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The Poetic Treatment of atque from Catullus to Juvenal

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image of Mnemosyne

The remarkable avoidance of unelided, i.e. preconsonantal, atque in Latin poetry has long been observed, although scholars have either offered no reason for it or but a single, and thereby necessarily inadequate, explanation. My purpose in this paper is twofold: (i) to establish accurate figures, based upon close textual scrutiny and emendation, for the poetic treatment of atque from Catullus to Juvenal; (ii) to draw together multiple interconnected reasons for why the handling of atque was so distinct. After a chronological account of the poetic treatment of the conjunction, both linguistic and stylistic reasons are found to be of great importance, whereas metrical reasons are seen to be of far lesser relevance.

Affiliations: 1: Christ's College, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB2 3BU, UK;, Email:


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