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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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.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 ?
First, Mariano Tucci's reference, in an afterward, to the 1510 Giuntine edition as "hoc secundo Maronis enchiridio" (this second hand-held book of Maro) cannot be interpreted as confirmation of the existence of an e arlier edition edited by Riccardini because enchiridion, the word used by Aldus Manutius to describe his octavo-sized Vergil of 1501, indicates format and cannot be assumed to be a synonym for the terms commonly used for edition, editio or impressio; the 1504 Giunta anthology of bucolic poetry, an octavo-sized enchiridion also edited by Riccardini, although it contained the Bucolics alone of Vergil's works, may well have been what Tucci had in mind as the predecessor of Riccardini's 1510 Giunta Vergil.
The first bucolic portrays the anguish of a shepherd forced to leave his ancestral lands.
The bucolics are the most characteristic and influential of Theocritus' works.
His fame now well established by the Bucolics, Vergil accepted the invitation of Maecenas to come and live on his estate in Naples and there begin work on a much more ambitious project, which Vergil had already outlined.