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Albii Tibulli Carmina, accedunt Sulpiciae Elegidia, edidit, etc., Geyza Némethy, Budapest, 1905.

Némethy, Lyg. = Némethy, Geyza: Lygdami Carmina, Budapest, 1906. Neue = Neue, Friedrich: Formenlehre der Lateinischen Sprache, 3te Aufl. von C. Wagener, Berlin, 1892.

P. Ovidi Nasonis Heroides, edited by Arthur Palmer, Oxford,


Proceedings of the American Philological Association.

Sexti Properti Carmina recognovit Ioannes S. Phillimore, Oxford, 1901.

Phill. Ind. V. = Index Verborum Propertianus. Fecit Ioannes S. Phillimore, Oxford, 1905.


Pichon, René: De Sermone Amatorio apud Latinos Elegiarum Scriptores, Paris, 1902.

Platner = Platner, Samuel Ball: The Topography and Monuments of Ancient Rome, Boston, 1904 (2d ed., 1911).

Plessis Plessis, Frédéric : Études critiques sur Properce et ses élégies,

Paris, 1884.






Plessis, Calvus Calvus, Édition Complète des Fragments, etc., par F. Plessis, Paris, 1896.

Tibulli Aliorumque Carminum libri tres,

Postgate Postgate, J. P.:
Oxford, 1905.

Postgate, Prop. = Select Elegies of Propertius, edited by J. P. Postgate,
London, 1881.


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Postgate, Sel. = Selections from Tibullus and others, edited by J. P. Postgate, London, 1903.

Preller3 Preller, L. Römische Mythologie, Dritter Auflage von H. Jordan, Berlin, 1881.

P. W. = Pauly, A. F.: Real-Encyclopaedie d. klass. Altertumswissenschaft,

rev. by G. Wissowa, Stuttgart, 1894.


Roby, Henry John: A Grammar of the Latin Language from Plautus to Suetonius, London, 1871-73.

Ramsay Selections from Tibullus and Propertius, edited by George G. Ramsay, Oxford, 1900.


Die Gedichte des Catullus, herausgegeben u. erklärt von Alexander Riese, Leipzig, 1884. Rothstein


Die Elegien des Sextus Propertius erklärt von Max Rothstein, Berlin, 1898. Sandys = Sandys, John Edwin: A Companion to Latin Studies, Cambridge, 1910.


Schanz Schanz, Martin: Geschichte der Römischen Litteratur, Munich,




Schulze, K. P.: Römische Elegiker: eine Auswahl aus Catull, Tibull, Properz und Ovid, für den Schulgebrauch bearbeitet, 5te Auflage, Berlin, 1910.

Ludovicus Schwabius recognovit,

= Catulli Veronensis Liber.
Berlin, 1886.

Sellar Sellar, W. Y.: Horace and the Elegiac Poets, Oxford, 1892.
Sellar3, Rep. Sellar, W. Y.: The Roman Poets of the Republic, 3d ed.,
Oxford, 1905.


Shuckburgh = P. Ovidii Nasonis Heroidum Epistulae XIII, edited with notes and indices by Evelyn S. Shuckburgh, London, 1879 (2d edition reprinted, 1896).

Simpson = Select Poems of Catullus, ed. by Francis P. Simpson, London, 1879. Sitzungsber.

Sitzungsberichte der Königlichen Preussischen Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Berlin.

Smith = The Elegies of Albius Tibullus, edited by Kirby Flower Smith,

New York, 1913.

Stolz-Schmalz = Stolz, Friedrich, und Schmalz, J. H.: Lateinische Grammatik (Müller's Handbuch der klassischen Altertumswissenschaft, II, 2), 3te Aufl., Munich, 1900.


Transactions of the American Philological Association.

Teuffel Teuffel, W. S.: History of Roman Literature, 5th ed., trans. by

G. C. W. Warr, London, 1900.

Uhlmann, Guilelmus: De Sex. Properti Genere Dicendi, Borna, 1909.

Ullman = Ullman, B. L.: The Manuscripts of Propertius, Class. Phil. VI, 3, 282-301.

Von Sybel = Von Sybel, L.: Weltgeschichte d. Kunst, Marburg, 1888. Williams Williams, Theodore C.: The Elegies of Tibullus, done in English Verse, Boston, 1905.



Wissowa, Georg: Religion und Kultus der Römer, Munich, 1902. Wolff, de Enunt. Int. Wolff, Oscar: De Enuntiatis Interrogativis apud Catullum, Tibullum, Properti Leipzig, 1886.











I. In the broad sense Latin Elegy may be said to include everything in Latin written in the elegiac distich, which was a popular metrical form from the days of the Roman republic down to the later medieval epoch. But Roman elegy, in the more restricted and commonly accepted use of the term, refers to the elegiac verse of a noteworthy group of poets whose literary activity belongs chiefly to that most interesting half century of Rome preceding the Christian era, when the Republic fell and the Empire was built upon its ruins. The works of at least two or three of these elegiac poets have almost entirely disappeared. Posterity, however, has been more kind to four of them, Catullus, Tibullus, Propertius, and Ovidius (Ovid). The first and last of these did not confine their literary composition to the elegiac distich, as in all probability the second and third of the group did; but it is with elegy only that we are now concerned.

Pre-Roman Elegy

2. Like most other forms of Roman literature, elegy is deeply indebted to Greece for both its form and its content, though the origin of this type of poetry is beyond the reach of the literary historian, and most of its Greek masterpieces during the centuries succeeding such origin have long since vanished. Horace (A. P. 75-78) wrote:

versibus impariter iunctis querimonia primum,
post etiam inclusa est voti sententia compos;
quis tamen exiguos elegos emiserit auctor,
grammatici certant, et adhuc sub iudice lis est.

This case is still on the calendar, and doubtless many courts will adjourn sine die before an ultimate decision is rendered. Perhaps of barbarian origin, the rhythm of the pentameter was certainly used in early Ionian Asia in dirges or other songs of mournful remembrance, before the advent of the earliest writers of the elegy as a literary type. The regular accompaniment to these early songs was the flute. Possibly two parts of the verse were sung responsively by a double chorus.1 The original names for this mournful pentameter, ἐλεγεῖον (ἔπος), ἐλεγεῖα (ἔπη), have been variously explained as derived from ἔ λέγε ἔ λέγε ἔ= 'Woe! Woe! cry woe!' (Suidas) or êê Aéy' è è Aéye (Wilamowitz); but from the beginning it was probably associated with the hexameter, eith as an occasional verse after a group of hexameters, or in the form of a couplet, and the terms were in early times used also to designate this couplet, or distich. The form ἐλεγεία (ποίησις or ᾠδή) was favored later, and the Hellenistic Greeks and the Romans preferred the words you and elegi for poems in this measure. (The form elogium, which appeared quite early in Latin, was reserved more especially for the sepulchral inscription or the epigram.)

3. The elegiac distich, apparently the first epodic Greek measure, became the vehicle of expression for a wide variety of poetic sentiments, varying from funeral song to erotic ecstasy. As compared with the hexameter the pentameter was considered weak (mollis was the Latin epithet), and the combination of the two seemed to lend itself more easily to the various emotions of the human heart, leading as an intermediate step to the more highly developed forms of lyric poetry. Archilochus (floruit c. 650 B.C.), to whom is attributed the invention of other poetic forms, used elegiac verse not only for funeral songs, but also to treat of warlike themes, of travel, and of the philosophy of life. The Ephesian Callinus, an older contemporary of Archilochus, employed the same metrical form for patriotic war songs. He was long credited with having invented the measure itself. 1Cf. P. W. 5, 2260 sqq.

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