Kevin E. Moch

Ancient Studies
Arthur Ross Pre-Doctoral Rome Prize
PhD Candidate, Department of Classics, University of California, Berkeley
Quoium Pecus? Representations of Italian Identity in Vergil’s Eclogues, Georgics, and Aeneid

This dissertation focuses on the ways in which a local, specifically non-Roman Italian identity informs the works of the Roman poet Vergil in the first century BCE. Born in a region only granted Roman citizenship in the poet’s adulthood, Vergil shows a propensity for representing regional interests and identities. My project aims to bring out the tensions that arise in Vergil’s poetry between the local Italian and Roman civic perspectives and the subsequent struggle local Italian populations must have undergone to make sense of these identities. In particular, I argue that Vergil, in his treatment of issues such as nationhood, foreignness, duality, and competition in the Eclogues, Georgics, and Aeneid, privileges the Italian over the Roman, allowing the local point of view to emerge as a primary voice in his poetry. While emphasizing socio-cultural context, I also demonstrate that cultural metaphor and cultural symbol act in the poem as important vehicles for exploring this negotiation of identity.

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