Propertius: The Elegies - Index A-C


Book IV.5:1-78. A procuress, probably an invented character.


A name for the Greek mainland, derived from a region in the northern Peloponnese. Hence the Acheans, for the name of the people who fought against Troy in Homer’s Iliad.

Book II.28A:47-62. Its beautiful women.

Achaemenius, Achaemenian, Persian, Persia

Book II.13:1-16. Persian, from the Achaemenian Dynasty


A river and river god, whose waters separated Acarnania and Aetolia in north-western Greece. He wrestled with Hercules for the love of Deianira, and lost one of his horns. See Ovid’s Metamorphoses Book IX:1-88

Book II.34:1-94. His waters shattered by love.


A river of the underworld, the underworld itself. The god of the river, father of Ascalaphus by the nymph Orphne. It is in the deepest pit of the infernal regions.

Book III.5:1-48. The depths of the underworld.


The Greek hero of the Trojan War. The son of Peleus, king of Thessaly, and the sea-goddess Thetis (See Homer’s Iliad).

Book II.1:1-78. He loved Patroclus.

Book II.3:1-54. He died indirectly because of Helen.

Book II.8A:1-40. His anger at Briseis being taken from him. His friendship with Patroclus, and killing of Hector.

Book II.9:1-52. His dead body cared for by Briseis.

Book II.22:1-42. Lovemaking did not affect his strength.

Book III.1:1-38. He fought with the river-gods of the rivers Simois and Scamander (Xanthus).

Book III.18:1-34. Not saved from death by his courage.

Book IV.11:1-102. Claimed as an ancestor by Perses.

Achivus, Achaeans, Achaea

A name for the Greek mainland, derived from a region in the northern Peloponnese. Hence the Acheans, for the name of the people who fought against Troy in Homer’s Iliad.

Book II.8A:1-40. Book III.18:1-34. The Greeks at Troy.


Book IV.10:1-48. The Sabine king of Caenina who attacked Rome provoked by the rape of the Sabine women.

Actiacus, Actium

The promontory in Epirus site of the famous naval battle in the bay between Octavian (later Augustus Caesar) and Antony in 31BC. (It lies opposite the modern port of Préveza on the Gulf of Amvrakia.)

Antony was defeated by Octavians’ admiral, Agrippa and the outcome led to Cleopatra’s downfall. Passed by Aeneas. Associated with Apollo.

Book II.1:1-78. The triumph in Rome after Actium is mentioned.

Book II.15:1-54. The evils of Civil War.

Book II.16:1-56. Antony defeated there.

Book II.34:1-94. A fit subject for Virgil.

Book III.11:1-72. The promontory of Leucas overlooking the bay contained the temple of Apollo.


The son of Pheres, king of Pherae in Thessaly. He married Alcestis, who fulfilled a promise made by Artemis-Diana that on the day of his death he would be spared if a member of his family died for him. She was rescued from the underworld by Hercules (or alternatively rejected by Persephone)

Book II.6:1-42. Her loyalty.


The son of Myrrha by her father Cinyras, born after her transformation into a myrrh-tree. (As such he is a vegetation god born from the heart of the wood.) Venus fell in love with him. She warned him to avoid savage creatures, but he ignored her warning and was killed by a wild boar that gashed his thigh. His blood became the windflower, the anemone. See Ovid’s Metamorphoses Book X 503-739.

Book II.13A:1-58. Wept over by Venus.


A king of Argos who led the Seven against Thebes, to restore Polynices, son of Oedipus to the throne. He survived thanks to his speaking winged horse Arion. When the sons of the Seven, the Epigoni, tried to seek revenge ten years later his son Aegialeus was killed. Adrastus died of grief.

Book II.34:1-94. His horse Arion.

Adryas, Dryades, The Dryads

The wood-nymphs. They inhabit the oak trees in Ceres sacred grove and dance at her festivals

Book I:20:1-52. Inhabitants of the Ausonian woods.


The son of Jupiter and Aegina, grandson of Asopus, the river-god of the north-eastern Peloponnese. He named his island, in the Saronic gulf, Aegina after his mother. Its ancient name was Oenopia.

Book II.20:1-36. Book IV.11:1-102. His father Jupiter made him a judge of the dead in the Underworld for his piety.


The island of Circe. (Cape Circeo a promontory, once an island with marshes on the landward side).

Book II.32:1-62. Telegonus was Circe’s son.

Book III.12:1-38. Propertius seems to confuse it with Calypso’s island.

Aegaeus, Aegean

The Aegean Sea between Greece and Asia Minor.

Book I.6:1-36. Book III.7:1-72. It is mentioned.

Book III.24:1-20. Metaphorically the sea of love, since Venus-Aphrodite was born from its waves.

Aegyptus, Egypt

The country in North Africa. Its great river is the Nile. It was ruled by a Macedonian dynasty, of which the famous Cleopatra was a member, and became a Roman province. Cleopatra was Queen of Egypt, and mistress of Julius Caesar and Antony. She fell from power and committed suicide when she and Antony were defeated at the battle of Actium. (See Suetonius ‘The Twelve Caesars’ and, of course, Shakespeare.)

Book II.1:1-78. Conquered by the Romans.

Book II.33:1-22.Home of the cult of Isis.


Book IV.11:1-102. A Vestal Virgin who cleared herself of the charge that she had allowed the sacred fire to go out by placing part of her dress in the ashes at which the fire flared.

Aemilius Paulus

Aemilius Paullus defeated Demetrius of Pherae in 219BC.

Book III.3:1-52. A subject of epic.


A Trojan prince, the son of Venus and Anchises, and the hero of Virgil’s Aeneid. (See Turner’s etching and painting, The Golden Bough- British Museum and Tate Gallery.) He leaves ruined Troy carrying his father, and the sacred icons of Venus, and, with his son Ascanius also, sails to Delos where he sacrifices to the Delian gods. He consults the oracle of Apollo and is told to seek out his ancient mother and ancestral shores. He reaches Carthage, deserts Dido, and reaches Cumae. (See Virgil, The Aeneid I, IV, and V)

He visits the Sibyl, who conducts him to the Underworld, having plucked the golden bough. He sees his father’s shade in the fields of Elysium. (See Virgil, The Aeneid VI). He returns from the Underworld, and sails from Cumae north, along the western Italian coast, to Caieta (modern Gaeta) where he marks the funeral of Caieta his old nurse, who gives her name to the place. (See Virgil’s Aeneid, the opening lines of book VII.). He sets up Caieta’s tomb and inscribes an epitaph. He wins the throne of Latinus, and marries his daughter, Lavinia. He wages war with the Rutulians under Turnus, and is supported by Evander. He is deified as Indiges. Helenus prophesied that Aeneas carried the destiny of Troy and its descendant city, Rome.

Book II.34:1-94. Sung by Virgil.

Book III.4:1-22. Augustus descended (in the Imperial myth) from Aeneas.

Book IV.1:1-70. The ancestor of the Romans.

Aeolius, Aeolic

Book II.3:1-54. The Aeolic school of Greek lyric poets, Sappho being the most famous.


The Greek Tragedian (525-c456BC), author of the Oresteian Trilogy.

Book II.34:1-94. His style not suitable for love poetry.


Jason, the son of Aeson, leader of the Argonauts, and hero of the adventure of the Golden Fleece. The fleece is represented in the sky by the constellation and zodiacal sign of Aries, the Ram. In ancient times it contained the point of the vernal equinox (The First Point of Aries) that has since moved by precession into Pisces.

Book I.15:1-42. His desertion of Hypsipyle.

Aetna, Etna

A volcanic mountain in Sicily.

Book III.2:1-26. Polyphemus tried to woo Galatea there.

Book III.17:1-42. Jupiter’s lightning bolts were forged there.


Book III.20:1-30. The African continent and its potential wealth.

Aganippeus, Aganippe

The fountain of the Muses on Mount Helicon.

Book II.3:1-54. Cynthia rivals the Muses.


Alba Longa was a town near Rome, ruled by Numitor, the father of Rhea Silvia. By Mars she conceived Romulus and Remus. Later she was called Ilia, the Trojan, from Ilium, Troy, and made the daughter of Aeneas to fit the myth of Trojan origin for the Romans.

Book III.3:1-52. The early kings of Rome.

Book IV.1:1-70. Founded there because of a favourable omen.

Book IV.6:1-86. Augustus’s ancestral ‘home’.

Albanus, The Alban Lake

Book III.22:1-42. The lake in the Alban Hills near Rome. See Nemi.


Book I:20:1-52. Book IV.9:1-74. An epithet of Hercules as a descendant of Alceus.


The mythical King of the Phaeacians (Phaeacia is perhaps identified with Corfu), the grandson of Neptune. He married his sister Arete, and Nausicaa was their daughter. In Homer’s Odyssey VI he loads Odysseus with gifts, and is punished by Neptune for his generosity to Odysseus. The Argonauts also touched at Phaeacia.

Book I.14:1-24. A source of gifts.

Alcmaeonius, Alcmaeon

The son of Amphiaraus and Eriphyle. He led the Epigoni in the War of the Seven against Thebes. He killed his mother who had betrayed her husband to his death through vanity, and was pursued by the Furies.

Book I.15:1-42. He is alluded to.

Book III.5:1-48. Pursued by the Furies.

Alcmene, Alcmena

The daughter of Electryon king of Tiryns, wife of Amphitryon, and mother of Hercules by the god Jupiter. Arachne depicted her rape by Jupiter disguised as Amphitryon. Deianira, wife of Hercules, sister of Meleager, is her daughter-in-law.

Book II.22:1-42. Loved by Jupiter.

Ales, see Amor


The city of Northern Egypt.

Book III.11:1-72. Cleopatra’s northern capital.


A faithless shepherd-boy in Virgil.

Book II.34:1-94. See Virgil’s Eclogue II.


The wife of Alcmaeon who killed him, after he had deserted her for Callirhoe. She killed her own brothers to cancel the blood-debt. This is part of a complicated series of myths centring on the magic necklace and robe of Harmonia. See Graves ‘The Greek Myths’ and Calasso ‘The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony’.

Book I.15:1-42. Her loyalty.


The mother of Meleager, and wife of Oeneus, king of Calydon. The sister of the Thestiadae, Plexippus and Toxeus. She sought revenge for their deaths at the hands of her own son, Meleager. She threw into the fire the piece of wood that was linked to Meleager’s life, and which she once rescued from the flames, at the time of the Fates prophecy to her.

Book III.22:1-42. The burning brand.

Amazonis, TheAmazons

One of the Amazons, a race of warlike women living by the River Thermodon, probably based on the Scythian warrior princesses of the Black Sea area (See Herodotus). In particular Hippolyte the mother of Hippolytus by Theseus.

Book III.11:1-72. Penthesilea from Maeotis, near the Sea of Azov.

Book III.14:1-34. They bathed naked in the river Thermodon.


Book I.3:1-46. The god of Love and Sexual Desire, equated to Cupid.

Book I.1:1-38. He is cruel in subduing lovers.

Book I.2:1-32. He dislikes artifice.

Book I.7:1-26. The god of love.

Book I.14:1-24. Wealth is irrelevant to him.

Book II.2:1-16. He ignores the desire for peace.

Book II.3:1-54. Love dressed in white sneezed a good omen at Cynthia’s birth.

Book II.6:1-42. God of free love.

Book II.8A:1-40. A powerful god.

Book II.12:1-24. Depicted as a boy armed with bow and barbed arrows, who wounds lovers.

Book II.13:1-16. The archer god of love.

Book II.29:1-22. The God of love, making sexual perfumes.

Book II.30:1-40. No escape from him.

Book II.34:1-94. Not to be trusted with beautiful girls.

Book III.1:1-38. Multiple servants.

Book III.5:1-48. A peace-loving god.

Book III.16:1-30. He carries a blazing torch for lovers.

Book III.20:1-30. He seals lovers’ contracts.


A Greek seer, one of the heroes, the Oeclides, at the Calydonian Boar Hunt. The son of Oecleus, father of Alcmaeon, and husband of Eriphyle. He foresaw his death, but was persuaded to join the war of the Seven Against Thebes by his wife, Eriphyle. Jupiter saved him by opening up a chasm where he fell, and he and his chariot and horses were swallowed up. He had a famous oracular shrine at the spot at Oropus in Boeotia.

Book II.34:1-94. Not a fit subject for love.

Book III.13:1-66. Destroyed by his wife’s greed. She was tempted by the necklace of Harmonia to persuade him to go to the war.


The husband of Niobe, and son of Jupiter and Antiope. The King of Thebes. His magical use of the lyre, given him by Mercury, enabled him to build the walls of Thebes. Antiope was the daughter of Nycteus of Thebes, famed for her beauty and loved by Jupiter in satyr form. She bore twin sons Amphion and Zethus. Her father exposed them on Mt Cithaeron, but they were found and raised by a shepherd. Later they built the walls of Thebes, Amphion, the husband of Niobe, using the magical music of his lyre (See Ovid’s Metamorphoses VI 176, XV 427). Antiope fled her father but was imprisoned by Lycus and his wife Dirce who tormented her. Her sons avenged her by killing Dirce.

Book I.9:1-34. He is mentioned.

Book III.15:1-46. Avenged his mother.


Book IV.9:1-74. Hercules as the son of Amphitryon, the husband of Alcmena and son in turn of Alceus, King of Thebes.


Book IV.5:1-78. One of Cynthia’s (?) slaves.


A daughter of Danaus. Searching for water in time of drought, she was saved from a satyr by Neptune. She slept with Neptune, and with his trident he created a spring named for her, source of the river Lerna, flowing from a rock near the site where they mated.

Book II.26A:21-58. Loved by Neptune.

Amythaonius, Amythaon

The father of Melampus.

Book II.3:1-54. He is mentioned.


The son of Minos King of Crete, killed in Attica.

Book II.1:1-78. Propertius has Aesculapius restore him to life.

Andromacha, Andromache

The wife of Hector, who was taken captive after his death and the fall of Troy, to become the wife of Neoptolemus.

Book II.20:1-36. A weeping prisoner.

Book II.22:1-42. Wife of Hector.

Andromede, Andromeda

The daughter of Cepheus and Cassiope (Iope) who was chained to a rock and exposed to a sea-monster Cetus because of her mother’s sin. She is represented by the constellation Andromeda which contains the Andromeda galaxy M31 a spiral like our own, the most distant object visible to the naked eye. Cetus is represented by the constellation of Cetus, the Whale, between Pisces and Eridanus which contains the variable star, Mira. Perseus offered to rescue her. (See Burne-Jones’s oil paintings and gouaches in the Perseus series, particularly The Rock of Doom). He killed the sea serpent and claims her as his bride.

Book I.3:1-46. She is mentioned.

Book II.28:1-46. Changes of fortune.

Book III.22:1-42. Book IV.7:1-96. Offered as a sacrifice for the sins of her mother.

Anienus, River Anio

A river near Rome, on which Tibur (Tivoli) stands.

Book I:20:1-52. A country pleasure area.

Book III.16:1-30. Book III.22:1-42. Tibur’s river.

Book IV.7:1-96. Cynthia buried beside it.


Book III.22:1-42. A Libyan giant killed by Hercules.


The daughter of Oedipus, King of Thebes, by Jocasta. She broke the city laws to bury her brother Polynices, and committed suicide. See Sophocles’s Antigone.

Book II.8A:1-40. She is mentioned.


The son of Nestor.

Book II.13A:1-58. Died before his father, killed at Troy.


The poet of Colophon, who wrote an epic about the Seven Against Thebes, and love elegies to his mistress Lyde.

Book II.34:1-94. His love for Lyde.


Book IV.5:1-78. The chief suitor to Penelope in the Odyssey.


The daughter of Nycteus of Thebes, famed for her beauty and loved by Jupiter in satyr form. She bore twin sons Amphion and Zethus. Her father exposed them on Mt Cithaeron, but they were found and raised by a shepherd. Later they built the walls of Thebes, Amphion, the husband of Niobe, using the magical music of his lyre (See Ovid’s Metamorphoses VI 176, XV 427). Antiope fled her father but was imprisoned by Lycus and his wife Dirce who tormented her. Her sons avenged her by killing Dirce.

Book I.4:1-28. Her beauty recognised.

Book III.15:1-46. Dirce’s jealousy.

Antonius (Marcus), Antony

Antony, the Roman general, who seized the inheritance at Julius Caesar’s death, despite his will, and who was defeated by Octavian (later Augustus Caesar) at Mutina in Cisalpine Gaul, and Octavian’s naval commander, Vispanius Agrippa, at the naval battle of Actium in 31BC. Lover of Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt.

Book II.16:1-56. Defeated at Actium.

Book III.9:1-60. His hands ‘heavy with his fate’, his fate being, in a double entendre, Cleopatra.


The jackal-headed god Anpu of Egypt, identified with Mercury, and ‘opener of the roads of the dead’. He accompanies Isis.

Book III.11:1-72. An emblem of Cleopatra.

Aonius, Aonia

Book I.2:1-32. Part of Boetia containing Mount Helicon the haunt of the Muses.

Apelles, Apelleus

The Greek painter, of Colophon near Smyrna. He lived in the fourth century BC.

Book I.2:1-32. Famous for his skill in portraying colour, light and surfaces.

Book III.9:1-60. Famous for his paintings of Venus/erotica.


A river in Thessaly.

Book I.3:1-46. Maenads.

Apollo, see Phoebus

Book III.9:1-60. Patron god of Troy.

Book IV.1A:71-150. God of song.

Book IV.6:1-86. Associated with the victory at Actium. His temple on the Palatine.

Appia (Via)

The Great South Road of Rome, which left the city on the east by the Capene Gate.

Book II.32:1-62. Book IV.8:1-88.The way to Lanuvium.


Book IV.5:1-78. The kalends of April were associated with courtesans who sacrificed to Venus and Fortuna virilis.

Aquilonius, Boreas, Aquilo

The North Wind, see Boreas.

Book II.5:1-30. Book III.7:1-72. The north wind.

Ara Maxima

Book IV.9:1-74. An altar situated in the Forum Boarium.


The countries bordering the eastern side of the Red Sea.

Book I.14:1-24. Referred to.

Book II.10:1-26. Subject to Augustus.


Book I.14:1-24. Arabian. Propertius may be referring to Aelius Gallus who was Prefect of Egypt, and led a failed expedition to Arabia in 24BC.

Book II.3:1-54. A source of traded silk.

Book II.29:1-22. A source of perfumes.

Book III.13:1-66. A source of cinammon.


Part of the Cithaeron mountain range on the borders of Attica and Boeotia.

Book III.15:1-46. Dirce killed there.


The River in Armenia flowing into the Caspian Sea.

Book III.12:1-38. Book IV.3:1-72. A feature of the Parthian campaign.

Arcadius, Arcadia

A region in the centre of the Peloponnese, the archetypal rural paradise, named after Arcas, Callisto’s son. [‘Et in Arcadia ego’, ‘and I too (Death) am here in paradise’. See the paintings by Nicholas Poussin, Paris, Louvre; and Chatsworth, England]

Book I.1:1-38. The location of Milanion and Atalanta (or Calydon).

Book I.18:1-32. The haunt of the great god Pan.

Book II.28:1-46. Callisto’s home.


The son of Eurydice and Lycurgus king of Nemea. The infant was killed by a snake while his nurse Hypsipyle had gone to show the Seven Against Thebes a spring. His funeral rites were the origin of the Nemean Games.

Book II.34:1-94. The horse Arion wept at his funeral.


Possibly the mathematician and philosopher of the Pythagorean School who flourished in Tarentum (the Spartan colony on the heel of Italy) c 400BC.

Book IV.1A:71-150. His ‘child’ is Orops.


The twin constellations of the Great and Little Bear, Ursa Major and Ursa Minor, individually or together.

Book II.22:1-42. The constellations halted in the sky.


It is not known whether Arethusa is a pseudonym or a fictional name.

Book IV.3:1-72. Her letter to her husband Lycotas.


A mountain in Mysia.

Book I:20:1-52. Hylas was seized there by the Nymphs.

Argeus, Argus

Argus was the steersman of the Argo, the first ship, built by Jason, and sailed to Colchis through the Hellespont and the Black Sea, in search of the Golden Fleece. See Ovid’s Metamorphoses Book VII.

Book I:20:1-52. Hercules and Hylas sailed with the Argonauts.

Book II.26A:21-58. The Argo navigated the Symplegades, the clashing rocks at the entrance to the Bosphorus by releasing a dove: when the dove’s tail feathers were clipped by the rocks the Argonauts rowed through, swiftly, following.

Book III.22:1-42. The timbers of the Argo were cut on Mount Pelion.

Argivus, Argive

Of Argos the capital city of Argolis in the Peloponnese, but used to mean Greek, generally.

Book I.15:1-42. Evadne of Argos.

Book I.19:1-26. Greek.

Book II.25:1-48. Greek beauty.


A creature with a thousand eyes, the son of Arestor, set to guard Io by Juno. He was killed by Mercury. After his death, Juno sets his eyes in the peacock’s tail.

Book I.3:1-46. He is mentioned.


A youth apparently loved by Agamemnon who was punished for some sin by drowning.

Book III.7:1-72. Mourned by Agamemnon.

Ariadne, Ariadna

A daughter of Minos. Half-sister of the Minotaur, and sister of Phaedra, she helped Theseus on Crete.

She fled to Dia with Theseus and was abandoned there, but rescued by Bacchus, and her crown is set among the stars as the Corona Borealis. (See Titian’s painting – Bacchus and Ariadne – National Gallery, London: and Annibale Carracci’s fresco – The triumph of Bacchus and Ariadne –Farnese Palace, Rome)). The Northern Crown, the Corona Borealis, is a constellation between Hercules and Serpens Caput, consisting of an arc of seven stars, its central jewel being the blue-white star Gemma.

Book I.3:1-46. She is mentioned.

Book II.3:1-54. Leads the Bacchic dancers.

Book II.14:1-32. Book IV.4:1-94. Helped Theseus navigate the Labyrinth by means of a ball of thread that he unwound (the clew).

Book III.17:1-42. Set among the stars by Bacchus.

Book III.20:1-30. Her starry crown in the sky.

Arion, the horse of Adrastus

The winged horse of Adrastus, one of the Seven Against Thebes, gifted with human speech. He mourned Archemorus.

Book II.34:1-94. Not a fit subject for love poetry.

Arionius, of Arion the Musician

Arion was a late seventh century BC Greek poet, who invented the dithyramb, a wild choric hymn, or Bacchanalian song, as a literary form. He was thrown from a ship during a sea voyage, by the crew, but a dolphin rescued him, and carried him to Corinth.

Book II.26:1-20. A symbolised image of Propertius himself, rescuing Cynthia from spiritual shipwreck.

Armenius, Armenia

The country situated between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, famous for its tigers.

Book I.9:1-34. Tiger country.


A friend or kinswoman of Propertius. The mother of Lupercus and Gallus.

Book IV.1A:71-150. She fated her sons to die in war.


A river in Mysia, in Asia Minor.

Book I:20:1-52 Visited by the Argonauts.

Ascraeus, Ascra

Book II.10:1-26. Book II.13:1-16. The ancient Greek poet Hesiod’s birthplace in Boeotia.

Book II.34:1-94. Hesiod.


The regions of Asia Minor, Persia and India.

Book I.6:1-36. Noted for their riches.

Book II.3:1-54. Represented by Troy.

Asis, Assisi

Asisium, modern Assisi, in Umbria.

Book IV.1:1-70 .Book IV.1A:71-150.The birthplace of Propertius.


A river in Boeotia.

Book III.15:1-46. Its course lies near Mount Cithaeron.


The daughter of Iasus and Clymene beaten in the foot-race by Milanion q.v. who decoyed her with golden apples given him by Venus-Aphrodite.

Book I.1:1-38. She is mentioned.

Athaman, Athamanes

Book IV.6:1-86. The Athamanes were a people of Epirus.

Athamantis, Helle, the Hellespont

The daughter of Athamas and Nephele, sister of Phrixus. Escaping from Ino on the golden ram, she fell into the sea and was drowned, giving her name to the Hellespont, the straits that link the Propontis with the Aegean Sea, close to the site of Troy.

Book I:20:1-52. Passed by the Argonauts.

Book III.22:1-42. Helle as the daughter of Athamas.

Athenae, Athens

The Greek city, sacred to Minerva-Athene.

Book I.6:1-36. Book III.21:1-34. Renowned for its learning.


The Titan who rules the Moon with Phoebe the Titaness. Leader of the Titans in their war with the gods. The son of Iapetus by the nymph Clymene. His brothers were Prometheus, Epimetheus and Menoetius. Represented as Mount Atlas in North-western Africa, holding up the heavens. Father of the Pleiades, Hyades and Hesperides.

Book III.22:1-42. The far west, the Pillars of Hercules.


Book I.8:1-26. From Atrax, a town in Thessaly, hence Thessalian.

Atrida, Atrides, Agamemnon

The king of Mycenae, son of Atreus, hence called Atrides, brother of Menelaüs, husband of Clytaemnestra, father of Orestes, Iphigenia, and Electra. The leader of the Greek army in the Trojan War. See Homer’s Iliad, and Aeschylus’s Oresteian tragedies.

Book II.14:1-32. Victor at Troy.

Book III.7:1-72. Mourned for Argynnas, and sacrificed Iphigenia.

Book III.18:1-34. Perhaps a reference to Argynnas.

Book IV.1A:71-150. Doomed by the sacrifice of Iphigenia.

Book IV.6:1-86. Punished by Apollo with plague for the rape of Chryseis.

Attalicus, Attalic

Attalus III of Pergamum (d 133BC) left his great wealth to the Roman people. Attalica came to mean cloth of gold which he was said to have invented.

Book II.13A:1-58. Book III.18:1-34. Cloth of gold.

Atticus, Attica

The region of southern Greece containing Athens.

Book II.20:1-36. Haunt of the night-owl sacred to Athene-Minerva.


Julius Caesar’s grand-nephew, whom he adopted and declared as his heir, Octavius Caesar (Octavian). (The honorary title Augustus was bestowed by the Senate 16th Jan 27BC). His wife was Livia. Jupiter prophesies his future glory: his defeat of Antony, who had seized the inheritance, at Mutina: his defeat of the conspirators Cassius and Brutus at the twin battles of Philippi: his (Agrippa’s) defeat of Antony at Actium: and his (Agrippa’s) defeat of Pompey’s son at Mylae and Naulochus off Sicily. (See the sculpture of Augustus, from Primaporta, in the Vatican)

Book II.1:1-78. Maecenas was a close friend of the Emperor.

Book II.7:1-20. His power questioned in private matters.

Book II.10:1-26. India and Arabia subject to him.

Book II.16:1-56.Propertius wishes Augustus might live more humbly, referring to the casa Romuli preserved on the Palatine Hill.

Book II.16:1-56. Book II.34:1-94. Defeated Antony at Actium.

Book II.31:1-16. Opens the new Colonnade.

Book III.4:1-22. Plans a campaign in India. Actually the campaign to Parthia in 20BC.

Book III.9:1-60. Patron of Maecenas. Propertius hints at homosexual relations between them.

Book III.11:1-72. Eliminated Antony’s and Cleopatra’s armies and navy. In a double entendre Propertius hints that Augustus may be a worse tyrant than those eliminated.

Book III.12:1-38. His expedition to Parthia.

Book III.18:1-34. His nephew Marcellus.

Book IV.1:1-70. His arms derived from Aeneas.

Book IV.6:1-86. His defeat of Antony at Actium (as Octavian)

Book IV.11:1-102. Mourned Cornelia, half-sister to his daughter Julia. Julia was later banished for sexual laxity.


The Boeotian harbour where the Greek fleet massed prior to setting out for Troy and where Iphigenia was sacrificed. The area was a rich fishing-ground.

Book IV.1A:71-150. The harbour from which the Greeks set out.

Aurora, Pallantias

Goddess of the Morning, and wife of Tithonus, daughter of the Titan Pallas, hence called Pallantias or Pallantis, who fathered Zelus (zeal), Cratus (strength), Bia (force) and Nicë (victory) on the River Styx. Longs to renew the youth of her mortal husband Tithonus. She had gained eternal life for him but not eternal youth. She sees her son Memnon killed by Achilles, and begs Jupiter to grant him honours. He creates the Memnonides, a flight of warring birds from the ashes.

Book II.18A:5-22. Not ashamed to love an older man.

Book III.13:1-66. The dawn.

Ausonius, Ausonia

A country in lower Italy, or used for Italy itself. (Broadly modern Campania, occupying the Tyrrhenian coast and the western slopes of the Apennines, colonised by Greeks and Etruscans, and Calabria the ‘toe’ of the Italian ‘boot’ between the Tyrrhenian and Ionian Seas, colonised by the Greeks, and part of Magna Graecia)

Book I:20:1-52. Home of Dryads.

Book II.33:1-22. Italy.

Book III.4:1-22. Italy’s control (Imperial wands).

Book III.22:1-42. A mythological reference to an Ausonian banquet.

Book IV.4:1-94. The girls of Ausonia, one of whom is Tarpeia.


The South Wind. Eurus is the East Wind, Zephyrus the West Wind, and Boreas is the North Wind.

Book II.26A:21-58. A stormwind.


One of the Seven Hills of Rome. Aventinus was a mythical Alban king.

Book IV.1:1-70. Its fields purified by Remus.

Book IV.8:1-88. Its temple of Diana.


A name for the Underworld. A lake there. Identified with a lake near Cumae north of Naples, the haunt of the Sibyl, where a chasm was reputed to be an entrance to Hades itself. It was birdless, hence the Greek a-ornus.

Book III.18:1-34. The lake, also near Baiae.

Book IV.1:1-70. The Sybil’s haunt.

Book IV.11:1-102. Entered by Hercules.


The Mesopotamian city. Faced with glazed brick.

Book III.11:1-72. Built by Semiramis in myth.

Book IV.1A:71-150. Noted for its priestly astronomers.

Baccha, Bacchantes

Book III.22:1-42. The Maenads.


The god Dionysus, the ‘twice-born’, the god of the vine. The son of Jupiter and Semele. His worship was celebrated with orgiastic rites borrowed from Phrygia. His female followers are the Maenades. He carries the thyrsus, a wand tipped with a pine-cone, the Maenads and Satyrs following him carrying ivy-twined fir branches as thyrsi. (See Caravaggio’s painting –Bacchus – Uffizi, Florence)

Snatched from his mother Semele’s womb when she was destroyed by Jupiter’s fire, he was sewn into Jupiter’s thigh, reared by Ino and hidden by the nymphs of Mount Nysa. (See Charles Shannon’s painting – The Childhood (or Education) of Bacchus – Private Collection)

He is Dionysus Sabazius, the barley-god of Thrace and Phrygia, ‘formosissimus alto conspiceris caelo’ the morning and evening star, the star-son, identified by the Jews with Adonis, consort of the Great Goddess Venus Aphrodite or Astarte, and therefore manifested with her in the planet Venus. Later he is the horned Lucifer, ‘son of the morning’.

Wine at the marriage feast or banquet is his gift. (See Velázquez’s painting – The Drinkers, or the Triumph of Bacchus – Prado, Madrid) (Note: Wine in Ancient Greece contained honey, aloes, thyme, myrtle berries etc. to form a thick sweet syrup which was diluted when drinking, hence the mixing bowls etc. at the banquets.)

Book I.3:1-46. Book III.2:1-26. He is mentioned, as god of wine.

Book II.30:1-40. The Maenads’ dance.

Book III.17:1-42. A hymn to Bacchus.

Book IV.1:1-70. Wreathed with ivy.

Book IV.2:1-64. He wore an Indian turban.

Book IV.6:1-86. His wine inspires Apollo. Drink aids the Muse.


A town in Persia, modern Balkh.

Book III.1:1-38. Persia. Propertius hints that the glory of making it a boundary of Empire may also represent Rome’s furthest outreach.

Book III.11:1-72. Persia ruled by Semiramis.

Book IV.3:1-72. Lycotas is posted there.


The modern Baia, opposite Pozzuoli on the Bay of Pozzuoli, once the fashionable bathing place of the Romans, owing its name, in legend, to Baios, the navigator of Odysseus. The Emperors built magnificent palaces there. There was a causeway attributed to Hercules. Part now lies beneath the sea due to subsidence. It was a notoriously loose place for sexual intrigue.

Book I.11:1-30. Cynthia is there.

Book III.18:1-34. Marcellus died there in 23BC.


Book III.17:1-42. Bassareus, an epithet of Bacchus.


A satiric poet, writer of iambi, and friend to Propertius whose work is now lost.

Book I.4:1-28. Encourages disloyalty.

Belgicus, Belgian

The Celtic tribes of Belgium.

Book II.18B:23-38. Painted their faces.

Book IV.10:1-48. Lead by Virdomarus crossed the Rhine.

Bellerophonteus, Pegasus

Pegasus the winged horse of Bellerophon, a blow from whose hoof created the Hippocrene spring on Helicon. Bellerophon was the heroic grandson of Sisyphus.

Book III.3:1-52. The fountain Hippocrene.

Bistonius, Bistones

A people of Thrace. Thrace itself.

Book II.30:1-40. The birthplace of Orpheus.


Book II.2:1-16. A lake in Thessaly.

Boeotius, Boeotia

A country in mid-Greece containing Thebes.

Book II.8A:1-40. Haemon’s city.

Book III.3:1-52. Contains Mount Helicon.


The constellation of the Waggoner, or Herdsman, or Bear Herd. The nearby constellation of Ursa Major is the Waggon, or Plough, or Great Bear. He holds the leash of the constellation of the hunting dogs, Canes Venatici. He is sometimes identified with Arcas son of Jupiter and Callisto. Arcas may alternatively be the Little Bear.

He is alternatively identified with Icarius the father of Erigone. Led to his grave by his dog Maera, she committed suicide by hanging, and was set in the sky as the constellation Virgo.

Book III.5:1-48. A winter constellation in northern latitudes.


The North Wind. Eurus is the East Wind, Zephyrus is the West Wind, and Auster is the South Wind. He is identified with Thrace and the north. He steals Orithyia, daughter of Erectheus of Athens, and marries her. She bears him the two Argonauts, Calais and Zetes. (See Evelyn de Morgan’s painting–Boreas and Orithyia– Cragside, Northumberland)

Book I:20:1-52. His winged sons, Calais and Zetes.

Book II.26A:21-58. Not cruel in his abduction of Orithyia.

Book II.27:1-16. Book III.7:1-72. A cold stormwind. Feared by the raped Orithyia.

Borysthenidae, Dnieper

The Borysthenes, the modern River Dneiper.

Book II.7:1-20. Mentioned as a distant region.

Bosporus, Bosphorus

The gateway to the Black Sea. (Pontus)

Book III.11:1-72. Mithridates King of Pontus defeated by Pompey. Mithridates the Great, sixth king of Pontus of that name, was defeated by Lucullus and Pompey. Julius Caesar crushed his son Pharnaces in a swift battle at Zela in 47BC (So swift a victory that Caesar spoke the famous words ‘veni, vidi, vici ‘ = ‘I came, I saw, I conquered.’).


Book IV.9:1-74. The cattle-market at Rome, more commonly called the Boaria.


A small town near Rome.

Book IV.1:1-70. Later a suburb.


The leader of the Gauls who attacked Delphi in 278BC.

Book III.13:1-66. He committed sacrilege.

Brimo, Hecate

The daughter of the Titans Perses and Asterie, Latona’s sister. A Thracian goddess of witches, her name is a feminine form of Apollo’s title ‘the far-darter’. She was a lunar goddess, with shining Titans for parents. In Hades she was Prytania of the dead, or the Invincible Queen. She gave riches, wisdom, and victory, and presided over flocks and navigation. She had three bodies and three heads, those of a lioness, a bitch, and a mare. Her ancient power was to give to or withhold from mortals any gift. She was sometimes merged with the lunar aspect of Diana-Artemis, and presided over purifications and expiations. She was the goddess of enchantments and magic charms, and sent demons to earth to torture mortals. At night she appeared with her retinue of infernal dogs, haunting crossroads (as Trivia), tombs and the scenes of crimes. At crossroads her columns or statues had three faces – the Triple Hecates – and offerings were made at the full moon to propitiate her.

Book II.2:1-16. Propertius refers to Hecate as Brimo, a name for Demeter at Eleusis, perhaps for Persephone also, indicating the underworld aspect of the Triple Goddess. He suggests she slept with Mercury.


The daughter of Brises of Lyrnessus. The town was sacked by Achilles, who took her captive. Agamemnon seized her to compensate for the loss of Chryseis.

Book II.8A:1-40. Achilles is angered at her loss.

Book II.9:1-52. She cared for his corpse.

Book II.20:1-36. Wept on being led away from Achilles’s tent.

Book II.22:1-42. Lover of Achilles.

Britannus, Britannia, Britain

The island province of Britain, off the west coast of Europe, part of what is now Great Britain.

Book II.1:1-78. Book IV.3:1-72. The ancient British leaders fought from decorated and painted chariots. Maecenas has a ceremonial example.

Book II.18B:23-38. The British painted themselves with blue woad. (The dried, powdered and fermented leaves of the biennial wildflower Isatis tinctoria)

Book II.27:1-16. The enemy in the West.


Lucius Junius Brutus drove out the king Tarquinius Superbus in 510BC and became one of Rome’s first two consuls of the Republic.

Book IV.1:1-70. His consulship.


Book IV.9:1-74. A robber who lived on the Aventine and was killed by Hercules for stealing his cattle.


Of Cadmus.

Book III.13:1-66. His native city of Tyre.


The son of the Phoenician king Agenor, who searched for his sister Europa stolen by Jupiter.

Book I.7:1-26. The founder of Thebes.

Book III.9:1-60. Thebes destroyed when Semele was burnt to death by Jupiter’s consuming fire.


Book IV.10:1-48. Caenina was a small town in Latium.

Caesar, Augustus

Julius Caesar’s grand-nephew, whom he adopted and declared as his heir, Octavius Caesar (Octavian). (The honorary title Augustus was bestowed by the Senate 16th Jan 27BC). His wife was Livia. He defeated Antony, who had seized the inheritance, at Mutina: the conspirators Cassius and Brutus at the twin battles of Philippi: Antony at Actium: and Pompey’s son at Mylae and Naulochus off Sicily. (See the sculpture of Augustus, from Primaporta, in the Vatican)

Book I.21:1-10. As Octavian he committed atrocities at Perusia in 41BC.

Caesar, Julius

The Roman general and Tribune.

Book III.11:1-72. Father in law of Pompey.

Book III.18:1-34.Deified.

Book IV.6:1-86. Augustus his adopted ‘son’.


One of the winged sons of Boreas and Orithyia. One of the Argonauts.

Book I:20:1-52. He pursues Hylas.


The Athenian sculptor of the early fifth century BC. He was famous for his horses. He was one of the great archaic sculptors of the last pre-classical generation. See Pausanias Book V on Eleia.

Book III.9:1-60. Famous for horses.


A seer and priest, the son of Thestor, who accompanied the Greeks to Troy. He foresaw the long duration of the war and the ultimate Greek victory, and that the sacrifice of Iphigenia to Diana at Aulis would bring the Greeks favourable winds.

Book IV.1A:71-150. Set loose the fate of the Greeks and Trojans.


The Hellenistic poet of Cyrene (c305-240BC) who worked at Alexandria in Egypt. Aetia (Causes) was one of his main works. With Philetas of Cos he was a major influence on Propertius who calls himself the Roman Callimachus. See the opening of Book IV.

Book II.1:1-78. A lyric voice.

Book II.34:1-94. A poet to imitate when in love.

Book III.1:1-38. An invocation to his spirit.

Book III.9:1-60. The poet’s slim volumes.

Book IV.1:1-70. Propertius considers himself the Roman Callimachus.


The Muse of epic poetry. The mother of Orpheus and originally the sole Muse. See Ovid’s Metamorphoses V 339 and X 148.

Book I.2:1-32. She is a supreme artist on the lyre and grants inspiration in song.

Book II.1:1-78. Book IV.6:1-86. Muse who inspires song.

Book II.30:1-40. Lay with Oeagrus, or with Apollo disguised as Oeagrus, to conceive Orpheus.

Book III.2:1-26. A patroness of Propertius’s verse.

Book III.3:1-52. In his dream of Helicon.


A nymph of Nonacris in Arcadia, a favourite of Phoebe-Diana. The daughter of Lycaon. Jupiter raped her. Pregnant by Jupiter she was expelled from the band of Diana’s virgin followers by Diana as Cynthia, in her Moon goddess mode. Gave birth to a son Arcas. She was turned into a bear by Juno, and ultimately into the constellation of the Great Bear, Ursa Major. Arcas became Ursa Minor.

Book II.28:1-46. Changes of fortune.


Gibraltar, the location of the Pillars of Hercules.

Book III.12:1-38. Visited by Ulysses.


Gaius Licinius Calvus, the poet friend of Catullus and Propertius, and a member of the Alexandrian School. His works are lost. He wrote poems addressed to a girl he called Quintilia.

Book II.25:1-48. A fellow poet.

Book II.34:1-94. Wrote of Quintilia’s death.


The daughter of Atlas, living on Ogygia a remote island, where she held Odysseus as her lover for seven years, until Jupiter (Zeus) ordered her to send him on his way home to Ithaca, and his wife Penelope.

Book I.15:1-42. Mourned his loss faithfully.

Book II.21:1-20. Book III.12:1-38. He finally escaped her.


Cambyses II, son of Cyrus II, and King of Persia (529-522BC). He married the daughter of the king of Medes. He conquered Egypt, was aflicted with madness, killed his brother, Bardiya, and sister, and tried to kill Croesus king of Lydia. The Magi revolted against his rule, and he was accidentally wounded to death at Agbatana in Syria. See Herodotus The Histories Book III.

Book II.26A:21-58. A symbol of wealth.

Camena, see Muses


Marcus Furius Camillus pursued and defeated the Gauls who sacked Rome in 387BC. He recovered the spoils they had taken and opposed the suggestion to move the surviving Romans to Veii.

Book III.9:1-60. Maecenas to be compared with him.

Book III.11:1-72. A Roman hero.


The Italian coastal and inland region south-east of Latium and Rome, containing Naples.

Book III.5:1-48. Rich farming country.

Campus Martius

The Plain of Mars in Rome, just outside the city where military and athletic skills were practised.

Book II.23:1-24. Cynthia there, up to no good?


The constellation of the Crab, and the zodiacal sun sign. It represents the crab that attacked Hercules while he was fighting the multi-headed Hydra and was crushed underfoot but subsequently raised to the stars. The sun in ancient times was in this constellation when furthest north of the equator at the summer solstice (June 21st). Hence the latitude where the sun appeared overhead at noon on that day was called the Tropic of Cancer (23.5 degrees north).

Book IV.1A:71-150. Associated with greed and avariciousness.

Canis, Sirius

Sirius (=searing, or scorching), the Dog-star, alpha Canis Majoris, in the constellation Canis Major, the brightest star in the sky. The ancient Egyptians based their calendar on its motion, and the hottest part of July and August was the Dog-days, variously dated by the heliacal and cosmical rising of Sirius.

Book II.28:1-46. The dry parched days.

Cannensis, Cannae

The Roman army was destroyed at Cannae in 216BC by Hannibal’s Carthaginian forces. It was the worst defeat in Roman history and 50,000 men were lost out of an army of 86,000 among them the consul Aemilius Paullus. A number of tribes seceded from Rome. (Samnites, Capua, Lucanians, Bruttians)

Book III.3:1-52. An ironic subject for epic poetry.


The town in Egypt twelve miles from Alexandria.

Book III.11:1-72. Associated with Cleopatra.


An Argive leader, one of the Seven against Thebes. He boasted he would take the city against the will of Jupiter-Zeus, and was killed for his hubris by Jupiter’s lightning bolt.

He was a synonym for pride in the Middle Ages.

Book II.34:1-94. Not a fit subject for poetry.

Capena Porta

Book IV.3:1-72. The Capene Gate, through which the Via Appia entered Rome. The natural route for anyone entering from the East.


A headland of Euboea on which Nauplius lit a false beacon causing the Greek fleet returning from Troy to be wrecked. He did this to avenge the death of his son Palamedes, falsely done to death by the Greeks.

Book III.7:1-72. The Greek fleet destroyed.

Capitolia, The Capitol

The south-west summit of the Capitoline Hill.

Book IV.4:1-94. It’s temple of Jupiter.


The Zodiacal constellation of the Goat. Depicted with a fish’s tail it represents the goat-Pan his lower half transformed to a fish when he jumped into a river to escape the monster Typhon. The winter solstice was formerly in Capricorn and the latitude where the Sun appeared overhead at noon on that day (23.5 deg south on December 22nd) became known as the Tropic of Capricorn.

Book IV.1A:71-150. The Zodiacal sign of the Goat.

Carpathius, Carpathian

The southern region of the Aegean Sea. Carpathus is an island between Crete and Rhodes.

Book II.5:1-30. Subject to storms.

Book III.7:1-72. Scene of Paetus’s death by drowning.

Carthago, Carthage

The Phoenician city in North Africa, allegedly founded by Dido of Tyre, a manifestation of the great Goddess. Under Hannibal the Carthaginians nearly defeated the Romans in Italy. The city was razed finally by Publius Scipio Africanus Minor in 146BC.

Book II.1:1-78. It is mentioned.

Book II.31:1-16. A source of Punic marble, giallo antico, yellow marble stained with red.


The daughter of Priam and Hecuba, gifted with prophecy by Apollo, but cursed to tell the truth and not be believed. Taken back to Greece by Agamemnon. (See Aeschylus: The Agamemnon). Dragged from the burning temple by her hair as Troy falls, her rape by Ajax moderatior (the minor Ajax) causes Minerva’s anger to fall on the returning Greeks.

Book III.13:1-66. Her prophecy not believed. There may be a double entendre here, an allusion to Ajax’s rape of her in the mention of the horse (= also of course the Wooden Horse).

Book IV.1:1-70. She prophesied the rebirth of Troy elsewhere.

Book IV.1A:71-150. Raped by Ajax moderatior.


A port in the north of Corfu (Corcyra)

Book I.17:1-28. Propertius travels there.

Castalius, Castalian Spring

Book III.3:1-52. The Castalian spring and grove of Apollo and the Muses on Mount Parnassus.


Phoebe, a priestess of Athene-Minerva, and Hilaira a priestess of Diana-Artemis, daughters of Leucippus, the Messenian co-king were abducted and raped by Castor and Pollux (Polydeuces) known as the Dioscuri, the sons of Jupiter by Leda. The two sisters had been betrothed to Lynceus and Idas the sons of Aphareus king in Messene. Idas later married Marpessa, the daughter of Evenus by Alcippe, after winning her in a chariot race using a winged chariot lent by his true father Neptune-Poseidon.

Book I.2:1-32. He is mentioned.

Book II.7:1-20. The Dioscuri were famous horsemen.

Book II.26:1-20. Gods to whom sailors prayed for safety at sea, since the Twins, Gemini, were stars to navigate by, and their visibility in autumn signified calm weather.

Book III.14:1-34. Castor was famous for his boxing.


Gaius Valerius Catullus (c84-c54AD), the Roman lyric poet, friend of Calvus and Propertius. He wrote poems addressed to a girl he called Lesbia (most probably Clodia Metelli).

Book II.25:1-48. A fellow poet.

Book II.34:1-94. Lustful (lascivus) Catullus, writing of Lesbia.

Caucasus, Caucasius

The mountain range in Asia. Prometheus was chained there.

Book I.14:1-24. Thickly wooded.

Book II.1:1-78. Prometheus is mentioned.

Book II.25:1-48. The vultures of Caucasus mentioned, presumably those which tormented Prometheus.


A river famous for its swans in Lydia in Asia Minor. Ephesus is near its mouth.

Book III.22:1-42. Asia Minor. Lydia.

Cecropius, Cecrops

The mythical founder of Athens. He was a son of mother Earth like Erechthonius (who some think was his father). He was part man and part serpent. His three daughters were Aglauros, Herse and Pandrosus who were goddesses of the Acropolis in Athens.

Book II.20:1-36. Book II.33A:23-44. Athenian.

Centauricus, Centaurs

Creatures, half-man and half-horse living in the mountains of Thessaly, hence called biformes, duplex natura, semihomines, bimembres. They were the sons of Ixion, and a cloud, in the form of Juno.

Book II.2:1-16. Their battle with the Lapiths mentioned.

Book II.6:1-42. Fought with Pirithous and the Lapiths.

Book II.33A:23-44. Eurytion the Centaur.

Book IV.6:1-86. Decorative rams on vessels?

Cepheius, Cepheus

The king of Ethiopia, husband of Cassiope, and father of Andromeda. He is represented by the constellation Cepheus near Cassiopeia which includes the prototype of the Cepheid variable stars used as standard light sources for measurement of distances in space. He accepted Perseus’s offer to rescue Andromeda, promising him a kingdom as dowry for defeating the sea serpent and winning her.

Book I.3:1-46. He is mentioned.

Book IV.6:1-86. His capital city was Meroe.

Ceraunia, Ceraunus, Acroceraunia

A long promontory on the coast of Epirus in north-western Greece, north of Corfu, on the eastern coast of the Adriatic south of ancient Illyria. A notorious rocky shoreline (modern Cape Gjuhezes).

Book I.8:1-26. Dangerous waters.

Book II.16:1-56. On the route from Illyria.


The three-headed watchdog of the Underworld

Book III.5:1-48. Book III.18:1-34. Book IV.5:1-78.

Book IV.7:1-96. Book IV.11:1-102. Guards Hell’s gate.


The sacred oak grove of Chaonia at Dodona in Epirus, the site of an ancient oracle of Jupiter (Zeus). The oracular priestesses were called the ‘doves’, and the dove was their sacred bird of augury.

Book I.9:1-34. Divination mentioned.


The ferryman who carries the dead across the River Styx in the underworld, whose tributary is the Acheron. (See Dante’s Inferno).

Book III.18:1-34. Book IV.11:1-102. The ferryman.


The whirlpool between Italy and Sicily in the Messenian straits. Charybdis was the voracious daughter of Mother Earth and Neptune, hurled into the sea, and thrice, daily, drawing in and spewing out a huge volume of water.

Book II.26A:21-58. A danger to ships.

Book III.12:1-38. A threat to Ulysses.


One of the Centaurs, half-man and half-horse. He was the son of Philyra and Saturn. Phoebus Apollo took his new born son Aesculapius to his cave for protection. He is represented in the sky by the constellation Centaurus, which contains the nearest star to the sun, Alpha Centauri. Father of Ocyroë, by Chariclo the water-nymph. Begot by Saturn disguised as a horse. His home is on Mount Pelion. He was the tutor of Achilles, wise and skilled in medicine and archery.

Book II.1:1-78. He cured Phoenix’s blindness.

Chius, Chios

The Ionian island of Chios.

Book III.7:1-72. Famous for its marble.


Book IV.7:1-96. Propertius’s mistress after Cynthia.


A Thracian tribe defeated by Ulysses. See Odyssey IX 40.

Book III.12:1-38. An adventure of Ulysses.

Cilissa, Cilicia

Book IV.6:1-86. Of Cilicia in Asia Minor.


A Germanic tribe defeated by Gaius Marius in 101BC.

Book II.1:1-78. They are mentioned.


An unknown mother.

Book IV.1A:71-150. In labour.

Circaeus, see Circe


The sea-nymph, daughter of Sol and Perse, and the granddaughter of Oceanus. (Kirke or Circe means a small falcon)She was famed for her beauty and magic arts and lived on the ‘island’ of Aeaea, which is the promontory of Circeii. (Cape Circeo between Anzio and Gaeta, on the west coast of Italy, now part of the magnificent Parco Nazionale del Circeo extending to Capo Portiere in the north, and providing a reminder of the ancient Pontine Marshes before they were drained, rich in wildfowl and varied tree species.) Cicero mentions that Circe was worshipped religiously by the colonists at Circei. (‘On the Nature of the Gods’, Bk III 47)

(See John Melhuish Strudwick’s painting – Circe and Scylla – Walker Art Gallery, Sudley, Merseyside, England: See Dosso Dossi’s painting - Circe and her Lovers in a Landscape- National gallery of Art, Washington)

She transforms Ulysses’s men into beasts. Mercury gives him the plant moly to enable him to approach her. He marries her and frees his men, staying for a year on her island. (Moly has been variously identified as ‘wild rue’, wild cyclamen, and a sort of garlic, allium moly. John Gerard’s Herbal of 1633 Ch.100 gives seven plants under this heading, of which the third, Moly Homericum, is he suggests the Moly of Theophrastus, Pliny and Homer – Odyssey XX- and he describes it as a wild garlic.) See Ovid’s Metamorphoses Book XIV 223.

Book II.1:1-78. Famed for her magic herbs.

Book III.12:1-38. Bewitched Ulysses’s men.


Mount Cithaeron in Boeotia, near Thebes.

Book III.2:1-26. Its rocks moved to Thebes, see Antiope.

Book III.15:1-46. Antiope took refuge there.

Claudia Quinta

Book IV.11:1-102. Claudia dragged free the grounded ship carrying Cybele’s image when the mysteries were introduced into Rome in 205BC. She thereby cleared herself of a suspicion of unchastity.

Claudius (Marcus Marcellus Maior)

He killed Virdomarus king of the Insubres at Clastidium in 222BC, conquered Syracuse in Sicily in the Second Punic War, and was the ancestor of Marcus Claudius Marcellus.

Book III.18:1-34. Deified.

Book IV.10:1-48. His killing of Virdomarus.


Queen of Egypt, mistress of Julius Caesar and Antony. She fell from power and committed suicide when she and Antony were defeated at the battle of Actium. (See Suetonius ‘The Twelve Caesars’ and, of course, Shakespeare.)

Book III.11:1-72. Vilified by Propertius.

Book IV.6:1-86. Her fleet fought alongside Antony’s at Actium. She subsequently committed suicide by the bite of a poisonous asp.


An Umbrian river.

Book II.19:1-32. Book III.22:1-42. It is mentioned.


The wife of Agamemnon, and daughter of Tyndareus. She murdered Agamemnon and married her lover Aegisthus, his cousin. She was killed in revenge by her son Orestes, spurred on by his sister Electra. See Aeschylus The Agamemnon.

Book III.19:1-28. Book IV.7:1-96.An example of female adulterous lust.

Cocles (see Horatius)


A Giant.

Book III.9:1-60. A reference to their war with the Gods.


A country in Asia south east of the Black Sea. The destination of the Argonauts and home of Medea.

Book II.1:1-78. Book II.21:1-20. Medea is Colchian.

Book III.22:1-42. The River Phasis in Colchis.


Book IV.5:1-78. The Colline Gate.Nearby on the campus sceleratus the Vestal Virgins who broke their vows were buried alive.


The festival of the Lares Compitalia, the Lares of the crossroads, took place at the end of December.

Book IV.1:1-70. Sacrifices made and the crossroads sprinkled.


A Greek astrologer of Samos who flourished c250BC.

Book IV.1A:71-150. An ancestor of Horos.


Book IV.10:1-48. An ancient town of the Volsii, south-east of Rome.


Book II.3:1-54. The lyric poetess of Boeotia (6th Century BC). A contemporary of Pindar, her work is lost apart from a few fragments.

Corinthus, Corinth

The city north of Mycenae, on the Isthmus between Attica and the Argolis. Built on the hill of Acrocorinth it and Ithome were ‘the horns of the Greek bull’: whoever held them held the Peloponnese. It was destroyed by the Roman general Mummius in 146BC and rebuilt by Julius Caesar in 44BC.)

Book III.5:1-48. The Romans ‘mined’ the ruins for the famed Corinthian bronzes.

Book II.6:1-42. Lais lived there.


Book IV.11:1-102. The wife of Lucius Aemilius Paullus. The daughter of Publius Cornelius Scipio and Scribonia Libo who later became Augustus’s wife.


A shepherd in love with the faithless shepherd-boy Alexis in Virgil.

Book II.34:1-94. See Virgil’s Eclogue II.

Cossus (Aulus Cornelius Cossus)

Book IV.10:1-48. Consul in 428BC. His defeat of Tolumnius.


The Ionian Greek Island of Cos in the Aegean off the coast of ancient Caria, famous for its silks.

Book I.2:1-32. Book IV.5:1-78. Its silk is mentioned.

Book II.1:1-78. Book IV.2:1-64. Coan silk.

Book III.1:1-38. Birthplace of Philetas.


Marcus Licinius Crassus (c112-53BC) was the third member of the First Triumvirate with Julius Caesar and Pompey. He and his son invadedMesopotamia and were defeated by the Parthians at Carrhae. The army was routed and the standards captured. This was a sensitive area of Roman military disgrace which Propertius enjoys touching on.

Book II.10:1-26. He is mentioned.

Book III.4:1-22. The disaster is mentioned. Propertius mocking ironically at Imperial ambitions and effectiveness.

Book III.5:1-48. Propertius again taunting.

Book IV.6:1-86. His grave accessible following the truce with Parthia.


Book IV.3:1-72. Arethusa’s dog. The Greek word for baying is κραυγή.

Cressus, see Crete

Cretaeus, Crete

The island in the Mediterranean Sea. (Dictaean from Mount Dicte.) Home to the Minoan civilisation. Its legendary king was Minos.

Book II.1:1-78. Famous for healing herbs.

Book III.19:1-28. The Cretan bull that mounted Pasiphae. Also a reference here to Minos and his fleet that commanded the Cretan waters.

Book IV.7:1-96. The Cretan bull.


The daughter of King Creon of Corinth. Jason married her, after deserting Medea. Medea sent Creusa a gift of a poisoned robe which burned both her and Creon to death.

Book II.16:1-56. The danger of gifts.

Book II.21:1-20. Replaced Medea in Jason’s palace.


King of Lydia and Ionia, defeated by Cyrus II of Persia at Sardis in 536BC. He became noted for his wisdom. See Herodotus, The Histories Books I and III.

Book II.26A:21-58. A symbol of great wealth.

Book III.5:1-48. In the underworld.

Book III.18:1-34. Not saved from death by his wealth.

Cumaeus, The Sibyl, Sibylla

The priestess of Apollo in the temple at Cumae built by Daedalus. She prophesied perched on or over a tripod.

She guided Aeneas through the underworld and shows him the golden bough that he must pluck from the tree. She told him how she was offered immortality by Phoebus, but forgot to ask also for lasting youth, dooming her to wither away until she was merely a voice. See Ovid’s Metamorphoses Book XIV 104.

Book II.2:1-16. Propertius wishes Cynthia youth and beauty as well as eternal life.


The god of love, son of Venus (Aphrodite). He is portrayed as a blind winged child armed with a bow and arrows, and he carries a flaming torch. His arrows bring love’s wounds.

Book I.6:1-36. He brings love’s pain, as well as joy.

Book I.7:1-26. He can strike at any time.

Book I.9:1-34. He helps love and hinders it. His arrows bring pain.

Book I.19:1-26. He is associated with love’s blindness.

Book II.9:1-52. He is served by young Cupids.

Book II.18A:5-22. Often is cruel to those he once was kind to.

Book III.10:1-32. He strikes lovers with his wings.


The ancient capital of the Sabines.

Book IV.4:1-94. Of the Sabines.

Book IV.9:1-74. The Sabines.


The Senate House, and Senate, the meeting place of a curia, the earliest division of the Roman people.

Book IV.1:1-70. Book IV.4:1-94. The Senate.

Curius, The Curiatii

Two sets of three brothers the Alban Curiatii and the Roman Horatii fought each other in the wars between Rome and Alba Longa. Two Horatii were killed, the third killed all the three Curatii.

Book III.3:1-52. A subject for epic.


A myth was invented to explain the presence of a deep pit in the Forum. A chasm opened which could only be closed by the sacrifice of Rome’s greatest treasure. Marcus Curtius a young knight rode into it and it shut upon him.

Book III.11:1-72. Roman hero.


The Phrygian great goddess, personifying the earth in its savage state, worshipped in caves and on mountaintops. Merged with Rhea, the mother of the gods. Her consort was Attis, slain by a wild boar like Adonis. His festival was celebrated by the followers of Cybele, the Galli, or Corybantes, who were noted for convulsive dances to the music of flutes, drums and cymbals, and self-mutilation in an orgiastic fury.

Book III.17:1-42. Book IV.7:1-96. She wore a turretted crown, and was worshipped to the clashing of cymbals. Her worship was ecstatic like that of Bacchus.

Book III.22:1-42. Worshipped at Dindymus, a mountain on the shore of the Sea of Marmara (Propontus). Her statue, of gold with a face made of hippopotamus ivory, was taken, by the people of Cyzicus, (Kyzikos), from Prokennesos, an island to the northwest. (Modern Marmara Adasi.) See Pausanias Book VIII 46.4

Book IV.11:1-102. Her image freed by Claudia.

Cydonium, Cydonia

Cydonia, the modern Canea in Crete.

Book III.13:1-66. Famous for its quinces.


Book II.26:1-20. A Nereid.


Propertius’s unknown mistress: probably a courtesan, possibly a ‘liberated’ married woman. Apuleius in his Apology (ch 10) suggests that she was named Hostia, and III.20:8 suggests that Propertius is connecting her with Hostius a minor epic poet of the second century BC.

Book I.1:1-38. She captured his heart.

Book I.3:1-46. She berates him for his absences.

Book I.4:1-28. She prizes loyalty.

Book I.5:1-32. Loving her brings pain.

Book I.6:1-36. She demands his presence continually.

Book I.8:1-26. She intends a sea voyage.

Book I.8A:27-46. She abandons the journey and the bribe.

Book I.10:1-30. His ‘teacher’ in matters of love.

Book I.11:1-30. She is on the loose at Baiae.

Book I.12:1-20. She is hundreds of miles distant.

Book I.15:1-42. Her infidelity.

Book I.17:1-28. He has travelled away from her.

Book I.18:1-32. He suffers her disdain.

Book I.19:1-26. He fears she will not mourn him.

Book II.5:1-30. Her flagrant wantonness.

Book II.7:1-20. Her delight at repeal of the law compelling bachelors to marry.

Book II.13:1-16. He wishes her appreciation of his verse.

Book II.13A:1-58. He addresses her concerning his funeral.

Book II.14:1-32. He is reconciled to her.

Book II.16:1-56. She is mercenary.

Book II.19:1-32. She’s leaving Rome for the country.

Book II.24:1-16. Notorious because of his book.

Book II.30:1-40. The forerunner of Marlowe’s ‘Come live with me and be my love’.

Book II.32:1-62. Her loose behaviour.

Book II.33:1-22. Performs the rites of Isis.

Book II.34:1-94. Celebrated and famous through Propertius’s poetry.

Book III.21:1-34. She is making his life miserable.

Book III.24:1-20. He is weary of this love.

Book IV.7:1-96. Cynthia from beyond the grave.

Book IV.8:1-88. She travels to Lanuvium.


Book II.34:1-94. An epithet for Phoebus-Apollo who was born by Mount Cynthus on Delos.

Cyrenaeus, Cyrene

Book IV.6:1-86. Callimachus’s birthplace in North Africa.

Cytaeine, Cytaeis, Colchis

Colchis at the eastern end of the Black Sea, the home of Medea, famous for its Thessalian witches.

Book I.1:1-38. A source of magic charms and incantations.

Book II.4:1-22. The country of witchcraft.

Cytherea, see Venus


Book III.22:1-42. Ancient Kyzikos, a town on the eastern side of the southern coast of the Propontic Isthmus. (Sea of Marmara). Strabo claimed it was founded by the Argonauts.