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Sextus Propertius (Propertius)

Sextus Propertius (Propertius)

Circa 47-2 b.c.e.



Classic Example. Propertius was born circa 47 B.C.E. in Assisi. He lost his father early and as a youth witnessed the Roman civil war that was raging around his home area. Like Vergil and Tibullus, he lost his land in the expropriations of 41-40. His first book of elegies, which appeared in 28 B.C.E., became the classic example of Latin love elegy. It also won Propertius the patronage of Maecenas. Two further books of love elegies came from his pen, both published in the 20s. Book 2, however, contains thirty-four elegies, which Propertius had published as two books (since he refers to his having written three in all). The original book break falls somewhere between 2.10 and 2.13. In his fourth and final collection, published after 16 B.C.E., love is displaced as a theme by Roman mythical topics. Propertius died by 2 B.C.E. at the latest date.


Margaret Hubbard, Propertius (London: Duckworth, 1974).

J. P. Sullivan, Propertius: A Critical Introduction (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1976).

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