Surprising though it may seem, this is the first full-scale scholarly commentary in English on Virgil's Eclogues. Written between about 42 and 35 BC, these ten short pastorals are among the best known poems in Latin literature. They have inspired numerous poets - Sidney, Ronsard, and others - and at the same time have held enduring fascination among scholars for their sophistaicated and allusive blend of Theocritean idyll and contemporary Roman history.
Professor Clausen's commentary will provide a comprehensive guide to the poems and the considerable scholarship surrounding them, and should be indispensable to all serious students of
Virgil's poetry. Special attention is paid throughout the commentary to the important question of Virgil's use of Theocritus and other Hellenistic poets, with translations provided of all Greek passages. There are many new and illuminating observations on Virgil's poetic style and vocabulary, often with reference to his Latin predecessors: Lucretius, Catullus and (virtually unnoticed by previous scholars) Plautus. A third feature of the commentary is a new examination of the plants and trees in
the poems - both their exact identification and their significance. There are helpful introductions to each poem, as well as a comprehensive general introduction to the Eclogues as a whole, in which
Professor Clausen discusses the nature of ancient pastoral poetry, the structure of the Eclogues, and the composition of a pastoral landscape by Virgil and Theocritus.
`has been long awaited and has much to offer. On matters of Latinity and details of interpretation he is clear and cogent; particularly welcome is the use made of Plautus and Lucretius...The book shows a feeling for poetry and nature that makes it a worthy companion to Mynors's Georgics.'
R.G.M.Nisbet, Corpus Christi College, Oxford
`Clausen does indeed supplement existing commentaries in some valuable ways, and serious Vergilian scholars will certainly want to avail themselves of this new resource.'
The Classical Journal
`This is a full and scholarly commentary of the old-fashioned kind (in the best sense of the word!), in fact "surprisingly, the first full scale scholarly eommentary in English on the Eclogues"....This is certainly an important and necessary book for the teacher and university student..'