Animal Love after Virgil: Teaching Marital Propriety in the Age of Augustus

A paper by Associate Professor Steven Green, Yale-NUS College, Singapore, for the Ancient World Seminar at 1:00 on Tuesday 28 May in Arts West, North Wing, Room 353 (Interactive Cinema Space).

This paper looks at instructions given by Virgil in the Georgics on how to manage animal mating, before examining how this teaching is received and repurposed in later Roman didactic texts from the Augustan age.  It is argued that post-Virgilian didactic poets employ discussions of animal (or animalised) sexual relationships as a means of negotiating Augustan moral legislation on (human) marriage and adultery.  In this way, the familiar narrative that pits Ovid against Augustus on matters of marriage and adultery obscures a debate among a wider set of contemporary teacher-figures.