Tuesday, March 29, 2022

M/M: Apollo's Love for Admetus, Tibullus Carm.2.3.11-15

A common theme in Roman lyric poetry is servitium amoris, ["enslavement to love"], where the narrator of the poem is willing to undergo humiliation in order to prove themselves to the object of their desire. The following poem shows Apollo's love for Admetus causes him to give up his posh lifestyle as an immortal in order to serve as the king's shepherd.  


pavit et Admeti tauros formosus Apollo,
    nec cithara intonsae profueruntue comae,
nec potuit curas sanare salubribus herbis:
    quidquid erat medicae vicerat artis amor.

ipse deus solitus stabulis expellere vaccas

--Tibullus, Carm. II.3.11

Beautiful Apollo cared for Admetus’ bulls

His lyre & his long hair did not benefit him

Nor could his knowledge of medicinal herbs heal him;

Love conquered all of his medical skill.

The god Apollo fetched the cows from their stables…



Name:  Albius Tibullus

Date:  55 – 19 BCE

Works:  Elegies



Region 1: Peninsular Italy; Region 2: Western Europe; Region 3: Western Coast of Africa; Region 4: Egypt and Eastern Mediterranean; Region 5: Greece and the Balkans



 Tibullus was an Italian born equestrian Roman who lived during the tumultuous transition of Roman government from republic to monarchy.

His volumes of elegies provide insight into the lives and customs of Roman aristocrats. Like Catullus and Propertius, Tibullus used a pseudonym for the objects of his attention; many of his love poems were addressed to either “Delia” or “Marathus.”


Early Roman Lit: through 2nd c BCE: Republican Rome: through 1st c. BCE; Golden Age: 70 BCE to 18 CE; Silver Age: 18 CE to 150 CE; Age of Conflict: 150 CE - 410 CE; Byzantine and Late Latin: after 410 CE

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