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Cretan WomenPasiphae, Ariadne, and Phaedra in Latin Poetry$
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Rebecca Armstrong

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199284030

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199284030.001.0001

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Pasiphae in the Eclogues and Ars Amatoria

Pasiphae in the Eclogues and Ars Amatoria

(p.169) 4 Pasiphae in the Eclogues and Ars Amatoria
Cretan Women


Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on depictions of Pasiphae in the Eclogues and Ars Amatoria. In much Latin poetry, Pasiphae tends to be given a brief, frowning reference, a figure who represents in short-hand the worst excesses of female passion and deceitfulness. Yet despite the inclination to stereotype when Pasiphae makes a cameo appearance, the only two substantial treatments of her story in Augustan poetry present the reader with quite different, and challenging, views of the myth. Vergil offers an unusually subtle, sympathetic account of the queen's love; Ovid takes a more traditional tack, mixing disapproval with ridicule, but by mediating his version through Eclogue 6 and other poetic influences, he still creates a figure far more complex than the cliché she is supposed to represent.

Keywords:   Pasiphae, Eclogues, Ars Amatoria, Vergil, Ovid

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