Theocritus' Seventh Idyll, Philetas And Longus
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Few years pass without an attempt to interpret Theocritus, Idyll 7. The poem's narrative and descriptive skill, dramatic subtlety and felicity of language are mercifully more than adequate to survive these scholarly onslaughts. Lycidas' song in Idyll 7 celebrates his love for Ageanax and prays for a safe voyage for Ageanax to Mytilene. If the explanation of Lycidas' role in Idyll 7 is correct, then some light is shed on one or two shadowy problems in Augustan poetry, and (inevitably) some further questions about Philetas are raised. The use of the gift-motif by Philetas will be another reason for its exploitation by Theocritus in Idyll 7. Lycinna's role is exactly that of the older woman who seduces Daphnis in Longus' novel and offers him the practical instruction that complements Philetas' logos. It could be that both Propertius and Longus hit independently on a suitable name for an experienced woman.