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Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 April 2014

William Turpin*
Swarthmore College


Amores 1.1, as usually understood, ends in a way that seems a little flat: after an amusing account of how falling in love made him turn from epic to elegy, the poet concludes by ponderously invoking an elegiac muse. In this note I will argue that the ending is more entertaining, and more significant: the muse invoked in the last couplet, who is to inspire the poems to come, is none other than Corinna herself.

Shorter Notes
Copyright © The Classical Association 2014 

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1 For the witty combination of a personified with a non-personified muse in the last couplet, see McKeown, J.C., Ovid: Amores. Volume II: A Commentary on Book One, ARCA 22 (Leeds, 1989)Google Scholar, ad loc.

2 For recent discussions see Keith, A.M., ‘Amores 1.1: Propertius and the Ovidian Programme’, in Deroux, C. (ed.), Studies in Latin Literature and Roman History VI (Brussels, 1992), 327–44Google Scholar; Greene, E., The Erotics of Domination: Male Desire and the Mistress in Latin Love Poetry (Baltimore, 1998), 6873Google Scholar; Liebermann, W.-L., ‘Liebe und Dichtung: was hat Amor/Cupido mit der Poesie zu schaffen? – Ovid, Amores I, 1’, Mnemosyne 53 (2000), 672–89CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Bretzigheimer, G., Ovids Amores: Poetik in der Erotik, Classica Monacensia 22 (Tübingen, 2001), 1218Google Scholar; Tsomis, G., ‘Properz, 1, 1 und Ovid, Amores 1, 1’, Athenaeum 97 (2009), 477–88.Google Scholar

3 McKeown (n. 1), ad loc. observes that there is no known precedent for the conceit about stealing a foot from the writer of hexameters to create an elegiac couplet.

4 So McKeown (n. 1), ad loc.; J.T. Davis, ‘Risit Amor: Aspects of Literary Burlesque in Ovid's “Amores”’, ANRW 2.31.4 (1981), 2460–506, at 2468–9. Davis argues that a pectus vacuum cannot mean a ‘once empty heart’, because that would conflict with the statement in lines 19–20 about the lack of materia. But that statement is in the poet's complaint to Cupid before getting shot.

5 See Lyne, R.O.A.M., The Latin Love Poets: From Catullus to Horace (Oxford, 1980)Google Scholar, 260; Boyd, B.W., Ovid's Literary Loves: Influence and Innovation in the Amores (Ann Arbor, 1997), 148–9Google Scholar. For Augustine, see Conf. 3.1.

6 Stroh, W., Die römische Liebeselegie als werbende Dichtung (Amsterdam, 1971)Google Scholar, 146 n. 23; Barsby, J.A., Ovid: Amores Book 1 (Oxford, 1973)Google Scholar, 42; Moles, J., ‘The dramatic coherence of Ovid, Amores 1.1 and 1.2’, CQ 41 (1991), 551–4CrossRefGoogle Scholar, at 553 n. 9.

7 A parallel text (or at least an illustration) is provided by a country-and-western singer named Irvin Newton, who may be seen on YouTube singing an original song called ‘You filled my empty heart’.

8 Ov. Am. 1.2.7–8: haeserunt tenues in corde sagittae | et possessa ferus pectora versat Amor.

9 See McKeown (n. 1), on 1.2.8.

10 Hoffman, D., ‘Muse’, in Preminger, A. and Brogan, T.V.F. (edd.), The New Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics (Princeton, 1993), 802–3Google Scholar. See also the reservations of Joseph Brodsky, ‘The poet, the loved one and the Muse’, TLS (26 October 1990), 1150 and 1160, cited by Murray, P., ‘The Muses: creativity personified?’, in Stafford, E. and Herrin, J. (edd.), Personification in the Greek World: From Antiquity to Byzantium (Aldershot and Burlington, VT, 2005), 147–59Google Scholar, at 150 n. 8. I have been unable to find a detailed consideration of this conception of the poetic muse in western literature, though see Jacoby, M., ‘The Muse as Symbol of Literary Creativity’, in Strelka, J.P. (ed.), Anagogic Qualities of Literature (University Park, PA, 1971), 3650.Google Scholar

11 I can find no evidence to support the confident reference to ‘Roman elegy, with its beloved as Muse and poetry’, in Sharrock, A., ‘An A-musing Tale: Gender, Genre, and Ovid's Battles with Inspiration in the Metamorphoses’, in Spentzou, E. and Fowler, D. (edd.), Cultivating the Muse: Struggles for Power and Inspiration in Classical Literature (Oxford, 2002), 207–27Google Scholar, at 210. But if we substitute ‘inspiration’ for ‘Muse’ we are on firm ground.

12 Note esp. Prop. 2.1.4: ingenium nobis ipsa puella facit. See Lieberg, G., Puella Divina: die Gestalt der göttlichen Geliebten bei Catull im Zusammenhang der antiken Dichtung (Amsterdam, 1962)Google Scholar; Fernández, J. Martos, ‘Amada divina’, in Soldevila, R. Moreno (ed.), Diccionario de motivos amatorios en la literatura latina (Siglos III a. C. – II d. C.) (Huelva, 2011)Google Scholar, 32.

13 Wyke, M., The Roman Mistress: Ancient and Modern Representations (Oxford, 2002)Google Scholar; Keith, A.M., ‘Corpus Eroticum: Elegiac Poetics and Elegiac Puellae in Ovid's Amores’, CW 88 (1994), 2740.Google Scholar

14 On the Muses in Latin poetry see Karamalengou, H., ‘Musa ou Musae? Poétique ou poétiques chez les poètes Augustéens?’, REL 81 (2003), 133–56.Google Scholar

15 See esp. Lieberg, G., ‘Die Muse des Properz und seine Dichterweihe’, Philologus 107 (1963), 116–29CrossRefGoogle Scholar, 263–70; see also Heyworth, S.J., Cynthia: A Companion to the Text of Propertius (Oxford, 2008), 56Google Scholar. For names of mistresses see Randall, J.G., ‘Mistresses' pseudonyms in Latin elegy’, LCM 4 (1979), 2735Google Scholar; Laigneau, S., La femme et l'amour chez Catulle et les élégiaques augustéens, Collection Latomus 249 (Brussels, 1999), 8192.Google Scholar

16 For comparison to an unspecified goddess see Am. 1.7.32, 2.11.46 and perhaps 2.18.17. At Am. 3.2.60 the comparison is to Venus and at Am. 3.3.12 the point is explicitly about physical beauty.

17 Also Tr. 4.10.59–60: moverat ingenium totam cantata per urbem | nomine non vero dicta Corinna mihi. Cf. McKeown, J.C., Ovid: Amores. Volume I: Text and Prolegomena (Liverpool, 1987)Google Scholar, 104.

18 Anth. Pal. 9.26 = Gow, A.S.F. and Page, D.L., The Greek Anthology: The Garland of Philip and Some Contemporary Epigrams, 2 vols. (Cambridge, 1968), 1.24–5.Google Scholar

19 Nicoll, W.S.M., ‘Ovid, Amores I 5’, Mnemosyne 30 (1977), 40–8CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Papanghelis, T.D., ‘About the hour of noon: Ovid, “Amores” 1,5’, Mnemosyne 42 (1989), 5461.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

20 The referee for this paper, to whom I am grateful for other corrections and insights as well, observes that line 29 (cingere litorea flaventia tempora myrto) alludes to language used by Virgil in his address to Octavian at G. 1.24–8 (cingens materna tempora myrto, line 28). Corinna, as Ovid's new muse, has displaced the princeps himself.