Playing the Farmer: Representations of Rural Life in Vergil’s Georgics
Playing the Farmer reinvigorates our understanding of Vergil’s Georgics, a vibrant work written by Rome’s premier epic poet shortly before he began the Aeneid. Setting the Georgics in the social context of its day, Philip Thibodeau for the first time connects the poem’s idyllic, and idealized, portrait of rustic life and agriculture with changing attitudes toward the countryside in late Republican and early Imperial Rome. He argues that what has been seen as a straightforward poem about agriculture is in fact an enchanting work of fantasy that elevated, and sometimes whitewashed, the realities of country life. Drawing from a wide range of sources, Thibodeau shows how Vergil’s poem reshaped agrarian ideals in its own time, and how it influenced Roman poets, philosophers, agronomists, and orators. Playing the Farmer brings a fresh perspective to a work that was praised by Dryden as "the best poem by the best poet."
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Playing the Farmer
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A Protreptic to Agronomy
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The Reception of the Georgics in Early Imperial Rome
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addressee Aeneid agricola agricultural agronomists agronomy allusions ancient animals Aratus Aristaeus aristocratic atque bees bugonia Cato Catullus Ceres chapter Cicero Columella countryside cultivation cura decorum described didactic Diophanes discussion earth emotions enchantment epyllion Equestrian Eratosthenes estates attested Eurydice fact famous fantasy farm festival Geoponica Georgics goats grafts Greek Hesiod Horace Horace’s Horsfall Icarius iugera Keyser and Irby-Massie land landowner Laudes Ruris lines literary Lucretius Maecenas manual labor Mynors narrator Octavian one’s Orpheus Ovid passage passions pathos peasant person plants playing the farmer Pliny Ep Pliny HN plow poem poem’s poet poet’s poetry protreptic quae R. F. Thomas rastris readers representations rhetorical Roman Rome rural rustic saepe Servius slaves soil Status unknown theme things Tibullus tion tradition treatise trees Varro Varro Rust verbs Vergil vilicus villa vines vineyards vita wealthy wonder Xenophon younger Pliny