Michael Bryson; Arpi Movsesian

Published On


Page Range

pp. 97-120

Print Length

23 pages

3. Love and its Absences in Late Latin and Greek Poetry

This chapter investigates both the poetic presence of love and its distinct absence in Latin and Greek poetry of the late antiquity. Focusing first on Latin, the author underlines that after Virgil and Ovid, love began to disappear from the literary scene, with more contemporary poets following in the footsteps of Lucan, rather than Ovid. Over time, theology came to dominate Latin writing, and this was accompanied by a marked distancing from the human as poetic topic, and a movement to the divine. Contrastingly, love was kept alive in the Greek counterpart, particularly in the group of writers known as Erotici Graeci, whose most notable member was Longus. The chapter pays specific attention to Longus’ work, Daphnis and Chloe, which was referred to by Hagstrum as ‘one of the subtlest explorations of dawning love in literature’. It then turns its focus to Musaeus’ version of the legend of Hero and Leander, where, not unlike the poetry of the Troubadours, Shakespeare, and Milton, the ‘theme of love’s mutuality’ is explored.


Arpi Movsesian