This article argues that unfulfilled prayers to Ceres in Tibullus’ elegies are symptomatic of Rome’s grain crises at the end of the Republic and beginning of Empire. My approach includes philological, socioeconomic, and psychoanalytic analysis of the elegies, in which the poet examines the shifting definition of a ‘Roman’ in his day. I seek to demonstrate the ways in which the poet grapples with the political and economic forces at work during the most turbulent period of Roman history: a time when income inequality was roughly equivalent to that of the U.S. and E.U. today.
"Towards a ‘Political’ Tibullus: Ceres and Grain in Elegies Books 1 and 2,"
New England Classical Journal: Vol. 48
Tibullus, elegy, literary theory, grain, Ceres, Lacan