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Parthenius of Nicaea and Roman Poetry


Christopher Francese

The Greek poet Parthenius arrived in Italy in the mid-first century BC as a prisoner of war and became a friend and mentor to the greatest Latin poets of the period. This study places Parthenius in his intellectual and literary context and examines all the available evidence to reconstruct the fullest possible picture of his tastes and techniques. Passages in Latin literature that handle recognizably Parthenian themes are examined, especially in two important myth types that became popular around the time of Parthenius’ arrival: myths of incestuous passion, and myths about young women who betray their cities under siege for love of an enemy.
Contents: Introduction – Life – Parthenius in Italy – Poetry – Erotica Pathemata – Parthenian Mythography – Reception – Byblis, Myrrha and Canace – Scylla and Tarpeia – Ancient Testimonia about Parthenius – Translation of Erotica Pathemata.