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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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Ariadne in Catullus 64

Ariadne in Catullus 64

(p.187) 5 Ariadne in Catullus 64
Cretan Women


Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on the depiction of Ariadne in Catullus 64. Catullus' sixty-fourth poem is an extraordinary work, which takes the form of the Hellenistic epyllion, already a subtly sophisticated sub-genre, and pushes it to its limits. In this poem, Catullus inverts again a genre characterized by inversion to make contact once more with conventionally epic elements through his treatment of the myth of the Argonauts, whilst preserving neoteric contact with the feminine in the form of the Ariadne ecphrasis. This 213-line section (which takes up just over half of the poem) is also one of the most important, and most sensitive, treatments of the story of Ariadne in classical literature. It was recognized as a formative influence by later Latin poets not only for their own versions of Ariadne's story, but even for their portrayal of other characters, such as Vergil's Dido and Ovid's Scylla.

Keywords:   Ariadne, Catullus 64, poetry, epyllion, Argonauts

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