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 p319  Introduction
to Einsiedeln Eclogues

The Einsiedeln pastorals, so called after the tenth-century manuscript at Einsiedeln from which H. Hagen first published them in 1869, have already been touched upon in connexion with Calpurnius Siculus. These two incomplete poems date almost certainly from the early years of Nero's reign (A.D. 54‑68). In the first, the emperor is an Apollo and a Jupiter and the inspired author of a poem on the taking of Troy. In the second, one of the shepherds is convinced that with the emperor's accession the Golden Age has returned. This poem, the earlier and the more artistic of the two, in its opening "quid tacitus, Mystes?" either echoes or is echoed by the opening of Calpurnius Siculus' fourth eclogue, "quid tacitus, Corydon?" On the ground of the laudata chelys of I.17, it has been argued that the author's muse was already popular at court and that it might have been worth while for Calpurnius Siculus, a humbler person and a junior poet, to pay him the compliment of imitation.​1 The argument proceeds to identify the author of the Einsiedeln poems with the eminent Calpurnius Piso on the ground that, if Calpurnius Siculus' patron "Meliboeus"  p320 was really Piso,​2 then it is appropriate that he, as the speaker at Eclogue IV.1, should appear to quote "quid tacitus?" from himself. Besides, in spite of Piso's later complicity in the conspiracy against Nero, he had been at one time on intimate terms with the emperor,​3 and might well have indulged in the pastoral panegyrics upon him. This implies that the Einsiedeln poems preceded the Calpurnian eclogues. But if the gaudete ruinae and laudate rogos of Einsied. I.40‑41 could be taken to indicate composition after the fire of Rome in A.D. 64, then it is hard to picture Piso so praising Nero on the verge of his plot against him. However this may be, the eulogies upon Nero are in the manner of court literature during the opening years of his reign, as is evident from the tone of Seneca's praises in his Apocolocyntosis and De Clementia. Much learned speculation has been spent on the pieces. It has generally been felt needless to assert (as Hagen, Buecheler and Birt have done) two separate authors for them; and, while Lucan, as well as Piso, has been put forward as the writer, the balance of opinion tends to agree that there is not enough evidence on which to dogmatise. Ferrara​4 thinks it possible that the two pieces are by Calpurnius Siculus. There are, it is true, resemblances between the Einsiedeln pair and his eclogues; but the very fact that the adulation of Nero in the first piece and the restoration of the  p321 Golden Age in the second are themes in common with the fourth and first Calpurnian eclogues militates rather against than for the identity of author­ship. At least, it is arguable that a writer with aspirations after originality would not go on harping on the same string. In one way, indeed, there is a departure from pastoral usage, which normally confines speakers to complete hexameters: the second poem has this amount of individuality in structure, that the interlocutors sometimes start speaking in the middle of a line (II.1; 4; 5 and 6).


H. Hagen, in Philol. 28 (1869), pp338 sqq. (the first publication of the text).

A. Riese, in Anthol. Latina, Nos. 725 and 726.

E. Baehrens, in P.L.M. III, 60‑64.

C. Giarratano, with Bucolica of Calpurnius and Nemesianus (Paravia ed.). Turin, 1924.

Relevant Works

R. Peiper. Praefationis in Senecae tragoedias supplem. Breslau, 1870 (First established the Neronian date.)

F. Buecheler. Rh. Mus. 26 (1871), 235.

O. Ribbeck. Rh. Mus. 26 (1871), 406, 491.

Th. Birt. Ad historiam hexametri Latini symbola, p64. [Argues, like Hagen and Buecheler, that the two poems are by different authors.] Bonn, 1876.

E. Groag, in P. W. Realencycl. III (1899) col. 1379. [Considers Calpurnius Piso the author.]

 p322  F. Skutsch, in P. W. Realencycl. V (1905) col. 2115. [Considers Groag's conjecture unfounded.]

A. Maciejczyk. De carminum Einsidlensium tempore et auctore. Diss. Greifswald, 1907.

S. Loesch. Die Einsiedler Gedichte: eine litterar-historische Untersuchung (w. text and a facsimile). Diss. Tübingen, 1909. [These last two writers argue for Lucan's author­ship.]

J. Hubaux. Les thèmes bucoliques dans la poésie latine, Bruxelles, 1930, pp228 sqq.

For a fuller list see Schanz, Gesch. d. röm. Lit.


E = Codex Einsiedlensis 266: saec. X.

Baehrens' transpositions of lines are not followed, nor all of his emendations.

Bibliographical addendum (1982)

Einsiedler Gedichte (with Calpurnius Siculus), Latin with German translation, by D. Korzeniewski. Darmstadt 1971.

Thayer's Note: The Bibliographical addendum remains under copyright (© Harvard University Press 1982). It is so brief as surely to fall under fair use.

The Loeb Editor's Notes:

1 This is Groag's theory, P. W. Realencycl. III.1379: it is contradicted by Skutsch, P. W. Realencycl. V.2115.

2 It must be remembered that a case can be made out for regarding "Meliboeus" as Seneca. Some, on the other hand, consider all such identifications to be futile (see introd. to Calpurnius Siculus).

3 Tac. Ann. XV.52.

4 In Calpurnio Siculo e il panegirico a Calpurnio, Pavia, 1905.

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