Sextus Propertius

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Propertius, Sextus

(sĕk`stəs prōpûr`shəs), c.50 B.C.–c.16 B.C., Roman elegiac poet, b. Umbria. He was a member of the circle of MaecenasMaecenas
(Caius Maecenas) , d. 8 B.C., Roman statesman and patron of letters. He was born (between 74 B.C. and 64 B.C.) into a wealthy family and was a trusted adviser of Octavian (Augustus), who employed Maecenas as his personal representative for various political missions.
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. 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).

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.
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Pound had always thought of Homage to Sextus Propertius and Hugh Selwyn Mauberly as a diptych, two facing panels that reflect the plight of the poet in a culture shaped by the First World War and the consequences of the Peace.
The abuse heaped on Pound for his Homage to Sextus Propertius makes for lively reading (the translation was "an insult both to poetry and to scholarship, and to common sense," thundered a contemporary classicist [14]).
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Kar exists in a memory maze with such figures as Sextus Propertius, Goethe, Joseph Conrad, Italo Svevo, Osip Mandelshtam, and Anna Karenina, who meet and interact at their exclusive Society of International Vanity.
Mas tarde combinaria Mauberley con su traduccion libre Homage to Sextus Propertius, lo que dio como resultado el diptico Rome-London 1958): dos sensibilidades privadas, alertas, en el centro de los dos imperios mas grandes del mundo; dos mascaras a traves de las cuales el poeta podia emitir sus comentarios.
He suggests that critics have been slow to admit the importance of modernist translation, or content with passing judgment on individual translations (the prime example usually being Pound's Homage to Sextus Propertius [1919]).
But "Pages: From a Book of Years" is different: here we are more likely to encounter Robert McNamara than Sextus Propertius, more likely to meet Scientologists than the Gnostics or the followers of obscure medieval heresies.
Sullivan, in discussing Ezra Pound's Homage to Sextus Propertius, claimed that Pound's `versions' of Propertius showed an appreciation of a modernity that conventional scholars had missed.
Pound, however, always regarded the poem as inferior to "Homage to Sextus Propertius," which he believed was both a better mask of the essential poet and a better piece of social criticism.
Sullivan's 1964 study Ezra Pound and Sextus Propertius.
During or after the First World War, Pound composed what have, with some plausibility, been called war books: Cathay in April 1915 (later to be augmented by four poems); Homage to Sextus Propertius in 1917, and Hugh Selwyn Mauberley in 1920.