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Helvius Cinna, Gaius


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A friend of Catullus, with whom he was probably in Bithynia in 57/6 bc. Cinna was a ‘learned poet’, of the ‘Alexandrian’ school. His miniature epic Zmyrna, the work of nine years, was a masterpiece of the ‘new’ poetry and much admired. Its subject, the Cyprian legend of the incestuous love of Zmyrna (or Myrrha) for her father, gave opportunity for developing the Alexandrian interest in the psychology of passion, and its allusive learning was such that in Augustan times it already needed a commentary. He was tribune in 44 and was lynched at Caesar's funeral because he was mistaken for the anti‐Caesarian Cornēlius Cinna. See hellenistic poetry at rome.

Subjects: Classical Studies.


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