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Bacchus and the patrons of poetry in Augustan Rome

Grant number: 16/11825-9
Support type:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): September 01, 2016
Effective date (End): November 30, 2016
Field of knowledge:Linguistics, Literature and Arts - Literature - Classical Languages
Principal researcher:Paulo Martins
Grantee:Lya Valéria Grizzo Serignolli
Supervisor abroad: Andrew Feldherr
Home Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (FFLCH). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Research place: Princeton University, United States  
Associated to the scholarship:13/07303-9 - Bacchus, the symposium, and the poets, BP.DR


Bacchus (also called Liber/Lyaeus/Lenaeus) plays different roles in Augustan poetry, being often depicted as a sympotic and orgiastic divinity, a patron of poetry and a deified hero. This research will analyse the associations between Bacchus and patronage in Augustan poetry, approaching issues of sympotic celebration and Dionysiac poetics. I will be particularly interested in Liber as an allegory for the powers of the real patrons of poetry in Augustan Rome. I will investigate: how the relationship between poets and patrons unfold through the identification with - or the mediation of - the ambivalent Bacchus; and also the symposium (presided over by Liber) as a metaphorical setting for the relationship of amicitia between poets and patrons. Friendship (amicitia) among the participants of a symposium presupposed libertas, which was also a prerogative of the poet. Libertas has strong political connotations in the Roman Republic. In the sense of freedom of speech, it is also a technical word of poetic genres. Bacchus, as tongue-loosener, provides libertas at the symposium, which can have different implications, and this makes him a relevant figure for the Augustan poets, who struggled to reconcile panegyric with free speech.

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