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Latin Elegy in the Old Age of the World: The Elegiac Corpus of Maximianus


The sixth-century poet Maximianus reintroduces the erotic themes that had been largely absent from Latin elegy since Ovid. But, in a departure from 'love elegy', Maximianus speaks as an old man who is no longer physically capable of love. This co-authored article argues that Maximianus' picture of the breakdown of the aging body alludes to the common late antique idea of the 'old age of the world'. But whereas the senectus mundi narrative locates its end-point in the sublimation of earthly desires, Maximianus' elegiac narrative offers no such resolution for the infirmity and impotence of physical existence.