Horace's Mythological Lexicon: Repeated Myths and Meaning in Odes 1-3

McCune, Blanche, Classics - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Clay, Jenny, Department of Classics, University of Virginia

This dissertation examines repeated mythological references in the first three books of Horace’s Odes. Several mythological figures occur more than once in the Odes; those studied in this dissertation are Daedalus and Icarus, Prometheus, Tantalus, Hercules, and Castor and Pollux. I argue that in Odes 1-3 recurrent myths constitute part of a personal lexicon, a mythological vocabulary Horace uses to speak about themes such as hubris, poetry, and immortality; for example, Daedalus and Icarus, Prometheus, and Tantalus are consistently linked with immoderation, and Hercules and the Dioscuri are consistently emblematic of complementary aspects of Augustus’ rule and of his future deification. This mythological lexicon can be read across poems so that the interpretation of a mythological figure in one poem can aid in understanding the use of the same mythological figure in another poem, and the collective effect of all of the uses of that figure is itself something that can be analyzed and interpreted.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
Classics, Latin, Horace, Odes, poetry, mythology, myth, literature, Icarus, Daedalus, Prometheus, Tantalus, Hercules, Castor and Pollux, Dioscuri
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