Date of Award
Bachelor of Arts
Rome, Augustus, poet, politics, emperor, poetry
Propertius was a Roman elegist writing during the early years of Augustus’ reign as emperor. His fourth and final book of elegies has long confounded scholars due to its drastic shift in subject matter from love elegy to aetiology. So, too, did the poet’s political stance seem to change: vehemently anti-Augustus in his earlier books, a number of poems in his fourth seem to extol both the sociopolitical climate of Augustan Rome as well as the emperor himself. But should we take the poet’s words at face value? In light of his inexplicable change in political allegiance, this thesis examines whether Propertius’ words are sincere or whether he is using them to subvert the emperor’s authority right under his nose. A close analysis of the text and an understanding of the massive political and social upheaval of Augustus’ early rule yield two competing readings, one decidedly anti-Augustan, the other sincerely pro-Augustan.
Angelosanto, Matthew, "The Political Properties: Pro- and Anti-Augustan Readings of Propertius Book Four" (2011). Honors Theses. 934.