chapter  2
Tibullus
ByRachel Hadas
Pages 16

In Rome Tibullus was a close friend of Messalla and a member of Messalla's literary circle. He was younger than Propertius, and he died before the age of 40. Given the political turmoil of the time, and given the fact that Messalla, who had been quick to shift his allegiance from Antony to Octavian, had played an important role in politics as augur, consul, and triumphant general, it is striking that Tibullus remains silent about particular events and policies. Following Catullus and Gallus, Tibullus wrote of his love for a certain blond-haired and blue-eyed Delia. Tibullus is today the least popular of the love elegists. This may be because the singular voice of the poet speaking to himself, focused on and revealing his thoughts and feelings around a central idea or experience, is hard to find in Tibullus.