In elegy 1.20 Propertius tells the story of Hercules and Hylas to warn his addressee, a certain Gallus, to keep his love safe from rivals. Otherwise he will end up like Hercules, whose Hylas was abducted by nymphs. Many scholars think that the Gallus figure evokes the Roman elegist Cornelius Gallus, of whose poetry only a few lines survive. Recently Petrain (2000) has tried to show that Cornelius Gallus wrote a (now completely lost) elegy about Hylas and that Propertius plays a literary game with his predecessor’s poem. I will argue, however, that the relationship between the two poems is rather different from what Petrain thinks, and I propose a reading of 1.20 that, to my opinion, solves a few persistent interpretative problems concerning Propertius’ famous poem.
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|Published - 2007