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A study of the aristocratic ideal and the theme of moral decline in Latin love elegy.

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Devine, A. M.(Angela Margaret) (1978) A study of the aristocratic ideal and the theme of moral decline in Latin love elegy. PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Abstract

The thesis argues that the love elegists show an
original approach to the aristocratic ideal of service
to the state and, more specifically, towards the subject
of moral decline.
in the first chapter the aristocratic ideal and
the traditional version of moral decline are outlined
from the epigraphic and literary evidence of pre-Augustan
times. It is concluded that the aristocratic
ideal centred on service to the state through the public
career and that the traditional concept of moral decline
involved dereliction of duty towards the state. A more
detailed analysis of this traditional concert based on
the study of moral terminology in the works of Sallust
and Livy is included in the form of an appendix. It is
strongly recommended that this be read immediately after
chapter one.
In chapter two there is an examination of the
terminology used by the love elegists to describe the
past, the ideal society and the causes and symptoms of
moral decline. Their treatment of specific vices and
virtues mentioned by the historians is also discussed
and some comment is made on the different usage of moral
terminology in the two genres. On the basis of this it
is suggested that the love elegists significantly re-shape
traditional aristocratic moral concepts, particularlv
concerning moral decline.
Next the treatment of the ideal society and the
past is discussed in more depth. Chapter three shows
how the love elegists reject the traditional aristocratic
view of the ideal society as an austere and warlike
community living in early Rome, replacing this with
assorted Utopias of their own, both past and present.
It is argued that they select many details from the
traditional version of the past, but re-share them both
for humorous effect and, more seriously, in protest ,
against war.
In chapter four the love elegists' treatment of
private morality is explored. It is shown that, in spite
of occasional signs of sympathy for the aristocratic
moral code (found mainly in the works of Propertius), the
love elegists borrow extensively from Roman comedy and
generally make fun of the aristocratic ideal and the
traditional concept of private moral decline.
The public career, which lies at the heart of the
aristocratic ideal, is discussed in chapter five. Here
it is suggested that, with rare exceptions, the love
elegists approach the subject of the public career in a
spirit either of antagonism or humour, which reflects their
opposition to the aristocratic ideal.
Finally, it is argued in chapter six that the
subjects of the aristocratic ideal and moral decline
have a variety of literary functions in love elegy.
It is concluded that the most important of these are
their functions as vehicles for humour and protest.
It is here that the real novelty of their treatment
lies.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Elegiac poetry, Latin, Love poetry, Latin, Nobility
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 1978 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright
owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We
would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

Additional Information:

Thesis (Ph.D.) - University of Tasmania, 1978. Bibliography: l. 383-404

Date Deposited: 08 Dec 2014 23:54
Last Modified: 19 Jul 2016 23:57
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