In This Article Marcus Manilius

  • Introduction
  • General Overviews
  • Texts and Translations
  • Commentaries
  • Bibliographies and Concordances
  • Biography
  • Date
  • Textual Transmission and Completeness
  • Astrology
  • Historical and Political Background
  • Philosophy
  • Hermetism
  • Genre
  • Poetics
  • Myth
  • Reception

Classics Marcus Manilius
by
Katharina Volk
  • LAST MODIFIED: 30 March 2015
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195389661-0106

Introduction

Marcus Manilius was a Roman poet who in the second decade of the 1st century CE wrote Astronomica, a hexameter poem in five books on the topic of astrology. Nothing is known about his person or life. His highly self-reflexive work belongs to the genre of ancient didactic poetry and is greatly indebted to Lucretius, while also showing the influence of such Augustan poets as Vergil and Ovid. Manilius describes and celebrates the workings of fate and the beauty and order of the divine universe, presenting a view of the world that is typical of cosmological ideas of his period and particularly close to Stoicism. At the same time, the poet’s subject matter carries political significance: astrology had grown popular at Rome in the late Republic and had become a tool of propaganda in the reign of Augustus, who is praised and associated with the heavens at numerous points in Manilius’s poem.

General Overviews

A concise summary of Manilius and his work is found in Hübner 2006. Volk 2009 provides a comprehensive introduction to the poet in English, treating his astronomy, astrology, political context, poetics, and philosophy. Salemme 2000, the only other general monograph on the poet, has good discussions of Manilius’s worldview, use of myth, and poetic style. Hübner 1984 focuses on the Astronomica’s astrological content, Romano 1979 on its structure, Landolfi 2003 on its proems and poetics, and Maranini 1994 on its reception from Antiquity to the present day. Liuzzi 1993 and Green and Volk 2011 are collections of essays by various authors.

  • Green, Steven J., and Katharina Volk, eds. 2011. Forgotten stars: Rediscovering Manilius’ Astronomica. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

    DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199586462.001.0001E-mail Citation »

    A recent collection of essays by an international group of scholars, on such topics as Manilius’s intellectual context, internal consistency, use of metaphor, didactic digressions, and reception.

  • Hübner, Wolfgang. 1984. Manilius als Astrologe und Dichter. In Aufstieg und Niedergang der römischen Welt. Edited by Hildegard Temporini and Wolfgang Haase, 126–320. Berlin: de Gruyter.

    E-mail Citation »

    An introduction of the Astronomica’s astrological aspects and their poetic representation by a specialist in the field; interesting, if not easy to follow.

  • Hübner, Wolfgang. 2006. Manilius III. In Brill’s New Pauly. Edited by Hubert Cancik, Helmuth Schneider, and Manfred Landfest, 240–243. New York: Brill.

    E-mail Citation »

    A concise encyclopedia entry.

  • Landolfi, Luciano. 2003. Integra prata: Manilio, i proemi. Bologna: Pàtron.

    E-mail Citation »

    A collection of essays by the author, many previously published, on the proems of the Astronomica, with many excellent observations on questions of poetics.

  • Liuzzi, Dora, ed. 1993. Manilio fra poesia e scienza. Galatina, Italy: Congedo.

    E-mail Citation »

    A collection of essays (in Italian and French) by a number of scholars, based on presentations at a 1992 conference.

  • Maranini, Anna. 1994. Filologia fantastica: Manilio e i suoi Astronomica. Bologna: Il Mulino.

    E-mail Citation »

    A somewhat chaotic but inspiring discussion of the Astronomica and its reception from Antiquity to the present day.

  • Romano, Elisa. 1979. Struttura degli Astronomica di Manilio. Palermo: Accademia di Scienze, Lettere e Arti di Palermo.

    E-mail Citation »

    A discussion of the book structure of the Astronomica. Not particularly user-friendly, but contains interesting observations.

  • Salemme, Carmelo. 2000. Introduzione agli Astronomica di Manilio, 2d ed. Naples: Loffredo.

    E-mail Citation »

    A helpful introduction to Manilius’s work, with special attention to philosophy, myth, and poetics.

  • Volk, Katharina. 2009. Manilius and his intellectual background. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

    DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199265220.001.0001E-mail Citation »

    The only monograph on Manilius in English; provides an extensive introduction to the Astronomica, with special focus on its cultural context.

back to top

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content on this page. Please subscribe or login.

How to Subscribe

Oxford Bibliographies Online is available by subscription and perpetual access to institutions. For more information or to contact an Oxford Sales Representative click here.

Purchase an Ebook Version of This Article

Ebooks of the Oxford Bibliographies Online subject articles are available in North America via a number of retailers including Amazon, vitalsource, and more. Simply search on their sites for Oxford Bibliographies Online Research Guides and your desired subject article.

If you would like to purchase an eBook article and live outside North America please email onlinemarketing@oup.com to express your interest.

Article

Up

Down