La dea e la Bilancia. Elementi di datazione per la "Ciris" pseudovirgiliana
Gatti, Pierluigi Leone
The paper deals with the complex problem of the datation of the Ciris attributed to Virgil. After a short presentation of the text, the analysis focuses on the astronomical similitude at the end of the poem (vv. 533-537), followed by the struggle between the ciris and the sea-eagle (vv. 538-541=Verg. georg. 1.406-409). A circumstantial reading of the similitude in its astronomical details gives important clues for dating the poem. The author, in fact, does not speak only of the apparent sunset of Scorpion and Orion constellations, but he also mentions at v. 534 a double constellation (duplici... sidere), that is the constellation of Scorpion and of Libra. This constellation was ‘created’ at Rome in the first century AD, as the astronomical and literary sources clearly show. The connection established between the Libra and the horoscope of Augustus made the constellation the seat of Princeps’ catasterism, as already alluded by Virgil (Georg. I 32-35) and showed by a series of literary and iconographic sources. The author of the Ciris clearly knows this tradition: we can therefore assume as terminus post quem for his poem the 31 BC (the same as for the prologue of Georgics). In addition to that, the analysis of verses 87-88 may offer a further clue. The adjective Palaepahia indicates precisely ‘ancient Paphos’: perhaps we have here another encomiastic allusion, since Augustus restored Aphrodite’s temple after the earthquake of 15 BC. As a result, we could not assign in any case the Ciris to the young Virgil.
EUT – Edizioni Università di Trieste
"La dea e la Bilancia. Elementi di datazione per la 'Ciris' pseudovirgiliana", in CentoPagine. Rivista elettronica internazionale che raccoglie i contributi resi nei Seminari sulla continuità dell'antico 2 (2008), pp.28-38