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see pastoralpastoral,
literary work in which the shepherd's life is presented in a conventionalized manner. In this convention the purity and simplicity of shepherd life is contrasted with the corruption and artificiality of the court or the city.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



one of the minor genres of Alexandrian poetry, further developed in Roman literature and European literatures of a later date.

In keeping with their source in folklore—shepherds’ songs—Greek bucolics were characterized by the inclusion of songs, variety and persuasiveness of the characters revealed in them, mastery of details (especially in the landscape, which was always peaceful and therefore conventional), and praise of the charms of rural life. The meter of bucolics is dactylic hexameter, which is lighter than the hexameter used in epics because of the obligatory second caesura (the so-called bucolic caesura).

Theocritus is considered the founder of the bucolic genre. In the works of his followers—Moschus, Bion (second century B.C.), and others—that have come down to us under his name, the bucolics’ sole theme is love. The greatest Roman writer of bucolics was Vergil. Roman poetry added to the genre an abundance of topical political allusions that were primarily panegyrics to the ruling emperors. After Vergil, Calpurnius (first century A.D.) and Nemesianus (third century A.D.) gave bucolics a partly didactic character.


Istoriia grecheskoi literatury, vol. 3. Edited by S. I. Sobolevskii and others. Moscow, 1960.
Scheda, G. Studien zur bukolischen Dichtung der neronischen Epoche. Bonn, 1969.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Virgil's Book of Bucolics, the ten eclogues translated into English verse, framed by cues for reading aloud and clues for threading texts and themes.