By Timothy Saunders
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Astronomy As we saw in the previous section, the Daphnis fragment in Eclogue 9 introduces astronomy as a potentially revealing way of reading this kind of poetry. To a certain degree, this approach was already signalled, if somewhat less explicitly, by the two astronomers situated in the middle of Menalcas’ cups in Eclogue 3. 40). Their very presence, that is, invites a reading of the cups, and by extension of the eclogue, that is analogous to their own readings of the celestial spheres. Conon at least had fulfilled this role before.
I suggested in the previous section of this chapter that the descriptions of the cups of Eclogue 3 base part of their bid to make these vessels central to the representations of that eclogue on the emphasis they place on what is depicted at their centres. I then illustrated how the middle of these cups were described at the middle point of these descriptions and tried to follow this trajectory through to the central line of that eclogue, which likewise draws upon the cosmological paradigm. 85-90): MENALCAS: Hac te nos fragili donabimus ante cicuta; haec nos ‘formosum Corydon ardebat Alexin’, 27 Bucolic Ecology haec eadem docuit ‘cuium pecus?
For, as Clausen remarks, the words Lycidas uses to describe this cloudless night, pura } sub nocte, bear comparison with a phrase Aratus deploys in his Phaenomena: kaqarÍ 1n< nukt<. What Clausen does not say, however, is that Aratus places this phrase in a passage about the other constellation from Lycidas’ song in Idyll 7: Orion (Phaen. 322-5): LoxÕj m5n TaÚroio tomÍ Øpok2klitai aÙtÕj WRIWN. m] kelnon Ótij kaqarÍ 1n< nukt< Øyoà pepthîta par2rcetai ¥lla pepo8qoi oÙranÕn e9sanidën profer2stera qhsasqai.