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Document Details :

Title: Unwalled City
Subtitle: The Herdsmen's Plight in Eclogues 1
Author(s): YONA, Sergio
Journal: Latomus
Volume: 81    Issue: 3   Date: 2022   
Pages: 627-650
DOI: 10.2143/LAT.81.3.3291219

Abstract :
This article provides a close examination of the dynamic conversation between Tityrus and Meliboeus in Vergil’s Eclogues 1. It attempts to demonstrate, through a consideration of the moral and political circumstances of the bucolic narrative, the degree to which religious and, more specifically, thanatological and philosophical doctrines (especially those of the Epicureans) influenced the poet’s portrayal of his characters’ fortunes. As interlocutors, Tityrus and Meliboeus attempt to comprehend their current situations and formulate a clear understanding of what lies ahead. The role of politics, which is always in the background, creates tension between the two herdsmen, and their miscommunication throughout the poem is palpable. In the end, however, what they share is a misunderstanding of the vicissitudes of life (even the downtrodden Meliboeus imagines that his counterpart’s good fortune will endure) as well as the inevitable reality of death (to which Meliboeus seems to refer, albeit it unwittingly).

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