Canidia, Rome’s First Witch

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Bloomsbury Publishing, Feb 9, 2017 - History - 232 pages
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Canidia is one of the most well-attested witches in Latin literature. She appears in no fewer than six of Horace's poems, three of which she has a prominent role in. Throughout Horace's Epodes and Satires she perpetrates acts of grave desecration, kidnapping, murder, magical torture and poisoning. She invades the gardens of Horace's literary patron Maecenas, rips apart a lamb with her teeth, starves a Roman child to death, and threatens to unnaturally prolong Horace's life to keep him in a state of perpetual torment. She can be seen as an anti-muse: Horace repeatedly sets her in opposition to his literary patron, casts her as the personification of his iambic poetry, and gives her the surprising honor of concluding not only his Epodes but also his second book of Satires.

This volume is the first comprehensive treatment of Canidia. It offers translations of each of the three poems which feature Canidia as a main character as well as the relevant portions from the other three poems in which Canidia plays a minor role. These translations are accompanied by extensive analysis of Canidia's part in each piece that takes into account not only the poems' literary contexts but their magico-religious details.

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I Canidia or What Is a Witch?
Canidia in the Gardens of Maecenas
Canidia as Childkilling Demon in Epode 5
The Iambic Canidia of Epode 17
Canidia in Epode 3 Satire 21 and 28

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About the author (2017)

Maxwell Teitel Paule is Assistant Professor of Ancient and Classical Studies at Earlham College, USA.

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