In the midst of his fulminations against Cleopatra, Propertius denounces her land of Egypt in the following ‘wholly admirable parenthesis:’ Noxia Alexandria, dolis aptissima tellus Et totiens nostro Memphi cruenta malo, Tres ubi Pompeio detraxit harena triumphos! Toilet nulla dies hanc tibi, Roma, notam. Issent Phlegraeo melius tibi funera campo Vel tua si socero colla daturus eras.
Among the difficulties in Propertius is the question whether to retain ‘cecinit’ in 3. 3. 7 or to adopt the conjecture ‘cecini’. Propertius dreamed that he was reclining upon Helicon in a grove by Hippocrene and that he was able to compose a Roman historical epic: Visus eram molli recubans Heliconis in umbra, Bellerophontei qua fluit umor equi, Reges, Alba, tuos et regum facta tuorum neruis hiscere posse meis, Paruaque tam magnis admoram fontibus ora Vnde pater sitiens Ennius ante bibit, (...) Et cecinit Curios fratres et Horatia pila Regiaque Aemilia uecta tropaea rate Victricesque moras Fabii pugnamque sinistram Cannensem et uersos ad pia uota deos Hannibalemque Lares Romana sede fugantes, Anseris et tutum uoce fuisse Iouem, Cum me Castalia speculans ex arbore Phoebus Sic ait… According to the paradosis 7–12 constitute a summary of Ennius' Annales. In that I case Propertius' failure to observe historical sequence is peculiar; nor is it defended securely by I supposedly parallel passages. More damaging, however, is that 8 must describe the triumph of L. Aemilius Paullus in 167, two years after the accepted date of Ennius' death. Hertzberg and Postgate claimed that it alludes to the defeat of Demetrius of I Pharos by a L. Aemilius Paullus in 219 ; this is unlikely for some of the same reasons as the rival theory of Butler and Barber, which has found many adherents, that it refers to the victory over Antiochus' navy by L. Aemilius Regillus at Myonnesus in 190. (shrink)
‘Quot editores, tot Propertii’ has been a familiar—and much misunderstood—phrase in Propertian scholarship ever since it first appeared in the preface to Phillimore′s Oxford Classical Text of 1901. In its original context it described not an existing situation but rather the chaos that Phillimore alleged would result if editors began to adopt significant numbers of transpositions. Such chaos, however, does characterize the current state of Propertian studies; every interpreter seems to create a different Propertius, who in the last twenty-five years (...) has been represented as a feminist, a neurotic traumatized by the siege of Perugia, an anti-Augustan iconoclast, an apostle of love oppressed by a quasi-Stalinist principate, a decadent pre-Raphaelite, and most recently as the ‘modernist poet of antiquity’. (shrink)