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Teucer, Twofold: Echoes and exempla in Odes 1.7

Edgar Adrián García

University of Washington

            This paper explores the role of repetition and prophecy in Horace's Odes 1.7. While this poem has attracted much and varied comment on its structure and unity, as well as the ode's connection to Munatius Plancus (Ascione 2001, Bliss 1960, Elder 1953, Funaioli 1990, Lohmann 1994, Moles 2002, to name a few), the mythological exemplum in the third part of the poem has too often been subsumed into discussions of how the whole of the poem fits together and/or how the exemplum fits in with what we know of Munatius Plancus. Both of these subjects are critical components to any interpretation of this ode, but the overwhelming attention paid to these issues has often obscured two important elements: the homonymy of Teucer (i.e. Teucer, brother of Ajax and Teucer, ancestral figure of the Trojans) and oracular prophecy in the exemplum. Engaging with the former theme allows one to more fully unpack the links, both textual and thematic, between this ode and the Aeneid, while the latter reflects key components of Roman literary representations of oracular divination and interpretation. Finally, exploring these themes provides a novel foundation from which to reconsider the unity of the ode.

            First, I will look at how the reader is encouraged to think of Teucer as both the founding figure of Salamis on Cyprus but also as one of the founding figures of Troy. While previous scholarship has noted the homonymy of the name Teucer (notably Davis 1991 and Schafer 2016), I will argue that this homonymy is reinforced by the presence of the gemination (Wills 1997) of Teucer's name in the poem as well as other elements that create a ring-composed passage that encourages the reader to re-read backwards and forwards. Second, I will look at the role that Teucer's prophecy plays in the exemplum, taking into account other Roman literary depictions of prophecies Here, of particular interest for Teucer's prophecy from Apollo and implied voyage to found an ambiguam Salamina (29) in a new land is Book 3 of the Aeneid which itself is replete with prophecies from Apollo and voyages to found an altera Troiae Pergama (Aen. 3.86). In the conclusion, in light of my first two analyses, I will propose another link that unifies the ode as a whole: the doubling, repetition, and prophecy present in the mythological exemplum is foreshadowed by the reference to Albuneae resonantis, the re-echoing Sibyl of Tibur, in the first part of the poem. Albuneae resonantis does not just give an image of a waterfall resounding with the voice of the Sybil (Nisbet and Hubbard 1970), it is an indication of the poem that Horace is composing.

Session/Panel Title

Horace and his Legacy

Session/Paper Number

53.1

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