Canidia, Rome’s First Witch
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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abducted Albucius anonymous anus Apollonius apotropaic appearance Apuleius Aristomenes atque Barchiesi behavior birds blood boy’s Callimachus Canidia Canidia in Epode Canidia’s character Canidia’s role Catullus Cavarzere characterization of Canidia child child-killing demon Circe civil collection context dead described Eclogue elements Empusa Epode 17 Erictho erotic magic female figure function Gardens of Maecenas genre Gratidia Hermes Horace Horace’s Horace’s Epodes Horace’s poetry Horace’s Satires Horatian Iamb iambic identified insults invoked Johnston Lamashtu Lamia Latin Lilith liminal lines literary lover magical practitioner malefica Medea Menippus Meroe metapoetic Mormo murder narrative narrator nature old women Oliensis Philostratus poem poem’s poet poet’s poetic poison potential Priapic Priapus Propertius puer puer’s reading reference relationship resemblance rites ritual Roman witch Rome Rome’s saga Sagana Satire Servian walls sexual similar Socrates specifically spells statue Stesichorus strigae strix suggests supernatural term Theocritus Tibullus Varus venefica venena Vergil’s Eclogues woman καὶ