In This Article Corpus Tibullianum, Book 3

  • Introduction
  • General Overviews
  • Bibliographies
  • Textual Tradition
  • The Poems of Lygdamus
  • The Sulpicia Cycle / Sulpicia’s Garland
  • The Concluding Poems

Classics Corpus Tibullianum, Book 3
by
Robert Maltby
  • LAST MODIFIED: 28 November 2016
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195389661-0236

Introduction

Book 3 of the Corpus Tibullianum consists of a number of discrete sections, composed at different periods and probably assembled as a book in the course of the 2nd century CE. This collection was then added to the two genuine books of Tibullus by the end of the 4th century, when echoes from poems 3.19 and 3.7 are quoted alongside passages from the genuine Tibullus in the poems of Ausonius and Avienus. The different sections of book 3 are as follows: poems 1–6 (Lygdamus), composed after Ovid’s late works, probably at the end of the 1st century CE; poem 7 (Panegyricus Messallae), perhaps from the 2nd century CE; poems 8–12 (Sulpicia Cycle), immediately after Ovid’s late works, around 20 CE; poems 13–18 (Sulpicia), from the end of the 1st century BCE; poem 19 (Pseudo-Tibullus), written after Ovid’s Tristia and Remedia, a little later than 2 CE; and poem 20, a concluding epigram of uncertain date, perhaps early 1st century CE. The dating and authorship of these various sections are still subject to scholarly discussion, but the above account represents an emerging consensus. How these poems by different authors were collected together remains a mystery. All can be connected in some way or another with Tibullus’s patron Messalla Corvinus, his niece Sulpicia, or themes found in the chief poet of his circle, Tibullus. The ultimate source may have been the archives of the family of Messalla. The collection will have begun with the Sulpicia poems, written in Messalla’s lifetime, to which will first have been added the closely related Sulpicia Cycle. Lygdamus seems to have known both these sets of poems and probably came next, and finally would have come the Panegyricus Messallae, the only hexameter work in the collection, probably written as a school exercise long after the death of its addressee. The pseudo-Tibullan poem 19, and the short closing epigram, poem 20, could have been added when the final collection was put together. Whoever put together the collection in its final form showed much skill in the order of arrangement of the poems, highlighting correspondences between the various sections.

General Overviews

The best modern overviews of the composition of Book 3 are provided in Tränkle 1990 (cited under Texts and Commentaries; pp. 1–6) and in Navarro Antolín 1996 (pp. 25–30) and De Luca 2009 (pp. 16–20) (both cited under Texts and Commentaries on Specific Poems). Holzberg 1998–1999 presents the thesis, now generally rejected, that the whole book was put together by a single author, posing as Tibullus. Maltby 2010, focusing on the style and meter of the various sections, agrees broadly with the conclusions found in Tränkle 1990.

  • Holzberg, Niklas. 1998–1999. Four poets and a poetess or a portrait of the poet as a young man? Thoughts on Book 3 of the Corpus Tibullianum. Classical Journal 94.2: 169–191.

    E-mail Citation »

    Proposes the thesis, which can now be discounted on metrical and stylistic grounds, that the whole of Book 3 was composed by a single author, posing as the young Tibullus, perhaps in the late 1st century CE. The discussion is still useful for its observations on correspondences between the structure of Book 3 and Tibullus’s first book.

  • Maltby, Robert. 2010. The unity of Corpus Tibullianum Book 3: Some stylistic and metrical considerations. In Papers of the Langford Latin Seminar. Vol. 14, Health and sickness in ancient Rome: Greek and Roman poetry and historiography. Edited by Francis Cairn and Miriam Griffin, 319–340. ARCA 50. Cambridge, UK: Francis Cairns.

    E-mail Citation »

    A succinct account of the problems and possible solutions of the dating and authorship of the various sections of Book 3, on the basis of metrical and stylistic grounds. A useful starting point for further research in this area.

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