FOUR books of Elegies have come down to us under the name of Tibullus, but of these only the first two and a part of the fourth are the work of that poet. Delia, whose real name is said to have been Plania, and Nemesis, whose identity has not been determined, are the central figures of the first and second book respectively. Most of the poems in the fourth book written by him relate to a love affair other than his own, i. e., that of Sulpicia and Cerinthus.
He was born about 54 B. C., probably at Pedum, a town in Latium, where his family, which belonged to the equestrian order, had an estate, apparently of considerable extent. Some part of this, if not all, escaped the confiscations of 41 B. C., and it was throughout his life the poet's favorite retreat. In Rome he was on terms of the greatest intimacy with Valerius Messala, who like Maecenas had surrounded himself with a group of literary men. Yet, while Messala's name occurs frequently in the Elegies, Tibullus' position does not at any time seem to have been one of dependence. Of the friendly relations which existed between him and Horace we know from the latter's works, one of the Odes (I. 33) and one of the Epistles (I. 4) being addressed to him. His death, which took place in 19 B. C., is the subject of the ninth elegy of the third book of Ovid's Amores.
Although of somewhat limited range, and not in any way the work of a poet of the first rank, Tibullus' elegies have an undeniable grace and charm of their own. Free from
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Publication information: Book title: Masterpieces of Latin Literature:Terence: Lucretius: Catullus: Virgil: Horace: Tibullus: Propertius: Ovid: Petronius: Martial: Juvenal: Cicero: Caesar: Livy: Tacitus: Pliny the Younger: Apuleius; with Biographical Sketches and Notes. Contributors: Gordon Jennings Laing - Editor. Publisher: Houghton Mifflin and Company. Place of publication: Boston. Publication year: 1903. Page number: 302.
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