Among their topics are the herdsman in Greek thought, epigram at the margins of pastoral, panegyric in Virgil's Bucolics
, pastoral anxieties in Senecan drama, the pastoral novel and the bucolic
tradition, and the pastoral in Byzantium.
In this useful monograph Venier investigates the history of Vergil's text (Bucolics
, Georgics, Aeneid) as it was transmitted in the first fifty years of printed editions from Bussi's editio princeps (Rome ) down to the fourth Aldine edition (Venice ).
Pan does not appear often in literature, aside from Hellenistic bucolics
, but he was a common subject in ancient art.
Though based on the idyls of Theocritus, the Bucolics
are sophisticated tours de force and subtle allegories of contemporary events and persons.
The surviving poems by Theocritus that are generally held to be authentic consist of bucolics
and mimes, the scenes of which are laid in the country, and epics, lyrics, and epigrams, which are set in towns.
, apparently only artful variations on a theme by Theocritus, are, however, imbued with the spirit of postrepublican Rome, a spirit which looked back longingly to simpler times and forward with desperate hope to a new era of peace.