The image of the site of Rome when it was hills, marshes and meadows, not yet spoiled by urban intrusion, was a favorite of Virgil and the Augustan elegists. In this paper I would like to examine the site as it appears in Propertius 4,1 ; 4,4 and 4,9. Although Propertius was following precendents from Tibullus 2,5 and Aeneid 8, his departures from the topography they mapped out need to be systematically examined. I will suggest (a) that Propertius generally offered a darker view of the site of Rome by endowing it with morally ambiguous qualities and by populating it with unappealing characters. Moreover (b) in fashioning this landscape Propertius settled on a view of the workings of nature -- consistent with other poems in Book 4 -- in which nature undermines human progress. This view of nature is further underscored by the suppression of the theme of the Golden Age.
Kenneth S. Rothwell Jr.. "Propertius on the Site of Rome" Latomus, 55 (1995): 829-854. http://scholarworks.umb.edu/classics_faculty_pubs/2/