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On this page: Propertius Celer – Propinquus – Proserpina

548

PROPERTIUS.

of Propertius was too pedantic an imitation of the Greeks. His whole ambition was to become the Roman Callimachus (iv. 1. 63), whom, as well as Philetas and other of the Greek elegiac poets, he made his model. He abounds with obscure Greek myths, as well as Greek forms of expression, and the same pedantry infects even his versification. Tibullus generally, and Ovid almost invariably, close their pentameter with a word contained in an iambic foot; Propertius, especially in his first book, frequently ends with a word of three, four, or even five syllables. P. Burmann, and after him Paldamus, have pretended to discover that this termination is favourable to pathos ; but Pro-pertius's motive for adopting it may more probably be attributed to his close, not to say servile, imi­tation of the Greeks.

The obscurity of Propertius, which is such that Jos. Scaliger (Castigationes in Propertium, p. 169, Steph. 1577) did not hesitate to say that the se­cond book was almost wholly unintelligible, is not owing solely to his recondite learning, and to the studied brevity and precision of his style, but also to the very corrupt state in which his text has come down to us. Alexander ab Alexandro (Genial. Dier. ii. 1) relates, on the authority of Pontanus, that the Codex Archetypus was found under some casks in a wine cellar, in a very imper­fect and illegible condition, when Pontanus, who was born in 1426, was a mere youth. This story was adopted by Jos. Scaliger (Ibid. p. 168), who, assuming as well -the recklessness and negligence of the first transcriber, introduced many alterations and transpositions, which were adopted by subse­quent critics to the age of Broukhius and Bur­mann. Van Santen, in the preface to his edition, published at Amsterdam, in 1780, was the first to question the truth of the story related by Alex­ander (p. x. &c.), chiefly on the grounds that there is extant a MS. of Propertius, with an inscription by Puccitis, dated in 1502, in which he mentions having collated it with a codex which had belonged to B. Valla, and which he styles antiquissimus ; an epithet he could not have applied to any copy of the MS. alluded to by Alexander. That this co­dex of Valla's was not that found in the wine cellar is shown by an annotation of Ant. Perreius, in a copy of Catullus, Tibullus, and Propertius, dated in the early part of the sixteenth century, in which he distinguishes them. It may be observed that this reasoning allows that there was such a MS. as that mentioned by Alexander, who, however, does not say that it belonged to Pontanus. But though Van Santen's arguments do not seem quite conclusive, they have been adopted by most mo­dern critics ; and have been further strengthened by the observation that Petrarch, who flourished more than a century before Pontanus, quotes a pas­sage from Propertius (ii. 34. 65) just as it is now read, in his fictitious letters (the 2d to Cicero) ; and that one at least of the MSS. now extant (the Guelferbytanus or Neapolitan) is undoubtedly as old as the thirteenth century. Whatever may be the merits of this question, it cannot be do'ubted that the MS. from which our copies are derived was very corrupt ; a fact which the followers of Van Santen do not pretend to deny.

The Editio Princeps of Propertius was printed in 1472, fol. ; it is uncertain at what place. There is another edition of the same date in small 4to. The text was early illustrated and amended by the

PROSPER.

care of Beroaldus, Jos. Scaliger, Muretus, Passerat, and other critics. The works of Propertius have been often printed with those of Catullus and Tibul­lus. The following are the best separate editions :—• By Broukhusius, Amsterdam, 1702, sm. 4to. By Vulpi'us, Padua, 1755, 2 vols. 4to. By Barthius, Leipzig, 1778, 8vo. By Burmannus, Utrecht, 1780, 4to. This edition appeared after Burmann's death, edited by Santenius. By Kuinoel, Leipzig, 1804, 2 vols. 8vo. By Lachmann, Leipzig, 1816, 8vo. This edition is chiefly critical. Many conjectures are introduced into the text, and the second book is divided into two, at the tenth elegy, on insuffi­cient grounds. By Paldamus, Halle, 1827, 8vo. By Le Maire, Paris, 1832, 8vo, forming part of the BibliotJieca Latina. By Hertzberg, Halle, 1844—5, 4 thin vols. 8vo. The commentary is ample, but prolix, and often fanciful and inconclusive.

Propertius has been translated into French by St. Amand, Bourges et Paris, 1819, with the Latin text ; into German by Hertzberg, Stuttgardt, 1838 (Metzler's Collection) ; into Italian terza rima by Becello, Verona, 1742. There is no complete English translation, but there is a correct, though rugged, version of the first book, accompa­ nied with the Latin text, anonymous, London 1781. [T. D.]

PROPERTIUS CELER, a man of praetorian rank in the reign of Tiberius, begged to be allowed to resign his senatorial rank on account of his poverty, but received from the emperor instead a million of sesterces, in order to support his dignity. (Tac. Ann. \. 75.)

PROPINQUUS, POMPEIUS, the procurator of the province of Belgica, at the death of Nero, A. d. 68, was slain in the following year, when the troops proclaimed Vitellius emperor (Tac. Hist. i. 12, 58).

PRORSA. [POSTVERTA.]

PROSERPINA. [persephone.] PROSPER, surnamed Aquitanus or Aquitanicus, from the country of his birth, flourished during the first half of the fifth century. Regarding his family and education no records have been pre­served ; but in early life he settled in Provence, and there became intimately associated with a certain Hilaritis, who, to avoid confusion, is usually dis­tinguished as Hilarius Prosperi or Prosperianus. The two friends displayed great zeal in defend­ing the doctrines of Augustin against the attacks of the Semipelagians who were making inroads upon the orthodoxy of Southern Gaul, and having opened a correspondence with the bishop of Hippo, they received in reply the two tracts still extant under the titles De Praedestinatione Sanctorum, and De Dono Perseverantiae. Finding that, notwith­standing these exertions, their antagonists were still active and successful, they next undertook a journey to Rome, where they submitted the whole controversy to Pope Coelestinus, and induced him by their representations to publish, in A. d. 431, his well-known Epistola ad Episcopos Gallorum^ in which he denounces the heresy of Cassianus, and warns all the dignitaries of the church to pro­hibit their presbyters from entertaining and dis­seminating tenets so dangerous. Armed with this authority, Prosper returned home, and, from the numerous controversial tracts composed by him about this period, appears to have prosecuted his labours with unflagging enthusiasm. Soon after, however, he disappears from history, and we know

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