Poetry and Literary Culture in Late Antiquity
The reign of Augustus was the golden age of Latin poetry, and it continued to flourish throughout the first century (Ovid, Lucan, Persius, Seneca, Statius, Martial, and Juvenal). But by the middle of the second it was in even steeper decline than Greek poetry. There is little of any sort that can be dated to the second half of the second or the third century. Yet by Late Antiquity poetry had made a remarkable comeback. Indeed the resurgence of poetry after centuries of hibernation is one of the most intriguing features of the literary culture of Late Antiquity. Historically, Latin literature was heavily influenced by classical and Hellenistic Greek literature. The influence of Latin poetry on Greek is more problematic, as is the postulate of mutual influence with knowledge of Greek declining sharply in the West. Despite important differences between the two poetic revivals, this chapter suggests a common or at any rate similar explanation.
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