ELEGIAC AMOR and MORS in VIRGIL'S 'Italian ILIAD': A CASE STUDY (AENEID 10.185-93)

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Abstract

In Book 10 of the Aeneid, Virgil presents an epic catalogue of Etruscan allies who return under Aeneas' command to the beleaguered Trojan camp (10.166-214), including the forces from Liguria. The account of the Ligurians initially conforms to the general pattern of the catalogue, as Virgil briefly introduces and describes the two leaders. But the description of Cupauo's swan-feather crest leads to a digression about the paternal origins of the avian symbol. Cupauo's father Cycnus, stricken with grief for his beloved Phaethon, was transformed from a mournful singer into the swan that bears his name (10.185-93): non ego te, Ligurum ductor fortissime bello, transierim, Cinyre, et paucis comitate Cupauo, cuius olorinae surgunt de uertice pennae (crimen, Amor, uestrum) formaeque insigne paternae. namque ferunt luctu Cycnum Phaethontis amati, populeas inter frondes umbramque sororum 190 dum canit et maestum Musa solatur amorem, canentem molli pluma duxisse senectam linquentem terras et sidera uoce sequentem. Virgil not only places the Ligurians in a central position within the catalogue, but also devotes more verses to them than to any other contingent, including his own Mantuans (10.198-206). At the very heart of this prominent passage lies the embedded tale of Cycnus, the erotic and sorrowful centrepiece of Virgil's Etruscan catalogue.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)693-703
Number of pages11
JournalClassical Quarterly
Volume65
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Classics
  • History
  • Philosophy
  • Literature and Literary Theory

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