Sextus Propertius

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Propertius, Sextus

Propertius, Sextus (sĕkˈstəs prōpûrˈshəs), c.50 B.C.–c.16 B.C., Roman elegiac poet, b. Umbria. He was a member of the circle of Maecenas. A master of the Latin elegy, he wrote with vigor, passion, and sincerity.


See translations by C. Carrier (1963) and J. Warden (1972); studies by M. Platnauer (1951) and D. R. S. Bailey (1956).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Propertius, Sextus


Born circa 50 B.C., in Asisium, now Assisi; died circa 15 B.C., in Rome. Roman poet.

The basic theme of Propertius’ love elegies (there are 92, in four books) is an anguished, sorrowful passion for the beloved. The later concepts of the elegy and of what was elegiac developed under Propertius’ influence. The theme of love in his works was eventually replaced by mythological subjects and by idealization of a traditional way of life and of the valor of the ancient Romans. In addition, the theme of conjugal love and fidelity appeared in his love elegies.

Propertius’ style is marked by sharp shifts of thought and mood, deliberate ambiguity of expression, and an abundance of mythological details and allusions. His works influenced Ovid and many other Roman poets of the first century A.D. In the Middle Ages he was forgotten, and interest in him revived only in the age of Petrarch. In Russia, the poets K. N. Batiushkov, A. N. Maikov, and A. A. Fet were influenced by Propertius.


Sexti Propertii elegiarum, vols. 1–4. Edited by M. Schuster. Leipzig, 1954.
In Russian translation:
In the collection Valerii Katull, Al’bii Tibull, Sekst Propertsii. Moscow, 1963.


Istoriia rimskoi literatury, vol. 1. Edited by S. I. Sobolevskii [et al.]. Moscow, 1959.
Tronskii, I. M. Istoriia antichnoi literatury, 3rd ed. Leningrad, 1957.
Boucher, J. P. Etudes sur Properce: Problèmes d’inspiration et d’art. Paris, 1965.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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