Love Poetry

Guidelines for Students using this Medium

Set out below are: an introduction to the subject (very important), a list of references, and links to the sections of your study.

After reading the material below, you should work through the linked textual material in accordance with your tutor's instructions and timetable. There will be a one-hour class session with your tutor each week for text discussion and presentation of material. If you need to contact your tutor urgently (eg. for a point of clarification without which you cannot proceed), you may email him at

This web-based material is divided into poems. Each poem has its own commentary, and an English translation of the Latin text will be posted after that poem has been discussed in class. To view the translation at that time, click on the "T" button to the bottom left of the poem.

You will see that the original Latin text appears in the left half of your screen, and commentary and explanations in the right half. By clicking on a coloured (and, depending upon your browser configuration, underlined) word or phrase in the text, the appropriate commentary will appear in the right half of the screen. Please note that, where a comment appears in red, that comment may be particularly significant in relation to possible examination questions.

PLEASE NOTE: Your browser MUST be used 'full screen', with screen definition set to 800x600 and colours set to greater than 256 (ie. 'hi-colour').

If you find that the size of the print on the screen is too large, ie. that lines of text are 'wrapping' in the left frame on the screen, check the screen font size setting for your browser, and if necessary decrease the point size.

Should students feel that a dedicated email discussion group (mailing list) would be of use for exchanging ideas between classes, etc., please ask your tutor; that facility will then be set up immediately.
To bring up the relevant work material, click on the appropriate link below:

[Catullus] [Horace; Tibullus; Propertius] [Ovid]


This unit has four main aims:

  1. To extend your ability to read, understand and translate accurately and fluently into idiomatic English significant examples of Latin love poetry;
  2. To develop an insight into the attitudes and techniques of five major Latin love poets, Catullus, Horace, Tibullus, Propertius and Ovid;
  3. To provide an understanding of the literary, mythological and historical references encountered in the texts prescribed;
  4. To identify key elements of grammar and syntax encountered in Latin poetry, comparing and contrasting them with the usage of orthodox Classical prose.


No particular editions of the various authors are prescribed for this subject. Where appropriate, these notes will include, with due acknowledgement, excerpts from major commentaries. Those referred to are included in the bibliography below.

It is important that you do everything you can through your own efforts with a particular portion of text before reading the relevant notes and translation: try it as a piece of unseen translation, write up unknown vocabulary and jot down your own thoughts about what you have read. What follows is not intended to provide a solution to problems of which you are as yet unaware and which you yourself have not yet tackled, but rather to guide, confirm, correct and supplement your own enterprise. The programme contains many notes on grammar and syntax to help your understanding of the text. Some of the more important of these will appear in red.

You will find it helpful to begin by reading the articles on our five authors which appear in the latest editions of The Oxford Classical Dictionary and The Oxford Companion to Classical Literature.


In the notes below reference will be made to the following by the abbreviations given in brackets:

Arkins, Brian. Sexuality in Catullus (1982) (Arkins)
Baker, Robert J., ed. Propertius I (1990) (Baker)
Barrett, D. S., Greek and Roman Coins in the University of Queensland (2nd edn, 1982) (GRC)
Chevalier, J. & Gheerbrant, A., tr. Buchanan-Brown, J. The Penguin Dictionary of Symbols (1996) (PDS)
Cooper, C. G. An Introduction to the Latin Hexameter (1952) (ILH)
Cooper, C. G. Journey to Hesperia: Scenes from the First Six Books of Vergil's Aeneid (2nd edn, 1965) (JH)
Cuddon, J. A. The Penguin Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory (3rd edn, 1992) (PDLT)
Fowler, H. W. A Dictionary of Modern English Usage (1937) (MEU)
Gildersleeve, B. L. & Lodge, G. Gildersleeve's Latin Grammar (3rd edn, 1943) (GL)
Henderson, A. A. R., ed. Ovid: Remedia Amoris (1979) (Henderson)
Hodge, R. I. V. & Buttimore, R. A., eds. The 'Monobiblos' of Propertius (1977) (HB)
Hollis, A. S., Ovid, Ars Amatoria Book I (1977) (Hollis)
Hornblower, Simon & Spaworth, Anthony, eds, The Oxford Classical Dictionary (3rd edn, 1996) (OCD)
Howatson, M. C., ed. The Oxford Companion to Classical Literature (2nd edn, 1997) (OCCL)
Kennedy, B. H., rev. Mountford, J. The Revised Latin Primer (1958) (KMP)
Knox, Peter E., ed. Ovid, Heroides: Select Epistles (1995) (Knox)
Lee, Guy, ed. Tibullus, Elegies (2nd edn, 1982) (Lee)
McKeown, J. C. Ovid, Amores, Volume II: A Commentary on Book One (1989) (McKeown)
Mountford, J. F., ed., 'Bradley's Arnold' Latin Prose Composition (1938) (MBA)
Nisbet, R. G. M. & Hubbard, M. A Commentary on Horace, Odes, Book I (1970); Book II (1978) (NH)
Putnam, Michael C. J. Tibullus: A Commentary (1973) (Putnam)
Oxford Latin Dictionary (1968-1982) (OLD)
Quinn, Kenneth, ed. Catullus: The Poems (1970) (Quinn1)
Quinn, Kenneth. Catullus: An Interpretation (1972) (Quinn2)
Quinn, Kenneth, ed. Horace: The Odes (1980) (Quinn3)
Ramsay, William, rev. Lanciani, Rodolfo. A Manual of Roman Antiquities (18th edn, 1894) (R-L)
Woodcock, E. C. A New Latin Syntax (1959) (Woodcock)


The following texts will be read in the original and in the order set out: Catullus, Poems 51, 2, 2b, 3, 5, 7, 13, 43, 86, 83, 92, 109, 70, 72, 75, 85, 87, 8, 11, 58, 76, 45, 62, 65; Horace, Odes 1.5, 1.13, 2.4, 2.5; Tibullus, Elegies 1.1; Propertius, Elegies 1.1, 1.3, 1.4; Ovid, Amores 1.1, 1.5, 1.9; Heroides 1, 5; Ars Amatoria 1.1-66; Remedia Amoris 291-350.

Translations of the poems of Catullus, unless otherwise stated, are adapted from those of C. G. Cooper. All other translations, unless otherwise stated, are by D. S. Barrett.

Before commencing your study of the poems, be sure to obtain a copy of the "Supplementary Material" notes from the subject lecturer.

Copyright: Department of Classics and Ancient History, University of Queensland
Subject Development: Mr D S Barrett, MA
Web Development: Mr Gayle Paltridge, BA

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Last revised: December 11, 2000