Gallus and the Fourth Georgic

Classical Quarterly 27 (01):36- (1933)
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Everyone knows the statement of Servius that Virgil was compelled by Augustus to alter the second half of the Fourth Georgic after the fall of Gallus, and that he substituted the story of Aristaeus for the laudes Galli. This statement, often doubted by older generations, has had such a remarkable success in recent years that anyone who ventures to impugn it must feel that he is pleading with a halter round his neck before a one-sided jury. It is notable, however, that these jurors, though one-sided, are by no means united, save in their determination to uphold the credit of Servius. One group will assure us that the episode of Aristaeus shows obvious signs not only of haste but of immaturity, and they draw a pathetic picture of the grief-stricken Virgil, ordered to bring out a second edition minus the praises of his friend Gallus, and half-heartedly throwing together some bits of juvenile stuff which he happened to have handy. Others assure us that the tale of Aristaeus shows us a more mature Virgil, nearer to the Virgil of the Aeneid. But the Servians really cannot have it both ways. They must make up their minds in the one direction or in the other if they are to be taken seriously. They make it doubly difficult for us to take them seriously when they try to tell us what Servius meant—but of that more anon. The present paper is an attempt by a converted Servian to examine frankly the arguments which have been advanced in support of Servius. Most of these may be found in Skutsch, Aus Vergils Frühzeit, pp. 140–147. One is very reluctant to use disparaging words about an eminent scholar who has served the cause of learning in so many ways; but it can scarcely be denied that the work just mentioned, in spite of its ingenuity and enthusiasm, shows a lamentable lack of three great essentials—a judicial temper, accurate statement of facts, and cogent reasoning. There is also at times a regrettable vagueness of expression, suggesting that the author is concealing inward doubts or shrinking from thought. All these deficiencies are to some extent present in the section with which this paper is concerned



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Nola, Vergil, and Paulinus.L. A. Holford-Strevens - 1979 - Classical Quarterly 29 (02):391-.
Nola, Vergil, and Paulinus.L. A. Holford-Strevens - 1979 - Classical Quarterly 29 (2):391-393.

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