Fides, contractual language, and the construction of gender in Propertius 3.20
Propertius 3.20 is a poem that has received relatively little critical attention for its merits as a poem or its relationship to the poet’s larger poetic project and to the turbulent era in which it was written. Here, the poem is placed into its literary and cultural context and subjected to a gendered reading influenced by modern feminist theory. Propertius 3.20 uses the language of fidelity and contracts that was traditionally associated with solemn legal ceremonies and agreements in his depiction of a socially illegitimate relationship between a lover and his mistress. The destabilization of relationships caused by the application of this language to the demimonde leads to a problematization of the gender roles of the actors in the relationships. Propertius 3.20 raises issues relevant to the construction of gender in the Propertian corpus and the crisis of masculinity triggered by the rise of Augustus.
DegreeMaster of Arts (M.A.)
SupervisorPorter, John R.
CommitteeSwan, Michael; Parkinson, David J.; Kalinowski, Angela