Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2016

Published In

American Journal Of Philology


This article focuses on two allusions to Vergil in the opening of the third book of Phaedrus’ Aesopic fables (3.Prol.) and suggests that Vergilian poetry plays a surprisingly central role in Phaedrus’ reflections on the nature and purpose of his poetic project. By linking his own avowedly humble poetry to the Aeneid and Eclogues, Phaedrus draws attention to some unexpected points of contact with Vergil; but he also quite clearly presents himself as a relatively unimportant poet who has had a particularly difficult time finding acceptance in Rome. The engagements with Vergil thus provide contexts for Phaedrus to highlight a crucial dimension of his poetic identity: the Roman fabulist expressed grand ambition but insisted that his inventiveness and sophistication would ultimately do nothing to improve his position on the margins of Roman literary culture.


This work is freely available courtesy of Johns Hopkins University Press.

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