Studies on the First Proem of Astronomica
- Takeshita, Tetsufumi
- Other Title
Search this article
The first proem of Astronomica is written in a very complicated style and this complexity, as Schrijvers says, comes from a symbolic and ambiguous usage of words. Therefore it is necessary to analyze such a “Manilian” style in order to understand the whole poem. This paper begins by examining the novelty which the poet stresses repeatedly in the proem. I shall then move on to cosmological relationship between Manilius and Stoic philosophy; it is true some scholars call it into question, but, for the most part, the worldview of Astronomica accords with that of Stoics. Given that Stoic cosmology is one of the characteristics of Astronomica, it is useful to examine the affiliation of Astronomica with Stoic poetry. In the second chapter, I shall first survey the Stoic poetry, quoting some passages from Stoicorum Veterum Fragmenta, then move on to Manilius’ attitude toward poetry. According to Crates of Mallus, a great poet is also a philosopher and conceals the truth under the veil of poetry; only a true κριτικός can discover it: in short, Stoic poetry consists in allegorical interpretation and these peculiarities can also be recognized in Astronomica. In the last chapter, I attempt to explain some disputed lines, especially suis figuris (1. 24) and emergere moles (1. 116). From the point of view of Stoic poetry, it will be clear that these difficult verses have an allegorical meaning and their ambiguity is not caused by textual uncertainty, but intended by the poet himself.
- CLASSICAL STUDIES
CLASSICAL STUDIES 24 21-46, 2016-09-28