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Lovers in Arms: Empedoclean Love and Strife in Lucretius and the Elegists

Donncha O’Rourke

Résumé

This article argues that Lucretius’ ‘tableau’ of Mars and Venus at the opening of the De rerum natura (DRN 1.29-43) imparts to elegy’s fixation with love and war a quasi-Empedoclean outlook on the creative and destructive forces that regulate the world and human life. In the context of an age that claimed to have begotten peace through war (cf., e.g., Augustus, Res Gestae 13), the elegiac opposition of love and war is a political theme with urgent philosophical ramifications. The implications of Lucretius-reception in Virgil (Aeneid 8) suggest parallel avenues for exploration in three elegiac case-studies: Tibullus 1.1 and 1.10; Propertius 3.4 and 3.5; Ovid, Ars Amatoria 3.771-788. These examples suggest that elegy’s manifold juxtapositions of Mars and Venus, peace and war, and even militia amoris may be more frequently informed by Empedocleo-Lucretian implications than we are accustomed to think.

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Notes de l’auteur

Initial research for this paper was conducted during tenure of a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Oxford. I am grateful also to audiences in Dublin, Glasgow, Manchester, and Seattle for helpful response to earlier versions; also to A. Hardie, S. Trépanier and C. Ware for valuable discussion and feedback; and to Dictynna’s anonymous reviewers for robust and insightful criticism.

Texte intégral

Introduction

  • 1  Lucretius’ association with Empedocles, signalled at DRN 1.716-33 and recognised implicitly at Cic (...)
  • 2  Garani (2013) proceeds on the basis that Lucretius was the ‘primary conduit’ (258) through which E (...)
  • 3  Text and translation: Smith/Rouse (1992).

1This article presents three parallel case-studies in the reception of Empedocles, as mediated by Lucretius,1 in Roman love-elegy.2 The received text in each case is Lucretius’ description of Mars and Venus in flagrante at the opening of the De rerum natura (DRN 1.29-43):3

effice ut interea fera moenera militiai
per maria ac terras omnis sopita quiescant;              30
nam tu sola potes tranquilla pace iuuare
mortalis, quoniam belli fera moenera Mauors
armipotens regit, in gremium qui saepe tuum se
reiicit aeterno deuictus uulnere amoris,
atque ita suspiciens tereti ceruice reposta                35
pascit amore auidos inhians in te, dea, uisus,
eque tuo pendet resupini spiritus ore.
hunc tu, diua, tuo recubantem corpore sancto
circumfusa super, suauis ex ore loquellas
funde petens placidam Romanis, incluta, pacem;      40
nam neque nos agere hoc patriai tempore iniquo
possumus aequo animo nec Memmi clara propago
talibus in rebus communi desse saluti.

Cause meanwhile the savage works of war to sleep and be still over every sea and land. For you alone can delight mortals with quiet peace, since Mars mighty in battle rules the savage works of war, who often casts himself upon your lap wholly vanquished by the ever-living wound of love, and thus looking upward, with shapely neck thrown back, feeds his eager eyes with love, gaping upon you, goddess, and, as he lies back, his breath hangs upon your lips. There as he reclines, goddess, upon your sacred body, do you, bending around him from above, pour from your lips sweet coaxings, and for your Romans, illustrious one, crave quiet peace. For in this time of our country’s troubles neither can I do my part with untroubled mind, nor can the noble scion of the Memmii at such a season be wanting to the common weal.

  • 4  Cf. esp. fr. B 17.16-20 DK: τοτὲμὲνγὰρἓνηὐξήθημόνονεἶναι | ἐκπλεόνων, τοτὲδ' αὖδιέφυπλέον' ἐξἑνὸςε (...)
  • 5  Sedley (1998) 27 with n. 98 is (cautiously) in favour of this view; contra, see O’Brien (2001) 117 (...)
  • 6  The philosophical and literary aspects of this Empedoclean subtext are emphasised, respectively, b (...)

2The Empedoclean significance of these lines is unlocked by the awareness that their Homeric source-text, the song of Ares and Aphrodite at Odyssey 8.266-366, was interpreted in the allegorical tradition not as a scandalous scene of adulterous sex but as an edifying symbolic expression of Empedocles’ theory of the universe as a system of four elements whose cyclic union and dissolution is governed by the opposing cosmic forces of Love and Strife (Heraclitus, Quaest. Hom. 69.1-11; schol. Od. 8.267; Eustathius 1.298 [= Od. 310ff.] ad Hom. Od. 8.367).4 Whether or not this allegory dates to Empedocles himself (the fragments neither confirm nor exclude this view),5 it is agreed that Lucretius employs Mars and Venus in this vein to give allegorical and Empedoclean expression to the Epicurean principal that the nature of the universe consists in the eternal conglomeration and separation of its constituent atoms.6

  • 7  For Gallus and Lucretius/Empedocles, see Fabre-Serris (2014).
  • 8  For example, the model of ‘generic enrichment’ proposed by Harrison (2007) is on the whole more co (...)
  • 9  See, e.g., Hardie (1986a); Farrell (1991); Gale (2000); Hardie (2009); Nelis (2009); Giesecke (200 (...)
  • 10  On the elegiac reception of Lucretius, see Sommariva (1980); Shulman (1981); Steudel (1992); J. F. (...)
  • 11  See Kenney (1970) 380-90; Nussbaum (1994) 140-91.
  • 12  Hardie (2007) 114.
  • 13  Cf. Ovid, Her. 7.190 (Dido speaking): ille locus saevi uulnus amoris habet, ‘that spot bears the w (...)
  • 14  See Gordon (2002) for the argument that in the Mars-Venus tableau and DRN 4 Lucretius promotes an (...)
  • 15  On elegy’s imbrication with Augustan politics, see, e.g., Keith (2008) 139-65; Gold (2012); on Luc (...)

3In what follows, passages from Tibullus, Propertius, and Ovid will be read for their intertextual traction with this Empedoclean-Lucretian source.7 Different models of intertextuality will be required by (or will themselves require?) the kind of ideological negotiation encountered at the interface between rational philosophy and irrational love-poetry.8 If degrees of tension can be witnessed in Lucretius-reception in contemporary non-elegiac genres,9 these tensions will be all the more acute in a genre in which the poet-lover is typically ruled by his passions, far removed from the ataraxia and aponia that are the principle tenets of the Epicurean lifestyle which Lucretius aims to promote.10 Lucretius’ attack on love in De rerum natura 4 is above all an attack on love as conceptualised in erotic literature.11 Thus, as P. Hardie has remarked of Virgil’s reception of Lucretius, intertextuality here ‘extends beyond the narrowly textual to encompass a debate about world-views’.12 At the same time, however, it is clear that Lucretius’ description of Venus and Mars in coital embrace will present ideas of specific interest to elegy as a genre of love. While erotic requital is rare in Latin elegy, Venus’ dominance over her lover and his defeat by the wound of love (34 deuictus uulnere amoris, cf. DRN 4.1049-56) anticipate much that is characteristic of the elegiac genre.13 Whatever the disagreement between Lucretius and the elegists on the question of love, therefore, militia amoris and the poet-lover’s mollitia contribute to a countercultural posture that potentially aligns elegy with Epicurean pacifism and political detachment.14 Since the apolitical stances of the elegist and Epicurean can in each case also be deconstructed (as the Caesarian association or reception of Venus in both Lucretius and elegy might alone suggest), the possibility will remain open for their alignment or opposition on the political axis.15 The elegists wrote in a context that saw itself in recovery from the long period of civil war from which Lucretius cries out for peace. Politics thus complements erotics as a further motivation for elegiac interest in these lines of De rerum natura 1. In the context of general intertextual traction between the literary and ethical systems of elegy and Lucretian Epicureanism, this programmatic passage of De rerum natura 1 presents much of interest as a precursor of militia amoris. The question to be explored in what follows is whether the subtext of Empedoclean Love and Strife in Lucretius’ anticipation of elegy imparts a philosophical dimension to the erotic and political aspects of elegiac militia amoris.

  • 16  Quotations from Virgil are taken from Mynors (1969) and translated originally.
  • 17  See Putnam (1998) 170; Casali (2006) 189-91.
  • 18  A correction to P (the fourth/fifth cent. Vaticanus Palatinus lat. 1631) and several ninth century (...)
  • 19  Wigodsky (1972) 134, citing Kroll (‘die Stelle ist auch sonst von Verg. benutzt’), also compares A (...)
  • 20  Edmunds (2002). As the ‘on top’ position of the female lover is not equally apparent in Lucretius, (...)
  • 21  Hardie (1986b) 90-95; Putnam (1998) 181-3.
  • 22  Eden (1975) 167 quoting Bailey: ‘Virgil loves to imitate Lucretius in a slightly less dignified co (...)
  • 23  Virgil’s phrase is actually closer to Cicero’s description of the constellation Draco (tereti ceru (...)

4A test-case for the erotic, political and philosophical appropriation of Lucretius’ Venus and Mars is found in Virgil, Aeneid 8, where Venus seduces her husband Vulcan to persuade him to make weapons for her son Aeneas (Aen. 8.370-4046).16 The bedroom scene and Venus’ superiority bring the Lucretian framework to mind: Mars may no longer be in the picture, but in commissioning arma as a mother for her son Aeneas (383 arma rogo, genetrix nato, ‘I ask for arms, a mother for her son’) Venus signals her Lucretian heritage as the ‘mother of the sons of Aeneas’ (DRN 1.1 Aeneadum genetrix) and seductress of the god of war.17 Like Mars, Vulcan is no match for his consort, ‘fettered in everlasting love’ (394 aeterno … deuinctus amore, cf. DRN 1.34 aeterno deuictus uulnere amoris)18 and enervated in her embrace (405-6 placidumque petiuit | coniugis infususgremio per membra soporem, ‘he sought tranquil slumber through his limbs, melting in his wife’s bosom’, cf. DRN 1.33-4 in gremium … tuum se | reiicit, 39 circumfusa super, 40 petens placidam … pacem).19 Edmunds has related the subordinate position of Mars and Vulcan in these passages to a schema familiar in Hellenistic erotic art and poetry (the hupokolpios position) but paralleled in Latin literature only here and in Propertius 3.4 (discussed below).20 Further evocation of Venus’ seduction of Mars in the De rerum natura occurs in Virgil’s description of Aeneas’ arma (Aen. 8.626-728):21 in the first scene depicted on the shield (8.630-34), the she-wolf of Mars nurses the twins Romulus and Remus ‘with her smooth neck bent back’ (633 tereti ceruice reflexa), aptly recalling the twins’ father as described by Lucretius (35 tereti ceruice reposta, ‘with his smooth neck bent back’).22 Cicero and Ennius may mediate,23 but the prevailing Lucretian interest is asserted in the supine posture of Virgil’s she-wolf (631 procubuisse, cf. DRN 1.38 recubantem) and in how her twins hang from her udders (632 pendentis, cf. DRN 1.37 pendet). Virgil’s engagement with the Lucretian tableau thus clusters around Aeneas’ shield, uniting the scene of its commissioning with the description of its design and bridging thereby a narrative gap of over two hundred lines.

  • 24  Putnam (1998) 169.
  • 25  See Ingleheart (2010) 237-40.
  • 26  So Gransden (1975) 164-5, citing Plutarch Vit. Rom. 4.3. See also Livy 1.4.
  • 27  In the same way, the reminiscence of Lucretius’ Mars-Venus tableau in the lupine scene operates in (...)

5Lucretian allusion lends important and overlapping erotic, political and philosophical associations to this section of the Aeneid. First, from the erotic perspective, the conjugal union of Venus and Vulcan in Virgil contrasts with the adulterous coupling of Venus and Mars in Lucretius (and Homer) in a way that might be said to sanitize the latter in keeping with Augustan family-values. Ancient readers, however, were scandalised that Virgil depicted Venus seducing her husband to win a favour for her illegitimate son by Anchises: Servius has a lengthy note on the problem (Serv. ad Aen. 8.373) and a character in Macrobius opines that the immorality of the scene motivated Virgil’s deathbed decree that the Aeneid be incinerated (Sat. 1.24.6-7). So too, for M. Putnam, the recollection of Venus’ adulterous past ‘adds to the moral dilemma in which Virgil deliberately places his reader.’24 On Ovid’s reading, albeit a tendentious one in the self-defensive context of his exile, the incipit of Lucretius’ poem Aeneadum genetrix is already laced with the association of Venus’ adultery: Trist. 2.261-2 sumpserit Aeneadum genetrix ubi prima, requiret, | Aeneadum genetrix unde sit alma Venus (‘as soon as she picks up the Mother of the Aeneadae, she will ask how it is that nurturing Venus is the mother of the Aeneadae’).25 In the Aeneid, then, so much the more dubious will be Venus’ use of marital sex to obtain a favour for her extra-marital son. Two hundred lines later, this tension between marriage and adultery continues in the ecphrasis of the Martian she-wolf on the shield itself. If Virgil here employs Lucretian language to make the scene more edifying and to emphasise the she-wolf’s maternality against a more rational – but rather less glorious – account of Rome’s origins according to which the lupa was a prostitute (OLD s.v. 2),26 he has chosen a distinctly problematic passage of Lucretius with which to do so. The vignette on the Shield might well be said to sublimate the Lucretian adultery-scene, but it cannot at the same time completely screen out uncomfortable reminders of illicit sex.27

  • 28  Hardie (1986a) 361.
  • 29  See Putnam (1998) 181-3.

6The political dimension of Virgil’s erotic Lucretian intertext comes to the fore in the context of the epic’s meditation on Roman war and peace. Observing the fusion of the martial and the peaceful in the lupa panel of the shield, P. Hardie observes: ‘Both war and peace attend the foundation of Rome, although as yet both are present only potentially. It is the actualization of war which dominates the first seven hundred or so years of Rome’s history, as it is the actualization of peace which will determine her future course.’28 For M. Putnam, on the other hand, the Aeneid leaves little room for Epicurean goals: in using her charms to procure the arma with which Aeneas will wage war on Turnus and on which are depicted the conflicts of the Roman future, Virgil’s Venus inverts the disposition of the goddess to whom Lucretius prays to pacify ‘the savage works of war’ (29 fera moenera militiai) through her seduction of Mars.29 Between these readings there may be less distance than there appears: just as Lucretius requires the intercession of Venus to guarantee the conditions under which he can be an Epicurean poet, and just as the absence of those conditions requires Memmius’ political activism (DRN 1.41-3), so too, in the Aeneid, it is the working through of divine destiny that brings about the Augustan peace under which Virgil can compose his epic. Venus not only brings arms to her son (Aen. 8.608-16), but intercedes at the Battle of Actium, too (Aen. 8.699).

  • 30  See Schmidt (1994) 112f.
  • 31  See Buffière (1956) 159; Hardie (1985); Hardie (1986a) 340-41. On Virgil’s reception of this tradi (...)
  • 32  Hardie (1986a) 348f., 360f.; Nelis (2001) 345-7.
  • 33  As Nelis (2001) 346 with n.76 observes, the ecphrasis locates Mars in its first line (630 Mauortis(...)

7The erotic and martial implications of the Lucretian tableau in the Aeneid introduce a third level of intertextual signification arising from the philosophical value of Lucretius’ Venus and Mars as an allegory of Empedoclean Love and Strife. This subtext is activated in Virgil not only through allusion to Lucretius’ Mars and Venus (and, by extension, to Homer’s Ares and Aphrodite),30 but also rather more obviously by virtue of the fact that Virgil’s Shield of Aeneas overwrites Homer’s Shield of Achilles, which itself was read by the ancient allegorists (Heraclitus, Hom. All. 49) as an emblem of Empedocles’ motive forces (in depicting a city at war and a city at peace, the Homeric shield was said to have anticipated Empedocles’ Love and Strife).31 The Empedoclean component of the Lucretian intertext therefore reinforces the status of Aeneas’ shield as a cosmic icon which gives expression to war and peace as the two sides of one coin.32 As complementary opposites, the Augustan peace depicted at the conclusion of the shield is the corollary of the wars which precede, but (by extrapolation) only to the extent that the wars which precede are also the inevitable future of that peace.33

8Lucretius’ Mars and Venus are not merely proto-elegiac lovers, then, but are charged with a political and philosophical symbolism that has considerable ramifications for any alluding text. In the Aeneid, the erotic, political and philosophical aspects of this Lucretian intertext complement and comment on the themes and ideology of the epic. Elegy’s relationship with epic, and with Virgilian epic in particular, suggest that the same possibilities should be considered in respect of the elegiac ‘wars of love’.

Tibullus

  • 34  The question of priority no longer dominates this discussion: see Bucheit (1965) for the majority (...)
  • 35  On Tibullus’ and Propertius’ commentaries on Lucretius’ Kulturgeschichte, see Fabre-Serris (2005) (...)
  • 36  Text: Postgate (1915); translation (with the exception of 1.10.1-2): Postgate/Goold (1988).

9In Tibullus, an affinity with the themes of Virgilian epic is most palpable in elegy 2.5. Celebrating the induction of Messalla’s son into the priesthood of the quindecimuiri sacris faciundis, the elegy includes a prophecy of the future of Rome, as delivered by the Sibyl to Aeneas, and shares the prophetic, aetiological and golden age thematics of the Aeneid.34 As in Virgil, Tibullus’ interest in these themes can be traced to his earliest poetic output. In his opening elegy, the pastoral otium to which the poet-lover aspires owes much to the Eclogues and, via the Eclogues, to the De rerum natura, especially the culture-history of Book 5, in which Lucretius valorises early man as a proto-Epicurean exemplar.35 To isolate one of several Lucretio-Virgilian inflections in this elegy, Tibullus conjures from the longa uia of military campaign a bucolic reverie of some undefined future in which he is able, ‘when the Dog-star rises, to escape its heat beneath some tree’s shade with a rill of water fleeting past’ (27-8 sed Canis aestiuos ortus uitare sub umbra | arboris ad riuos praetereuntis aquae).36 The couplet evokes both the simple life enjoyed by Lucretius’ countryfolk (5.1393 propter aquae riuomsub ramis arboris altae, ‘hard by a stream of water under the branches of a tall tree’) and the shady ‘green cabinet’ of Eclogue 1 (cf. Ecl. 1.1 tu patulae recubans sub tegmine fagi, ‘as you recline under the canopy of a spreading beech’). Continuing in this vein, Tibullus prays in the lines which follow to be delivered from war into his mistress’ embrace (Tib. 1.1.45-60):

quam iuuat immites uentos audire cubantem              45
    et dominam tenero continuisse sinu
aut, gelidas hibernus aquas cum fuderit Auster,
    securum somnos igne iuuante sequi!
hoc mihi contingat: sit diues iure, furorem
    qui maris et tristes ferre potest pluuias.                 50
o quantum est auri pereat potiusque smaragdi,
    quam fleat ob nostras ulla puella uias.
te bellare decet terra, Messalla, marique,
    ut domus hostiles praeferat exuuias:
me retinent uinctum formosae uincla puellae,             55
    et sedeo duras ianitor ante fores.
non ego laudari curo, mea Delia: tecum
    dum modo sim, quaeso segnis inersque uocer.
te spectem, suprema mihi cum uenerit hora,
    te teneam moriens deficiente manu.                      60

What delight to hear the winds rage as I lie and hold my love safe in my gentle clasp; or, when the stormy South Wind sheds the chilling showers, to seek sleep in safety, aided by a fire! This be my lot; let him be rightly rich who can bear the rage of the sea and the dreary rain. Ah, sooner let all the gold and all the emeralds perish from the world than any maiden weep for my journeyings. Tis right for you, Messalla, to campaign by land and sea that your house’s front may show the spoils of foemen: I am a captive fast bound in the bonds of a lovely girl; I sit a janitor before her stubborn doors. I care not for glory, Delia dear; let me only be with you, and I will pray folk call me sluggard and idler. May I look on you when my last hour comes; may I clutch you, as I die, with failing grasp.

10Given Tibullus’ quasi-Epicurean desire to live a peaceful and secluded life, and the specific evocations of Lucretius earlier in the elegy, it is tempting to contemplate in this picture of Tibullus, loving and dying in Delia’s embrace at the opening of Book 1, an analogy with the embracing lovers Mars and Venus in parallel position at the opening of De rerum natura 1. Tibullus’ soldier-lover yearns to recline (45 cubantem) with his girl in his embrace, as Lucretius’ Mars reclines (38 recubantem) in Venus’ bosom; Tibullus is passively bound (55 uinctum) to his mistress, as Mars is passively deuictus uulnere amoris (34); Tibullus imagines himself gazing at Delia (59 te spectem), his life ebbing away, as the languid Mars gazes (35 suspiciens) into Venus’ eyes. However, where Tibullus’ patron, Messalla, makes war on land and sea (53 terra … marique), Lucretius invokes the same formula to ask Venus to calm war per maria ac terras (30), adding that in the current crisis he can no more write his poem with untroubled mind than Memmius (his patron?) can renege on the common weal (41-3). In both texts there is a tension between public and private: the Lucretian paradox of seeking Epicurean independence under the protection of a high-profile politician is comparable, mutatis mutandis, to Tibullus’ predicament as a lover enlisted in Messalla’s service.

  • 37  See Kennedy (1993) 13-15.
  • 38  So Costa (1984) 141.
  • 39  See Sedley (1998) 26, who denies that the fragment necessarily comes from Empedocles’ proem; so al (...)
  • 40  See Nelis (2004) esp. par. 15-32; Garani (2013) esp. 237-9 makes the case for Ovid’s reading of th (...)
  • 41  See Maltby (2002) 60, 63, 116-7, 150, 198-9, 381, 458-9; Putnam (2005) 133-5; Miller (2009) 262.
  • 42  On the saecular theme of Tib. 2.5, see Miller (2009) 260-65.
  • 43  Miller (2009) 264, continuing (with an emphasis different to that proposed here) ‘Since this is an (...)

11Tibullus, then, aspires in elegy 1.1 to a ‘golden age’ of peace and love, but his aspiration is undercut by his prior commitment to the ‘long roads’ of Messalla’s campaigns.37 The implication that Tibullus lives in an ‘iron age’ reality is confirmed at elegy 1.3.35-50 where, stranded mid-campaign due to illness, he contrasts the glorious reign of Saturn, ‘before the earth was opened out for distant travel’ (35-6 priusquam | tellus in longas est patefacta uias), with the Jovian age of the present (49-50 nunc Ioue sub domino caedes et uulnera semper, | nunc mare, nunc leti mille repente uiae, ‘But now that Jupiter is lord, there are wounds and carnage without cease; now the sea slays, and there are a thousand ways of sudden death’). Lucretius, in the proem to the De rerum natura, similarly writes from a notional ‘iron age’ of strife (it is perhaps not ‘casual’38 that he addresses Memmius at DRN 5.1282, the point at which he turns to the discovery of iron in his rationalized account of the Myth of Ages). The ascendency of Venus for which Lucretius and Tibullus yearn may trigger further Empedoclean associations insofar as fr. B 128 DK (a passage which Lucretius may also have in mind in his proem)39 describes a Golden Age in which Aphrodite (Cypris) was queen, and when there was no Ares or battle-din, no Zeus, Cronus, or Poseidon, and sacrifices were bloodless ones of icons, incense, and honey. In view of the possibility that Virgil may have Empedocles’ Golden Age in mind at Geo. 2.458-542,40 a passage which in turn informs Tibullus’ many allusions to the Golden Age,41 it can be suggested that Tibullus may likewise associate Lucretius’ yearning for an end to civil war with the Golden Age in his Empedoclean source. In particular, Tibullus 2.5, which shares so much with Aeneid 8, hails in golden age terms the inception of a new era (81-104)42 and asks Phoebus to guarantee peace among quarrelsome lovers: 105-6 pace tua pereant arcus pereantque sagittae, | Phoebe, modo in terris erret inermis Amor (‘Phoebus, by your leave, let bows and arrows perish, so Love may rove unarmed upon the earth.’). The image of a god wandering over earth during the Golden Age is reminiscent of Dike/Iustitia in Aratus and Virgil (Phaen. 108-36, Geo. 2.473-4; cf. Hesiod, Op. 197-200); on an Empedoclean reading of Tibullus, that this god is Amor privileges a connection with Cypris in fr. B 128 DK. The cyclical interchange of Love and Strife imparted by this subtext complements Miller’s political reading of the new golden era which Tibullus, based on his own experience with Nemesis, sees as tarnished by lovers’ quarrels: ‘Augustus’ god of victory ended Rome’s civil wars but, from the elegiac perspective, the pax Augusta is incomplete. Cupid is still on the loose, and needs be disarmed.’43

12Further indication that Tibullus 1.1 is conversant with the proem of the De rerum natura and its Empedoclean intertext(s) comes in Tibullus 1.10. By virtue of its ring-composition, this final poem in Tibullus 1 mirrors and develops the themes and imagery of the opening elegy discussed above. Again, the elegy locates itself in the iron age: 1-2 Quis fuit, horrendos primus qui protulit enses? | quam ferus et uere ferreus ille fuit! ‘Who was the first to invent terrifying swords? How brute and truly iron-brutal he was!’). In this context, it is instructive that the elegy’s prayer for peace, parallel to that in 1.1 and likewise set against a backdrop of militia amoris, has for its part been compared with Lucretius’ proem (1.10.45-68):

interea pax arua colat. pax candida primum                 45
    duxit araturos sub iuga curua boues:
pax aluit uites et sucos condidit uuae,
    funderet ut nato testa paterna merum:
pace bidens uomerque nitent, at tristia duri
    militis in tenebris occupat arma situs.–                    50
rusticus e lucoque uehit, male sobrius ipse,
    uxorem plaustro progeniemque domum.–
sed ueneris tum bella calent, scissosque capillos
    femina, perfractas conqueriturque fores;
flet teneras subtusa genas: sed uictor et ipse             55
    flet sibi dementes tam ualuisse manus.
at lasciuus Amor rixae mala uerba ministrat,
    inter et iratum lentus utrumque sedet.
a lapis est ferrumque, suam quicumque puellam
    uerberat: e caelo deripit ille deos.                           60
sit satis e membris tenuem rescindere uestem,
    sit satis ornatus dissoluisse comae,
sit lacrimas mouisse satis: quater ille beatus
    quo tenera irato flere puella potest.
sed manibus qui saeuus erit, scutumque sudemque    65
    is gerat et miti sit procul a Venere.
at nobis, Pax alma, ueni spicamque teneto,
    perfluat et pomis candidus ante sinus.

Let Peace in the meantime tend our fields. Bright Peace first led the oxen under curved yoke to plough. Peace made the vine plants grow and stored the grape juice that from the father’s jar might pour wine for the son. In peace shine hoe and ploughshare, while in the dark rust attacks the grim arms of the cruel soldier, and the yeoman drives back from the grove, himself half sober, with wife and offspring in his wain. Then love’s war rages hotly; and women lament that hair is torn and doors are broken. The fair weeps for the buffets on her tender cheek; but the conqueror weeps too that his mad hands were so strong; while freakish Love feeds the feud with bitter speeches, and sits in unconcern between the angry pair. Ah, he is stone and iron who would beat his lass: this is to drag the gods down from the sky. Be it enough to tear the light robe from her limbs, and to disorder the fair arrangement of her hair: enough to cause her tears to flow. Thrice happy he whose anger can make a soft lass weep! But he whose hands are cruel should carry shield and stake and keep afar from gentle Venus. Then come to us, gracious Peace; grasp the cornspike in your hand, and from the bosom of your white robe let fruits pour out before you.

  • 44  Pillinger (1971) 206.
  • 45  See the discussion in O’Rourke (forthcoming). On the rapprochement of military and elegiac duritia(...)
  • 46  Pillinger (1971) 207.
  • 47  J. Clay (2003) 83-5 argues against Vernant’s interpretation of the Hesiodic Golden Age as a phase (...)

13Independently of consideration of Tibullus 1.1, H. Pillinger related these lines of elegy 1.10 to Lucretius’ Mars-Venus tableau: ‘[i]t is the motif of peace, so prominent in the Lucretian hymn to Venus, that may have recommended the passage to Tibullus when he came to compose his own hymn to alma Pax’.44 As Lucretius’ hymn to Venus frames the erotic tableau of Mars and Venus, so Tibullus’ hymn to Peace in 1.10 frames a scene of militia amoris (53 sed Veneris tum bella calent, cf. DRN 1.32-3 belli fera moenera Mavors | … regit). However, in this case the ‘warfare of love’ is scarcely metaphorical:45 the pastoral scene of a tipsy farmer driving home his wife and child transitions to a darker vision in which the farmer and his wife are each in tears following an explosion of domestic violence. Remarking on this perversion of Lucretius’ depiction of Epicurean harmony into an scene of elegiac strife, Pillinger concluded: ‘What is elemental and sublime in Lucretius has become in Tibullus frivolous and conventional, but this noticeable disparity in tone corresponds quite properly to the wide stylistic gulf separating epic and elegiac composition’.46 Frivolity, convention and generic tone may account for some of the differences, but the Empedoclean subtext of the Lucretian prayer suggests that the elegiac interchange of love and strife in Tibullus may yet have something in common with its philosophical intertext. A similar sense of cyclicality, moreover, is found in Tibullus 1.1, which begins by rejecting Mars (1.1.4) and ends by turning to Venus (1.1.73); but there, too, love turns sour, and the elegy concludes with the broken doors of the lovers’ quarrel (1.1.73-5). In the first and last elegies of Tibullus 1, then, war yields to peace, and peace to militia amoris. Tibullus can thus be seen to have brought together two sections of the De rerum natura: the prayer for peace in Book 1 and the valorization of pre-militarized life in the Kulturgeschichte of Book 5. In uniting these passages, Tibullus, like Virgil in the Eclogues and beyond, projects onto an Empedocleo-Lucretian framework the Augustan dream of return, post-apocalypse, to a Golden Age of peace born from war. However, like Virgil, Tibullus also seems to imply that, once achieved, peace is inherently unstable and ephemeral.47

Propertius

  • 48  Garani (2011).
  • 49  See O’Rourke (2010) with bibliography at n. 5; within this journal, click through to O’Rourke (201 (...)
  • 50  See esp. DeBrohun (2003).
  • 51  The possibility of Callimachus’ prior appropriation of Empedocles is of relevance here: see, e.g., (...)

14The elegiac opposition of war and peace, witnessed above in Tibullus, is especially prominent in Propertian elegy, as the principal title of H.-P. Stahl’s 1985 study neatly encapsulates. The case for reading this Propertian nexus in the Empedoclean mode has been made for elegy 4.4, where inflections of Virgilian figures of Strife map Tarpeia’s oscillation between love and war onto an Empedoclean framework that arguably promotes a view of the poem’s violence as politically productive.48 As the predicament of an elegiac lover, Tarpeia’s conflict between Love and Strife is analogous to that witnessed in Tibullus above, and shows thereby the extent to which the elegiac scenario in general may be susceptible to Empedoclean interpretation. It is perhaps significant that, like Tibullus 2.5, this elegy and Propertius 4 as a whole are conversant with Virgilian epic and with Aeneid 8 in particular.49 To the extent that the interplay of love and war in 4.4 also stages the generic project of the book as a dialectic between elegy and epic,50 this interplay lends an Empedoclean cosmological perspective to Propertius’ aetiological exploration of maxima Roma (4.1.1) and her remote prehistory51.

  • 52  Stahl (1985) 192-202 reads the elegies as an expression of a tension between private and public in (...)
  • 53  See Cairns (2003).
  • 54  Text: Heyworth (2007a); translations: Heyworth (2007b).
  • 55  This mise en scène may owe something to Gallus: see Putnam (1980), Cairns (2006) 406-12, Hollis (2 (...)
  • 56  Heyworth’s transposition, if correct, makes for a more immediate transition from embracing couple (...)

15An earlier test-case for this mode of reading Propertius is presented by elegies 3.4 and 3.5, a doublet in which, apparently antagonistically, war and peace are juxtaposed in the opening lines:52 with conspicuous allusion to the opening lines of the Aeneid,53 3.4 begins with arma (1 Arma deus Caesar dites meditatur ad Indos, ‘Divine Caesar plots war against rich India’); in contraposition, 3.5 begins Pacis Amor deus est (1 ‘Love is the god of Peace’).54 The political implication of this opposition is immediately established in the first of elegy of the pair (3.4.1 Caesar), in which Propertius imagines himself watching Augustus’ future triumphs from the sidelines as he lies on Cynthia’s bosom55 (3.4.11-22):56

Mars pater, et sanctae fatalia lumina Vestae,
   ante meos obitus sit precor illa dies
qua uideam spoliis oneratos Caesaris axes,          13
   < . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . >
tela fugacis equi et bracati militis arcus,                  17
   et subter captos arma sedere duces,                  18
   < . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . >
   ad uulgi plausus saepe resistere equos;             14
inque sinu carae nixus spectare puellae                 15
   incipiam et titulis oppida capta legam.                 16
ipsa tuam serua prolem, Venus: hoc sit in aeuum   19
   cernis ab Aenea quod superesse caput.              20
praeda sit haec illis quorum meruere labores:
   mi sat erit Sacra plaudere posse Via.

Father Mars, and fatal lights of holy Vesta, I pray that before my death that day arrive on which I see the chariots of Caesar laden with spoils, <. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ,> the weapons of the fleeing horse and the bow of the trousered soldier, and captured leaders sitting beneath arms, <. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ,> horses often halting at the applause of the crowd; and leaning in the bosom of a dear girl I shall begin to spectate and to read off the captured towns from the inscriptions. Protect your own offspring, Venus: may this life that you see descends from Aeneas be for ever. This should be the booty for those whose labours have deserved it: for me it will be enough to be able to applaud on the Via Sacra.

  • 57  Edmunds (2002) sees Propertius and Cynthia in the only other Roman example of the ‘woman on top’ h (...)
  • 58  The use of compound adjectives, rare in Propertius (see Tränkle [1960] 58-9; cf. Fedeli [1985] 160 (...)

16Here another couple embraces in love (15-16)57 as the world around them is at war. The forces of love and strife are visibly signalled in the text by the framing position of Mars (11) and Venus (19) who, with reference to the Romans generally and Caesar Augustus specifically, is invoked to preserve forever (in aeuum) her offspring descended from Aeneas (19-20), just as Lucretius’ Venus, as Aeneadum genetrix, ‘has willed [Memmius] at all times to excel, endowed with all gifts’ (DRN 1.26-7 tempore in omni | omnibus ornatum uoluisti excellere rebus).58

  • 59  Conte (2000).
  • 60  Fedeli (1985) 175-6 at 175: ‘[r]eminiscenze del testo lucreziano sembrano indiscutibili’.

17This intertextuality is consolidated in the second poem of the doublet, elegy 3.5, which contains what G.B. Conte has described as a ‘humorous recusatio’ of Lucretian didactic.59 Here, committed to the life of love, Propertius postpones the study of natural philosophy for later life (25 tum mihi naturae libeat perdiscere mores, ‘then let it be my delight to learn the habits of nature’), but in doing so he outlines an extensive syllabus that already suggests more than passing familiarity with the De rerum natura,60 wherein can be found answers to all of the questions and topics listed by the elegist: who made the world (26), the phases of the moon (27-8, cf. DRN 5.705-50), the origin of the winds (29-30, cf. DRN 1.271-97) and rain (30, cf. DRN 6.495-523), whether there will be an end to the world (31, cf. DRN 5.91-6), how a rainbow comes about (32, cf. DRN 6.524-6), the causes of earthquakes (33. Cf. DRN 6.535-607) and solar eclipses (34, cf. DRN 5.751-61), the movements of the constellations (35-6, cf. DRN 5.509-25, 614-49, 680-704), why the sea does not overflow its confines (37, cf. DRN 6.608-38), the four seasons (38, cf. DRN 5.737-47), whether the underworld and its punishments exist or are made up such that there is nothing to fear after death (39-46, cf. DRN 3.978-1023).

  • 61  See Courtney (1969) 70-72; Fedeli (1985) 175. For allusion to Aphrodite as 'queen' of Empedocles' (...)

18In this way, an allusion in Propertius 3.4 to Lucretius’ allegory of the cosmic forces of creation and destruction is answered Propertius 3.5 by a survey of Lucretian cosmogony. The opposition between war and peace is expressed across the two elegies through their opening lines and within each elegy in the rejection of war in preference for elegiac peace: thus the last couplet of 3.4 (lines 21-22, quoted above) reaffirms Propertius’ choice of Cynthia’s embrace over Caesar’s triumphs, and the last couplet of 3.5 prefers philosophy to arma (47-8 exitus hic uitae superest mihi; uos quibus arma | grata magis, Crassi signa referte domum, ‘This is the end remaining for my life; you to whom arms [and the Aeneid] are a greater delight, bring home the standards of Crassus [or bring home standards, fools]’). Nevertheless, while in 3.4 Propertius’ erotic embrace and Augustus’ military triumph ostensibly polarize the elegist and imperator, respectively, the Lucretian intertext simultaneously complicates the picture by aligning Propertius with Mars in the embrace of his Venus. This ambivalence is sustained in the opening couplet of 3.5 which, having signalled opposition to Caesar’s arma in the previous elegy, proceeds to record Propertius’ own proelia dura (2 ‘harsh battles’) with his mistress. In the lines which follow, Propertius goes on to adopt the mode of elegiac Epicureanism familiar from Tibullus, borrowing like him from Virgil’s golden age description of rural life at the end of Georgics 2,61 a passage in which Virgil similarly takes his distance from Lucretian rationalism, as Propertius does here. As in Tibullus, the Empedoclean as well as Lucretian associations of this model inform the elegiac text: arising from Prometheus’ failure to equip mortals with intellect (7-10), mankind is now condemned to an Iron Age of strife (11-12 nunc maris incauti uento iactamur, et hostem| quaerimus, atque armis nectimus arma noua, ‘As things are, unwary of the sea, we are driven here and there by the wind, and we seek an enemy and bind new arms to old’). The rule of cyclic interchange implicit here applies even in the underworld where ‘conqueror and conquered are intermingled alike’ (15 uictor cum uicto pariter miscetur).

  • 62  See Keith (2008) 139-65 and (on elegies 3.4 and 3.5) 60-63.

19In this way, Lucretian intertext and Empedoclean subtext in Propertius 3.4 and 3.5 collaborate in the poems’ presentation of love and war as forces both opposed yet also in some way reciprocal and interdependent. The implication that these forces cannot so neatly be separated is consistent with deconstructive readings of Propertian political opposition. For example, as Alison Keith has pointed out, the conditions which make Propertian love possible are themselves created by Augustan militarism:62 thus, in elegies 3.4 and 3.5, it is only as others make war that Propertius can indulge in militia amoris and engage in philosophy. As in the Empedoclean system, love and war in Propertius are complementary and interdependent opposites. If Tibullus implies that peace will be succeeded by war in a never-ending cycle, these elegies by Propertius suggest why this must be so: Propertian love depends for its existence on Augustan war.

Ovid

  • 63  See, e.g., Hardie (1995); Nelis (2009); Garani (2013).
  • 64  One instance of Empedoclean allusion in the Ars is remarked by Rusten (1982) and Hardie (1995) 214 (...)
  • 65  Text: Kenney (1961); translation: Mozley/Goold (1979).

20Research has shown that Ovid’s Metamorphoses and Fasti draw significantly on Lucretius and Lucretius’ Empedocles in formulating their cosmological and aetiological projects.63 The different agenda of Ovidian erotic and erotodidactic elegy makes for a rather less likely host for the same material.64 However, the Ars Amatoria, as an exposé of Roman love-elegy, provides a space in which the poet of the Metamorphoses and Fasti can bring his philosophical competence to bear on the Lucretian and Empedoclean subtexts taken comparatively more seriously by his elegiac precursors. In Ovid’s catalogue of sexual positions at the end of the Ars Amatoria, where the praeceptor recommends that women assume postures that maximise their assets or minimise their defects, occurs a conspicuous allusion to Lucretius’ Mars-Venus tableau. However, the quasi-Socratic notion that girls should ‘know themselves’ at the start of this passage imparts a touch of philosophical parody to the context in which the Ovidian analogues of Mars and Venus will appear (Ars 3.771-4, 779-84):65

nota sibi sit quaeque; modos a corpore certos     771
    sumite: non omnes una figura decet.
quae facie praesignis erit, resupina iaceto;
    spectentur tergo, quis sua terga placent.

strata premat genibus paulum ceruice reflexa     779
    femina per longum conspicienda latus.               
cui femur est iuuenale, carent quoque pectora menda,
    stet uir, in obliquo fusa sit ipsa toro.
nec tibi turpe puta crinem, ut Phylleia mater,
    soluere, et effusis colla reflecte comis.

Let each woman know herself; from your own bodies fix your methods; one fashion does not suit all alike. Let her who is fair of face recline upon her back; let those whose backs please them be seen from behind. … A woman whose long flanks deserve to be seen should press the coverlets with her knees, her neck bent backward somewhat. If her thighs be youthful and her breasts without blemish, her lover should stand, and she herself lie slantwise on the couch. Nor think it unbecoming to loose your hair, like the Phylleian mother, and bend back your neck amid flowing tresses.

  • 66  Gibson (2003) 394. See also Barchiesi (2006) 110-11.
  • 67  On the Lucretian echo in Ars 3.789-92, see Steudel (1992) 40-42 and 135; Gibson (2003) 397.

21In his commentary on these lines, R. Gibson notes that the description of the woman advised to tilt her neck back a little (779 paulum ceruice reflexa) echoes both Lucretius’ lover (DRN 1.35 ceruice reposta) and Virgil’s she-wolf (Aen. 8.633 ceruice reflexa, see above).66 Though lexically closer to the Virgilian phrase, Ovid’s ceruice reflexa nonetheless occurs in a context otherwise replete with Lucretian allusions. Of particular interest to both the Empedoclean and Lucretian background of this model are the terms in which Ovid claims at the end of the catalogue that his poetry is a more reliable authority than Phoebus’ tripod: 789-90 sed neque Phoebei tripodes nec corniger Ammon | uera magis uobis quam mea Musa canet (‘But neither Phoebus’ tripods nor horned Ammon will tell you more truth than does my Muse’). This couplet appropriates a claim twice made by Lucretius, first in respect of Empedocles and later in respect of his own De rerum natura (1.738-9 = 5.111-2 sanctius et multo certa ratione magis quam| Pythia quae tripode a Phoebi lauroque profatur, ‘with more sanctity and far more certainty than the Pythia who speaks forth from Apollo’s tripod and laurel’).67 This ‘double take’ is surely of significance given the Empedocleo-Lucretian association of the swooning lover, especially as used in elegy to date.

22The prevailing content of this reception-passage, however, seems to focus on Lucretian erotodidaxis almost to the exclusion of the Empedoclean cosmological subtext. In terms of general argument, by providing a catalogue of sexual positions (771 modos) designed to enhance the female physique, Ovid reworks Lucretius’ erotodidaxis at DRN 4.1263-77, where positions (cf. 1263 quibus … modis) more conducive to procreation (those employed by wives) are distinguished from positions which minimise the likelihood of conception and enhance sexual pleasure (those employed by prostitutes). In concentrating on pleasure and prostitution rather than on marriage and procreation, the Ars skews the emphasis of the Lucretian passage in a way that is consistent with Ovid’s insistence that he is not writing for wives. More generally, where Lucretius’ cure for love relies on the perception of the beloved as she really is, and not as the infatuate mind idealises her, Ovid accepts the Lucretian reality that not all women are equally attractive, but recommends for that very reason the lover’s collusion in his own deception. In this context, Ovid’s advice in lines 797-804 that sexual pleasure should be faked by women who cannot experience it for real (797-8 tu quoque, cui Veneris sensum natura negauit, | dulcia mendaci gaudia finge sono, ‘You to whom nature has denied the sensation of love, counterfeit the sweet bliss with lying sound’) similarly distorts Lucretius’ insistence at DRN 4.1192 (nec mulier semper ficto suspirat amore, ‘nor does a woman always feign the passion which makes her sigh’).

  • 68  To ceruice reflexa (779, cf. DRN 1.35 ceruice reposta), the following further parallels can be add (...)
  • 69  See Barchiesi (2006).

23As in Virgil, Tibullus and Propertius, the precise moment of Ovid’s engagement with Lucretius’ Mars-Venus tableau is fleeting,68 but occurs in a context otherwise replete with allusion to the De rerum natura. However, whereas his precursors harnessed the Empedoclean subtext of the Lucretian passage to offer a political meditation on war and peace as alternating forces in a cosmic cycle, Ovid fuses the erotic tableau of DRN 1 with the excursus on sex in DRN 4 to read Lucretius primarily as an erotodidactic text in the Ovidian tradition. The further allusion to Lucretius’ praise of Empedocles draws attention to the philosophical model otherwise under erasure: as read by the Ars, Mars and Venus are Ovidian lovers rather than Empedoclean symbols. As a result, when Ovid’s mistress, ceruice reflexa, recalls the she-wolf that nursed Romulus and Remus on Aeneas’ shield, she does so without the political or philosophical symbolism that informs Virgil’s Augustan icon, and accommodates herself instead to the context of a rather more Ovidian ‘lupa’,69 the prostitute whose valorisation in the Ars got Ovid into so much trouble. Retroactively, Ovid’s lupine prostitute has the potential to remind the reader of Aeneid 8 of the tradition that Virgil may have hoped to erase: it suggests a very Ovidian reading of the Aeneid that the mother of Romulus and Remus should herself be a lupa of the human variety, a tradition rather at odds with the conjugal overtones of the Venus-Vulcan ménage of which Aeneas’ shield is a product.

  • 70  The Lucretian model is noted en passant by Janka (1997) ad loc.

24Although Ovid eschews any political appropriation of Lucretius’ Mars-Venus tableau as an expression of the cosmic interchange of love and strife, the echo of the adulterous Mars and Venus in the context of a poem which claims not to infringe Augustan marital legislation is nonetheless political in a very different way. At Ars 2.561-88, the scandal of Venus’ affair with Mars, and its detection by Vulcan, had been recounted as an exemplum to advise the aspiring lover to overlook his girlfriend’s peccadilloes rather than to become a laughingstock like the jealous Vulcan.70 Now, at the end of Ars 3, by implication of her intertextual alignment with both Lucretius’ lover and Virgil’s she-wolf, the puella is invited to identify both with the adulterous wife of Greco-Roman myth that the allegorists sought to sanitise and with the lupa of Roman foundation legend that Virgil sought to erase.

  • 71  For Ovid’s similar move in the elegiac tradition, see Maltby (2009) on Ovid, Am. 3.9 and Fantham ( (...)

25Structurally, the end of the Ars Amatoria looks to the erotic opening of the De rerum natura, and in this way bookends the Roman erotodidactic tradition as constructed by Ovid.71 In the absence of Ars 3, which is constructed as a last-minute supplement, the same might have been said for Ovid’s retelling of Venus’ affair with Mars in Ars 2, insofar as this too occurs towards the end of what, on a first reading, is the ‘intended’ final book of the poem. Having reopened the two-book Ars with a third book addressed to women, Ovid perhaps unsurprisingly revisits the Lucretian tableau at the end of Ars 3 to re-impose a very Ovidian closure on the erotodidactic tradition. In Ovid’s cyclical return to Mars and Venus as he closes and reopens the battle of the sexes, there is perhaps a trace of the Empedoclean interchange of Love and Strife, a cycle that rolls on beyond the Ars Amatoria into the Remedia Amoris.

Conclusions

  • 72  See Zanker (1988) 195-201.

26The analysis of the case-studies presented above has suggested that Empedocles’ cycle of Love and Strife, mediated by its emblematic expression in Lucretius’ tableau of Venus and Mars, is pressed for its philosophical, erotic and political potential in various elegiac contexts. In Tibullus the cycle of love and strife between men and women becomes a philosophically informed inflection of contemporary politics: filtered through Lucretius and Lucretius’ Empedocles, militia amoris becomes more than a countercultural trope, reflecting as it does contemporary anxieties about the durability of peace. This was a period in which the Caesar at the centre of Propertius 3.4 and 3.5 claimed that under his watch ‘peace was born from war on land and sea’ (Res Gestae 13, terra marique esset parta uictoriis pax), a Caesar in whose iconographic programme Mars and Venus were central figures.72 Propertius uses Lucretian and Empedoclean cosmogony to meditate on his own place in this world, and in particular on his ambivalent relationship with contemporary militarism. Although Ovid elsewhere engages with the technical arguments of Lucretian science, the Ars Amatoria conversely seeks to strip away the philosophical content both of DRN 1 and, by extension, of Aeneid 8, inversely exposing rather more Ovidian moments in each. The residual presence of Empedocles, under erasure, in Ovid’s nexus of Lucretian allusion suggests, in contrast to Virgil, Tibullus and Propertius, a pointed refusal to dignify the contemporary ideology of ‘peace born from war’ with transcendent philosophical principles. Instead, Ovid recycles Lucretius’ Empedoclean symbols to signal the development of his own erotodidactic poetry.

27Taken together, these case-studies are ambassadors for a wider investigation of Lucretius and Lucretius’ Empedocles as important and persistent subtexts in Augustan elegy. If the elegists, like Virgil, engaged with Lucretius and Empedocles in this way, then elegy’s obsession with love and war, and perhaps even the elegiac conceit of militia amoris, encompass a much wider discourse about the cyclic interchange of arma and amor in the histories of nations no less than in the private lives of lovers.

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Notes

1  Lucretius’ association with Empedocles, signalled at DRN 1.716-33 and recognised implicitly at Cic., ad QF 2.10.3, is explicated by Furley (1970), Clay (1983) 22-3, 49-52, 82-110, 253-7; Sedley (1998); Campbell (2003); Sedley (2003); Trépanier (2004); Garani (2007).

2  Garani (2013) proceeds on the basis that Lucretius was the ‘primary conduit’ (258) through which Empedocles was received by later Latin poetry. Previous studies corroborating this view include Hardie (1995) and Nelis (2009).

3  Text and translation: Smith/Rouse (1992).

4  Cf. esp. fr. B 17.16-20 DK: τοτὲμὲνγὰρἓνηὐξήθημόνονεἶναι | ἐκπλεόνων, τοτὲδ' αὖδιέφυπλέον' ἐξἑνὸςεἶναι, | πῦρκαὶὕδωρκαὶγαῖακαὶἠέροςἄπλετονὕψος, | Νεῖκόςτ’ οὐλόμενονδίχατῶν, ἀτάλαντονἁπάντηι, | καὶΦιλότηςἐντοῖσιν, ἴσημῆκόςτεπλάτοςτε·, ‘for at one time it increased to be one alone of many, and at another grew apart to be many from one, fire and water and earth and the infinite height of air, and destructive Strife apart from them, entirely balanced, and Love in their midst, equal in length and breadth’. On the Empedoclean cycle, see O’Brien (1969); Martin and Primavesi (1998) 57-82; Trépanier (2003a); Trépanier (2003b); Trépanier (2004) esp. 184-92. On the Homeric allegoresis, see Buffière (1956) 168-72; Hardie (1986a) 62; Gale (1994) 41-2. O’Brien (2001) 119-23 proposes a different interpretation of Heraclitus and Eustathius that need not necessarily complicate the orthodox view of how the allegory is employed by Lucretius.

5  Sedley (1998) 27 with n. 98 is (cautiously) in favour of this view; contra, see O’Brien (2001) 117-19; Trépanier (2004) 40-41.

6  The philosophical and literary aspects of this Empedoclean subtext are emphasised, respectively, by Furley (1970) and Sedley (1998) 16-32, esp. 27. See also Clay (1983) 22-3, 82-110; Gale (1994) 41-2, 71-2, 219-20; Garani (2007) 37-43.

7  For Gallus and Lucretius/Empedocles, see Fabre-Serris (2014).

8  For example, the model of ‘generic enrichment’ proposed by Harrison (2007) is on the whole more conciliatory than the dynamics of intertextuality surveyed in Hinds (1998).

9  See, e.g., Hardie (1986a); Farrell (1991); Gale (2000); Hardie (2009); Nelis (2009); Giesecke (2000).

10  On the elegiac reception of Lucretius, see Sommariva (1980); Shulman (1981); Steudel (1992); J. F. Miller (1997); King (1998); Conte (2000); Farrell (2008); Caston (2012); Garani (2013); Fabre-Serris (2014). For an overview of elegiac intertextuality, with attention to Lucretius and other didactic models, see O’Rourke (2012).

11  See Kenney (1970) 380-90; Nussbaum (1994) 140-91.

12  Hardie (2007) 114.

13  Cf. Ovid, Her. 7.190 (Dido speaking): ille locus saevi uulnus amoris habet, ‘that spot bears the wound of cruel love’. The tradition of militia amoris has Hellenistic antecedents, but female supremacy is a Roman innovation: see Spies (1930), Murgatroyd (1975), Estévez Sola (2011). O’Rourke (forthcoming) relates the Lucretian background to the non-metaphorical implications of elegiac militia amoris.  

14  See Gordon (2002) for the argument that in the Mars-Venus tableau and DRN 4 Lucretius promotes an anti-Priapic (i.e. non-aggressive) ethic.

15  On elegy’s imbrication with Augustan politics, see, e.g., Keith (2008) 139-65; Gold (2012); on Lucretian politics, see, e.g., Fowler (1989), Schiesaro (2007), and (diversely) Kennedy (2013).

16  Quotations from Virgil are taken from Mynors (1969) and translated originally.

17  See Putnam (1998) 170; Casali (2006) 189-91.

18  A correction to P (the fourth/fifth cent. Vaticanus Palatinus lat. 1631) and several ninth century mss (cdhrstu) have Vulcan deuictus amore, closer again to Lucretius’ Mars (even if it is not what Virgil wrote, deuictus remains instructive as a correction made under the pressure of the prevailing intertextuality).

19  Wigodsky (1972) 134, citing Kroll (‘die Stelle ist auch sonst von Verg. benutzt’), also compares Aen. 5.842 funditque has ore loquellas with DRN 1.39-40 ore loquellas | funde. See also Merrill (1917) 136-7; Casali (2006) 193.

20  Edmunds (2002). As the ‘on top’ position of the female lover is not equally apparent in Lucretius, Virgil, and Propertius, the argument presented here is not dependent on this point.

21  Hardie (1986b) 90-95; Putnam (1998) 181-3.

22  Eden (1975) 167 quoting Bailey: ‘Virgil loves to imitate Lucretius in a slightly less dignified context’; Gransden (1976) 164-5; Hardie (1986a) 361-2; Putnam (1998) 181-3 at 183: ‘The feral animal is appropriate nurse in Mars’ cave for the twins of a god whom the ekphrasis will later show raging in the midst of the Actian battle lines.’  

23  Virgil’s phrase is actually closer to Cicero’s description of the constellation Draco (tereti ceruice reflexum); Servius comments that the passage is Ennian (Serv. ad Aen. 8.631: sane totus hic locus Ennianus est). See Wigodsky (1972) 123-4, citing Norden 371 n. 3; Hardie (1986a) 361 n. 79. For traction between Lucretius and Cicero on this point, see Gee (2013) 85-6.

24  Putnam (1998) 169.

25  See Ingleheart (2010) 237-40.

26  So Gransden (1975) 164-5, citing Plutarch Vit. Rom. 4.3. See also Livy 1.4.

27  In the same way, the reminiscence of Lucretius’ Mars-Venus tableau in the lupine scene operates in conjunction and in tension with Virgil’s earlier reception of that passage at Geo. 2.523-4, where the description of the farmer’s domestic bliss sanitises the Lucretian intertext it otherwise evokes: see Hardie (1986a) 361. The georgic passage also echoes DRN 3.894-9: see Gransden (1975) 164.

28  Hardie (1986a) 361.

29  See Putnam (1998) 181-3.

30  See Schmidt (1994) 112f.

31  See Buffière (1956) 159; Hardie (1985); Hardie (1986a) 340-41. On Virgil’s reception of this tradition, see Knauer (1964) 259-62; Hardie (1986a) 336-76, esp. 340-41, 358-61; Nelis (2001) 345-59.

32  Hardie (1986a) 348f., 360f.; Nelis (2001) 345-7.

33  As Nelis (2001) 346 with n.76 observes, the ecphrasis locates Mars in its first line (630 Mauortis) and at its centre (700 saeuit medio in certamine Mauors, ‘Mars rages in the midst of the strife’), a line which inverts Empedocles fr. B 35.4 DK ἐνδὲμέσηιΦιλότηςστροφάλιγγιγένηται (‘and love comes about in the midst of the whirl’); Venus (699) and Discordia (702) are also present. For the view that Strife necessarily ensues, see Nelis (2001) 349; for tension between teleological and recidivist ‘drives’ in the Aeneid, see Quint (1993).

34  The question of priority no longer dominates this discussion: see Bucheit (1965) for the majority view of Tib. 2.5 as the later work; so too Cairns (1979) 68, but with an agnostic bottom line.

35  On Tibullus’ and Propertius’ commentaries on Lucretius’ Kulturgeschichte, see Fabre-Serris (2005) and (2008) 40-46. On the Eclogues and Lucretius, see Hardie (2009). On Tibullus and the Eclogues, see Putnam (2005).

36  Text: Postgate (1915); translation (with the exception of 1.10.1-2): Postgate/Goold (1988).

37  See Kennedy (1993) 13-15.

38  So Costa (1984) 141.

39  See Sedley (1998) 26, who denies that the fragment necessarily comes from Empedocles’ proem; so also Trépanier (2004) 15, 50. For possible lines of interpretation, see Inwood (2001) 63; Garani (2007) 34.

40  See Nelis (2004) esp. par. 15-32; Garani (2013) esp. 237-9 makes the case for Ovid’s reading of the Empedoclean Golden Age at Fasti 1.337-48.

41  See Maltby (2002) 60, 63, 116-7, 150, 198-9, 381, 458-9; Putnam (2005) 133-5; Miller (2009) 262.

42  On the saecular theme of Tib. 2.5, see Miller (2009) 260-65.

43  Miller (2009) 264, continuing (with an emphasis different to that proposed here) ‘Since this is an impossibility, the present request to Apollo gently undermines the surety of Tibullus’ prediction above but in a funny, not a politically provocative, manner’.

44  Pillinger (1971) 206.

45  See the discussion in O’Rourke (forthcoming). On the rapprochement of military and elegiac duritia in Tibullus 1.10, see Fabre-Serris (2013) esp. 227-8.

46  Pillinger (1971) 207.

47  J. Clay (2003) 83-5 argues against Vernant’s interpretation of the Hesiodic Golden Age as a phase in a cycle. Be that as it may, (some of) Hesiod’s ancient readers may have viewed the myth of ages as cyclical and thus consistent with the Empedoclean framework.

48  Garani (2011).

49  See O’Rourke (2010) with bibliography at n. 5; within this journal, click through to O’Rourke (2011).

50  See esp. DeBrohun (2003).

51  The possibility of Callimachus’ prior appropriation of Empedocles is of relevance here: see, e.g., A. Hardie (2013) 220 on Callimachus’ Acontius and Cydippe.

52  Stahl (1985) 192-202 reads the elegies as an expression of a tension between private and public in Propertius.

53  See Cairns (2003).

54  Text: Heyworth (2007a); translations: Heyworth (2007b).

55  This mise en scène may owe something to Gallus: see Putnam (1980), Cairns (2006) 406-12, Hollis (2007) 243-4; see, therefore, n. 7 above.

56  Heyworth’s transposition, if correct, makes for a more immediate transition from embracing couple to the prayer to Venus, as in Lucretius. For the textual criticism, see Heyworth (2007b) 295-7.

57  Edmunds (2002) sees Propertius and Cynthia in the only other Roman example of the ‘woman on top’ hupokolpios schema outside of Lucretius and Virgil. See n. 20 above.

58  The use of compound adjectives, rare in Propertius (see Tränkle [1960] 58-9; cf. Fedeli [1985] 160), in periphrasis (2 gemmiferi … maris, ‘gem-bearing sea’; 8 armigeri … equi, ‘armoured horses’ [though Heyworth’s emended text takes armigeri alone as a noun: see Heyworth (2007b) 294-5]) is a Lucretian touch (cf. DRN 1.3 mare nauigerum … terras frugiferentis, ‘the sea fullladen with ships, the earth that bears the crops’) that bears what Sedley 2003 identifies as an Empedoclean ‘fingerprint’ (cf. Sedley [1998] 24-5 on DRN 1.3). For Ovid’s invocation of Empedocles by means of this technique, see Garani (2013) 240-41, 247.

59  Conte (2000).

60  Fedeli (1985) 175-6 at 175: ‘[r]eminiscenze del testo lucreziano sembrano indiscutibili’.

61  See Courtney (1969) 70-72; Fedeli (1985) 175. For allusion to Aphrodite as 'queen' of Empedocles' Golden Age (fr. B 128 DK) at Prop. 3.3.31 (Veneris dominae uolucres columbae, 'winged doves of our mistress Venus'), see Fedeli (1985) 141 
ad loc.

62  See Keith (2008) 139-65 and (on elegies 3.4 and 3.5) 60-63.

63  See, e.g., Hardie (1995); Nelis (2009); Garani (2013).

64  One instance of Empedoclean allusion in the Ars is remarked by Rusten (1982) and Hardie (1995) 214.

65  Text: Kenney (1961); translation: Mozley/Goold (1979).

66  Gibson (2003) 394. See also Barchiesi (2006) 110-11.

67  On the Lucretian echo in Ars 3.789-92, see Steudel (1992) 40-42 and 135; Gibson (2003) 397.

68  To ceruice reflexa (779, cf. DRN 1.35 ceruice reposta), the following further parallels can be added: resupina (773, cf. DRN 1.37 resupini), conspicienda (780, cf. DRN 1.35 suspiciens), fusa (782, cf. DRN 1.39 circumfusa).

69  See Barchiesi (2006).

70  The Lucretian model is noted en passant by Janka (1997) ad loc.

71  For Ovid’s similar move in the elegiac tradition, see Maltby (2009) on Ovid, Am. 3.9 and Fantham (1998) 37, 88-9 on Ovid’s retrospection to Am. 3.15 in Fasti 4.

72  See Zanker (1988) 195-201.

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Donncha O’Rourke, « Lovers in Arms: Empedoclean Love and Strife in Lucretius and the Elegists », Dictynna [En ligne], 11 | 2014, mis en ligne le 19 décembre 2014, consulté le 28 mars 2017. URL : http://dictynna.revues.org/1080

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Donncha O’Rourke

University of Edinburgh

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