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Propertius

(c. 50 - c. 15 BCE)

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Auguste Jean Baptiste Vinchon, Propertius and Cynthia in Tivoli

Propertius was born around 50 BCE as Sextus Propertius. He was a Roman poet of the Augustus period. He wrote mainly love elegies, the most famous of which were dedicated to a woman named Cynthia. His work Elegies has survived to our times and consists of four books.

He also created trains (dedicated, among others, to Marcellus, Octavian Augustus’ nephew). At the request of Patron, he also created several works describing the genesis of some customs, buildings and monuments in Rome.

We know very little about his life. We can only get most of the information from his works. His works prove that he was born in Umbria. When he was a child, his father died and the family lost their land through property confiscation. It was probably in 41 BCE when Octavian was distributing estates and servicing them for his veterans (Virgil also lost part of the lands at that time).

After the death of his father, Propercjus’s mother ordered him to start a career as a clerk, which proves the still good financial situation of the family. He created his first collection of love elegies in 25 BCE. and sacrificed him to Cynthia, giving him the title of Cynthia Monobiblos. The work attracted the attention of Patron, the patron of art. The next, larger collection of elegies was probably created a year later. It was addressed to Maecenas and Augustus, whom Propercio praised to the heavens. Another work was written after 23 BCE when the fourth book was written after 16 BCE

He was a friend of Virgil and Cornelius Gallus, he knew Gaius Cilnius Maecenas and Emperor Augustus. Propertius probably had children either with Cynthia or another woman.

He died around 15 BCE. The Elegies from Ovid from 2 BCE emphatically confirms that Propertius was dead at that time.

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