer working the land in that region with the curved plough will discover javelins eaten away with scaly rust. . . and will marvel at the huge bones dug up from their graves.

In this distant time the farmer will still be doing what he had been instructed to do at the beginning o f the farming year, 1.45—6, like the peasant in Thomas Hardy’s ‘In time o f “the breaking o f nations’” , ‘Only a man harrowing clods In a slow silent walk . . . Yet this will go onward the same Though Dynasties pass’. Virgil’s farmer will still be doing it in language saturated in Lucretian allusion: cf. D R N 5.933—4 nec rohustus erat curui moderator a ra tri I quisquam, nec scibat ferro m olirier arua ‘no-one then was a sturdy governor o f the curved plough, nor did anyone know how to work the fields with iron’. The ploughman’s surprise at the great size o f the bones o f men of the past is indebted to Lucretius’ account of the exhaustion o f Nature at the end o f Book 2, which is vividly focalized through the experience o f a ploughman: iamque adeo fracta est aetas effetaque tellus uix animalia parua creat quae cuncta creauit saecla deditque ferarum ingentia corpora partu.

DRN 2.1150-2

And even now the age is enfeebled and the exhausted earth scarcely produces small living creatures, she who produced all the races and gave birth to beasts with huge bodies. iamque caput quassans grandis suspirat arator crebrius, incassum magnos cecidisse labores, et cum tempora temporibus praesentia confert praeteritis, laudat fortunas saepe parentis.8 D RN 2.1164-7 And now the old ploughman shakes his head and sighs again and again, that his great labours have come to nothing, and when he compares times present with times past, he often praises the fortune o f his father. See Farrell 1991: 167-8.


The vexed phrase (513) addunt in spatia (of the chariots) is most plausibly to be taken as ‘increase speed lap by lap’,10 with in spatia ‘lap by lap’ on the analogy o f phrases like in diesT in(que) dies is a recurrent Lucretian expression for (gradual) cultural progress.12 The last two examples in De Rerum Natura 5 are applied, firstly (1307), to the progress o f military terror (provoked by 1305 discordia), immediately before the section on man’s abortive use in war o f uncontrollable wild animals, to which Virgil’s heedless horses are similar;13 and, secondly (1370), to the steady progress o f agriculture up the mountains, a key model for the first part of the next book o f the Georgies. The phrase in dies itself is used by Virgil at Geo. 3.553 o f the progress of Tisiphone, the Fury o f plague, ‘released from the darkness’ like the horses

9 Alluding to D R N 5.206-17. 10 See the good note by Mynors 1990 ad loc. 11 O LD s.v. ¿72 5c. 12 4.1069 inque dies gliscit furor atque aerumna grauescit, 5.483 (separation o f elements), 706, 733 (phases o f moon), 1105 (change o f uictum uitamquepriorern), 1279 (changing valuation o f metals), 1307 inque dies belli terroribus addidit augmen, 1370 inque dies magis in montem succedere siluas. 13 Note the emphasis on the failure o f teaching at D R N 5.1310-13 et ualidos partim prae se misere leones I cum doctoribus armatis saeuisque magistris I qui moderarier his possent uinclisque tenere, I nequiquam (an apparently unique example o f doctor applied to an ‘animal trainer’); horses run out o f control explicitly at 1316—17 nec poterant équités fremitu perterrita equorum I pectora mulcere et fe n is conuertere in hostis. moderor (1312) is often used o f controlling horses with reins, as at D R N 5.1298 moderarier hunc frenis.


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that ‘pour themselves out o f the starting gates (carceres)’ at 1.512, driving Diseases and Fear before her like a team o f horses.14 Poet and princeps must both take a firm hold o f the reins to bring the poem and history to a successful close.

covered a vast expanse in my course, and now it is time to unyoke the horses’ steaming necks.’ immensum. partly in terms of the vast spaces of time over which the poet has ranged, going back to the foundation o f Rome and beyond, the Golden Age (532-40),17 comparable to the Lucretian Epicurus’ wanderings through the boundless void.18 At the beginning of the next book the poet sets off on another journey, which modulates into further journeys by chariot. ‘Here the poet’s car is both a racing chariot (18) and the triumphal chariot in which he brings the captive Muses from Greece to Italy (io—15).’19 In the latter kind o f charioteering the poet takes over the role o f Caesar as triumphator, Caesar is immobilized in the poetic temple, but the temple celebrates momentous historical events concluded with Octavian’s own ride in a chariot at the triple triumph. At the beginning o f Georgies 3 the firm hands o f poet and princeps control the chariots o f triumph and games. In the last three lines o f the prologue to Book 3, as he returns to speak o f his new project, the poet is supremely confident o f his control o f the whole sweep o f Roman time, seamlessly linking distant past to distant future, 47-8 Caesaris et nomen fam a totferre per annos, I Tithoni prim a quot abest ab origine Caesar ‘to carry the name o f Caesar forward in fame for as many years as separate Caesar from his first origins in Tithonus’. We have seen that in Eclogues 4 to 6 Virgil, partly through reflection on Lucretian dealings with novelty, suggests a rapprochement o f literary and cosmological or historical kinds o f novelty, and hints at an expansion of the pretensions o f the ‘new poetry’ to become the poetry o f a ‘new age’ (40). Something similar is perhaps going on in the proem to the third Geòrgie, where the very Alexandrian and Callimachean subjects of, let us call it, the old-style new poetry are dismissed with omnia iam uulgata ‘everything is now common currency’ (4), to be replaced by a new venture that seems paradoxically old hat, with its emphatic return to an Ennian model, before modulating via a reworking of Lucretian statements of poetic primacy to celebration o f the latest and definitive victory o f Caesar Octavian. Here, then, is a transumption o f the Callimachean - i.e. ‘neoteric’ — model o f the Victoria Berenices into the grandest and most recent movements o f Roman history. This duality in the notion o f ‘new


The chariot o f poetry is a common image of the path o f the didactic poet.15 For my purposes it matters that Lucretius is especially interested in the finishing line, the goal o f the chariot race —for the poet the corona to be won at the end o f the De Rerum Natura, for the reader the summum bonum o f Epicurean philosophy. At the end o f the proem to Book 6 Lucretius calls on the Muse to guide his chariot successfully to the end of the course, 6.92—5 tu mihi supremae praescripta ad Candida calcis I currenti spatium praemonstra, callida musa I Calliope, requies hominum diuumque uoluptas, I te duce ut insigni capiam cum laude coronam ‘as I race to the white finishing-line o f the final goal, point out the course to me, Calliope, cunning Muse, the peace o f men and pleasure o f the gods, so that led by you I may win the crown with famous praise.’ The finishing line of the poet’s chariot race is not to be sharply distinguished from the goal of the more modest path traced by everyman in the first part of the proem, 26—8 exposuitque bonum summum quo tendimus omnes I quid foret, atque uiam monstrauit, tramite paruo I qua possemus ad id recto contendere cursu ‘ [Epicurus] explained what was the chief good to which we all strive, and pointed out the path by which on a narrow track we might hasten towards it in a straight course.’ At the end o f Georgies 1 the chariot o f history is out o f control, but the image allows, at least, for the possibility o f reaching a finishing line, the end o f the poem, o f instruction, o f history. By the end o f Book 2 the poet is fully in control o f his chariot, 2.541-2 sed nos immensum spatiis confecimus a eq u o f6 I et iam tempus equum fumantia soluere colla ‘but I have 14 On the allusion to the tragic topos o f Madness or the Furies as charioteers, and to Orestes’ comparison o f him self to a charioteer out o f control when pursued by the Furies at Aesch. Choe. 1021-5 see Dewar 1988. 15 \ .. generally popular with didactic poets’, Gibson 2003 on ArsAm. 3.467-8. On chariot imagery in the Georgies see Gale 2000: 188—92. Nelis 2008 argues that the whole o f the Georgies may be read as a figurative chariot race. 16 Mynors 1990 ad loc. well brings out the problems o f talcing this straightforwardly o f a chariot race, and the shiftiness o f aequor. ‘T he commonest metaphor for finishing a piece o f writing is the bringing o f a vessel into port; driving a chariot to the metae is sometimes used (Prop. 4.1.70, Ovid Ars 1.39-40); neither is suitable when the author pretends to stop when he has had enough.’


17 Note the time words, 539 necdum etiam . . . necdum, and 542 iam tempus. 18 D R N 1.74. omne immensum peragrauit. immensus is the mot juste for the sea, hinted at in aequor, but eye-catching as an epithet for the ground covered in a chariot race. 19 Gale 2000:189. Retrospectively a chariot image is triggered at 8-9 temptanda uia est, qua me quoque passim I tollere humo: cf. 3.108—9 (the chariot race) iamque humiles iamque elati sublime uidentur I aera per uacuum ferri.


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poetry’ will be summed up in the first three words o f Ovid’s Metamorphoses, in noua fert. Whither is that poem o f neoteric novelties finally headed? To the recent events o f Roman history, o f which the last to be narrated is nouum in the senses o f both ‘recent’ and ‘strange, bizarre’, the apotheosis o f Julius Caesar.20

first word o f the main body o f Georgies 2 (line 9, after the opening invocation o f Bacchus).24 The two mirroring sections on the methods o f propagating trees, 9—34 and 47—72, already contain within themselves the sketch o f a progression from the most primitive stages o f life and civilization to the most advanced technology. In the first section spontaneous generation, starting with molle s ile r f is followed by generation from seed and from suckers. These three are the methods o f natura, followed by the methods quos ipse uia sibi repperit usus ‘which practical experience invented for itself on its path’ (22—34). Natura and usus are the symbiotic principles of cultural development in Lucretius. With usus Virgil introduces us to a world o f violence and sharp instruments, where parts of plants are forced down into soil for new growth. This section ends in cross-species changes produced by grafting, 32—4 et saepe alterius ramos impune uidemus I uertere in alterius, mutatamque insita mala \ferrepirum etprunis lapidosa rubescere coma ‘and we often see the branches o f one kind o f tree turn without harm into those o f another, the pear transformed bearing grafted apples, and the stony cornel grow red with plums’, an unLucretian creation of hybrids, resulting in a kind o f Golden Age set o f adynata (cf. Eel. 8.52—3 aurea durae I mala ferant quercus, narcisso floreat alnus ‘let the hard oaks bear golden apples, the alder flower with narcissus’). In the second section (47—72) human labour is applied to the methods o f natura, in response to the injunctions in the ‘second proem’ at 35-7, discite cultus, I agricolae, fructusque feros mollite colendof6 I neu segnes iaceant terrae ‘learn the methods o f culture, farmers, and soften the wild fruits through cultivation, so that the earth does not lie idle’. The farmer is called upon to play the role o f Jupiter in the theodicy o f Book 1, rousing the sluggish earth. In 47—72 the efforts o f the farmer are then framed within a reprise o f cultural history, starting again with sponte sua (47 = 11),27 followed by cultus and the shedding o f siluestris animus ‘spirit of the woods’ (the paradox o f trees coming out of the woods), and

C U L T U R E H I S T O R I E S IN ‘ g E O R G I C s ’ ‘a

d m ir a n d a

s p e c t a c u l a




I turn now to look at the more specific uses made in the Georgies of Lucretius’ history o f culture in De Rerum Natura 5. The first 176 lines o f Georgies 2 cover the following topics: methods of propagating trees; the varieties of trees and vines; the different plants that, grow in different parts o f the world; and the laudes Italiae. Taken together these sections form an arch that reaches allusively from the beginning of a history o f the world down to the latest achievements o f civilization, a specifically Roman civilization arrived at after a tour o f other parts of the world. This impressionistic and indirect culture history is shot through with Lucretian phrasing.21 The overall movement o f this block is complicated by the inclusion within it o f recursive sketches o f a trajectory from nature’s first creations to advanced technology. This is then given historical specificity in the laudes Italiae (136—76), to which we are led via the geographical tour of the world at 109—35. Here Rome takes the place o f Lucretius’ Athens as the city which brings the arts o f civilization to a summit.2223The laudes Italiae end with a brief catalogue of Italian peoples and Roman great men (167—72), hinting at a chronological development, from the rusticitas antiqua23 of the Italian peoples who preserve the virtues of primitive Italians and Romans, down to the latest triumphs o f Caesar. Taken overall the movement o f these first 176 lines is comparable to the shape o f the Speech o f Anchises, from its Lucretian beginning at 6.724 principio through the Parade o f Heroes to the eastern conquests o f Augustus, principio is also the 20 P. Hardie 2002b: 193, citing the parallel (noted by Andrew Feldherr) o f Livy praef. 4 et legentium plerisque baud dubito quin p rim a e origines proximaque originibus minus praebitura uoluptatis sint, festinantibus a d haec no ua quibus iam pridem praeualentis populi uires se ipsae conficiunt. 21 On the Lucretian colouring see Farrell 1991: 194—7; Schafer 1996: 62-4. 22 Virgil reverts to this Roman telos at the end o f the book: Farrell 1991: 2 0 0 -2 discusses the replacement o f Athens by Rom e with reference to the connection between the end o f D R N 5 and the end o f Geo. 2, taking Geo. 2.534 rerum facta estpulcherrima Romans the Lucretian cacumen. 23 T he phrase itself is found at Pliny Ep. 1.14.4, cited by Mynors 1990 on Geo. 2.167—8.


24 The only ocher example o f principio in the Georgies comes likewise at the very beginning o f the main body o f a book, at 4.8. 25 C f. D R N 5.780—1 mundi nouitatem et m o llia terrae I arua, a time o f spontaneous generation from the earth. 26 C f. D R N 5.1368—9 fructusque feros mansuescere terra I cernebant indulgendo blandeque colendo, but mollire points back to 1014 turn genus humanum prim um mollescere coepit the contradiction with Geo. 2.11—12 sponte sua . . . mode siler replicates the durum/molle contradictions in Lucretius’ account o f early man, on which see Farrell 1994. 27 The rest o f v. 47 quae se tollunt in luminis oras alludes to D R N 5.781—2 q u id prim um in luminis oras I tollere, introducing the beginnings o f life on earth.

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the development o f artes (51-2).2829Stress is laid on the need for labor (61), and the arboricultural catalogue comes to the trees o f Hercules and his father Jupiter (65—7), and trees for ship-building (67-8, i.e. the post-Argo age, the age o f Jupiter). Finally we return to grafting, now treated at greater length in 73—82, with the climax at 80-2 nec longum tempus, et ingens I exiit ad caelum ramis felicibus arbos, I miratastque nouasfrondes et non sua poma ‘after no long interval the flourishing branches o f the huge tree shoot up to the sky and it marvels at new leaves and fruits not its own . ' I want to concentrate on the role o f wonder and novelty in these lines. At the end o f Book 1 the ploughman o f future ages will marvel (497 mirabitur) at the disinterred relics o f a catastrophic breakdown o f civiliza­ tion that seem to go a rebours, huge bones that tell o f past human greatness consigned to the earth. Here the huge sky-reaching tree marvels at the ‘unnatural’ products o f technology, bearing fruit for the future. The thaumata o f grafting may be read as analogues for the marvels o f a new age, the point in history when orderly cultural evolution is interrupted by something new and amazing. This miratio is pointedly antiLucretian, in so far as it is provoked by a hybrid freak that infringes the laws o f nature. One intertext is the wonder o f the nymphs o f Catullus 64 (15 admirantes), at the new-age marvel o f the Argo.30 The wonder is also that o f the Virgilian New Age ushered in by the apotheosis of Daphnis at Eel. 5.56 candidus insuetum miratur limen Olympi ‘radiant, he marvels at the unfamiliar threshold o f Olympus’ (itself a paradoxical reworking o f the amazement o f Lucretius at the revelation o f Epicurus at the beginning o f De Rerum Natura 3). exiit ad caelum . .. arbos: the tree has shot to the sky like Daphnis - and like Augustus in the future, according to that reincarnation o f the Lucretian didactic voice, the Ovidian Pythagoras,31 Met. 15.449 caelumque erit exitus illi ‘the sky will be his end’. For a tree this skyward translation is even more surprising than the metamorphosis in the opposite direction o f the fir tree at Geo. 2.68 casus abies uisura marinos, a tree whose felling {casus) will introduce it to adventures {casus) at sea.32

Llewelyn Morgan makes a powerful argument about Virgil’s use o f paradox in coming to terms with the history of Octavian’s rise to power, with particular reference to the bugonia as a myth about the creative potential o f violence.33 M y emphasis is rather on the wonder and novelty o f paradox as ways o f responding to, and indeed praising, the ruler. Thaumata can thus be recuperated from the Harvard School and placed in a tradition that was to flower again above all in Renaissance versions of the wonder-working monarch. Stephen Orgel comments on the political ideology expressed in the masques o f James I and Charles I: ‘. .. the ruler gradually redefines himself through the illusionist’s art, from a hero, the center o f a court and a culture, to the god o f power, the center of a universe. Annually he transforms winter to spring, renders the savage wilderness benign, makes earth fruitful, restores the golden age. We tend to see in such productions only elegant compliments offered to the monarch. In fact they are offered not to him but by him, and they are direct political assertions.’34 These wonders culminate in the Georgies in the regeneration o f the society o f bees through bugonia. Llewelyn Morgan has stressed that ‘Virgil’s emphasis [in Geo. 4] on the miraculous, the mirabile dictu, runs pointedly counter to the central Lucretian imperative mirari mitte [“cease to wonder”] (6.1056).’35 Lucretian allusion in Georgies4 is relatively thin,36 but there are pronounced Lucretian echoes in the description of the rebirth o f the bees.37 The miracle is described twice, once in the descrip­ tion of the Egyptian practice of bugonia (308-14), and again at the end o f the Aristaeus epyllion (554-8). In the first passage the bees are (309) uisenda modis animalia miris ‘creatures of wondrous appearance’, like the simulacra modis pallentia miris ‘phantoms o f wondrous pallor’ {D RN 1.123), the eidola that form part o f a Pythagorean doctrine about reincar­ nation rejected by Lucretius. They emerge 310 truncapedumprimo ‘at first deprived o f feet’, like the monsters at the beginning o f the Lucretian history o f life on earth, 5.840 orba pedum partim ‘some o f them bereft o f feet’. But, unlike those unviable monsters, the bees do have a future, developing very rapidly into fully functional creatures, and ones that miraculously take on the attributes o f human society. It is as if through


28 See also the discussion o f this passage at 20—1. 29 There is perhaps a punning contrast between Virgil’s favourite in-gens and ex-iit. 30 Adduced by Thom as 1988 on Geo. 2.82, who also compares Aen. 8.91-2, the Tiber marvelling at the Trojan ships, a passage that itself alludes to Cat. 64: P. Hardie 1987: 163. 31 On the Lucretian elements in the Speech o f Pythagoras see ch. 4. 32 68, like 82, may also contain allusion to Cat. 64, which opens with the pointed paradox o f pines born on mountain-tops swimming in the sea.

33 34 35 36


L. M organ 1999: Index s.w . Violence, constructive potential o f’ . Orgel 1975: 52. L. M organ 1999: 147. Farrell 1991: 206 ‘ Georgies 4 . . . contains no new contexts o f allusion based chiefly on Lucretius’; Gale 2000: 227 ‘book 4 is the least obviously Lucretian part o f the poem’ . 37 Gale 2000: 230.

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bugonia the bees almost instantaneously recapitulate the whole history o f the world, from primitive monster to the fully developed (if partial) likeness o f contemporary Roman society that was presented to us in the description o f the bees in the first half o f Book 4. In the second passage the miracle is labelled (554) a subitum . .. monstrum ‘a sudden prodigy’, the very opposite o f the Lucretian evolu­ tionary gradualism. This suddenness has its alarming and threatening aspects: the bees ‘pour out, break out’, like a shower o f rain or a volley o f Parthian arrows (312—14 effusus, erupere), they ‘boil out’ o f the ruptured sides o f the oxen (556 efferueref* - like the chariots that pour out o f the starting-gates in the simile at the end o f Georgies 1 (512 sese ejfrudere), at a time of (510) ruptis legibus ‘broken laws’, or like the Fury shot forth from the world o f the dead in the plague at the end o f Book 3 (551 emissa). The uncontrolled threat o f the stormy and warlike bees quickly reaches a summit, flying to the top o f a tree {arbore summd), a literal cacumen (the last word o f the culture history in Lucretius 5), where it loses its dangerous momentum and loads down the tree with a miraculous simulacrum of georgic plenty, 558 lentis uuam demittere38 39 ramis ‘hangs down in a grapecluster from the pliant branches’ — non sua poma indeed!

patrias qui possim uertere uoces ‘finally this nature and system of things has been recently discovered, and only now have I been found as the very first who is able to translate it into my native tongue’ . Here the fact that only now are certain arts being developed, among them Lucretius’ own presentation in Latin verse o f the Epicurean de rerum natura, is used specifically as an argument for the relative youth o f the world; but if we set this passage besides those in which Lucretius proclaims the climactic significance for human history o f the revelation o f Epicurus’ message, we get a sense that the work we are now reading constitutes the summit o f the evolution o f culture. The De Rerum Natura is the first Latin poem that self-consciously locates itself at the climax o f a narrative prim a ab origine mundi ad mea tempora ‘from the first beginning o f the world to my own times’ (Ovid Met. 1.3—4).41 When Horace writes his own versions o f literary history, he uses Lucretius to support claims for novelty and liberty. I will focus on two texts where Horace asserts the freedom o f the future not to be bound to the past. In the first text, Epistles 1.19, Horace is talking about his own place in literary history; in the second, the Ars Poetica, he is laying down general rules for the freedom o f the poet. In contrast to Virgilian assertions o f novelty, Horace tends to work with rather than against Lucretian patterns. But in both places a simple appropriation o f the Lucretian models is complicated by typically Horatian self-ironization or indirection.



Horace draws on Lucretian models o f history for a variety o f purposes: to sketch a general narrative o f cultural history; or to tell more specifically Roman — and Augustan — stories; or, more innovatively, to construct narratives about literary history, the focus o f my readings in this chapter.40 Literary history is one aspect o f a larger cultural history. Virgil’s sixth Eclogue offers a particularly daring exercise in the modulation o f a gran­ diose history o f the world into a self-regarding literary history. Horace in Satires 1 uses the more indirect device o f juxtaposition, when he follows a (very Lucretian) account o f the history of civilization in the third satire, with a sketch o f the history o f satire at the beginning o f the fourth. Lucretius himself supplies precedent for highlighting literary production in a history o f the world, at 5.335—7 denique natura haec rerum ratioque repertast I nuper, et hanc primus cum prim is ipse repertus I nunc ego sum in 38 efferuereis used o f the spontaneous generation o f worms at D R N 2.928. 39 C f. Eel. 4.7 iam noua progenies caelo dem ittitu r alto. T he celestial origin o f the bees at Geo. 4.219—27 is perhaps relevant. 40 O n Horace’s use o f Lucretius in cultural and political histories see also 192—6.


Epistles i.ip In Epistles 1 Horace is concerned with a far more local evolution, a personal development that finds expression in an attempt to move on from one kind o f literary production to another. His project is one of liberation from a past that he claims to have outgrown, working impa­ tiently towards a future o f philosophical self-improvement.42 The bid 41 This is not the only respect in which Lucretius shows a strange affinity with Ovid: Jenkyns 1998: 288, commenting on this same passage, D R N 5.330-7, with its message that things are getting better, that the present is a good time to live, and with Lucretius’ pleased surprise at his own innovatory writing, asks ‘W here else in Latin poetry shall we meet the cheerful, unforced assumption that the present age is a good time to live in? H ardly anywhere, except, oddly, in O vid.’ (Ars Am. 3.121—8). An affinity is also noted by Kenney 19 7 3:12 7 —8 (speaking o f O vid’s use o f language) ‘Ovid, intelligent and impatient o f the obscure, was temperamentally equipped to respond to the magnificent and unequivocal clarity o f the Lucretian message.’ 42 For the impatience see Ep. 1.1.20—6. O n Epistles 1 and Lucretius see Ferri 1993: 81—131 ‘Le Epistole e il discorso didascalico: il modello di Lucrezio’. T he theme o f freedom in Epistles 1 is a central concern o f Johnson 1993.

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for freedom is expressed most forcefully when, almost at the end o f the book, Horace returns in Epistles 1.19 to explore the relationship between his poetic and his philosophical projects, the starting-point for the collec­ tion as a whole. The impatience which hitherto had been channelled to self-improvement in retirement is unleashed in an outburst against poets who practise a servile form of imitation. Horace adopts a lofty Lucretian tone, followed by allusion to journeys poetic and philosophical in the De Rerum Natura (Ep. 1.19.19-25):

pressis uestigia signis ‘you I follow, o glory o f the Greek race, and in your deep-set prints I now firmly plant my footsteps’; and in 24 Horace admits that he is a follower, up to a point, numeros animosque secutus ‘following the metre and spirit (of Archilochus)’. We may feel anyway that Horace is overstating his case: revealing Parian iambs to Italy is hardly the same kind o f bold innovation as revealing the nature o f reality. In his pride Horace goes so far as to imagine himself in the role of a general or princeps (princeps, dux, reget) ,44 Geòrgie images in seruum pecus (19) and examen (23) point to the Roman anthropomorphism o f Virgil’s bees: with 23 dux reget examen compare Geo. 4.21 cum prim a noui ducent examina reges ‘when the new kings lead out the first swarms’.45 Horace will lead the Quirites. But the gnomic futures of qui sibi fidet, I dux reget examen already contain a contradiction: the self-confidence o f the success­ ful general leading his army is a world away from the philosophical selfreliance that Horace sets as his goal in Epistles 1, the project for the future o f ‘living for oneself’, with which the previous epistle closes (18.107 mihi umani)· Horace allows his critic to make fun of and parody his supercilious superiority at the end o f 19, 43—5 ‘rides’ ait ‘et Iouis auribus ista I seruas: jid is enim manate poetica mella I te solum, tibipulcher “ ‘you laugh”, he says, “and you save up those things for the ears o f Jupiter: for you are confident that you alone exude poetic honey, beautiful in your own eyes.’” rides picks up 20 iocum, the jest provoked by the antics o f the herd of servile imitators, but Iouis auribus mocks the poet who cares too much about what the real princeps thinks, poetica mella is the province of the king bee, but a very different kind of honey from that with which Lucretius smears his cup {D R N 1.938).46 Horace chickens out o f a reply to his critic, perhaps in part because of a bad conscience about his own poetic pride (not a respectably philosophical brand o f self-centredness), and he evades his critics with a repetition o f the book’s opening request for a release from the gladiatorial arena, 47 diludia pasco (cf. 1.1.1—6). In Epistles 1.13, addressed to the man charged with carrying his poems to Augustus, Horace had revealed how much he cared for the good opinion o f the princeps·, his refusal to answer in Epistles 1.19 also avoids the need to


o imitatores, seruum pecus, ut mihi saepe bilem, saepe iocum uestri mouere tumultus! libera per uacuum posui uestigia princeps, non aliena meo pressi pede. qui sibi frder dux reget examen. Parios ego primus iambos ostendi Latio, numerosque animosque secutus Archilochi, non res et agenda uerba Lycamben. O you imitators, a servile herd, how your commotions have often roused my bile, and often laughter! I was the first to plant my footsteps freely in the void, in no other’s steps did I place my feet. The leader who trusts in himself will rule the swarm. I was the first to reveal Parian iambs to Latium, following the metre and spirit o f Archilochus, but not his subject-matter and his words attacking Lycambes.

With the tone o f the condemnatory exclamation 0 imitatores compare for example De Rerum Natura 2.14 0 miseras hominum mentis, 0 pectora caeca ‘o wretched minds o f men, o blind hearts’.43 In 21—2 Horace makes the same claim for poetic primacy as Lucretius at 1.926-7 auia Pieridum peragro loca nullius ante I trita solo ‘I wander over the trackless places of the Muses, never trodden by sole of man’. Such claims to poetic primacy almost routinely acknowledge their own dependence on prior models {imitatores signals Horace’s own imitation o f the Lucretian voice); here the situation is complicated by Horace’s combination o f the Lucretian figures o f firstly Lucretius himself, an innovator in the field o f poetry but a self-proclaimed follower, imitator, in the field o f philosophy, and secondly o f Lucretius’ own leader, Epicurus, who it was first planted his footsteps uacuum per inane ‘through the empty void’. The action o f 21—2 is that o f the Lucretian Epicurus, but the language is closer to Lucretius’ acknowledgement o f his own dependence on Epicurus, De Rerum Natura 3.3—4 te sequor, 0 Gratae gentis decus, inque tuis nunc I ficta pedum pono

43 See D . Fowler 2002 ad loc., on the philosophical ènitptbvriaic;.


44 There is also allusion to C. 3.30.13 princeps, and to the triumphal imagery in that poem. 45 The seruum pecus is like the mutum pecus at Aen. 12.718 waiting to see quis nemori imperitet, quem tota armenta sequantur, who will be princeps·. the passage at Geo. 3.219 ff. to which that simile alludes is also alluded to in Ep. 1.3.34—6, following allusion to V irgil’s bees at 21-2: see Hubbard 1995: 221, 226-7; further on Ep. 1.3 see 211—12. 4ii Weingaertner 1876: 31 notes the Lucretian honey here.


Time, history, culture

acknowledge that at the end o f this project o f self-emancipation Horace still is very dependent on those who hold power in Rome, both materially and in his craving for poetic recognition. . . . te solum, tibi pulcher (45) speaks o f a solipsistic self-regard that can sustain itself only in the mirror of the approval o f the real princeps. Horace’s half-repressed consciousness o f the insincerity o f his position has been foreshadowed by the comprom­ ised nature o f his claim earlier in Epistles 1.19 to an absolute poetic freedom and liberty: his libera uestigia ‘free footsteps’ (21), as we have seen, are firmly planted in the footprints o f Lucretius. And after this second request to be released from the arena? The final poem in the book, Epistles 1.20, reveals further cracks: the real future for Horace, embodied in his book here personified as a beautiful slave-boy, is not that o f a trail-blazing princeps, but a character at the opposite end o f the social scale. The liber s misguided desire for libertas prompts it on a journey through the empire that is a parody of the Epicurus-like book-launch into the void o f Epistles 1.19, and closer in reality to the restless flight o f the unenlightened that is satirized at the end o f De Rerum Natura 3.47 The run-away slave-boy will end up in renewed servitude, a feeble and superannuated shadow o f the Lucretian didactic voice, 1.20.17 pueros elementa docentem ‘teaching boys their A B C ’.48 The book/slave itself had been an example of a puer who had not accepted Lucretius’ honeyed cup. I f this is one ending to Horace’s ambition to undertake a Lucretian flight, another is provided in the self-satisfied potted auto­ biography dictated to the book at 20—1 me libertino natum patre et in tenui re I maiores pennas nido extendisse loqueris ‘you will say that I was born of a freedman father, and that in slender circumstances I spread wings that were too big for my nest’,49 enabling a flight that leads not to philosoph­ ical independence, but straight to the centre o f power in Rome, 23 me prim is Vrbis belliplacuisse dom iquel[yoxt will say that] I found favour with the leading men o f the city in war and peace’.

47 Alluded to by Horace earlier at Sat. 2.7.28—9 Romae rus optas, absentem rusticus urbem I tollis ad astra leuis, 113 teque ipsum uitas, fugitiuus et erro; Ep. 1.8.11; 1.11.27; C. 2.16.19—20 patriae quis exul I se quoque jugit? 48 This image o f the book as teacher forms a ring with Horace’s signal o f his Lucretian affiliation at the beginning o f his sermones project, Serm. 1.1.25—6 utpueris olim dant crustula blandi I doctores, elementa uelint ut discere prim a (see 3). Weingaertner 1876: 25—6 sees more Lucretius there, comparing Jupiter’s indignation at 20—2 to Nature’s complaint (Its) at D R N 3.931—49. The book’s journey to distant parts o f the empire reworks the confident (if slightly self-mocking) winged flight o f Horace as swan in Odes 2.20 (see S. J. Harrison 1988). 49 A homelier version o f the claim made in another sphragis, C. 3.30, 12 ex hum ili potens.

Virgilian and Horatian didactic: freedom and innovation


Ars Poética 47-74 At Ars Poetica 45-74, in opposition to linguistic and literary conservatives, Horace defends the poet’s right to nouitas in the composition and choice o f words, a particular kind o f poetic licentia (51) or libertas?0 in uerbis etiam tenuis cautusque serendis hoc amet, hoc spernat promissi carminis auctor. dixeris egregie notum si callida uerbum reddiderit iunctura nouum. si forte necesse est indiciis monstrare recentibus abdita rerum, fingere cinctutis non exaudita Cethegis continget, dabiturque licentia sumpta pudenter; et noua fictaque nuper habebunt uerba fidem, si Graeco fonte cadent parce detorta. quid autem Caecilio Plautoque dabit Romanus, ademptum Vergilio Varioque? ego cur, acquirere pauca si possum, inuideor, cum lingua Catonis et Enni sermonem patrium ditauerit et noua rerum nomina protulerit? licuit semperque licebit signatum praesente nota producere nomen. ut siluae foliis priuos mutantur in annos, prima cadunt ita uerborum uetus interit aetas, et iuuenum ritu florent modo nata uigentque. debemur morti nos nostraque; siue receptus terra Neptunus classes Aquilonibus arcet, f regis f opus, sterilisue | diu palus f aptaque remis uicinas urbes alit et graue sentit aratrum, seu cursum mutauit iniquum frugibus amnis doctus iter melius, mortalia facta peribunt, nedum sermonum stet honos et gratia uiuax. multa renascentur quae iam cecidere, cadentque quae nunc sunt in honore uocabula, si uolet usus, quern penes arbitrium est et ius et norma loquendi. res gestae regumque ducumque et tristia bella quo scribi possent numero, monstrauit Homerus. (Brink’s text, but reading priuos at v.





60 61a 61b




As to words: an author who has undertaken a poem should be delicate and cautious in arranging them, like one and spurn another. You will give distinction

O f a different scale from the mythological sublime o f Ov. Am. 3.12.41—2 exit in immensum fecunda licentia uatum ! obligat histórica nec sua uerba fid e (cf. Ars Poet. 52 et noua fictaque nuper habebunt uerbafideni)·, Ovid agrees with Lucretius about the fictionality o f myth.

Time, history, culture

Virgilian and Horatian didactic: freedom and innovation

to your style if an ingenious combination makes a familiar word new. I f it happens to be necessary to denote hidden mysteries by novel symbols, it will fall to you to invent terms the Cethegi in their loin-cloths never heard — and the permission will be granted if you accept it modestly - and, moreover, your new and freshly invented words will receive credit, if sparingly derived from the Greek springs. Is the Roman to give Caecilius and Plautus privileges denied to Virgil and Varius? Why am I unpopular if I can make a few acquisitions, when the tongue o f Cato and Ennius so enriched their native language and produced such a crop o f new names for things? It always has been, and always will be, lawful to produce a word stamped with the current mark. As woods change in leaf as the seasons slide on, and the first leaves fall, so the old generation o f words dies out, and the newly born bloom and are strong like young men. We and our works are a debt owed to death. Here a land-locked sea protects fleets from the North wind - a royal achievement; here an old barren marsh where oars were plied feeds neighbouring cities and feels the weight o f the plough; here again a river gives up a course that damaged the crops and learns a better way. But whatever they are, all mortal works will die; and still less can the glory and charm o f words endure for a long life. Many words which have fallen will be born again, many now in repute will fall if usage decrees: for in her hand is the power and the law and the canon o f speech. Histories o f kings and generals, dreadful wars: it was Homer who showed in what metre these could be narrated, (transl. D. A. Russell)

{monstrare . . . abdita)P Both at 49 and at 56-8, on the enrichment o f the sermo patrius by Cato and Ennius, Horace draws on Lucretius’ program­ matic statement o f the difficulty o f finding new words for his new subject matter and the poverty o f the Latin language, 1.136—45:


nec me animi fallit Graiorum obscura reperta difficile inlustrare Latinis uersibus esse, multa nouis verbis praesertim cum sit agendum propter egestatem linguae et rerum nouitatem; sed tua me uirtus tamen et sperata uoluptas suauis amicitiae quemuis efferre laborem suadet et inducit noctes uigilare serenas quaerentem dictis quibus et quo carmine demum clara tuae possim praepandere lumina menti, res quibus occultas penitus conuisere possis.





Nor does it escape my mind that it is difficult to shed light on the dark discoveries o f the Greeks in Latin verses, especially when many things must be treated with new words, because o f the poverty o f the language and the novelty o f the subject; but nevertheless your virtue and the pleasure that I look forward to from your sweet friendship persuade me to endure any labour, and lead me to keep watch through calm nights, seeking by what words and in what song I may be able to spread before your mind a bright light by which you may be able thoroughly to examine hidden things.

Lines 47-8 deal with the novelty that arises from the composition, synthesis, of words. Brink ad loc. observes that notum is not in fact a common —a notum — uerbum for usitatum, and that ‘the expression may have arisen from the conjunction with nouum — perhaps a callida iuncturd. In the light o f the extensive Lucretian allusion in what follows, the play on nouum and notum, a word changed into one o f very different meaning through the change o f a single letter, is suggestive o f Lucretian atomology.51 David Armstrong and Stephen Oberhelman use these lines as evidence that Horace, in his careful arrangement o f letters and words, puts into practice a Lucretian and Philodemean analogy between atoms and letters o f the alphabet.52* At 48 we move from composition to the choice o f words, and specific­ ally to the fabrication o f new words unknown to previous generations, presented in language that suggests a Lucretian revealing o f hidden things

One effect o f ascribing linguistic innovation to Cato and Ennius is to qualify Lucretius’ own claim to novelty: the De Rerum Natura is only one point in a continuous line o f innovation. This will be the message of the simile o f the generations o f leaves. The choice o f cinctutis ‘girded’ (possibly a Horatian coinage, a new­ fangled way o f talking about something old-fashioned) Cethegis, with their outmoded form o f dress, as an example o f the Romans o f old is not casual, if it is correct that we are to think specifically o f M. Cornelius Cethegus (cos. 204 b c ) , praised by Ennius at Ann. 304-8:54

51 C f. D R N 1.9 11-14 . . . atque eadem paulo inter se mutata create I ignis et lignum? quo pacto uerba quoque ipsa I inter se paulo mutatis sunt elementis, I cum ligna atque ignis distincta uoce notemus. 52 Armstrong 1995: 231 ‘Horace thought o f his poems as mosaics o f unrearrangeable words and letters building up complex thought pictures . . . This is what he m ean t. . . by the lines in The A rt o f Poetry about callida iunctura: [AlP 45—6] . . . where he makes the whole thought depend not simply on the placement o f words but o f the changing o f a single letter within them’; Oberhelman and Armstrong 1995: 251—2 on (callida) iunctura in Horace and D R N 6.1086.

53 Brink 1971 on 49 notes that abdita rerum, as well as corresponding to Lucretian phrases such as 1.136 obscura reperta, is also an example o f a favourite Lucretian idiom, the genitive after substantival neuter plural adjective. 54 Brink 1971 on 50 suggests that Horace has this Cethegus specifically in mind, on the basis o f the conjunction at Ep. 2.2.115—17 o f Cato (quaestor during the consulship o f M . Cornelius Cethegus) and Cethegus, speciosa uocabula rerum, I quaepriscis memorata Catonibus atque Cethegis I nunc situs informis prem it et deserta uetustas.

additur orator Cornelius suauiloquenti ore Cethegus Marcus Tuditano collega Marci filius. is dictus popularibus ollis


Time, history, culture

Virgilian and Horatian didactic: freedom and innovation

qui turn uiuebant homines atque aeuom agitabant flos delibatus populi Suadaique medulla.

overlaying on the simile itself a number o f Lucretian touches,58 reinfor­ cing the Lucretian sense o f process and mutability. At 63 the pairing o f debemur morti nos nostraque widens mortality to all works o f man. The language here is not conspicuously Lucretian, but Lucretius offers a generally comparable list o f the vulnerability to the passage o f time o f all material objects, man-made or otherwise, at De Rerum Natura 5.306—17. In this version o f literary history the glory of words is not immune to the forces that destroy monuments of bronze or stone. In the last four lines of the passage (69—72), which sum up the changeability o f fashion, Horace repeats a Lucretian insistence on the transience o f fashion in the culture history o f Book 5 (1273—80 and 1412—18, both o f which look back to the programmatic statement o f the mutability o f successive phases of the earth’s history at 5.828—36). Horace’s repetition of the word honos to refer to fashion’s ‘esteem’ in lines 69 and 71 echoes Lucretian repetitions in the first o f these two passages, 5.1273—80:

Tuditanus is given as colleague Marcus Cornelius Cethegus, son o f Marcus, a sweet-voiced orator. By his fellow-countrymen, the men who lived and had their time then, he was called ‘choice flower o f the people’ and ‘the marrow of Persuasion’.

Cethegus is a flower that has long withered. This Ennian passage includes two things relevant for Horace’s argument: firstly, a reference to the interests and fashions o f a past age o f men;55 and, secondly, the use o f a vegetable image in flos delibatus (followed by a very choice floscule in Suadaique medulla, perhaps Ennius’ own).5*5 suauiloquens itself is a word that may not have been heard by the cinctuti Cethegi if, as Skutsch suggests, it is an Ennian coinage flowing from a Greek source, ήδυεπής, perhaps one o f the ‘new flowers’ plucked by Lucretius on Helicon for his own suauiloquens carmen, De Rerum Natura 1.945—6 suauiloquenti I carmine Pierio rationem exponere nostrum ‘to explain my doctrine in sweet-voiced Pierian song’. At 60—2 Horace illustrates the unceasing change o f fashion in linguistic usage with a simile o f the leaves that fall from the trees year by year, a simile first used in the Ilia d (6.146—9) by Glaucus o f the constant succession o f the generations of men, and it is to the generations of men that Horace goes on to compare linguistic change. The history of the Iliadic source, one o f the most frequently and most variously imitated o f similes,57 itself exemplifies a genealogy of mutability. As we have seen (14), one version o f the Homeric line that concludes the simile, Iliad 6.149, ώς άνδρών γενεή ή μεν φύει, ή δ ’ απολήγει ‘so one generation of men comes to birth, another passes away’, is to be found at De Rerum Natura 2.75—7 in a central Lucretian statement o f the constancy o f change, sic rerum summa nouatur I semper, et inter se mortales mutua uiuunt. I augescunt aliae gentes, aliae minuuntur ‘thus the sum o f things is always renewed, and mortals live by mutual exchange. Some peoples wax, others wane’. Horace rings further changes on the Homeric tradition by

Frankel 1935: 64—6 argues that Ennius was making a pointed comment about how old-fashioned the previous generation now seemed. 56 I f Skutsch 1985 ad loc. is correct that ‘Cethegus’ contemporaries would hardly have expressed themselves in this way.’ 57 Including Aen. 6.309 -10 quam multa in siluis autumni frigore prim o I lapsa cadunt folia: the Virgilian Underworld as a place o f generational continuity looking to the future, as well as to the past? O n the popularity o f the Hom eric simile in antiquity see Cribiore 1994: 7—8.


nam fuit in pretio magis < aes> aurumque iacebat propter inutilitatem hebeti mucrone retusum. nunc iacet aes, aurum in summum successit honorem. sic uoluenda aetas commutat témpora rerum. quod fuit in pretio, fit nullo denique honore; porro aliud succedit et < e > contemptibus exit inque dies magis adpetitur floretque repertum laudibus et miro est mortalis inter honore. So copper was more highly prized, and gold with its quickly blunted edge was despised as useless. Now it is copper that is despised, while gold has succeeded to the highest honours. So the circling years bring round reversals o f fortune. What once was prized is afterwards held cheap. In its place, something else emerges from ignominy, is daily more and more coveted and, as its merits are detected, blossoms into glory and is acclaimed by mankind with extravagant praises.

Line 1278 porro aliud succedit et e contemptibus exit, o f the shifting valuation o f different kinds o f metal, repeats line 833 (with the difference o f succedit for succrescit), of the changing generative powers o f nature, a coincidence that suggests an underlying identity o f process in the natural 58 D R N 5.273—4 (aer) qui corpore toto I innumerabiliter priuas mutatur in horns (whence Bentley’s plausible emendation priuos·. cf. 5.733—4 inque dies priuos aborisci quaeque creata I atque alia illius reparari in parte locoque)\ 4.375—d semper enim noua se radiorum lumina fundunt I prim aque dispereunt. C f. also the central Lucretian passages on constant change and passing o f fashions, 5.828-36 (and note 827—8 spatio defessa uetusto . . . aetas), 1273—80. Attempts at restoring the lacuna in v. 61 start from Lucretian models.

Time, history, culture

Virgilian and Horatian didactic: freedom and innovation

and cultural worlds, an identity that Horace also deploys through the use of the leaves simile. That same identity is expressed through the metaphor of florere, at De Rerum Natura 5.1279 and Ars Poetica 62. Horace opens and closes his reply to the conservative critics with a tense-shift polyptoton,59 58 licuit semperque licehit, and 70 cecidere cadentque. The first uses past and future tenses to assert a principle o f constancy: there always has been and always will be licentia to make new words, an underlying law of nature, as it were. The second uses past and future tenses to emphasize changeability: nothing remains the same. This combination o f permanent principles or laws with continuous flux — changelessness underlying change —a feature o f much Greek philosophy, is fundamental to Lucretius’ view o f the world.60 The second Horatian polyptoton, cecidere cadentque, is itself a Lucretian line-ending (3.969). The whole context is relevant, 3.964—71:61

In this passage Horace embraces a radical notion of futurity as unending flux. This is by way of defence o f the moderns against the ancients, but with this must come an awareness that in the future the moderns them­ selves will be the ancients. Horace’s embrace of the new goes beyond the Lucretian model: for Lucretius permanent flux is the condition o f the material world, but an understanding and acceptance o f this fact will lead to a freezing o f the processes o f human history, with the realization of an Epicurean heaven on earth. In the passage on the egestas linguae Lucretius looks around for noua uerba to express rerum nouitas, but once this has been achieved, once the Epicurean message has been propagated, there will be no need for further innovation o f language or thought. Horace, by contrast, must, if the logic o f the Ars Poetica is pressed, accept his own ephemerality as an arbiter o f style. Perhaps in this there is even a sense o f relief, o f liberation from the need perpetually to make assertions o f his own poetic immortality, such as that in Odes 3.30, assertions that constrain the nomadic poet to hitch his own wagon to the teleology of an Augustan ideology.62 If so, this in turn proves to be a passing moment, to be followed immediately by the example o f the poet who established himself as a constant fixture in Greco-Roman cultural history, Homer, introduced as if he were a Lucretian hero, o f revelation 74 monstrauit Homerus. Brink ad loc. adduces a variety o f parallels Greek and Latin for the notion in monstrauit o f revealing or making known a literary or cultural discovery, but after so sustained an exercise in a Lucretian vein in the preceding lines, the Lucretian presence is insistent.63 After toying with the existential freedom o f an on-going licence to make language and literature anew, Horace reverts to the comforting certainty o f a literary history as a history o f the classics. And the reader might recall that the role o f cultural hierophant had been one that Horace had usurped for himself at Epistles 1.19.24 ostendi Latio . .. Events on the political and military stages, together with major changes in the technology and recording o f time, combined to make of the late Republic and early Empire a period singularly obsessed with time and with the construction o f models of temporal and historical process.64 Virgil and Horace are the poets who engage in the most extensive and


cedit enim rerum nouitate extrusa uetustas semper, et ex aliis aliud reparare necessest. nec quisquam in baratrum nec Tartara deditur atra. materies opus est, ut crescant postera saecla; quae tamen omnia te uita perfuncta sequentur; nec minus ergo ante haec quam tu cecidere cadentque. sic alid ex alio numquam desistet oriri uitaque mancipio nulli datur, omnibus usu. The old is always thrust aside to make way for the new, and one thing must be built out o f the wreck o f another. There is no dark pit o f Tartarus awaiting anyone. There is need o f matter, so that later generations can grow; when they have lived out their span, they will all follow you. Bygone generations have decayed and will decay. So one thing will never cease to spring from another. To none is life given in freehold, to all on lease.

Horace appeals finally to usus (71) as the arbiter in matters linguistic. Brink argues persuasively that usus here has the sense ‘usage’, rather than ‘need, necessity’ (i.e. the Epicurean χρεία, Lucretian usus, utilitas). If so, the use, in a context replete with Lucretian allusion, of a key Lucretian term, but in a different sense, will make its own point about linguistic, in this case semantic, innovation.

59 W ills 1996: 298-304. 60 See Cam pbell 2003 on 5.828-36. 61 Virgil uses the polyptoton to make a point about the permanence o f Rome, Aen. 12.828 occidit occideritque sinas cum nomine Troia, in the context o f a plea by Juno for no change in Italy, including no change in language. But from another perspective multa renascentur: including Troy.


62 But even the cliche o f poetic immortality can be paralleled in Lucretius, D R N ^ .327-9 . . . non alias a lii quoque res cecinere poetaci I quo tot facta uirum [cf. Ars Poet. 68 mortalia facta\ totiens cecidere ncque usquam I aeternis fam ae monumentis insita florent (one o f the models for Hor. C 3.30). 63 C f. 49 monstrare, with Brink 1971 on 49 and 74. monstrare o f Epicurus himself: Lucr. 5.27. 64 See Feeney 2007 passim; summary statements at 215.


Time, history, culture

detailed exploration o f ways o f figuring Roman, and, after 31 b c , specifically Augustan, time, concerned to make sense o f the place o f the new regime within the history o f the city and of the world, and also to write literary histories in order to accommodate their own sense o f participating in an epoch in the evolution o f Latin literature. Lucretius is already fully a product o f this time obsessed with time. His philosophical agenda, however, impels him to a detachment from the immediate concerns of Roman politics and history, and also gives him a conceptual breadth within which to develop a view o f human time and history powerful in scope and complexity. Virgil and Horace, whose own youthful - and, one suspects, continuing - interest in Epicureanism may have made them particularly receptive to the De Rerum Natura, reintegrate the Lucretian representations o f time and history with the political and cultural concerns o f triumviral and Augustan Rome, in subtle and suggestive dialogues.


Sublime visions


V irgil’s Fama and the sublime

quo me Fama leuat terra sublimis So it is that sublime Fame raises me from the earth. P ro p ertiu s 3.1.9

The personification o f Fama in Book 4 o f the Aeneid (173-97) is a Hellish female monster, the embodiment o f the unattributable and irresponsible voices o f the multitude, the many-headed beast, who thrives on distortion and defamation, as she spreads a malicious version o f the behaviour of Dido and Aeneas. At the same time Fama is a figure for the ambitions of the male epic poet and for the fame that he confers on his subject-matter and on himself.1 Fama soars up to the sky and expands horizontally without limit, she has a multiplicity o f tongues (a conventional wish-fantasy o f the epic poet, and one whose multiple repetitions come to constitute a cliché of the epic tradition) from Homer onwards,2 she does not close her eyes in sleep (the TTvir| ‘sleeplessness’ o f the Alexandrian poet). In an earlier discussion I argued that ‘Fama . .. m ight. . . be taken as an emblem o f hyperbole’ ,3 and as such an emblem o f a trope that lies at the heart o f the poetics o f the Aeneid. In this chapter I shift the terms of the discussion from hyperbole to the sublime, an easy enough shift since hyperbole is one o f the sources o f sublimity in ps.-Longinus.4 Fama, I shall argue, is a figure for a Virgilian brand of the epic sublime. That the Aeneid is a sublime poem tends to be taken for granted: epic occupies the summit o f the hierarchy of genres, and Virgil’s subject, the origins and growth o f Rome, is the grandest imaginable on the scale of human history. Quintilian recommends the early reading o f Homer and 1 I briefly discussed this aspect o f Fama in P. Hardie 1986a, esp. 275 n. 118; the idea is developed in Laird 1999, summing up (273) ‘Fam a has much in common with the poet o f the Aeneid.I For a more extended discussion see P. Hardie in press; and Clement-Tarantino 2006. 2 See Hinds 1998: 34-47; Gowers 2005. 3 P. Hardie 1986a: 274. 4 Subl. 38; υπερβολή is also mentioned at 5; 9.5.



Sublime visions

Virgil’s Fama and the sublime

Virgil for the elevating effects o f their epics on the puerile mind, Inst. Or. 1.8.5 interim et sublimitate heroi carminis animus adsurgat et ex magnitudine rerum spiritum ducat et optimis imbuatur. ‘Meanwhile, let the mind be uplifted by the sublimity o f the heroic poems, and inspired and filled with the highest principles by the greatenss o f their themes.’ For Richard Heinze the sublime is the highest o f Virgil’s artistic aims in the AeneidI Yet, despite Heinze’s classic pages, the sublime has not been at the centre o f Virgilian criticism over the last hundred years. This is now changing, and a number o f scholars have recently focused on aspects o f the Virgilian sublime, in particular its place within the larger history of the sublime in the first centuries b c and a d , for which ps.-Longinus On the Sublime is such an important, but tantalizing, document.567Any attempt to define the sublime quickly runs into difficulties. Rather than attempting a definition here, I shall allow those aspects o f the sublime, and o f the history o f the sublime both in antiquity and later, that concern me to emerge in the course o f the following discussions. Virgil constructs his sublime out of materials provided by the previous Greek and Latin tradition o f hexameter poetry (it is not coincidental that one of the meanings o f fam a is ‘tradition’: see 109). The nodal point for Virgil in that tradition is his immediate predecessor, Lucretius. Lucretius himself draws on the previous Greco-Roman tradition of the epic sublime, combining a heroical sublime (the achievements o f the hero Epicurus, whose actions exemplify the sublimity o f both Homeric hero and Homeric god) with a natural-philosophical sublime. That combin­ ation itself is nothing new, continuing in the tradition of what I have labelled ‘Empedoclean epos’ (see Chapter 4), a line o f particular import­ ance in the history o f Roman hexameter poetry going back to Ennius, to judge from the fragmentary evidence for Ennius’ use o f Empedocles in the Annals7 Virgil’s Fama, it may be objected, is an odd, even scandalous, figure on which to project the epic sublime, given my characterization of her person at the beginning o f this chapter: grotesque as well as sublime, hateful as well as awe-inspiring. I shall in the course o f this chapter attempt to suggest some reasons why this is so. The material treated in this chapter is complex, and the organization o f it correspondingly complex. For convenience I initially consider

somewhat separately the two strands o f (i) the Lucretian intertextuality of Fama, and (ii) the markers o f the sublime in the person of Fama. As the chapter proceeds, the inseparability o f these two strands will become more and more apparent, and there will also develop an argument about the pre-Lucretian history o f a Roman epic sublime in Ennius’ Annals. This placing o f Virgil’s use o f Lucretius within a longer literary-historical reach will then be explored from different angles in the next chapter.


5 Heinze 1993: 377-84 ‘The sublime’; 383 ‘Virgil’s highest aim was to arouse a sense o f the sublime in his audience; this defines and limits every other aspect o f the poem .’ 6 Gildenhard 2004; Syed 2005: 29-32 ‘Sublime poetry’; Conte 2007. 7 See now Garani 2007: 25—8.


a m a

’ IN ‘a

e n e id


I begin with detailed examination of the Lucretian allusions in the Fama episode in Aeneid 4, focusing initially on 4.173-218: Extemplo Libyae magnas it Fama per urbes,

Fama, malum qua non aliud uelocius ullum: mobilitate uiget uirisque adquirit eundo, parua metu primo, mox sese attollit in auras ingrediturque solo et caput inter nubila condit.


illam Terra parens ira inritata deorum extremam, ut perhibent, Coeo Enceladoque sororem progenuit pedibus celerem et pernicibus alls, monstrum horrendum, ingens, cui quot sunt corpore plumae, tot uigiles oculi subter (mirabile dictu), tot linguae, totidem ora sonant, tot subrigit auris. nocte uolat caeli medio terraeque per umbram stridens, nec dulci declinat lumina somno; luce sedet custos aut summi culmine tecti turribus aut altis, et magnas territat urbes,



tarn ficti prauique tenax quam nuntia ueri. haec turn multiplici populos sermone replebat gaudens, et pariter facta atque infecta canebat:


uenisse Aenean Troiano sanguine cretum, cui se pulchra uiro dignetur iungere Dido; nunc hiemem inter se luxu, quam longa, fouere regnorum immemores turpique cupidine captos. haec passim dea foeda uirum diffundit in ora. protinus ad regem cursus detorquet Iarban incenditque animum dictis atque aggerat iras. Hie Hammone satus rapta Garamantide nympha templa Ioui centum latis immania regnis, centum aras posuit uigilemque sacrauerat ignem, excubias diuum aeternas, pecudumque cruore pingue solum et uariis florentia limina sertis. isque amens animi et rumore accensus amaro




Virgil’s Fama and the sublime

Sublime visions dicitur ante aras media inter numina diuum multa Iouem manibus supplex orasse supinis: ‘Iuppiter omnipotens, cui nunc Maurusia pictis gens epulata toris Lenaeum libat honorem, aspicis haec? an te, genitor, cum fulmina torques nequiquam horremus, caecique in nubibus ignés terrificant ánimos et inania murmura miscent? femina, quae nostris errans in finibus urbem exiguam pretio posuit, cui litus arandum cuique loci leges dedimus, conubia nostra reppulit ac dominum Aenean in regna recepit et nunc ille Paris cum semiuiro comitatu, Maeonia mentum mitra crinemque madentem subnexus, rapto potitur: nos muñera templis quippe tuis ferimus famamque fouemus inanem,’




Fama did not take long to go through the great cities o f Libya. O f all the ills there are, Fama is the swiftest. She thrives on movement and gathers strength as she goes. From small and timorous beginnings she soon lifts herself up into the air, her feet still on the ground and her head hidden in the clouds. They say she is the last daughter o f Mother Earth who bore her in rage against the gods, a sister for Coeus and Enceladus whom Jupiter had killed. Fama is quick o f foot and swift on the wing, a huge and horrible monster, and under every feather o f her body, strange to tell, there lies an eye that never sleeps, a mouth and a tongue that are never silent and an ear always pricked. By night she flies between earth and sky, squawking through the darkness, and never lowers her eyelids in sweet sleep. By day she keeps watch perched on the tops o f gables or on high towers and causes fear in great cities, holding fast to her lies and distortions as often as she tells the truth. At that time she was taking delight in plying the tribes with all manner o f stories, fact and fiction mixed in equal parts: how Aeneas the Trojan had come to Carthage and the lovely Dido had thought fit to take him as her husband; how they were even now indulging themselves and keeping each other warm the whole winter through, forgetting about their kingdoms and becoming the slaves o f lust. When the foul goddess had spread this gossip all around on the lips o f men, she then steered her course to king Iarbas to set his mind alight and fuel his anger. Jupiter had ravished a Garamantian nymph and Iarbas was his son. Over his broad realm he had erected a hundred huge temples to the god and set up a hundred altars on which he had consecrated ever-burning fires to keep undying holy vigil, enriching the earth with the blood o f slaughtered victims and draping the doors with garlands o f all kinds o f flowers. Iarbas, they say, was driven out of his mind with anger when he heard this bitter news. Coming into the presence o f the gods before their altars in a passion o f rage, he offered up prayer upon prayer to Jupiter, raising his hands upward in supplication: ‘J up k er> All-powerful, who now receives libations o f wine from the Moorish people feasting on their embroidered couches, do you see all this? Or are we fools to


be afraid o f you, Father, when you hurl your thunderbolts? Are they unaimed, these fires in the clouds that cow our spirits? Is there no meaning in the murmur o f your thunder? This woman was wandering about our land and we allowed her at a price to found her little city. We gave her a piece o f shore to plough and laid down the laws o f the place for her and she has spurned our offer o f marriage and taken Aeneas into her kingdom as lord and master, and now this second Paris, with eunuchs in attendance and hair dripping with perfume and Maeonian bonnet tied under his chin, is enjoying what he has stolen while we bring gifts to temples we think are yours and keep warm with our worship the reputation o f a useless god.’

Lines 173—97 are self-contained as the description o f the person and action o f Fama. Lines 198—218, the reaction of Dido’s African suitor Iarbas to what Fama says, begin a longer sequence telling o f the consequences of Fama s intervention, which reaches down to line 278. However 173-218 taken as a unit share a particular density o f Lucretian allusion, and are further unified by ring composition in the appearance of the word fama in the first and last lines: 173 Extemplo Libyae magnas it Fam a per urbes; 217—18 ‘nos munera templis I quippe tuis ferimus fam am que fouemus inanem ’. Lucretian allusion is by no means restricted to this part o f Aeneid 4, and given the way in which, as we shall see, this passage raises questions that relate to basic Lucretian tenets and offers very unLucretian answers, it is worth noting in particular the hints that Dido’s court is the location for a failed attempt to realize an Epicurean life.8 Fama is introduced as an agent in motion through the world o f human society (173 magnas . .. per urbes). But in the manner of her motion she allusively embodies a force in the natural world, the Lucretian thunder­ bolt: with lines 174—5 compare De Rerum Natura 6.177 (wind in clouds creating thunderbolt) m obilitate sua feruescit ‘it grows hot through its own motion’, 340—2 (thunderbolt) denique quod longo uenit impete, sumere debet I m obilitatem etiam atque etiam, quae crescit eundo I et ualidas auget u iris et roborat ictum ‘then too as it advances with a long-continued moving power, it must again and again receive new velocity, which increases as it goes on and augments its powerful might and strengthens its stroke’ .9 Allusively Fama is a natural force, translated to the theatre of human actions and words. More than just a personification, she turns out to be a goddess (195 ded), so combining divine intervention with allusion 8 See Pease 1935: 36-8; Dyson 1996; Adler 2003. 9 Fiachra M ac G orain suggests to me that t h u n d e r b o l t - d e a d l y effects on D ido ironically fulfil the curse she calls down on herself, should she break her vow o f chastity, at Aen. 4.25 uel pater omnipotens adigat me fulm ine a d umbras.

Sublime visions

Virgil’s Fama and the sublime

to a phenomenon of the natural world, the thunderbolt. Dissociation of the divine from the natural world is the task of Lucretius’ Epicurus, in his campaign against the superstitious belief that the thunderbolt is the expression and instrument of divine anger. More specifically his target is what is said about the gods: Religio and fam a go together, D R N 1.68—9 {Religio’s weapons o f terror) quem [sc. Epicurus] ñeque fam a10 deum nec fulm ina nec minitanti I murmure compressit caelum ‘he was quelled neither by stories about the gods, nor by thunderbolts, nor by the heaven with its threatening rumble’ .11 So far from oppressing Epicurus, the effect of stories about the gods and of rumblings in the sky, or perhaps stories about the gods which are prompted by rumblings in the sky,12 is to stimulate Epicurus to vigorous action (69—70 acrem I irritat animi uirtutem).1314 The Virgilian Iarbas is incited to a vigorous response o f a different kind, figuratively set on fire by thunderbolt-Fama\ 197 incenditque animum dictis atque aggerat iras. Iarbas is already religious to the point of hyperbole, having founded a hundred enormous temples o f Jupiter the length and breadth of his kingdom (199—200). In contrast to the working o f the thunderbolt on the minds of the superstitious in the Lucretian passage, the effect on Iarbas o f thunderbolt-Fama is to undermine (or so he says) his belief in the gods, because events as reported by Fama seem not to confirm a world-order subject to the justice o f Zeus. Iarbas is amens animi (203), a striking expression that recalls the Lucretian phrase mens anim uA In his indignant outburst to his father Jupiter, Iarbas comes close to formulating a Lucretian denial of an active divinity: 208-10 an te, genitor, cum fu lm in a torques I nequiquam horremus, caecique in nubibus ignes I terrificant ánimos15 et inania m urm ura miscent? 217—18 nos muñera

templis I quippe tuis ferimus fam am que fouemus inanemt6 All the com­ ponents o f Lucretius’ Religio are here present: fam a deum, fulm ina, and minitanti murmure caelum. Iarbas alludes to the standard anti-providentialist argument that the thunderbolt does not strike the wicked alone, hitting even the gods’ own temples, an argument deployed by Lucretius at 2.1101-4 and 6.417-20.17 Unwittingly, Iarbas’ words also reinforce the parallelism between Fama, as described by the poet, and the thunderbolt: with caecique in nubibus ignes compare 177 caput inter nubila condit, and with terrificant, 187 territat urbes. However in Virgil’s Homeric-style epic the gods are present and active. Lucretius’ Epicurus had raised his eyes to outstare Religio and in so doing had shown that its horribilis aspectus was an illusion. Omnipotens Jupiter hears Iarbas’ prayer, and directs his gaze downwards on Carthage, 220 oculos ad moenia torsit, as if his eyes were thunderbolts to be hurled at erring mortals.18 Jupiter sees off the Lucretian critique of religion, to re-emerge within the Aeneid in the fullness o f his divinity, in his traditional role as the supreme epic god, always with the proviso that Jupiter is no less a part o f the fiction of the Aeneid —the product o f epic fam a — than is any other character, human or divine.19 Fama herself, the stimulus to Iarbas’ Lucretian questions, emerges as not just empty rumour or ques­ tionable poetic tradition, but a fully divine being, potent to act within the epic world. She might indeed be described as the goddess o f epic. In Fama Virgil has created a monstrous divinity, generated out o f a multiplicity o f sources,20 prominent among which is the Lucretian Religio. As founder o f a new religion the poet may repeat the action o f his character Iarbas, if the implication of 198—200 is that the hundred vast temples and altars o f Jupiter dedicated by Iarbas in the broad spaces of his kingdom represent a new cult o f Jupiter, introduced by a ruler proud o f his divine parentage (or Art fam a o f such parentage).21 Iarbas filling his lands


10 Virgilian allusion to these lines is one reason for not seriously entertaining Bentley’s conjecture fana. Gigandet 1998 sees in fam a deum a programmatic phrase for Lucretius’ handling o f myth. 11 On these lines see Clement-Tarantino 2006: 194—5. 12 The anthropomorphism in minitanti murmure, a phrase that could be used o f the hostile mutterings that fuel rumour, suggests that human fam a about the gods is both caused by and in some sense a continuation o f ‘mutterings’ in the heavens. 73 Epicurus is incited to destroy a belief in angry gods; V irgil’s Fama is born as a result o f the anger o f the goddess Earth, Aen. 4.178 ira inritata deorum (or anger o f the gods: deorum may be either objective, Earth’s anger at the gods for their treatment o f the Titans, or subjective, the anger o f the gods that led them to punish the Titans). 14 3.615, 4.758, 5.149, 6.1183; Bailey 1947 on 3.615 ‘the intellectual rather than the emotional side o f anim us. The phrase also occurs at Cat. 65.4 mens animi; Plaut. Epid. 4.1.4 pauor territat mentem animi. 15 Servius Auctus picks up Epicurean allusion here: t e r r if ic a n t a n im o s ’ et reliqua. latenter secundum Epicureos locutus est.


16 C f. Eur. Hec. 488-91 [Talthybius] ώ Ζευ, τ ί λέξω; πάτερά σ’ άνθρώ πους I όράν ή δόξαν άλλως τή νδ ε χεκ τή σ θ α ι μάτην I [ψευδή, δ οχοϋ ντα ς δαιμόνω ν είναι γένος], I τύχ η ν δε πά ντα τάν βροτοΐς έπισκοπεΐν. δόξα is fam a deum. 17 For other examples o f this traditional argument see Bailey 1947 on D R N 6.379-422. 18 C f. 208 fulm in a torques·, on the phrase oculos . . . torsit see. Estevez 1982. 19 For Jupiter as just another character in the poem see Feeney 1991: 151—5. 10 N ew but also old, since her divinity goes back to one o f the starting-points o f the epic tradition {fama) Hes. Theog. 763-4 φήμη δ ’ οϋ τις πά μπ αν άπόλλυταί, ήντινα πολλοί I λαοί φημίξουσι’ θεός νύ τις έστι κα ί αυτή. 21 So Heyne on 218 fam am que fouemus inanem, opinionem de potentia dei. Haec multo magis invidiosa in religione nova, nuper demum inducta, vide v. 198 sq.’ Conington: ‘Virg. chooses to represent [Iarbas] as having introduced the worship o f his parent-god among his countrymen.’

Sublime visions

Virgil’s Fama and the sublime

with temples and altars is reminiscent o f Lucretius’ account o f the spread of religion, D R N 5.1161-8:

undying fire.23 The temples’ thresholds are bedecked with a variety of garlands, 202 uariis florentia limina sertis — perhaps like the variety of texts contained in fam a as (textual) tradition. The remarkable intertextual density that characterizes the description o f Fama (see 109-10) might encourage us to see this passage itself as an exemplary anthology o f the Greco-Roman literary tradition, an exuberant bunch o f fleurs du m alN Briefly to glance forward to a later reverberation o f the Fama scene in the longer sequence that begins at Aeneid 4.173: the first cause given by Lucretius for belief in the gods, after the description of the spread of altars and temples, is the appearance in dreams o f the images o f gods o f outstanding size, beauty, and strength (5.1169-82). Mercury, the messenger-god and Fam ds good double (see 78), appears to Aeneas firstly in waking reality, and secondly in a dream (Aen. 4.556—9). David Quint suggests per litteras that this second appearance o f a beautiful (membra decora iuuentd) Mercury enacts the Lucretian script. In the Epicurean system images o f the gods truly do exist;25 what is not true for Epicurus, but holds good in the Virgilian epic world, is that these beautiful images are o f gods who intervene actively in the human world.


Nunc quae causa deum per magnas numina gentis peruulgarit et ararum compleuerit urbis suscipiendaque curarit sollemnia sacra, quae nunc in magnis florent sacra rebus locisque, unde etiam nunc est mortalibus insitus horror, qui delubra deum noua toto suscitat orbi terrarum et festis cogit celebrare diebus, non ita difficilest rationem reddere uerbis. N ow what cause has spread over great nations the worship o f the divinities o f the gods and filled cities with altars and led to the performance o f sacred rites, which now flourish on great occasions and in great places, from which even now there is implanted in mortals a shuddering awe which raises new temples o f the gods all over the world and makes men crowd them on festive days, all this it is not so difficult to explain in words.


The language o f line 1162 suggests that the propagation o f religion is like the spread o f rumour or fame (peruulgarit, compleuerit urbis·. cf. Aen. 4.173 magnas it Fama per urbes, 189 populos sermone replebaP. ‘filling’ is one o f the most common activities o f fama). Awareness o f that connec­ tion alerts us to further parallels between Iarbas’ new religion and Virgil’s new-fangled goddess Fama: the hundred temples and hundred altars match the multiplication o f the eyes, tongues, mouths, and ears of Fama: a hundred tongues and a hundred mouths in one version of the inflationary topos o f the number o f mouths desiderated by the epic poet, Geo. 2.43 (= Aen. 6.625) non, mihi si linguae centum sint oraque centum .. ,22 Like Fama, the temples o f Jupiter are huge and widely spread, 199 templa Ioui centum latis immania regnis. The flame on the altars never goes out, 200—1 uigilemque sacrauerat ignem, I excubias diuum aeternas, like the ever watchful eyes o f Fama, 182 tot uigiles oculi, 185 nec dulci declinat lumina somno. As a figurative thunderbolt Fama is also an

Religio and Fama are each central to their respective texts in the sense that they are connected through theme and image to a series o f other passages. Epicurus’ defeat o f Religio is clearly programmatic, coming at the begin­ ning o f the De Rerum Natura. Fama appears to shoot up out o f nowhere in the course o f the longer narrative o f Dido and Aeneas, but her footsteps within the Aeneid will lead the reader through an extensive gallery o f what I call Famds, ‘relatives’.26 Religio and Fama, together with many o f their relatives, are strongly marked as sublime monsters. In this section I first briefly trace the intratextual connections of Religio within the De Rerum

In A eneid 8 Evander is adamant that another newly introduced cult, that o f Hercules, is not the product o f ‘empty superstition (the object o f Lucretius’ polemic in D R N 1), Aen. 8.185-8 non sollemnia nobis, I has ex more dapes, hanc tanti numinis aram I uana superstitio ueterumque ignara deorum I imposuit. A little later the antiquity o f Rom an religion is demonstrated by the numinous presence already rooted on the Capitol, religio diva loci, which the Arcadians believe to be Jupiter (353 credunt se uidisse louern)·, if this is not empty credulitas, this religio is rooted in the soil o f Rome, unlike Iarbas’ recent introduction o f the worship o f Jupiter to his African kingdom, and unlike Lucretius’ phantom Religio, a nebulous presence sensed in the sky. On the dense Lucretian allusion at the site o f Rom e in Aen. 8 see P. Hardie 1986a: 213—19. 22 On the topos see Hinds 1998: 34—47; Gowers 2005.

23 The sustained parallelism between Fam a and Jupiter and his attributes (thunderbolt, temples, worship) is part o f a larger convergence o f Fam a with the supreme male god, in Virgil and O vid’s Metamorphoses, which I discuss at greater length elsewhere. 24 Fire and flower combine in the reading o f the symbolism o f the lotus flower o f kleos held by the archaic grave statue o f Phrasikleia by Svenbro 1988: 20—5, with reference to the vegetable imagery o f the formula kleos aphthiton ‘unwilting kleos, and the fire imagery o f kleos asbeston, ‘unquenchable kleos . Flower and fire also combine in the vivid picture o f early Italy as brought back to life by the Muses’ restoration o f full presence to tenuis fama, revealing, Aen. 7.643—4, quibus Itala iam turn I flo r u e r it terra alma uiris, quibus a rserit armis. 25 On the truth o f this first reason for belief in the gods see Bailey 1947: 111. 1508. 26 O n these connections see also P. Hardie 2009b; P. Hardie in press.


Sublime visions

Virgil’s F a m a and the sublime

Natura. Secondly, after a schematic overview of the relatives o f Fama within the Aeneid, I examine in detail the relationships o f Fama to the supernatural beings in the immediate vicinity o f her epiphany in Aeneid 4, with attention to further Lucretian intertextualities. This section begins to turn the spotlight on the Lucretian and Virgilian sublime, but I defer until the next section the beginning o f my closer analysis o f the markers o f the sublime. The beginning o f the De Rerum Natura offers two contrasting sublime visions, firstly the epiphany on the cosmic stage of Venus, a liberating vision o f joy and fair weather, and secondly the oppressive presence of Religio overhead in the heavens, a monster o f flashing and rumbling thunder-clouds. Epicurus conquers Religio by an intellectual journey through the vastness of Epicurean space, a sublime flight that reaches even further than Venus’ sovereign control o f the sky, sea, and land of this world. Epicurus also spans the gap between earth and sky in his victory over Religio, and through that victory forges a bridge by which ordinary mortals can make the sublime journey to the sky (D RN 1.79 nos exaequat uictoria caelo). Venus and Epicurus are, alike, masters o f rerum natura. Venus’ own conquest is over the god of war Mars, a conquest that converts the political slogan of pax terra marique parta ‘peace won by land and sea’ into a manifesto for a philosophical Golden Age: 1.29—30 fera moenera m ilitiai I per maria ac terras omnis sopita ‘the savage works o f war lulled to rest throughout all seas and lands’. The image of Mars lulled and powerless in Venus’ lap is intimate, the opposite of sublime, but there is an important equivalence between Mars and Religio, on which more below (105). Thus for Lucretius we may talk of contrasting sublimities, a negative sublimity associated with the terrors o f the pre-Epicurean experience of the universe, and a positive sublimity associated with the vision o f the Epicurean truth. Religio is part o f a larger pattern, and the visions at the beginning o f the De Rerum Natura in turn form part o f larger, and wellknown, imagistic structures that reach over longer sections o f the poem. Other passages o f notable sublimity that interconnect with the opening sequence include the vision of the atoms and the void in the proem to Book 3, the description of Aetna in the praise of Sicily and Empedocles in Book 1, and much of the meteorological description in Book 6, which works hard to deflate the kind of experience of the sublime in the face of an overwhelming and terrifying nature that leads to a belief in angry gods, and to replace it with the rectified sublime of the view of an Epicurean rerum natural727

In the immediate context o f Aeneid 4 Fama forms part o f a longer sequence, which I take down to the departure o f Mercury at line 278. Beyond that she enters into relationships with many passages and charac­ ters elsewhere in the poem, the most important o f which I here briefly tabulate and some o f which I discuss at greater length below.


27 For Lucretius’ strategy see Conte 1994.

• • • • • • • • •


The winds o f Aeolus and the storm in Aeneid 1 Furor bound (Aen. 1.294—6) Aetna Polyphemus The Sibyl2,8 Allecto Cacus (The making of) the Shield o f Aeneas Giants and Titans (in general)

Most o f these are creatures or episodes with strong Lucretian connections. Furthermore the family o f Fama s relatives overlaps largely with Kant’s list o f the features of the natural world that come under the heading o f the dynamical sublime: ‘Bold, overhanging and, as it were, threatening rocks, thunderclouds piled up in the sky and moving about accompanied by lightning and thunderclaps, volcanoes with all their destructive power, hurricanes with all the devastation they leave behind, the boundless ocean heaved up, the high waterfall o f a mighty river, and so on’29 - a passage that reminds James Porter o f nothing so much as the sublime images of nature in Book 6 o f the De Rerum Natura?0 These ramifying structures of theme and image are typical o f the De Rerum Natura and the Aeneid, as of many other texts. But the quality o f spreading through a textual network is particularly appropriate for Fama, the unstoppable word, operating within and creating communities o f speakers and readers extending over both space and time.

28 See Gowers 2005 for a discussion o f the Sibyl which offers many suggestive connections with the present discussion o f Fama as both an embodiment o f poetic tradition and a figure o f the sublime: the Sibyl is a surrogate for the poet, her cave has a hundred mouths (Aen. 6.42-4), and her use o f the ‘had I a hundred mouths’ cliché’ at Aen. 6.625—7 might be read as ‘a supreme gesture towards inexpressible immensity, which opens up a bottomless pit as deep as Tartarus itself’ (ibid. 182). 29 Kant 1987: 120. O nly the waterfall is missing from the Virgilian tally; the equivalent m ight be the mountain torrent, an image o f Pindaric sublimity in Odes 4.2. T he raging Araxes at the end o f the Shield o f Aeneas is perhaps an image o f the sublime: see 102. See also Petron. Sat. 118 (in Eum olpus’ prescription for successful epic) fragosum sententiarum torrentem (with Fraenkel’s emendations): see 226. 30 Porter 2007: 178.


Sublime visions Fama, Jupiter, Mercury, Atlas (Aen. 4.173—278)

Fama s intervention in Aeneid 4 inaugurates a tightly knit sequence that begins with the descent from heaven o f Mercury, at Jupiter’s command, via the eye-catching ecphrasis o f the anthropomorphized mount Atlas. At first glance Fama is a force o f disruption and distortion, to whom are opposed the straight-speaking and stability of the two Olympians, Jupiter and Mercury, and o f the man-mountain, Atlas, who physically upholds the Olympian order —a contrast comparable to that between the Lucretian Religio and the ‘divinities’ who reveal the true and deeply rooted Epicurean order o f things, Venus and Epicurus. But the relationship of Fama to Jupiter, Mercury and Atlas is more complicated than the simple Lucretian verities. Fama is a rival to Jupiter himself both in her pretensions to a cosmic power, and as a figurative embodiment o f the thunderbolt; I analyse the power rivalry between Fama and Jupiter more fully elsewhere.31 Fama and Mercury are related as two divinities of the word:32 both fly freely through the air on the horizontal and vertical axes, both easily span the gap between heaven and earth, and reach still further into the Underworld (Mercury as psychopomp, Fama through her chthonic origin). There is a strong polarization between Fama as a divinity o f the perverted word, and Mercury as the embodiment o f the rational logos of Jupiter, but this is a dichotomy that is not in the end maintained. Mercury’s final message to Aeneas is a defamation o f Dido as tendentious as Fam ds initial report o f her and Aeneas’ behaviour, 4.569—70 uarium et mutabile semper I fem ina ‘woman is always an unstable and changeable thing’.33 The effect of Mercury’s first message on Aeneas had been similar in its incendiary emotional effects to the effect of Famds, words on Iarbas, 4.279—81 A t uero Aeneas aspectu obmutuit amens I . . . I ardet abirefuga ‘but the sight o f him left Aeneas dumb and senseless . . . He was fired with a desire to leave and flee’: cf. 197 incenditque animum dictis \Famds, words] inflamed [Iarbas’] mind’; 203 amens animi ‘out o f his mind’. Here I focus more closely on the sublimity o f Mercury’s flight, of which the word sublimis itself is used at 240—1 quae sublim em alis siue aequora supra I seu terram rapido pariter cum flam ine portat ‘ [the sandals]

31 P. Hardie in press. 3Z T he following parallels are discussed in P. Hardie 1986a: 276—8. 33 On the collapsed polarities o f V irgil’s Fama see Hardie in press.

Virgil’s Fama and the sublime


whose wings carry him high above land and sea as swiftly as the wind’.34 As often in the Augustan poets it is difficult to judge whether sublimis has a purely spatial meaning, or whether it connotes ‘sublimity’ (see 83,199—200). Mercury’s rangings are the mythological equivalent o f the sublime flight of the mind o f Lucretius’ Epicurus, who reaches from earth to heaven in the proem to Book 1, and the revelation vouchsafed by whose voice in the proem to Book 3 enables Lucretius’ own mental vision to reach down endlessly beneath his feet, to and past the place where the mythological Underworld is traditionally located. In so far as Mercury is opposed to Fama, he takes the role o f Lucretius’ Epicurus, whose free-ranging flight is victorious over Religio. The Lucretian connection is pointed up in Ovid’s reworking o f the Virgilian scenes o f Mercury and Atlas in the Perseus narrative at the end o f Metamorphoses 4, in which the ‘mercuriale leggerezza’35 o f Perseus is in strong contrast to the monumental fixity o f Atlas, after Perseus has transformed the giant into the mountain with the petrifying Medusa head. The Ovidian Perseus’ flight combines the sublime reach and per­ spective o f the Lucretian Epicurus with the randomness o f events in the Epicurean universe, Met. 4.621-4: inde per inmensum uentis discordibus actus nunc hue, nunc illuc exemplo nubis aquosae fertur et ex alto seductas aethere longe despectat terras3*5 totumque superuolat orbem. From there, driven by the warring winds through the boundless air he was carried this way and that, in the manner o f a rain-laden cloud, and from high in the upper air he looked down on the lands far below him and flies over the whole earth.

Perseus ranges through boundless space,37 and enjoys a sovereign gaze over the whole world. At the same time this offspring o f a rainstorm (the shower o f gold) is blown about like a rain-cloud, or buffeted like Lucretian atoms in the image o f motes o f dust seen in a sunbeam: cf. D R N 2.120 conciliis 34 Modelled directly on Od. 5.44-6 = II. 24.340-2 καλά πέδιλα, I άμβρόσια χρύσεια, τά μιν φέρον ήμέν έψ’ υ γ ρ ή ν I ήδ’ επ’ άπείρονα γα ΐα ν άμα πνοιήσ’ άνέμοιο. άπείρονα is not translated by Virgil (perhaps because for a poet with a Lucretian perspective it is not the earth that is boundless), but might have suggested a philosophical reading o f a Homeric Hermes’ flight through the unbounded. 35 So Rosati in Barchiesi and Rosati 2007: 330, going on to speak o f a ‘davvero calviniano eroe della leggerezza, che lo oppone alla rigida immobilità della pietra di M edusa’. 36 This is also the gaze o f the Virgilian Jupiter at Aen. 1.223—4 luppiter aethere summo I despiciens mare ueliuolum terrasque iacentis, a scene which itself contains Lucretian allusion (see 162). 37 C f. D R N 1.74 atque omne im m ensum peragrauit mente animoque.

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Virgil’s F a m a and the sublime

et discidiis exercita crebris ‘driven about in frequent meetings and partings’; 131 nunc hue nunc illuc in cunctas undiquepartis ‘in this way and that in all directions round’.38 The hint at the beginning o f the Ovidian episode of Lucretian atoms moving in the infinite void contrasts with the boundless size of Atlas at the end o f the episode {Met. 4.661 creuit in immensum ‘he grew to immense size’), producing a typically Lucretian —and Virgilian — contrast o f the very small and the very large, a contrast multiply present in Lucretius’ simulacrum et imago, for the eternal motion of atoms, o f dust particles in a sunbeam at De Rerum Natura 2.112—41, where the atoms are also compared to the bodies o f human beings tossed about in a storm39 or by the turmoil o f civil war.40 Contrastive mirrorings also connect Fama and Atlas:41 both are gigantic creatures who span the distance between earth and heaven, but the one is dangerously mobile and chaotic, the other safely immobilized. Ovid further approximates Fama and Atlas when he subjects the mountain to rapid upwards expansion (cf. Aen. 4.176 \Fama\ parua metu primo, mox sese attollit in auras ‘from small and timorous beginnings she soon lifts herself up into the air’) in the course o f the metamorphosis that provides the aition for the Virgilian man-mountain, Met. 4.657—62:

directions he grew to boundless size (so you decreed, you gods), and the whole heavens with all their stars rested on him.


quantus erat, mons factus Adas: nam barba comaeque in siluas abeunt, iuga sunt umerique manusque, quod caput ante fuit, summo est in monte cacumen, ossa lapis hunt; turn partes altus in omnes creuit in immensum (sic, di, statuistis) et omne cum tot sideribus caelum requieuit in illo.


The huge Atlas became a huge mountain: for his beard and hair turned into woods, his shoulders and hands are now ridges, what was his head is now the peak o f the mountain-top, his bones turned into stone. Next soaring up in all

38 C f. M ilton Paradise Lost 2.927—38 Satan blown up and down over vast distances as he journeys through Chaos; 935—8 ‘had not by ill chance I The strong rebuff o f some tumultuous cloud I Instinct with fire and nitre hurried him I As m any miles aloft’; 931 ‘vast vacuity’ is Lucretian: see Quint 2004: 857-9. 39 See D . Fowler 2002 on D R N 2.89 lacuire 122, where in magno . . . inani ‘perhaps recalls 1 man magno . 40 Statius also imports a Lucretian touch into a reworking o f the Virgilian descent o f M ercury, Theb. 1.310—11 nec mora, sublimis raptim p er in a n e uolatus I carpit et ingenti designat nubila gyro. There is perhaps also a hint o f the Lucretian void at Theb. 8.84-5 (Dis addressing Amphiaraus as he plunges down to the Underworld) ‘a ttib i quos’, inquit, ‘manes, qui limitepraeceps I non licitoper inane ruisT T he seer who had conducted inquiries into natural questions in Lucretian forms, but with a supernaturalist set o f presuppositions (see 258-61), enters the inania regna Ditis (Aen. 6.269) like a Lucretian atom hurtling through the void, per inane. TLL s.v. inane sb. 41 See P. Hardie 1986a: 278.


The Virgilian Atlas, weather-beaten but unshaken, like the Alpine oak to which Aeneas is compared in the simile at Aen. 4.441—6, allegorizes easily as Stoic apatheia. The contrast between Fama and Atlas mirrors the contrast between the Lucretian visions before and after Epicurus: thundering Religio in the proem to Book 1 and the serene vision o f the Epicurean universe at the beginning o f Book 3, including the epiphany o f the dwelling-place o f the gods, a near-translation of the Odyssean descrip­ tion of Olympus, forever free o f wind, rain and snow {D R N 3.19—22 ~ Od. 6.43—5).42Atlas is forever assailed by the forces of the storm, but in psychological terms his apatheia comes to much the same thing as the Lucretian fair-weather ataraxia.


Before continuing the survey of Fama s relatives in the wider context o f the Aeneid, I now introduce some o f the aspects under which Fama (and Atlas) embody the sublime, against the background o f the later history o f the sublime in western aesthetics. (i) Thunderbolt and mountain. In the perspective of the sublime the contrastive mirroring o f Fama and Atlas appears almost inevitable. The overpowering force o f the thunderbolt and the overpowering height and mass o f the mountain are two o f the most familiar sources o f the sublime. Fama tears on to the scene with the speed and force o f the thunderbolt. Atlas is a massive and sky-reaching mountain. The lengthy discussion o f the thunderbolt in De Rerum Natura 6, to which the Virgilian Fama is directly related, is a prime locus for Lucretius’ complex encounters with the sublime. Ps.-Longinus readily turns to the thunderbolt for an image of the rhetorical sublime, Subl. 1.4: ‘Sublimity, produced at the right moment, pulverizes all the facts like a thunderbolt (δίκην σκηπτοΰ πάντα διεφόρησε), and exhibits the orator’s whole power at a single blow.’ At 12.4 (on the difference between Demosthenes and Cicero) Demosthenes has an abrupt sublimity (έν ΰψει τό πλέον άποτόμω); Cicero spreads himself. Demosthenes burns and ravages; he has violence, rapidity, strength and force, and shows them in everything; he can be compared O n Atlas as a pointed reversal o f the Lucretian Olympus see P. Hardie 1986a: 281—2. C f. Hor. C 1.34 for this tactic, replacing one sublime vision with another: see 223.


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Virgil’s F a m a and the sublime

to a thunderbolt or a flash o f lightning (crxr|7rrd> tivi TTapeixcdjoit’ av f] xepauvtp).43 It is my contention that Virgil’s Fama can also be read as an embodiment o f the epic sublime. Fama draws on the sublime o f the thunderbolt and storm. Atlas represents the mountainous sublime.44 In the person of Fama human speech is figured as a force o f the natural world; Adas is a feature o f the natural world represented in anthropomorphic shape. In the later tradition o f the natural sublime mountains are the most cliched objects.45 No mountain could be more sublime than the sky-reaching Atlas. (ii) The gap. Fama s sudden growth spans the gap between earth and heaven that is already bridged by sky-reaching Atlas. James Porter includes in a check-list o f ‘co-efficients o f sublimity’ ‘immense heights . . . gaps (fissures, hiatuses, abysses, vast distances), especially those marked by extraordinary heights and depths’.46 Virgil has a particular liking for the vertiginous experience o f the gap between the very high and very low, and also between the very remote past and the very remote future, in contexts that bear importantly on his poetic goals and subject-matter:47 for example the trees at Geo. 2.290—7 and Aen. 4.445—6 whose roots reach down to Tartarus, and whose tops reach up to the heavens;48 or the placing at Geo. 3.47—8, o f Caesar (Octavian) at a point in the history of poetic fame midway between the remote past and the remote future.49 Virgil experiences the sublime of the gap strongly when thinking about Roman history; Lucretius by contrast sees the world in a grain o f sand, or rather a puddle, D RN4..416—17 despectum praebet sub terras impete tanto, I a terns quantum caeli patet altus hiatus ‘it offers a prospect beneath the

earth o f a reach as great as that with which the yawning spaces o f the sky open out above’.’0 Ps.-Longinus, in a lacunose passage, takes as an example o f the sublime gap the distance suddenly covered by the Homeric personification o f Strife in her sudden growth, Subl. 9.5 . . . τό έπ’ ουρανόν άπό γης διάστημα' καί τοΰτ’ αν εϊποι τις ού μάλλον τή ς’Έριδος ή Όμηρου μέτρον ‘the gap between earth and heaven: and one might say that this was the measure o f Homer as much as o f Strife’ .51 As is well known, Homer’s Eris is the direct model for the Virgilian Fama s alarming expansiveness {Iliad 4.440—3):

43 Russell 1964 ad loc. compares Cic. Or. 234 (Demosthenis) non tam uibrarent fulm ina ilia nisi numeris contorta ferrentur, M ilton Paradise Regained 4.267—71 ‘T he famous orators . . . whose resistless eloquence I Shook th’arsenal and fulm in’d over Greece I T o Macedon and Artaxerxes’ throne.’ 44 Nicolson 1959. 45 E.g., in a passage that seems to allude directly to Virgil’s Atlas, Shaftesbury Characteristicks (Shaftesbury 1999: ii. 99): ‘But behold! Through a vast tract o f sky before us, the mighty Atlas rears his lofty head, covered with snow, above the clouds. Beneath the mountain’s foot, the rocky country rises into hills, a proper basis o f the ponderous mass above: where huge embodied rocks lie piled on one another, and seem to prop the high arc o f heaven. See! W ith what trembling steps poor mankind treads the narrow brink o f the deep precipices! . . . Here thoughtless men, seized with the newness o f such objects, become thoughtful, and willingly contemplate the incessant changes o f this earth’s surface.’ Note the strong personification in ‘rears his lofty head’, continued in muted form in ‘foot’ . Like the mythological Atlas this mountain seems to prop up the heavens. 46 Porter in press. 47 For further discussion see 103. 48 See 126-8. 49 See P. Hardie 2004b: 180—2.


Έρις άμοτον μεμαυΐα, Άρεος άνδροφόνοιο χασιγνήτη έτάρη τε, ή τ’ ολίγη μέν πρώτα κορύσσεται, αύτάρ έπειτα ούρανώ ¿στήριξε χάρη και έπί χθονι βαίνει. Strife, ceaseless in her drive, the sister and companion o f man-slaying Ares. She is small when first she rears up, but then she fixes her head in the heavens and walks on the earth.

By a recurrent move, ps.-Longinus in discussing this passage transfers the sublimity o f the object represented to the author: ‘Homer, too, is a colossus stretching from earth to heaven.’52 The self-referentiality is easier when the personification is not Strife but Fama·, the epic poet naturally shares with his hero a fame which reaches the sky (Od 9.20, Aen. 1.379 fam a super aethera notus). At Eclogues 9.27—9 the Virgilian Menalcas proclaims the power o f the poet to reach to the stars, and uses the word ‘sublime’ in a way that I am tempted to understand as not restricted to a purely spatial connotation, Vare, tuum nomen . . . cantantes sublime ferent ad sidera cycni ‘Varus, the singing swans will carry your name aloft to the stars’.53 (iii) Fame. Fame, fam a in the sense of a lasting and widespread good reputation, is the reward for the poet or artist who successfully achieves sublimity, as ps.-Longinus points out in his preface: Subl. 1.3 ‘Sublimity is the source o f the distinction o f the very greatest poets and prose writers, and the means by which they have clothed their own glorious deeds with

50 On Lucretius’ dehistoricization o f the sublime see 126. 51 See Biihler 1964: 20—2 for a rich collection o f parallels. 52- Russell 1964 on Subl. 9.5; for other examples o f ‘the didactic habit o f using a quotation to describe an author’ see Russell 1964 on 9.11. 53 See 135. For another example o f sublimis used in a context o f fame see Laos Pisonis 223—4 sublimior ibo, 1 si fam ae m ihi pandis iter, si detrahis umbram.

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Virgil’s Fama and the sublime

eternity (ταΐς έαυτών περιέβαλον εύκλείαις τον αιώνα).’ The last clause o f this is a notably hyperbolical expression,54 hinting at a closer connec­ tion between this kind o f artistic achievement and fame. Great fame is a matter o f superlatives, the expansive, the boundless. John Baillie in An Essay on the Sublime (1747)55 notes that ‘desire of fame and immortality’ is one o f ‘the affections unexceptionably sublime’ :

oppositions at the heart o f epic: Atlas is the enduring monument as opposed to the transient and perishable word. Atlas is easily allegorized as the enduring Virgilian hero, and the opposition thus becomes that between the epic unus homo and the fickle crowd: in terms o f fama, heroic kleos in contrast to gossip. But that contrast has already been effaced within the description o f Fama, personification as much o f the fam a of epic poet and epic hero as o f the word of the crowd. Furthermore indefinite proliferation is as much a feature o f the endless retellings and rereadings o f epic texts, the long and continuing tradition within which the Aeneid is written, as it is o f more plebeian uses o f the word. Ovid, as often, sharpens a paradox. In the proclamation of his own fame in the Epilogue to the Metamorphoses the poet both asserts that {Met. 15.875-6) super alta perennis I astraferar ‘I shall be carried above the lofty stars, everlasting’, in a fam a whose solo sublime flight hyperbolically soars even above the stars, and that (878) ore legar populi ‘I shall be read on the lips o f the people’, throughout the uncounted peoples o f the Roman Empire (877 quaquepatet domitis Romanapotentia terris).5 T he connections between Fama, Discordia, and Iris are exploited by Valerius Flaccus in the Lemnian episode in Argonautica 2, as Severine Clement-Tarantino points out p er litt.: Venus’ use o f Fam a to sow bloody strife between the Lemnian women and their m enfolk at Argon. 2.107 ff· Is modelled on (i) Ju n o ’s use o f Iris at Aen. 5.604-53 to provoke mutiny among the Trojan women, and (ii) Ju n o ’s use o f Allecto in A eneid 7.

IO 5

. . . so that he desired to be the first to smash apart the tight bolts o f Nature’s gates. Accordingly the vital vigour o f his mind prevailed, and forth he marched far beyond the flaming ramparts o f the world.116*

The inversion is typically Lucretian: a monster, Discordia, who is the enemy o f providential order in Ennius’ narrative of Roman history guided by Jupiter (if it is legitimate to read back a Virgilian kind o f plot-line into the Annals), turns into the hero who brings true peace to the world by overturning the Jovian providential order. As ‘good Discordia’ Epicurus smashes through the gates o f Nature to defeat the monster Religio, responsible for so many o f the woes o f an alienated world. Epicurus’ defeat o f Religio is a reprise o f Venus’ subjugation o f Mars, the mytho­ logical equivalent o f Empedocles’ Neikos/Eris - Strife, Discordia. The effect o f Epicurus’ violence against the gates of nature and his ensuing journey will be to instal Epicurean peace, friendship, and love - concordia.

Further reflexes o f Ennius’ Discordia The sublimity o f the Ennian Discordias bursting open o f the Gates o f War becomes a marker o f the sublime ambitions o f the post-Ennian poet. Epicurus bursts open the gates o f Nature and prepares the way for Lucretius’ sublime poetic flight. Aeolus repeats the action o f Ennian Discordia when he bursts open the Cave o f the Winds with a thrust of his spear, unleashing a civil war o f the winds, three o f the brothers blowing together against each other, in the Aeneids first scene of violence."7 The opening o f the Cave o f the Winds is also the unleashing o f the poet’s epic afflatus, in-spiration. Did Ennius already draw some connection between Discordia s opening o f gates and his own opening of 116 Gowers 2007: 2 6 -7 comments on this allusion: ‘Trickier to explain, though Don Fowler and Stephen Harrison have tried, is the clear imitation in Lucreuus in a new context, Epicurus’ bursting o f the bounds o f nature as a philosophical pioneer, where the advancement o f knowledge is described in terms reminiscent o f a journey into the poetic sublime [my emphasis] or o f a violent eruption . . . Here again, as so often in the Lucredan proem, Empedocles (flames) and Ennius (vigour) meet, in lines that look ahead to the violent eruptions o f Etna later in Book i’, referring to D . Fowler 1998: 167-8 = D . Fowler 2000a: 187-8, S. J . Harrison 2002: 10. 117 In his reworking o f the Virgilian winds Ovid makes explicit the link with civil war and d/Discordia: the creator-god assigns the four winds houses in four different parts o f the world, so that they should not tear the world to pieces: tanta est discordia fratrum {Met. 1.60).

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Virgil’s F a m a and the sublime

poetic gates at the beginning o f Annals 7, the book in which Discordia appears, 210 Sk. nos ausi reserare? That verb o f opening appears at the opening o f Lucretius’ De Rerum Natura 1.10—11 nam simul ac species patefactast uerna diet I et reserata uiget genitabilis aura fauoni ‘for as soon as the day’s springtime appearance has been opened up and the birthfavouring breeze o f the west wind is unbarred and blows fresh’.” 8 Just one wind, unlike the discordant three winds that whip up the Virgilian storm,” 9 a straightforward image of the springtime fair weather o f the soul to which Epicurus’ revelations lead, and an anticipation of the more violent image of Epicurus’ opening of the gates o f Nature to achieve the same effect. Other reenactments o f Discordias bursting open o f the Gates o f War occur at moments o f heightened elevation in the Aeneid.'™ In Book 2 Pyrrhus bursts into the palace o f Priam, opening up vast interior vistas that momentarily hints at the sublimity o f a Lucretian revelation (see 165-6). In the most direct imitation in Aeneid7 Juno pointedly takes over the role of opening the Gates of War from the Discordia figure Allecto (see 100—1). One reason for this substitution is perhaps to reassert the centrality o f Juno as the angry divinity in Virgil’s epic and to steer the poem away from too slavish a dependence on Ennius. Juno also appears as a counter-poet scripting her own plot,118 121 which she inaugurates first with the evocation from Hell o f Allecto 20 9 and then with the opening o f the Gates o f War, both episodes which rework the opening storm in Aeneid 1. Thus begins the war that will constitute the maius opus of the second half o f the Aeneid. In Aeneid 8 Hercules breaks open the cave of Cacus at the climactic moment o f an episode that is saturated in Lucretian allusion, and which operates at the level o f a sublime o f a sustained hyperbole without parallel in the A eneidF2 Cacus is a kind of parody o f a bad Religio on the site o f Rome, to be replaced with the good religio dirá loci o f a Jupiter who manifests himself to the terrified Arcadians in the mode o f what Burke would call ‘judicious obscurity’, 8.351-4:

‘hoc nemus, hunc’ inquit ‘frondoso uertice collem (quis deus incertum est) habitat deus; Arcades ipsum credunt se uidisse Iouem, cum saepe nigrantem aegida concuteret dextra nimbosque cieret.’

io 6

118 resero o f poetic-vatic unlocking Ov. F. 2.453 et sex reserata diebus I carceris Aeolii ianua laxa patet, Met. 15.144-5 ipsumque recludam I aethera et angustae reserabo oracula mentis; Sil. 7.436 reserat. . . futura (uates); Stat. S. 2.2.38—9 reseretque arcanapudicos Phemonoe fontis. C f. Fasti 4.17—18 sensimus, et causae subito patuere dierum: \ dumlicet et spirant flam ina, nauis eat. For a less violent image o f poetic ‘opening up’ cf. Geo. 2.175 sanctos ausus recludere fontis. 119 Horace footnotes, as it were, the contrast between the opening Virgilian storm and the opening Lucretian Favonius (Zephyrus) in the juxtaposition o f Odes 1.3 and 1.4: see 205 n. 87. 120 Gowers 2007: 26 for a partial list o f rewritings o f Ennius’ ‘iconic representation o f Discordia’ as ‘the primal scene o f erupting war’, in Virgil and Ovid. 121 Clement-Tarantino 2006: 434—89 ‘Le poeme de Junon et Allecto’ . 122 See Gildenhard 2004: 34-8, and this volume, 17 1-3.

10 7

‘This grove’ , said Evander, ‘this leafy-topped hill, is the home o f some god, we know not which. M y Arcadians believe they have often seen Jupiter himself shaking the darkening aegis in his right hand to drive along the storm clouds.’

O f course Virgil merely reinstates another version o f the Religio destroyed by the Lucretian Epicurus, part o f a methodical remythologization o f the Lucretian world-picture at the site o f Rome.123


Following the traces o f Fama through her further relationships to Lucretius’ Religio and Ennius’ Discordia leads to consideration o f two final aspects o f the sublime in tension with one another, novelty and intertextuality (originality and tradition).

Discordia, novelty, and the sublime What Fama spreads is ‘news’, an up-to-date report about the private lives o f two royal families. Gossip dies unless it has new things to tell. Slander (Sia(3oA.f]) is nurtured above all by a love of novelty, t o (JiAoxaivov, Lucian tells us, Calumn. 21. Novelty is also a factor in the Ovidian House o f Fama, Met. 12.58 auditis aliquid nouus adicit auctor ‘each new source adds something to what he has heard’, the new spin given to the report by the next person in the relay-chain. Novelty o f a different kind figures largely in the discourse o f the sublime, particularly in the development o f the ps.-Longinian sublime, by Boileau, who stresses ‘cet extraordinaire et ce merveilleux’ in the sublime.124 How new is the news that Fama brings in Aeneid 4? Possibly shockingly new, if Virgil was the first to tell o f an erotic liaison between Dido and Aeneas. How new a monster is Fama in literary history? The novelty o f Fama within Greco-Roman literary tradition is hard to judge, given the 123 P. Hardie 1986a: 213-19. 124 See Shaw 2006: 13 ‘Boileau’s Baroque emphasis on the novelty . . . o f sublime discourse’; Thorpe 1937: 1124 ‘The idea o f novelty appears in a modest way in Longinus, and Boileau . . . makes it o f considerable prominence.’

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Virgil’s F a m a and the sublime

great gaps in our knowledge o f what preceded Virgil. One might speculate about the more ‘baroque’ productions of Alexandrian poetry (and Dido’s Carthage represents, among other things, the cultural seductions of Alexandria for its proto-Roman hero). For the modern reader Fama seems to spring from the poet’s head as the first circumstantially elaborated personifi­ cation set to work within the action o f a human narrative. A unicum in the Aeneid, she is the immediate predecessor o f the four major personifi­ cations in Ovid’s Metamorphoses, which establish as a routine topos what appears as a one-off monstrum in the Aeneid,V s The novelty felt by the modern reader, however, might be qualified if we had the whole o f the Discordia episode in Ennius’ Annals, and I have given reasons for thinking that Discordia may have been an important model for Fama. Nevertheless the nature and mode of operation o f Fama will also be very different from any imaginable reconstruction o f the Discordia episode. Mariotti comments on Ennius’ Discordia thus: ‘questa identificazione di una figura mitica con una forza invisibile, sebbene trovasse dei precedenti negli stessi Katharmoi di Empedocle, non poteva non colpire per la sua novità (e, da un punto di vista razionale, assurdità) il lettore di poesia epica’ .126 Much the same could be said o f Virgil’s Fama·. despite the precedent in Ennius’ Discordia, she could not help striking by her novelty, and, in the terms applied to Discordia by Barchiesi, by ‘a dangerous, weird, or bombastic sublimity’.127 Fama is thus a novelty within tradition, both the immediate tradition o f personifications o f oppressive and divisive evil (Discordia, Religio, Fama), and the wider tradition o f Greco-Roman epic. Novelty within tradition is a trademark o f Virgil’s epic art as a whole, stamped on the poem at its outset. The surprising and shocking outburst o f Fama, herself a figurative thunderbolt, repeats the effect o f the surprising and shocking storm with which the poem opens; at the same time the epic storm is one of the oldest clichés in the book. Ovid, as often, picks up and develops the Virgilian hints: the lengthily elaborated Fama in Metamorphoses 12, whose function is to announce the arrival o f the Greek army at Troy, is the bringer o f news that is no news, for who is there who does not know the story o f the Greek expedition? That the Ovidian Fama takes the place o f the Virgilian storm at the inauguration o f an ‘epic’ is also a recognition o f the intratextual affiliation o f the Virgilian storm and Fama episodes.

Virgil tests his ability to surprise to the limit when the monster who bursts unexpectedly on to the scene is a personification o f the epic tradition, fama, itself, cunningly concealed as an embodiment o f popular gossip. But the reader will recognize that this is where we had always been.

io 8

T25 O vid’s four major personifications are also ail closely related to the Virgilian Allecto, herself a close relative o f Fama: see further P. Hardie 2009b. 126 Mariotti 1991: 70. 127 A. Barchiesi ‘Ennius and the dark virgin’. T he D on Fowler Memorial Lecture 2007 (unpublished).


Intertextual sublimity Consideration o f fam a as ‘tradition’ leads to my final heading under ‘markers o f the sublime’. Virgil’s Fama is in part generated out o f sublime personifications, monsters, and features o f the natural world in Lucretius, Ennius, and possibly Empedocles. But the Empedoclean—Ennian— Lucretian sublime is only a subset o f the intertexts contained in the Fama episode. In a remarkable recent Lille thesis, Severine Clement-Tarantino develops a reading o f the Virgilian Fama as a vertiginous encyclopedia o f the previous Greco-Roman literary tradition, detailing at the length that is only possible in a French these the staggering number of intertexts crammed into this brief section o f the Aeneid, with a density that seems exceptional even by Virgil’s usual standards of allusive richness.128 The pullulating multiplicity o f eyes, tongues, mouths, and ears in the body o f Fama is an allegory o f the operations o f fama-as-rumour, but transfers readily as an image o f the multiplying relays o f intertextuality, at a self-consciously late stage o f a tradition. The overwhelming number o f intertexts and the complexity o f their relationships is an example o f Kant’s mathematical sublime. The formless and fragmented quality o f the person o f Fama speaks to the difficulty o f mastering the sheer quantity o f previous texts which go to make her up. Her uncontrolled self-propagation within the text o f the Aeneid (and subsequendy within the corpus o f the epic successors o f Virgil, including Ovid’s Metamorphoses) mimics intra-textually the challenge confronted by Virgil’s epic o f containing a hydra-headed inter-textuality. Here we are not talking about an anxiety o f influence that operates with regard to individual father-figures, the agonistic rivalry with great writers o f the past in which ps.-Longinus locates one of the sources o f the sublime (Subl,. 13 ‘ [Plato] like a young aspirant challenging an admired master [Homer]’), and a model which Alessandro Schiesaro has very effectively used to think about the sublime poetics o f the Senecan Atreus.129 Rather this is the cumulatively crushing burden o f the past.

128 Clément-Tarantino 2006. 129 Schiesaro 2003: 129-30.


Sublime visions

Virgil's Fama and the sublime


At the same time one o f the most amazing features o f the Aeneid is its ability to impose a highly articulated form on the unruly encyclopedia.130 It is this sovereign (in both aesthetic and political senses) ability of the Aeneid to impose order on the disorderly, to contain chaos within cosmos, that will be subjected to increasing pressure by the epic successors of Virgil, reaching breaking point in the epics o f Lucan and Statius.131 The tension between form and formlessness may be exemplified from the visual tradition o f Fama. In the illustration o f the Fama episode in Aeneid 4 in Ogilby’s 1658 edition o f Virgil (Figure 1) the eyes, ears, and tongues o f rumour are tastefully scattered over the torso and wings of an elegantly classical figure of Fame with her trumpets, the shapely features o f whose head are clearly visible beneath clouds that reach no lower than her hairline (where the Virgilian Fama hides her whole head in clouds). Similar in the effect o f an unruly multiplicity safely contained are the eyes and ears scattered over the cloak worn by Elizabeth I, ideally beautiful and exquisitely clothed in her poised majesty, in the ‘Rainbow Portrait’ (Figure 2). Whether or not the reference here is to Fama, the iconography o f a body or robe covered in eyes, ears, (and mouths) is traditional in early modern representations o f Fama. Perhaps the most convincing interpret­ ation o f the portrait is that o f Roy Strong, for whom the eyes and ears ‘symbolizfe] those who watched and listened to purvey their intelligence to her’.132 This would then be the multiple organs of Fama harnessed to the single-minded purpose o f the monarch. In A. Paul Weber’s (1893-1980) lithograph ‘The Rumour’ (1969) (Figure 3) a flying serpentine monster has a large head with pronounced features, single pairs o f large eyes and pointed ears, a wide mouth, following its pointed nose, a clear direction finder; behind the head the first part o f the cylindrical body is well shaped, and studded with eyes and tongues (only, apparently; no ears

130 This comes close to the picture o f Coleridge’s scholarly and imaginative powers in Lowes 1978; e.g. 394 ‘Out o f the vast, diffused, and amorphous nebula, then, with which we started, and through which we have slowly forged our way, there emerged, framed o f its substance, a structure o f exquisitely balanced and coordinated unity — a work o f pure imaginative vision.’ 131 I owe this way o f looking at the Virgilian tradition to Helen Lovatt. 132 Strong 1977: 52, referring to a figure in Henry Peacham’s M inerva Britanna (1612) wearing a skirt covered with eyes and ears, explicitly glossed as the ‘eyes, and listening ears o f those, I W ho from all parties can give intelligence’ to the governor o f a commonwealth. Graziani 1972: 255—6, noting that Frances Yates interprets the eyes and ears as fame, suggests instead biblical reference to Matthew 13.16 -17 ‘Blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears, for they hear . . Erler 1987: 369—70 reads the rainbow and the robe as ‘C ecil’s tribute to the queen’s sunlike power, to her discriminating and judicial ability, celebrated by [Sir Johnj Davies, which uses and rises above the eyes and ears o f mere subjects, even above those o f her intelligence agent and Principal Secretary.’

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Figure 1 After drawing of Franz Cleyn, engraving of Dido and Aeneas entering the cave and Fama, in Publii Virgilii Maronis Opera, ed. John Ogilby (London 1658). By permission of the Syndics of Cambridge University Library.

Sublime visions

Figure 3

A. Paul W eber

D a s G erücht, 1969. ©

DACS 1999.


Figure 2 ‘R ain bow Portrait’ o f Q ueen Elizabeth I, after Taddeo Zuccari. T h e B ridgem an A rt Library.

are visible), but further back we see that the body is the metamorphic product o f a chaotic welter o f human shapes flying out o f the endless rows o f windows in the anonymous city.133 133 See the discussion in Neubauer 1999: 2.7—9.

Figure 4 Joseph M allord W illiam T urn er, Ulysses d e rid in g Polyphem us - H o m er’s Odyssey, 1829. © T h e N ational Gallery, London.

Virgil’s Fama and the sublime


A contrast between the unshaped and the well-formed is also stamped on Turner’s ‘Ulysses deriding Polyphemus’ (Figure 4), an image that belongs within the wider tradition o f Fama and her relatives (see 77 above).134 The indistinct form o f the Cyclops, merging into and hardly distinguishable from mountain and cloud, is contrasted with Ulysses’ ship, the well-shaped product o f technological order, ruled by a single captain with his helmsman, but manned by a plurality o f individual sailors obedient to the captain’s command. The massed sailors man the oars, and swarm up the masts to unfurl the sails, ant-like in their anonymity, but ant-like also in their directed activity, unlike the swarms o f rumour-mongers in Weber’s lithograph, at least until they are sucked into the unified body o f the Rumour monster. A reader o f Virgil might be reminded o f the ants simile at Aeneid 4.402-7, applied to the Trojans as they prepare to leave Carthage, and often read as an image o f a protoRoman militaristic discipline.135 There are strong intertextual links between Odysseus’ flight from Polyphemus, and Aeneas’ from Dido, not least in the two curses uttered against the fleeing heroes, but one may wonder whether Turner would have been aware o f that fact. Another opposition between order and disorder is seen in the contrastive anthropo-/theriomorphisms of, on the one hand, Polyphemus, merging indistinctly into mountain and cloud, and, on the other hand, the forms o f the horses that draw the chariot o f the sun, which appear within the dazzling rays o f the rising sun. Ruskin, in his notes on the painting, makes his own comment on the contrast between form and formlessness: ‘if the reader will examine the sky close to the sun, on the right o f it, he will find the horses o f Apollo drawn in fiery outline . . . The god himself is formless, he is the sun.’136 Ruskin also offers a biographical allegory of the painting, viewed as ‘a type o f [Turner’s] own destiny’, which moves the subject-matter still closer to the sphere o f Fama. ‘He [sc. Turner] had been himself shut up by one-eyed people, in a cave “darkened with laurels” (getting no good, but only evil, from all the fame of the great o f long ago) . . . at last, when his own time had like to have come, he thrust the rugged pine-trunk —all ablaze —(rough nature, and the light of it) —into the faces o f the one-eyed people . . . and got away to open sea as the dawn broke over the Enchanted Islands.’137 This is the moment, in what Ruskin calls ‘the centralpicture in Turner’s career’, at which the artist

134 On this painting see Nicholson 1990: 273—5; Finley 1999: 61-3. 135 Fiachra M ac G orain suggested this possible Virgilian connection to me. 136 Ruskin 1903-12: xiii. 137. 137 Ruskin 1903-12: xiii. 136-7.

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Virgil's Fama and the sublime

asserts his own unique greatness and his own claim to fame, freeing himself from the burden o f fame of great artists in the past. In the Homeric text this is also the moment when Ulysses reveals his true identity to Polyphemus. Turner used Alexander Pope’s translation, where Ulysses says to Polyphemus: ‘Ask, who disfigured thus that eyeless face? I Say ‘twas Ulysses: ’twas his deed declare, I Laertes’ son, o f Ithaca the fair; I Ulysses, far in fighting fields renown’d, I Before whose arm Troy tumbled to the ground.’ The boast of his fame, ‘far in fighting fields renown’d’, is an embellishment o f the Homeric original (Od. 9.502—5). Within the Virgilian Fama episode itself the two moments o f uncon­ tained chaos and controlled order are reflected in the contrasting images of Fama and mount Atlas, an example o f the poem’s recurrent thematization and narrativization o f a conflict between chaos and order. Could one then see the Virgilian sublime as characterized by the recuperation o f formal mastery after the loss, or the fear of the loss, o f control? We might see in this an exemplification o f the Kantian dynamic of the sublime, whereby experi­ ence o f the overwhelming object ‘raise[s] the soul’s fortitude above its usual middle range and allow[s] us to discover in ourselves an ability to resist which is o f a quite different kind, and which gives us the courage [to believe] that we could be a match for nature’s seeming omnipotence.’138 ‘In the case o f the mathematical sublime, it is the ability o f the mind to submit formless­ ness, such as the random excessive movements o f a storm, or the impercept­ ible contours o f a vast cathedral, to the rational idea o f totality. ’I39 But the strong political drive o f the Aeneidworks to curb the freedom and autonomy o f the Kantian expansion of the imaginative forces, reason’s ability to rise above the limitations o f the sensuous and the imagination, following the momentary inhibition o f vital forces.140 At least, from this point of view, the more adequate figure for the Kantian sublime will not be the immobilized Atlas, guarantor though he be o f a totalizing order, but Mercury, free to fly between different parts o f the universe.

Fama is modelled directly on the Uiadic Eris, an example for ps.-Longinus of a successfully sublime way o f representing the supernatural, but we might feel that Fama has more in common with the Achlys o f the Hesiodic Scutum, which according to ps.-Longinus succeeds only in being a miseton ‘repulsive’, not a deinon ‘terrifying’, image.141 An awareness o f this diffi­ culty is revealed in the contrast between Fama and the monumentally fixed, hard, figure o f the masculine mountain Atlas: but as with all such Virgilian binary oppositions, sharp demarcation cannot be sustained: the Virgilian epic poet is as much Fama as he is Atlas. In his discussion of the Hercules and Cacus episode in Aeneid 8, Ingo Gildenhard refers to the ps.-Longinian distinction to draw attention to the combination o f the repulsive (the gore-spattered cave o f Cacus) and the awe-inspiring (Hercules’ cosmic heroics), ‘the noisome and the sublime’ .142 ‘Virgil quickly leaves the “repulsive” behind and moves into the “awe-inspiring”’, according to Gildenhard: true, but the former is just as much a product of a Virgilian aesthetic as the latter. The problem o f how to represent the body of the poet is itself embedded in tradition, and again the path leads back to Ennius. Emily Gowers concludes a rich discussion of an Ennian poetics of the body that focuses on the cor at the heart o f Ennius’ conception o f his place as a poet in the world, with these thoughts: ‘We might be tempted to ask whether Ennius was consciously building his poetic body or bodies into a mini­ ature version o f the Empedoclean universe, Discord and Concord in uneasy equilibrium, earth, water, air and fire equally represented. Or is fire perhaps the predominant element? Are the flames leaping from his marrow equivalent to Lucretius’ Empedoclean picture of Epicurus burst­ ing through the flammantia moenia mundi?’143 Earlier Gowers discusses the possible connections between Ennius’ Discordia and ‘his contribution to the ever-multiplying voices of the “hundred mouths” cliche beloved of all epic poets:


non si lingua loqui saperet quibus, ora decern sint in me, turn ferro cor sit pectusque reuinctum. {Ann. 469-70)

li 6

Throughout the discussion there has been present a scandal at the heart of the attempt to see in the Virgilian Fama a figure for the epic poet’s own art and ambition, and for an aspiration to sublimity. How can the heroic, masculine, sublime epic be embodied in this female monster, grotesque in shape(lessness), and employing as her medium the humilespopulü Virgil’s y« Kant 1987:


139 Shaw 2006: 82.

140 See Porter 2007: 178.


141 Sublim. 9.5. ps.-Longinus continues (9.6—7) with as another example o f the Homeric sublime Hades’ fear that Poseidon might tear open the earth to reveal the Underworld { Ilia d 20.61—5), but with the proviso that the theomachy needs to be allegorized i f we are not to slip into atheism. [Heraclit.] Quaest. Horn. 29.4-7 regards Eris in herself a θεά . . . τερατώδης, unless allegorized away to a banal statement about the tendency o f quarrels to grow out o f control. There is a fine line between the sublime and the unacceptably monstrous. T4Z Gildenhard 2004: 35-8. 143 Gowers 2007: 36.


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Virgil’s Fama and the sublime

Not if I had ten mouths in me with which my tongue would know how to speak, and then my heart and chest were bound with iron.

sublime.146 For Ford the Muses represent the power to comprehend the Kantian mathematical sublime, at the same time as they intervene to give the poet the discrete amount o f information that he needs in order successfully to steer his poem on its course. From this perspective, too, the sublimity of the Virgilian Fama, a creature closely related to, and a surrogate for, the Muses, is itself a comment on a sublimity that is embedded in the epic tradition from the moment that we first grasp it in the poems o f Homer. Horace famously comes close to equating the body o f Ennius with the body o f Discordia at Satires 1.4.56—62:


. . . The stalwart, functioning poet, with his cor held in place by iron bonds, is the exact opposite o f Discordia (ferrates postes portasque refregii), indeed is more like Virgil’s Furor tied up (centum uinctum aenis I post tergum nodis)’144 —a hundred knots to keep in place an unruly hundred tongues, perhaps. Virgil’s Fama shows what happens when the ten (or a hundred) mouths cliché gets out o f control, proliferating to infinity. And we have seen that from certain points o f view Fama is another name for Discordia. The multiplex sermo o f Fama results from the intersection of two kinds o f anxiety on the part o f the epic poet about the possibility of controlling unruly voices: the elite and singular epic poet’s anxiety that his unique voice may be drowned out by or swept up in the voices of hoi polloi, and the late-coming epic poet’s anxiety that he may be overwhelmed, shouted down, by the sheer volume (in both senses) of the previous tradition (as Clément-Tarantino brings out so well). The ten-mouths topos, in its expanding flight through the tradition from its first beginnings in Homer, is an embodiment o f what might be called the mathematical sublime o f epic, or more widely (since epic is the encyclopaedic genre) Greco-Roman poetic, tradition. The first example o f the topos is found in Homer’s appeal to the Muses to tell him who were the leaders o f the Greeks at Troy, prefacing the Catalogue o f Ships, Iliad 2.488-90 πληθύν δ’ ούκ άν έγώ μυθήσομαι ούδ’ όνομήνω, I ούδ’ εϊ μοι δέκα μέν γλώσσαι, δέκα δέ στόματ’ εΐεν, I φωνή δ’ άρρηκτος, χάλκεον δέ μοι ήτορ ένείη ‘I could not tell or name the multitude, not even if I had ten tongues and ten mouths, not if I had an unbreakable voice and a brazen heart.’ The invocation of the Muses comes immediately after a long sequence, starting at the beginning o f Book 2, that explores different kinds o f epic voice and authority, and in which the mutinous multitude threatens the authority o f the Achaean leaders.145 The multitude o f the Greek host at Troy presents yet another threat to the poet’s ability to master kleos. Andrew Ford focuses on this invocation as one o f a number o f Homeric moments o f recusatio, which mark a ‘crisis of selection’, and gesture towards an epic 144 Gowers 2007: 27—8; ibid. 27 11. 30: ‘Though, as Bob Cowan points out to me, Horace chose in his ode to Virgil to equip a man tough enough for the epic voyage out with “ triple bronze” around his chest ( Carm. 1.3.9—10 aes triplex I circum pectus)’ — to which may be added the observation that Virgil may well need such armour i f he is to control the unruly blasts o f the winds o f Aeolus, which are at the same time the necessary — discordant — inspiration for the epic poet. 145 See P. Hardie in press.

his, ego quae nunc, olim quae scripsit Lucilius, eripias si tempora certa modosque, et quod prius ordine uerbum est posterius facias praeponens ultima primis, non, ut si soluas ‘postquam Discordia taetra belli ferratos postis portasque refregit’, inuenias etiam disiecti membra poetae. I f you were to take out the fixed metre and measures from the verses that I write now, and which Lucilius wrote in the past, and if you were to make the word that comes before come after, placing what comes last after what comes first, you would not find the limbs o f a poet even after he has been torn to pieces, as you would if you were to break up ‘after foul Discord smashed the iron-clad bars and gates o f war’.

An odd thing about this choice o f example is that Discordia in the Annals was already doing what Horace wants to do to the word-order o f the Ennian lines, breaking and scattering. As Ellen Oliensis puts it: ‘The disruption o f the versified word-order offers a kind o f microcosm o f civic upheaval . . . It is no accident that the Ennian verse Horace cites for its exemplary poetic value represents the outbreak o f discordant war as a rupture of constructed boundaries.’147 disiecti membra is a phrase that could apply to the body o f Discordia (especially if we read Ann. 221 Sk. cui par imber et ignis, spiritus et grauis terra as describing the indiscriminate heaping up o f equal measures o f the four elements in her person), or to the world under the rule of Discordia, as described in Empedocles (31 D K B 17) dXXoTE 6’ au 8ix’ exacrta (jiopeupcva Neixsoc; exSet ‘at other times all things being borne apart through the hostility o f Strife’.

146 Ford 1992: 72—9 ‘T he Muses’ sublime’ . 147 Oliensis 1998: 23-4, cited by Gowers 2007: 25.


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Virgil’s F a m a and the sublime

The universe has ‘limbs’ in Empedocles (μέλη, γυία) and Lucretius (and in other cosmological texts).148 In Empedocles ‘limbs’, both o f the universe and o f biological organisms, have a disconcerting way of being torn apart through the effects of Strife, or wandering apart from each other.149 The ‘limbs’ o f Lucretius’ universe are at civil war, in a state of discordia, with each other, D R N 5.380-1 tantopere inter se cum maxima mundi I pugnent membra, pio nequaquam concita bello ‘since the greatest limbs o f the world fight so violently together, stirred by no pious civil war’; cf. Empedocles B 30.1 αύτάρ έπει μέγα νέικος ένι μελέεσσιν έθρέφθη ‘but when great strife has grown in the limbs [of the world]’. disicio is a standard term in Lucretius for the breaking apart of compound atomic structures.150 So far from threatening to undo the sublime effects of Ennian poetry, Horace’s disiecti membra poetae encapsulate an Empedoclean— Ennian—Lucretian poetics of the sublime, now written on the body of the poet himself.151 Ennius had perhaps already done something similar, if Gowers is right in her surmise that his Discordia entered into the figuration of the body of the poet. If that is so, then Horace may bring Ennius’ poetological allusion to Empedoclean natural-philosophy up to date through allusion to a very recent philosophical poem, the De Rerum N a tu r a l In Satires 1.4.56—62 Horace draws on the school of Hellenistic literary criticism, whose repre­ sentatives include Philodemus, that stressed the importance o f word arrangement, synthesis, for poetic quality. For these critics metathesis, the alteration o f word order, destroys poetic effect. Horace in these lines, for his own polemical purposes, presents the point of view o f opposing

critics, who stressed the importance of grand poetic diction. In the description o f the disruption o f word-arrangement through metathesis in lines 58-9, et quodprius ordine uerbum est I posterius facias praeponens ultima primis, the mimetic effect o f syntax and word order is itself a powerful demonstration o f the importance o f poetic word-arrangement. In this Horace concurs with Philodeman poetics. Philodemus’ stress on the importance o f the arrangement o f words may cohere with Epicurean views on the importance o f arrangement in the structure o f the universe.153 Texts and physical universe are conjoined in Lucretian ‘atomology’, the analogy o f the arrangement o f letters (elementa) to make different words applied to the arrangement o f atoms (also elementa) to make different compound substances. Words and substances alike are differentiated by the placing, positura (D R N 1.909) and order, ordo (1.827) o f the elementa. This is also the vocabulary used by Horace in his account o f the dis­ ruption o f word-arrangement through metathesis, Sat. 1.4.58 ordine, 59 praeponens. Within the multiple ironies o f a passage in which, in order to win a debating point, Horace mouths a theory o f poetry the opposite o f that which he practises in the Satires, the reader may yet feel that disiecti membra poetae does label a valid poetics o f the sublime, whose effects are heightened by the chaotic and discordant. With these two contrasting aesthetics in mind let us turn back to the De Rerum Natura. To the extent that in the De Rerum Natura text is in the image o f a world given shape by the ordering o f atoms, Lucretius subscribes to a poetics o f the orderly and the well-crafted, shedding bright light on nature’s secrets. But we have also seen examples o f a different aesthetic, delighting in the sublimity o f the obscure and o f elemental violence, and closely related to the aesthetic o f the Ennian Discordia. disiecti membra poetae might also be an apt description of the body o f Fama\ how do all those eyes, tongues, mouths, ears (all body parts that are essential to the poet in the prosecution o f his art) fit in? Or are they to be imagined as scattered at random all over her body, whatever that looks like? She might be an Empedoclean monster, made up of randomly assorted body parts. And from a Lucretian angle one might wonder whether the uncountable numbers of small body parts, eyes, tongues, mouths, ears, are as it were the Epicurean atoms o f Fama s body.

148 mundi membra·. D R N 5.244; 5.381. Cic. D N D 1.34 ex disperses quasi membris simplex sitputandus deus\ 1.100 [mundi:] membra, caelum terra maria; 2.86. 149 Emped. B 20.4-8 τούτο μεν αν βροτέω ν μελέω ν άριδείκετον ό γκ ο ν I άλλοτε μεν Φ ίλότητι συνερχόμ εν’ εις εν άπαντα . . . άλλοτε δ ’ α ΰτε κ α κ ίγσ ι διατμ ηθ έντ’ Έ ρ ίδ εσ σ ι I πλάζεται ά νδιχ’ εκα στα περ'ιρρηγμΐνι βίοιο. 63.4 άλλα διέσπασται μελέων ψύσις; cf. also frr. 30.1, 3i -3j 35·ι ι . See W right 1981: index s.w . ‘Limbs: separate . . . ; tearing apart o f . . . ; o f the universe . . . ; in the body 150 D R N 1.6 5 1, 1020; 2.939; 3.928; 5.403. I5T Possibly relevant, in view o f the connections between Fama and the monsters in the Sicilian landscape o f Aeneid 3 are the auulsaque uiscera montis {Aen. 3.575) o f Etna (for auello as a near synonym o f disicio c f Aen. 2.608—9 disiectas moles auulsaque saxis I saxd). Does Empedocles end up as disiecta membra when he leaps into Etna? He came apart, at least, from one o f his shoes, cast up by the volcano (D. L. 8.69). I f that implication is there at the end o f the Ars Poetica, it might form a ring composition with the ill-fitting limbs (3 undique collatis membris) o f the hybrid (Empedoclean?) monsters at the beginning o f the poem. 152 In what follows, on the relevance for Sat. 1.4.56-62 o f metathesis, Philodeman poetics, and Lucretian ‘atom ology, I draw on Freudenburg 1993: 139—50 and Oberhelman and Armstrong 1995. See also 58 in this volume.

153 Freudenburg 1993: 142—3.


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Virgil’s Fama and the sublime

Lucan makes powerful use o f the metapoetics of Ennian Discordia in the gruesome account o f the dismemberment o f Marius Gratidianus at Lucan Bellum Ciuile 2.181—5:154

sidera uertice59 - like the monstrously grotesque Virgilian Polyphemus, who, Aen. 3.619—20 ipse arduus, altaque pulsat I sidera ‘towering high, he knocks against the lofty stars’, in turn a near-relative of Fama, who buries her head in the clouds, 4.177 (see 93). In Odes 2.20 the poet looks forward to emancipation from his human body, but in the text the poet’s meta­ morphosis into a bird is arrested at a half-way stage, in the present tenses o f the third stanza, which details the physical changes, framed by stanzas with future tenses. Horace is thus frozen in the appearance of a grotesque hybrid comparable to the Virgilian Fama, even if in the future he will be a perfected swan, roaming free over the world as fama. In Odes 3.30, according to Farrell, the poet shakes off materiality to become disembod­ ied and eternally enduring voice. But does he? usque ego póstera I crescam laude recens ‘I shall go on growing, ever renewed, in the praises o f posterity’ (7—8):I έπιήρανος έργω ν· I όππότε γ ά ρ πάσηισιν όρέξαιτο πραπίδεσσιν, I ρ εί’ δ γ ε των όντω ν π ά ντω ν λεύσσεσχεν έκα στον I καί τε δ έκ ’ ά νθρώ πω ν κ α ί τ ’ εϊκοσιν α’ιώ νεσσιν. D R N 1.66-75 ptim um Grains homo mortalis tollere contra I est oculos aususprimusque obsistere contra; I quern nequefam a deum necfulm ina nec minitanti I murmure compressit caelum, sed eo magis acrem I inritat anim i uirtutem, effringere ut arta I naturae prim usportarum claustra cupiret. i ergo uiuida uis anim iperuicit et extra Iprocessit longe flammantia moenia mundi I atque omne immensum peragpauit mente animoque, I unde refert nobis uictor qu id possitoriri. Empedocles’ wise man is most likely to be Pythagoras, as Porphyry claimed (cf. Burkert 1972: 137—8). O vid’s passage is closer to Empedocles than to Lucretius in the details o f the opening u ir fiiit hie, and in the notion o f the mental ‘seeing’ o f the master. 29 Emped. D K 31 B 137 μορφήν δ’ ά λλάξαντα πατήρ φίλον υ ιό ν άείρας I σφάζει έπευχόμενος μέγα νήπιος· οί δ’ άπορεύνται I λισσόμενον θύοντες· ό δ’ αύ νήκουστος όμοκλέω ν I σφάξας έν μεγάροισι κ α κ ή ν άλεγύνα το δαΐτα. I ως δ ’ αϋτως πατέρ’ υιός ελών κα ί μητέρα πάιδες I θυμόν άπορραίσαντε φιλάς κ α τά σάρκας έδουσίν. Aesch. Ag. 228-37 λιτάς δέ κα ι κλήδονας πατρώ ιους I παρ’ ούδέν αιώνα πα ρθένειόν τ ’ I έθεντο ψιλόμαχοί βραβής· I φράσεν δ’ άόζοις πατήρ μετ’ εύχάν ! δίκα ν χίμαιρας ΰπερθε βωμού I πέπλοισι περιπετή π α ντί θυμώι I

Sublime visions

The Speech o f Pythagoras in Ovid M eta m o rp h o ses jy

The Empedoclean passage also suggests a feast such as that offered to Thyestes, in an earlier episode from the history o f the Pelopids; when the Ovidian Pythagoras returns to his diatribe against meat-eating at the end of his speech, he makes the connection between his injunction and the doctrine o f metempsychosis and inveighs against ‘Thyestean tables’, 15.642 neue Thyesteis cumulemus uiscera mensis ‘let us not pile up entrails on Thyestean tables’. As in the case o f the opening description o f the power o f Pythagoras’ mind, Ovid here reaches back beyond Lucretius to the original context o f the Lucretian model in Empedocles, here the attack on animal-sacrifice and the associated doctrine o f metempsychosis, and so inverts the Lucretian rejection o f Pythagorean—Empedoclean teaching on the soul (D R N 1.102—35). This emphatic double imitation o f the Greek and Latin philosophical poets at the beginning o f the last book o f Ovid’s poem marks a return literally to first things, for the description o f Chaos at the beginning o f the Metamorphoses (1.7—14) imitates a Lucretian passage (5.432—5) that is in turn a close imitation o f an Empedoclean passage (B 27).30

O race o f men paralysed by the fear o f chill death, why do you fear the Styx, why fear shadows and empty names, subject-matter for the seers, perils o f a world that does not exist?



At Metamorphoses 15.153—9 Pythagoras exposes the vanity o f the fear of death, a fear which is nurtured by the Underworld fables o f the uates, and which may be dispelled by the truth about the transmigration of souls, a truth which also reinforces the prohibition o f meat-eating (153-5): O genus attonitum gelidae formidine mortis, quid Styga, quid tenebras et nomina uana timetis, materiem uatum, falsi pericula mundi?

προνω πή λαβ έΐν άέρδην στόματός I τε καλλιπρώ ιρου φυλακέα κατασχεΤν I φ θόγγον αραιόν οϊκοις. See W right 1981: 286-7· Sedley 1998: 3 ° 5 argues that B 137 comes from the proem to the P e ri Phuseos·, and is the structural model for the Lucretian sacrifice o f Iphianassa. In Ovid’s outburst against meat-eating at M et. 15.88-90 heu quantum scelus est in uiscera uiscera con di I ingestoque a u id u m pin guescere corpore corpus I a lteriu squ e anim ans a n im an tis u iu ere leto!> there is strong Lucretian colouring (see Bomer ad loc.); the scelus o f 88 may remind o f D R N 1.82—3 sceleris . . . scelerosa (the sacrifice o f Iphianassa). 30 See n. 19. O vid’s use o f divine metonyms for parts o f the universe {M e t 1.10 T ita n (the sun), 11 Phoebe , 14 A m ph itrite) is also in the Empedoclean manner (B 6, the four elements; B 38.4 Τ ιτά ν . . . αιθήρ ...) . For a detailed discussion o f the combined Lucretian and Empedoclean allusion at M e t 1.4 16-51 see Nelis 2009.


At 174 Pythagoras describes his admonition to abstain from flesh as uaticinari ‘prophesying’, that is he claims himself to be a uates, ‘seer, prophet, bard’. The word uates is a key term for the Augustan poets; used as a self-description it appropriates to the poet a lofty position as social and religious spokesman. It is sometimes supposed that by Ovid’s time the word had been rubbed rather bare, and that Ovid used it indifferently as a word for ‘poet’, without making particular claims for his own poetic role;31 but the apparent contradiction in the present passage between Pythagoras’ disparagement o f uates and his claim a little later to be a uates himself reveals rather Ovid’s understanding of the Lucretian tactic of snatching the high ground from the enemy. At the beginning of his poem (D R N 1.102—35) Lucretius attacks the uates who frighten mankind with talk of the afterlife, including in their number the epic poet Ennius; Lucretius refers to the episode at the beginning o f the Annals, in which Ennius relates how the simulacrum o f Homer appeared to him in a dream, and explained to him the nature o f the universe and the transmigration of souls, by way o f a prelude to the revelation that the true soul o f Homer now lodged in the breast o f Ennius. Lucretius rejects such accounts o f the survival o f the soul after death, and arrogates to himself the alternative uates-like stance o f that most vatic o f philosophers, Empedocles;32 at the same time he substitutes for the account of nature contained in the Dream o f Homer at the opening o f Ennius’ Annals his own Epicurean de rerum naturaP Lucretius’ usurpation o f Ennian territory extends to the Empe­ doclean role itself, for Ennius in the Annals had borrowed from Empedo­ cles, to an extent that we can no longer exactly define: most obvious is the modelling on Empedoclean Neikos o f Discordia, the demon who hurls Rome into the chaos of war with Carthage in Book 7 of the Annals·, and Bignone has argued that the Dream of Homer is specifically indebted to Empedocles’ version o f the cycle o f souls.34 For my argument that is indeed a tempting hypothesis, for the Ovidian imitation o f Ennius to be 31 Newm an 1967: 182—95; Newman sees in the apparent contradiction merely an example o f Pythagoras ‘forgetting him self’ (190-1); see also Börner 1986 on 15.155. 32 C f. Cic. L a el. 24 A grigentinum . . . uaticin atum . 33 P. Hardie 1986a: 17-22. 34 Ennius and Empedocles: Norden 19 15 :10 -18 ; Bignone 1929; Skutsch 19 8 5 :16 0 ,16 4 n. 18 (expressing some scepticism about Bignone’s claim), 260, 394-7, 758; Garani 2007: 25-8. On the Em pedoclean-Ennian-Lucretian tradition see also ch. 3 in this volume.


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The Speech o f Pythagoras in Ovid M eta m o rp h o ses 15

discussed in the next section would then offer another example o f ‘double allusion’, both to a Latin text and to the Greek model for that text.

taken together with the philosophical cosmogony in Book 1 as the two parts of a philosophical frame to the whole poem;38 and here again we see Ovid’s oppositio in imitatione, for if it is the Speech o f Pythagoras, rather than the creation account in Book 1, that is the more exact counterpart to the Dream o f Homer in Ennius, it has been removed from the beginning to almost the end o f the poem. Nevertheless, since Ovid has also post­ poned the Ennian matter o f Roman history until the end o f his hexameter poem, the Speech o f Pythagoras, at the beginning o f Ovid’s last book, still performs the function o f preface to Roman history that Ennius’ Dream of Homer performs coming at the beginning o f his firstbook: for the bulk of Ovid’s Roman stories come in the second part of Book 15. The Ennian Homer restricts his utterances to cosmology and psych­ ology, with the particular reference to the case of the poet Ennius; the history is to follow in the narrative of Ennius himself. The Ovidian Pythagoras includes within his speech both natural philosophy and his­ tory, telling o f the rise and fall o f empires and prophesying the future greatness o f Rome, arising from the ashes o f Troy, at a climactic point in his speech (15.420—52).39 Ovid’s imitation o f Ennius is in this rearrange­ ment mediated through Virgil; again we are dealing with the phenom­ enon o f ‘double allusion’. As is well known, the Ennian Dream o f Homer is one of the central models for the Speech o f Anchises in Book 6 o f the A eneidf0 from the point o f view of structure, Ovid’s placing o f his imitation o f the Dream o f Homer at the end of his poem thus emerges as the end-product o f a kind o f continental drift, during which the Ennian model, loosed from its moorings at the beginning o f a poem, had reached a provisional halting-place at the centre of Virgil’s epic. In the first part of his speech Anchises, like Ennius’ Homer, expounds to Aeneas the nature o f the universe and the doctrine of the transmigration of souls; in the second, and longer, part of his speech he shows Aeneas a pageant of future Roman heroes, the main part o f which concludes with an Ennian quotation, 6.846 unus qui nobis cunctando restituis rem (cf. Ann. 363 Sk.). Virgil thus combines in the single Speech o f Anchises both the naturalphilosophical prelude to the Annals, namely the Dream of Homer, and a resume o f the rest o f the Annals, for in taking us through the parade of


Via Empedocles and Lucretius we have thus arrived at the founding father o f Latin hexameter poetry, Ennius, and this is the point at which to raise the question o f the place o f the Metamorphoses within the tradition of Latin hexameter epic.35 As Ovid moves through universal history towards the present day, he catches up on the temporal span o f the Annals, which related the history o f Rome from the time that Aeneas fled from Troy; at the end o f Book 14, in the account o f the apotheosis o f Romulus, Mars in the council o f gods reminds Jupiter o f the promise he had made that Romulus would be raised to the sky (14.814) unus erit quem tu tolles in caerula caeli ‘there will be one man whom you will raise to the blue vaults o f the sky’. The reason that Mars can remember these pious words is that he has read them in the epic o f Ennius [Ann. 54 Sk.). With Book 15 we move on through the Ennian time-span and beyond in the continuation of Roman history to the time o f Augustus; Numa himself o f course figured prominently in the Annals?6 Ovid also imitates the structure of the Annals·, the Dream o f Homer at the beginning o f Ennius’ epic, as well as reworking the Hesiodic and Callimachean topos o f the initiation o f the poet, functions as a natural-philosophical prelude to the historical account o f Roman history. Quite how emphatic this philosophical prelude was it is difficult to say, since we do not know how long it was; but if it did develop at some length, the reader will have been given the impression that this disquisition de rerum natura had an importance for Roman history that went beyond its function in validating the poetic credentials of the narrator o f that history.37 Ovid repeats the Ennian combination of philosophy and history, distorting and stretching the structure o f the Annals·, the Metamorphoses begins with a lengthy philosophical account o f the creation o f the world as prelude to human history, and like Ennius he will bring that history down ad mea tempora·, the stretching o f course is responsible for the bulk o f Ovid’s material, the mythological and legen­ dary stories that fill the first eleven books before we come to the stories of Troy and Aeneas in Book 12. The Speech o f Pythagoras in Book 15 is to be 35 On Ennian elements in the Met. see Hofm ann 1986: 223—6. 36 But probably not the story o f the meeting o f Num a and Pythagoras: cf. Skutsch 1985: 263—4. 37 See Skutsch 1968: 24—7; Skutsch 1985: 147—53.

14 7

38 Newman 1967: 189—90 points out that the Ennian ring that binds Met. 1 and 15 is reinforced bp the imitation o f the Ennian concilium deorum in Met. i. 39 In this respect the Speech o f Pythagoras may be seen as a microcosmic recapitulation o f the whole o f the Annals, as also o f the whole o f the Met. in its span o f time from the memory o f the Golden Age (cf. 1.89—112) to a prophecy o f the greatness o f Rome. 40 For a discussion see P. Hardie 1986a: 76—83.


I 49

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The Speech o f Pythagoras in Ovid M eta m o rp h o ses iy

heroes Anchises in fact is running over the historical subject matter o f the whole o f Ennius’ poem, and there are other detailed Ennian echoes in these lines. Furthermore Anchises also functions as a figure o f the poet Ennius, appearing, as it were, to Virgil as well as to Aeneas, just as the poet Homer appears to Ennius to pass on the mantle of epic poetry; as Ennius, taking the story from the flight o f Aeneas, is the continuator o f the poet of the Iliad, so Virgil continues and completes the epic o f Roman history begun by pater Ennius.41 Ovid’s use o f the Speech o f Anchises calls forth three further observa­ tions: (i) Ovid again distorts the proportions o f his model; while Anchises’ philosophy is merely a preliminary to his history, the story o f Rome’s greatness which concludes Pythagoras’ lecture on cosmic metamorphosis is reduced in scale to little more than an example o f the Empedoclean theme o f universal change, (ii) Ovid’s use o f Empedoclean material may itself have the additional function o f commenting on the Virgilian model, for Anchises in his account o f the elemental purgation o f souls uses language that reminded Norden o f Empedocles’ doctrine o f the elemental wandering o f the daemons;42 but if this is correct, it may o f course be that Virgil has picked up some Empedoclean material from his reading o f the Ennian Dream o f Homer, (iii) Finally, Virgil comments on the mediation o f Ennian — and Empedoclean? — material through Lucretius when his Anchises begins his disquisition de rerum et animi natura in language that ‘is constantly and pointedly Lucretian’, although ‘the matter would have excited Lucretius’ disdain’.43 To trace the Empedoclean in the Speech o f Pythagoras is thus to follow the outline o f a genealogy o f the Metamorphoses as hexameter epos. The instinct o f those critics who have sought in the Speech some kind of general reflection of, or comment on, the poem as a whole is sound, but the mistake has been too narrowly to concentrate the search for a ‘key’ in the subject-matter itself o f transformation. The unifying ground is rather to be located at the level o f poetics, in the construction o f a literary history within the text. Further support for this way o f reading the Speech may be found in the fact that Virgil seems to be doing something similar at the end o f the second Georgic (458-542), where, Damien Nelis argues, Virgil ‘draws attention to the issue o f the wider literary traditions within which

the Georgies may be read and to the place o f the Georgies in his literary career as a whole’.44 In particular Nelis shows that within the many­ layered tradition excavated by Virgil in this passage, Empedocles, Ennius, and Lucretius play important parts (together with Hesiod, Parmenides, and Aratus). Furthermore the passage includes the famous double makarismos (490—4) felix qui p o tu it. . . fortunatus et ille . . . , which probably alludes to Empedocles’ praise o f Pythagoras, imitated in Lucretius’ praise o f Epicurus,45 the two passages alluded to in Ovid’s introduction of Pythagoras in Metamorphoses 15. Seen in this light the end o f Georgies 2, the end o f the first half of the four-book poem, is doing literary-historical work similar to that being done by the two speeches o f Anchises, together with their narrative frame, at the end o f the first half o f the Aeneid, in a complex that has close connections with the Ovidian Speech of Pythagoras. With Ovid we should o f course not expect such an exercise in literary history to be anything but tendentious and partial. But even so the modern reader o f Roman epic may profit from the insights, however biased, o f an ancient reader as skilled as Ovid. To see the Roman epic tradition as Empedoclean epos is to highlight the themes of change and process, a convenient way for Ovid as poet of the Metamorphoses to proclaim his own centrality in the tradition; but it may also prompt us to a rereading o f earlier epic. Mutability is both the precondition of Virgil’s story o f the transformation o f Trojans into Romans, and the source of an anxiety that Augustus’ perfected Rome may be prey to further change.46 Empedoclean epos also points to the importance of scientific poetry in the Latin hexameter tradition, and to the continuing influence of Ennius’ foundational gesture of beginning the Annals with a Pythago­ rean de rerum natura. Ennius’ decision had its consequences: in so far as Ovid uses a philosophico-didactic form within which to reflect on the Latin hexameter tradition, he passes comment on the continuing ten­ dency within that tradition for didactic to slip into the guise o f heroic epic (Lucretius), and for heroic epic to dally with the didactic (the Aeneid, above all).47 Empedocles’ interest in the transmigration o f souls and in his own personal experience o f that process further directs us to what becomes an obsession, peculiarly insistent in the Roman epicists, with

41 See P. Hardie 1993: 103—5. 42 Norden 1957: 28; Arundel 1963/64: 33—4. T he most direct imitation o f Empedocles in Virgil is Geo. 2.484 frigidus obstiterit circum praecordia sanguis, modelled on Emped. D K 31 B 105.3; Nelis 2004a argues for extensive use o f Empedocles in Geo. 2.458—542. 43 Austin 1977: 221.

44 Nelis 2004a: 2; the exploration o f literary genealogies and affiliations continues into the proem to Georgies 3: see Nelis 2004b. 45 Nelis 2004a: 1-4 ; see P. Hardie 1986a: 39 n. 17. 46 See P. Hardie 1992. 47 On the combination o f scientific and legendary—historical epos see P. Hardie 1986a passim.


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The Speech o f Pythagoras in Ovid M eta m o rp h o ses iy

their own literary genealogies, and one associated with a doctrine of metempsychosis in Ennius, Lucretius (in the negative mode of alerting the reader to his own Ennian affiliation through a correction o f Ennian eschatology at D R N 1.102—35), and Virgil. At a more abstract level, the temporal process o f Empedoclean physics and anthropology acts as a figure for the Latin ‘Empedoclean’ tradition itself, as Ovid traces the metamorphoses o f the tradition down to its last reincarnation in his own hexameter poem.

to whom on the final rung on the ladder o f the soul’s ascent to divinity (B 146) μάντεις [uates] τε καί ύμνοπόλοι και ΐητροί I καί πρόμοι άνθρώποισιν έττιχθονίοισι πέλονται, I ένθεν άναβλαστοΰσι θεοί τιμήισι φέριστοι ‘there come into being prophets and poets and doctors and leaders o f men that dwell on earth, and from them spring gods outstand­ ing in honour’. Empedocles himself seems to have embodied all these four roles in one person,51 thus supplying a model for the poet at his most pretentious. But the epilogue also marks a contrast with Pythagoras’ doctrine o f mutability, for in his personal destiny Ovid at last escapes from the law o f universal change (and so brings the sequence of Meta­ morphoses to an end).52 This too might be understood as the manipulation of different Empedoclean models. In fragment 115 Empedocles bleakly describes the ‘decree o f necessity’ that when one o f the daemons does wrong he is condemned to thirty thousand years’ wandering through elemental cycles of reincarnation, and says that Ί too am now one of these, a fugitive from the gods and a wanderer’. Yet in fragment 112.4-5, possibly from a different work,53 Empedocles claims έγώ δ’ ύμΐν θεός άμβροτος, ούκέτι θνητός I πωλεΰμαι μετά πάσι τετιμένος Ί pass among you as an immortal god, no longer mortal, honoured by all’ : an earthly version of the celestial immortality and universal fame to which Ovid looks forward at the end o f the Metamorphoses. The contrast between these two Empedoclean roles, the exile and the god, has added point for those tempted to believe that Ovid continued to work on the Metamorphoses after his relegation.54


It has become commonplace to see in the person o f the Ovidian Pytha­ goras a figure for the poet Ovid himself,48 an identification that may be seen in the light o f the close relationship that exists between the poets Ennius and Lucretius and their philosophical mentors, Elomer and Epi­ curus. Ovid, introducing Pythagoras, describes him as another Lucretian Grains homo wandering through the universe (15.62—4); Pythagoras’ own words at 143—52 echo more closely Lucretius’ account of his own poetic mission at De Rerum Natura 1.921-30. Pythagoras’ fragmented outline of the course of human history from the Golden Age (96-103) to the greatness o f Rome and the deification o f Augustus (431-49) offers a miniature recapitulation o f the whole o f Ovid’s Metamorphoses, as we have seen. And Pythagoras’ ecstatic fancy that he wanders through the stars, leaving behind the dull earth, is close to Ovid’s prophecy o f his own celestial destination in the epilogue to the poem (871—9),49 as he f transformed into the immortal fame o f his own poetry, escaping fron the vicissitudes o f the body. In his own journey heavenwards he traces the same path that Augustus some day will take in the footsteps o f Julius, a bold formulation o f the Anspruch des Dichters to equivalence with the ruler, but not necessarily disrespectful given the Virgilian precedent in Georgies 3.50 There is also, however, precedent in Empedocles, according 48 See Bömer 1986: 269; Petersmann 1976: 199; Crahay and H ubaux 1957 argue that the meeting between Pythagoras and. N um a conceals an allegory about Ovid and Augustus. 49 14 7-9 iuuat ire per alta I astra, iuuat terris et inerti sede relicta I nube uehi; 875—6 parte tarnen meliore mei super alta perennis I astra ferar. By the terms o f the last line o f the poem, 879 siquid habent ueri uatum praesagia, uiuam, Ovid in fact becomes his own uates, see 145 on Pythagoras as a uates, and note esp. 144—5 Delphosque meos ipsumque recludam I aethera et augustae reserabo oracula mentis (playing on the etymology o f Pyth-agoras). Relevant also is the association o f Empedocles with Apollo and D elphi (according to the Suda he went around carrying στέμματα Δελφικά): see Solmsen 1980. 50 Buchheit 1972: 99—103; see also P. Hardie 1997.


51 With, regard to the fourth see Kirk, Raven, Schofield 1983: 282 ‘W e may . . . infer that Empedocles took a leading role as a democrat in the affairs o f his city.’ 52 Even Augustus’ apotheosis as foretold by Pythagoras is not immune to the suspicion o f mutability, for in the sequel we learn that the sky, the dead princeps destination, is itself subject to change: 15.449 (the last words o f Helenus’ reported prophecy about Augustus) caelumque erit exitus illv, but 453—5 ne tamen oblitis a d metam tendere longe I exspatiemur equis, caelum et quodcumque sub illo est, I immutat formas tellusque et quidquid in ilia est. 53 See Sedley 1998: 3-4. 54 Those tempted include Pohlenz 1913; Segal 1969: 290-2; Nisbet 1982: 54; Kovacs 1987. In addition to the points raised by these scholars I note the parallelism between the description o f Pythagoras’ ‘flight o f the m ind’ and his oculi pectoris {Met. 15.62-4) with the common topos o f oculi mentis in the exile poetry; particularly close is Tr. 4.2.57—64. Like Empedocles, the Ovidian Pythagoras is also an exile, but o f a more literal kind {Met. 15.61-2 odioque tyrannidis exul I sponte erai)·, his politics have something in common with Empedocles, who is said (D. L. 8.63, after Aristotle and Xanthos) to have refused the offer o f a throne. Further there was a tradition that Empedocles had gone into exile from his home to Syracuse (D. L. 8.52). Ovid’s escape from the conditions o f mortality will ultimately transcend the metamorphosis o f fortunae uultus meae which he bemoans in Tristia 1.1.117 —22, on which see Hinds 1985: 20—1.

Sublime visions




The influence o f Empedocles may be traced elsewhere in Ovid and Augustan poetry.53*5556As a final token o f the sympathy between the portent­ ous pre-Socratic and the playful poet o f love consider the possibility that one o f Ovid’s own favourite lines from his own poems may be an Empedoclean adaptation. Let us return to a passage that we have already considered (see 141), the description o f the hybrid monsters that came into being in the early stages o f zoogony: πολλά μέν άμφιπρόσωπα και άμφίστερνα φύεσθαι, βουγενή άνδρόπρωιρα, τά δ’ έμπαλιν έξανατέλλειν άνδροφυή βούκρανα, μεμειγμένα τήι μέν άπ’ άνδρών τήι δε γυναικοφυη σκιεροΐς ήσκημένα γυίοις. Empedocles DK 31 Β 6ι (for transl. see 141) Was the chiastic play in successive half-lines on the roots βου- and άνδρο- in Ovid’s mind when he came up with the following Empedo­ clean monster o f a line (ArsAm . 2.24): semibouemque uirum semiuirumque bouem ‘a man half-ox and an ox half-man’?5 and o f the flight o f the m ind as it looks outside itself, is well established: Ov. Pont. 1.8.34 cunctaque mens oculisperuidet usa suis\ see Galasso 1995 on Ov. Pont. 2 4 .7 —8. 10 praepandere is rare: Cic. Arat. 40; Laevius poet. 22.4 mihi quae diem serenum ... praepandere cresti (note D .& V 1.142 serenas). Lucretius also uses pando (1.55, 5.54) and expando (1.126).


Sublime visions

the elaboration o f φαντασία ‘visualization’, as a means to ένάργεια, ‘vividness’ .11 Chapter 15 o f ps.-Longinus’ On the Sublime discusses φαντασία as one o f the routes to the production o f the sublime through high feeling. What Ingo Gildenhard labels the Lucretian ‘drama of vision’12· is an important source o f the Lucretian sublime. Gian Biagio Conte makes the link between the Lucretian reader, constantly provoked to visualize, and the viewer o f the sublime, with reference to the discussion o f phantasia in chapter 15 o f On the Sublime·. ‘The sensualistic materialism o f Lucretius’ thought coincides with the language o f a poetry of evident and concretely perceptible images.’13 But, like the sublime, vision also has the potential to mislead the unwary student. At De Rerum Natura 2.1030—9 in order to prepare the reader for the shocking novelty of the proposition that there is an infinity of worlds, Lucretius uses the analogy o f the disbelief with which mankind would confront the spectacle of the heavens and their contents had we never seen these wonders before; as it is, sated with the constant vision o f the heavens, we do not give it a thought. The implication is that marvel at the sight of the heavens might mislead us into a false explanation of their cause, in contrast to the proper use of a mental vision to arrive at a true understanding o f the nature o f the universe (1046—7).1415 Both Virgil and Horace respond keenly to the Lucretian ‘drama of vision’. I discuss the Horatian response in the next chapter. For Virgil a Lucretian optics o f the sublime is a favourite resource from the time that the resurrected Daphnis stares with ‘a wild surmise’ at the clouds and stars beneath his feet in Eclogue 5, reliving the visionary experience o f Lucretius at the beginning o f Book 3 o f the De Rerum N a tu ra l In the Georgies Lucretian views and modes o f viewing are recurrent, but more often than not deflected from Lucretian purposes. The distant view does not bring contentment: failure to engage in unremitting toil to 11 These rwo functions o f visualization correspond to the poles o f the typology o f the formula cuidi ’ in La Penna 1987: 112 ‘da un lato il vidi evocativo-patetico, dall’altro il vidi didascalico e quello gnomico’ . 12 Gildenhard 2004: 37. 13 Conte 1994: 17. Conte’s aperçu is developed by Martindale 2005: 189. 14 qu id sit ib i porro quo prospicere usque uelit mens ... prospicere, used o f a rationally directed viewing, contrasts with 1034 ex improuiso, whose literal meaning (‘not seen before’) is triggered to convey the overpowering and misleading effect o f something seen for the first time (by contrast the first-time vision o f the nature o f things in- the proem to D R N 3 is a mental vision guided by right reason). Lucretius may im ply criticism o f the Stoic use o f marvel at the heavens for the argument from design: cf. Cic. D N D 2.96. See also D R N 5.1183—93 on the origin o f religion from ignorance o f the true causes o f celestial motions. 15 For further discussion o f Daphnis’ sublime vision see 133—5.

Lucretian visions in Virgil

IS /

eliminate pests will lead to a frustrated gaze on the success o f the labor of others, Geo. 1.158 heu magnum alterius frustra spectabis aceruum ‘alas, in vain will you look on another man’s great heap’, reformulating a Hesiodic warning in Lucretian language, D R N 2.2 e terra magnum alterius spectare^j laborem ‘to look from land on another’s great toil [at sea]’.16 The purpose o f planting vines in the neat order of a legionary line is not to offer to philosophical theoria a spectacle o f violent energy as an analogical tool, as Lucretius does with the view from a mountain of legions exercising in the plain (D R N 2.323—32): Geo. 2.285 non animum modo uti pascatprospectus inanem ‘not just so that the view may feed your idle/empty mind’ — viewing without practical engagement serves no purpose.17 The cosmic visions focalized through Lucretius at the beginning o f De Rerum Natura 3 and through Daphnis in Eclogue 5 are decomposed into a geographical account o f the two poles, Geo. 1.242—3 hie uertex nobis semper sublimis; at ilium I sub pedibus Styx atra uidet Manesque profundi ‘this pole is always high above us; but the other is beneath our feet, visible to black Styx and the deep-buried shades’. The sublime and unified Lucretian cosmic gaze takes in the whole universe, what lies above and what lies below, and reveals the absence o f the traditional Underworld. The Virgilian viewer cannot see what lies beneath his feet, on the other side o f the world, and in our absence that view is pre-empted by a resurgent world o f the dead: the underworld (invisible to us, a-ides) is an Underworld, Hades. Other monsters o f the mythological Underworld raise their heads in the Virgil­ ian plague, Geo. 3.551—3 saeuit et in lucem Stygiis emissa tenebris I pallida Tisiphone Morbos agit ante Metumque, I inque dies auidum surgens caput altius ejfert ‘pale Tisiphone rages, and released from Stygian darkness into the light drives Disease and Fear before her, and rising day by day she carries her greedy head higher’ — like Religio at De Rerum Natura 1.64, quae caput a caeli regionibus ostendebat ‘which showed its head from the quarters of the sky’,18 but here there is no mortal able to raise up his eyes against her. The earth does at one point make a show to mankind of what lies beneath, at Geo. 2.165—6 haec eadem argenti riuos aerisque metalla I ostendit uenis atque auro plu rim afluxitlxhe soil o f Italy has revealed in her

16 C f. Hes. Op. 394—5. Gale 2000 notes {161 n. 50) ‘Lucretius’ image o f escape from the labores which afflict the non-Epicurean has become for Virgil a warning against shirking one’s labores 17 Gale 2000: 259 ‘Virgil has transformed Lucretius’ symbol o f detachment from the disorder o f ~’ public life to one o f involvement . . . ’ 18 M ynors 1990 notes the Lucretian parallel, and also refers to the image o f Eris at II. 4.442—3 for Tisiphone’s upward expansiveness.The passage anticipates the emergence o f Allecto in A eneid 7; is Ennius’ Discordia also an intertext here?

15 8

Sublime visions

veins streams o f silver and mines o f copper, and flowed in rivers o f gold’. This is a Lucretian revelation, from the account o f the discovery o f metals at De Rerum Natura 5.1241—68. There the free disclosure o f molten metals through natural processes is followed by the active participation o f early man, first with his powers o f mind, and then with bodily powers, as mental penetration is followed by the penetrative use o f metal tools: 1262—3 turnpenetrabat eosposse haec liquefacta calore I quamlibet informam etfaciem decurrere rerum ‘then it penetrated their minds that these might be melted by heat and poured into any shape or appearance’; 1268 et terebrare etiam ac pertundere perque forare ‘they would drill and pierce and bore [wood with metal tools]’.19 In the laudes Italiae earth’s revelation o f metals operates rather in the mode o f the spontaneous bounty o f a Golden Age. Philosophical revelation and penetrative intelligence are not the domÌ inant modes o f the didactic experience o f the Georgies. It is true that when we turn back from the Saturnian land of the laudes Italiae to Virgil’s account o f the new age o f Jupiter at Geo. 1.118—59, early man is indeed forced to look into hidden places to find the materials needed to support life: 1.134—5 [ut\ sulcis frum enti quaereret herbam, I ut silicis uenis abstrusum excuderet ignem ‘in order that he should search in the furrows for the sprouting corn, and strike out fire from the veins o f flint’. At the end of the second Geòrgie Virgil aspires to be the recipient o f a Lucretian scientific revelation, but accepts that he may have to content himself with a less heroic programme, foiled in his ambition to press forward into the secrets o f nature (2.483 sin has ne possim naturae accedere partis ‘but if I am not able to reach these parts o f nature ...’). In the space between these two strenuous and thrusting kinds o f investigation, one provoked by a cata­ strophic change in the environment in the distant past, the other the poet’s own wish for a loftier kind o f gnosis in an as yet unrealized future, the didaxis o f the Georgies operates for the most part through more mundane forms o f patient observation and unremitting application. Didactic vision is more usually o f the kind expressed by the formula uidi (well analysed by Antonio La Penna)20 than the vision o f revelation. The militarism o f Georgies is not that o f the scientific pioneer. What the farmer needs is not the Epicurean’s insight into the invisible atomic texture o f the world, but hands-on tests to gauge the relative thickness


19 On the continuity between mental and physical penetration see Kenney 1972: 17—19. For man’s penetrative exploitation o f the metallic resources o f the earth see also D R N 6.808—9 d en iq u e u b i argen ti uenas a u riq u e sequuntur, \ terrai p en itu s scrutantes a b d ita ferro .

20 La Penna 1987.

Lucretian visions in Virgil


or thinness o f soil, Geo. 2.226—7 nunc quo quamque modo possis cognoscere dicam. I rara sit an supra morem si densa requires ... ‘now I will tell you how to recognize each kind. Whether it is thin, or an unusually dense soil that you want .. .’2I In the Aeneid, by contrast, heroic struggle and conquest are recurrently figured in imagery and language that recall the Lucretian didactic project. A sign o f the relatively greater importance for the Virgilian epic, as opposed to Virgilian didactic, o f the Lucretian quest for illumination emerges from a comparison o f the passage in Georgies 1 describing early man’s search for corn and fire with the parallel passage that describes the Trojans’ energetic exploration o f the new-found land o f Italy at the beginning o f Aeneid 6. The Lucretian echoes are denser and more insistent in the Aeneid passage, as the lignatio and aquatio o f the Roman soldier take on an extra significance: 6.6-8 quaeritpars semina flammae I abstrusa in uenis silicis, pars densa ferarum I tecta rapit siluas inuentaque flum ina monstrat ‘some search for the seeds o f flame hidden in the veins o f flint, some raid the dense woods, the haunts of wild beasts, and show the rivers that they have found’. Norden has a long and important note on 6.5-8, illustrating Virgil’s efforts to lend an epic elevation to the trivial and everyday, as he treads a fine line between i)\|/o179 Kenney, E. J., 4, 210 Knapp, S., 87, 88

Knoespel, K. J., 271, 273 Knox, P., 142 Labate, M ., 225 labor, 49-50 Laocoon, 166—8 La Penna, A ., 158 Leigh, M ., 205 Linus, 33 ps.-Longinus On the Sublime, 7, 67, 109, 117, 156, 205 Lucan, 122 Lucian, 107 Lucretius ‘distant views’ , 155, 160—4 and Empedocles, 142—4 on fashion, 61—2 and freedom, 181—3 life of, 1 on literary history, 52—3 and Ovid, ch. 4 passim, 53 n. 41 and the sublime, chs. 3, 5, 6 passim on time and history, 13—17 and vision, ch. 5 passim Macleod, C ., 183 Mariotti, S., 108 Mars, 76, 105, 125 Martindale, C ., 6 Marvell, Andrew, 278 Mazzoli, G ., 181 M ercury, 75, 78-9, 104, 130, 254 metathesis, 120 metempsychosis, figure for literary succession, 149—50 Mezentius, 206 M ilton, John, ch. 8 passim, 94, 169 on heroism, 274—5 M organ, L., 29, 51 multiple explanations in declamation, 234—5 in Lucan, 249—54 in Lucretius, 232—4 in Manilius, 245 in Ovid, Metamorphoses, 246-9 in Pliny the Younger, 234 in Statius, 254-63 in Valerius Flaccus, 236 in Virgil, Aeneid, 243—5 in Virgil, Georgies, 237—9 myth, correction of, 275—8 Narcissus, 270—3 Neikos ‘Strife’, 100, 141, 145 Nelis, D ., 148 Nisbet, R. G . M ., 18 0 -1, 182


Norden, E., 148, 159, 200 novelty, 16, 38—40, 47—8 literary, 57—62 and the sublime, 107—9 Num a, 139 Oberhelman, S., 58 obscurity, judicious, 93—9, 101, 106 Octavian, see Augustus Ogilby, John, n o Oliensis, E., 119, 160 Orgel, S., 51 Otis, B., 138 otium, 31, 32 Ovid, 39-40 and Empedocles, ch. 4 passim and Ennius, 144-8 on fame, 85 and Horace, 184-5 House o f Fama {Met. 12), 107, 108 and Lucretius, ch. 4 passim, 53 n. 41 Metamorphoses, 48 post-exilic revision, 151 Speech o f Pythagoras {Met. 15), ch. 4 passim Perkell, C ., 238, 239 personification, 87—8, 108 Perseus, 79—80 Petronius, 225-8 phantasia, 156 Philodemus, 120—1 Pindar, 208, 2 11-12 poem as world, 278—9 poet, body of, 116—25 Pollio, 16 Polydorus, 91, 170—1 Polyphemus, 24, 92-3, 96—7, 113-16 , 123 Pompey, 252—3 Pope, Alexander, 116 Porter, J. I., 7, 77, 82 praeceps, 215-16, 226 primacy, poetic, 54—5 ‘proem in the middle’, 33 Punic Wars, 103—4, 12 6 -7 Pyrrhus, 106, 129, 165-6 Pythagoras, 131, 246-7 as figure for Ovid, 150—1 Quint, D ., 75 Reed, J., 163 Religio, 72, 76, 89, 93-5 and Discordia, 104—5 at site o f Rome, 10 6 -7 Richter, W ., 237 Rostagni, A ., 138

30 6 rota V ergilii, 18 Ruskin, John, 115 Russell, D ., 216 Salmoneus, 88 Schiesaro, A ., 109 Schrijvers, P., 7, 276 Schroeder, F., 163 Sedley, D. N ., 1, 14, 142 Sellar, W . Y., 2 Shackleton Bailey, D . R ., 263 shade, 19, 2 0 -1, 29 Silius Italicus, 7 Skutsch, O ., 60, 100 Strong, R., n o sublime, the, ch. 3 passim , 7—8 the gap, 82-3, 103 and the grotesque, 86, 116—25 intertextual, 109—16 and irony, 87—8 mathematical, 96, 10 9 ,116 , 118—19 mountains, 82 and novelty, 10 7 -9 , P34 objective and subjective, 86—7 precipice, 214—17 rhecorical and natural, 87 and Rom an history, 125-32 storm, 205 thunderbolt, 81-2, 86 sublim is, 197, 199-202 Syndikus, H .-P., 191 Tasso, Torquato, 278 ‘ten (hundred) mouths’ cliché, 117 —19 Theocritus, 24 Thiodamas, 261

General index Thom as, R. F., 128 thunderbolt, 7 1-2 , 73, 88, 9 7-9 , 17 6 -7 triumph, 47 Turner, J. M . W ., ‘Ulysses deriding Polyphemus’, 113-16 uates, 145 uestigia ‘traces’, 37 Vacuna, 187-8 Varius Rufus, 3 Venus, 13, 76, 105, 125 Vida, Girolam o, 22-3, 264 Virgil A eneid Cave o f the W inds, 105 Shield o f Aeneas, 98, 102 Speech o f Anchises, 48, 147-8 Storm, 108 combined allusion to Lucretius and Catullus, 37 n. 63 Eclogues boys in, 27—9 Eclogue 6 and literary history, 52 Georgies, history in, 4 1-6 , 48-52 void, the, 47, 54, 95, 174 Vulcan, forge of, 97-9 Weber, A. Paul, ‘T he Rum our’, n o —12 Weingaertner, A ., 208 West, D ., 222 W inkler, J., 249 wonder, 50 Xenophanes, 38