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23. At any rate, when after Actium Messalla was sent to Aquitania by Augustus, the young poet went with him to get his first taste of military life. After that brief campaign he started with Messalla for the east, but, seized with a serious illness, was necessarily left behind on the island of Corcyra, his life trembling in the balance. These circumstances furnish the occasion of the earliest elegy which we can date with any certainty (1, 3), which was accordingly written in 30 B.C., perhaps in the latter part of the summer. This ended the military experiences of the poet, who returned, as soon as health permitted, to his estate in the country, there to spend, apparently, most of the rest of his life. Certainly we have no indications that he took any prominent part in public affairs, although he was doubtless ever and anon in the city on occasions of special interest. His tastes were gentle, he preferred the quiet of the fields to the excitement of the city; and for the remaining ten years of his life we can easily picture him enjoying the regio Pedana, surrounded by a small circle of close friends, and frequently visiting his patron, Messalla, in town, where he was welcomed as the most gifted member of Messalla's select coterie.4
24. Prominent members of this circle of friends were Sulpicia, probably a niece of Messalla and daughter of Servius Sulpicius Rufus, Cornutus, probably another member of the same Sulpician family, and Macer, all of whom were destined to play a part in the collection of elegies bearing the name of Tibullus. But a far more important influence in determining the character of his poetry was exerted by the several persons, probably all of a lower rank, for whom he formed successive
1 There is still controversy over the date of the Aquitanian Expedition ; for a review of the case cf. Hiller in BPW., Vol. 8 (1888), Sp. 808; R. Schultz, Quaestiones in Tibulli Librum I. Chronologicae, pp. 7 sqq.
2 For another view cf. Bell., pp. 181 sqq. 3 Cf. 1, 7 ; 2, 5.
4 For charming fancy pictures of his home life at Pedum, cf. Martinengo, pp. 144 sqq.; Champney, Chap. I. 5 C1. 4, 2. 6 Cf. 2, 2, Intr.
7 Cf. 2, 6, 1, n.
attachments. The first of these, upon whom he lavished his fresh poetic vows of undying affection, was a lady named Plania (cf. § 14), whom Tibullus called Delia, doubtless because dņdos = planus, and at the same time suggests her qualities as an inspirer of poetry, from the divine pair born at Delos. Delia's standing is somewhat obscure. She was hardly a patrician, although the suggestion has been made that she was identical with Sulpicia. Neither is it clear that she was a libertina. Probably a plebeian, she seems to have occupied a dubious position. She had a mother living? Either this mother or some other chaperon is characterized as anus 3 and again as lena. We hear also of a coniunx, but in exactly what sense the word is used is not easy to decide. For several years, beginning about the time when he first went away to the wars, Tibullus was her devoted, but not very successful, lover; and her figure dominates the first book of the elegies. To divert his attention from her fickleness the poet was for a short period deeply interested in a pretty boy whom he calls Marathus, and who corresponds to the Juventius whom Catullus has made famous. A second lady love was called by the significant name of Nemesis, though in exactly what sense she was to Tibullus as an avenging goddess is open to question. Certain it is that his passionate love for her met with but a poor response. Moreover, she was avaricious, and another lena appears as her guardian. This attachment did not last as long as that to Delia, and the poet probably lived to publish his second book, of which she is the central theme, before his sorrows and his frail constitution brought him to an early death. The Glycera mentioned by Horace (Car. 1, 33) as faithless to Albius may be set down as another flame of Tibullus, as she cannot be identified with either Delia or Nemesis.
25. Besides the Delia book and the Nemesis book, the Tibullus collection as it has been handed down to us contains,
1 Champney, Chap. I.
81, 3, 84.
51, 2, 41.
in addition to a hexameter panegyric on Messalla, a number of other elegies, some of which are evidently not the work of Tibullus, while controversy as to the authorship of the rest has not ceased to rage.
For convenience this group of poems has long since been divided into a third and fourth book of the Tibullus collection, an arrangement which practical considerations have led the present editor to maintain. The third book is evidently the work of an unknown poet who calls himself Lygdamus, and who sings especially of his love for a Neaera. While critics are pretty generally agreed that the work of Lygdamus is in manner, meter, and thought inferior to the genuine work of Tibullus, a wide diversity of views has been expressed with regard to the personality of the author. Plessis thinks he was the older brother of Ovid, while their somewhat trilling and cold-blooded manner suggests even the possibility that these poems might have been a youthful work of Ovid himself. The many parallels between Lygdamus and Ovid in language might be taken in confirmation of this hypothesis, and especially the identity of statement as regards the birth of the two occurring in Tib. 3, 5, 18, and Ovid, Trist. 4. 10, 6: cum cecidit fato consul uterque pari, referring to the death of both Hirtius and Pansa in battle in 43 B.c.4 But Propertius also has many parallels with both Tibullus and Ovid,' and this line of argument is inconclusive. Lygdamus may have imitated Ovid, or Ovid have copied Lygdamus, or both have used a common original. Several other interesting identifications have been suggested. The question as to whether Lygdamus lived
1 Cf. Dissen, Vol. 2, p. 324; Postgate, Sel., pp. xliii sqq. 2 For a contrary view cf. Cranstoun, p. xxi.
3 Cf. Hiller in Hermes, Vol. 18 (1883), p. 356, who believes Lygdamus to have been a contemporary of Ovid and to have added 3, 5, 15-20 at a later time to his own elegy.
4 Cf. Gruppe, pp. 127-143; Kleemann: De libri tertii carminibus quae Tibulli nomine circumferuntur.
5 Cf. Bürger in Hermes, Vol. 40 (1905), pp. 321 sqq.
6 Cf. Magnus in Bursian's JB., Vol. 51 (1887), p. 340; Lamarre, Vol. 2, pp. 482483.
before Ovid or after him is still unsettled. So is the problem as to whether his name is a real one or a pseudonym referring to the first name of Tibullus, cunningly devised to lend countenance to the place of these elegies in the Tibullus collection. But a most reasonable explanation of the existing Tibullus collection would appear to be that all of the poems in it were written by members of the Messalla circle, and were sooner or later published together on that account. One theory is that Lygdamus may have been the editor. Certain indications of language and style argue that he was not a native Roman, and may have been a learned freedman.3
26. The fourth book opens with a panegyric on Messalla, which is so crude that it is generally agreed that, whatever adherent of that munificent patron was guilty of its composition, we must not lay it to the charge of Tibullus. (Némethy thinks it a youthful effusion of Propertius!) The next five poems are short elegies dealing with the love of Sulpicia and one Cerinthus.* In spite of all arguments to the contrary 5 no adequate considerations seem to have been advanced to remove them from the list of Tibullus's own composition, and the parallels with his other writings (cf. Némethy, pp. 334-335) and general tone of these little elegies make strongly for their genuineness. They are sometimes spoken of as the “ Garland of Sulpicia.” The following six little elegies (4, 7 to 4, 12, inclusive"), sometimes called Elegidia like the preceding group, are evidently the work of Sulpicia herself, and are very interesting and unique in Roman literature as the work of a woman. They betray a warmth of
1 Marx in P. W., 1, 1327, dates the origin of the Tibullus collection between Tiberius and Domitian.
2 Cf. Lúvôos and albus.
6 E.g. Bürger in Hermes, Vol. 40 (1905), p. 333; Postgate in Class. Rev., Vol. 9 (1895), p.77.
6 But cf. Magnus in Bursian's JB., Vol. 51 (1887), pp. 262-263, for the view that No. 7 belongs to the preceding "Garland."
feeling and a certain disregard of conventionalities that are noteworthy, and probably significant of the social tendencies of the day. The last two poems of the collection (4, 13 and 14) are of indeterminate authorship, but may be ascribed to Tibullus. A couple of Priapea ascribed to Tibullus are of doubtful authenticity.?
27. Tibullus, the country gentleman, was a gentle man. Even in his bitterest disappointment as a lover he could sing :3—
“Thy sorrows let me not unseal!
A single bitter tear-drop should defile. (Williams.)
* This whole year have I lain Wounded to death, yet cherishing the pain,
And counting my delicious anguish gain.' (Ibid.) And even for the sister of his cruel mistress that sister who had come so sadly to an early grave — he wept affection's tears : 5
'and, as my sorrow flows, Unto that voiceless dust my grief confide.' (Ibid.) Not that he habitually sits beneath the cypress! His sympathetic nature leads him to join enthusiastically in the joy of his friends, whether at some special occasion like the triumph of Messalla (1, 7) or the installation of Messalinus into the college of the Quindecimviri (2, 5), or at one of the regularly recurring festivals like the Ambarvalia (2, 1). He shares in the simple pleasures of the home-born slaves (2, 1, 23), encourages the merry games of the rustics (2, 5, 83 sqq.), and has a word of indulgence for the swain who goes home “right mellow,” not for
1 Postgate (Sel., pp. 191-199) makes an elaborate argument against the genuineness of the former. 2 Cf. Hiller in Hermes, Vol. 18 (1885). pp. 343 sqq.; Teuffel 5, 254, 5.
4 2, 5, 109.
8 2, 6, 41.
62, 6, 33.