Cornēlius Gallus, Gāius

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Appears in Rome in 43 bc as a mutual acquaintance of Asinius Pollio and Cicero. In 41 he had some sort of supervision of the confiscations of land, which involved Virgil's family farm. In 30 he took an active military part in Octavian's Egyptian campaign after Actium and laid out a Forum Iulium in or near Alexandria; this he recorded in an inscription, erased after his downfall, on an obelisk that is now in front of St Peter's in Rome. Octavian made him the first prefect of the new province of Egypt. He suppressed a rebellion in the Thebaid, marched south beyond the first cataract, negotiated the reception of the king of Ethiopia into Roman protection, and established a buffer‐zone with a puppet king. He celebrated these achievements in a boastful trilingual inscription at Philae dated 15 April 29 and in inscriptions on the Pyramids, and set up statues of himself all over Egypt. He was apparently recalled, and, because of the insolence to which his pride had encouraged him, was banned from the house and provinces of Augustus. He was then indicted in the senate, and driven to kill himself (27/6 bc).

He wrote four books of love‐elegies, addressed to Cythēris, a freedwoman actress who had been the mistress of Antony (Marcus Antonius ) 49–45 bc, under the pseudonym Lycōris. As well as one already‐known pentameter, nine lines have been recovered from a papyrus. These lines confirm the position of Gallus as creator of the new genre of love‐elegy and his influence, long suspected, on Propertius; the appearance of the word domina also confirms the view that it was Gallus who, developing Catullus, created the basic situation for Augustan elegists of the inamorata's dominance over the enslaved and helpless lover.

See elegiac poetry, latin.

See elegiac poetry, latin.

Subjects: Classical Studies.

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