a1 Churchill College Cambridge
Once we have accepted that the Ciris stems from neither Virgil nor Gallus, but was written by a post-Virgilian poetaster, the obvious task for us is to try and formulate some more specific idea of the date of the poem. I think that it has been sufficiently proved that the Ciris is not only post-Virgilian, but post-Ovidian in origin, including as it does unquestionable imitations of that author. But this, to date, is really as far as we have got. It is the purpose of this paper to put forward the thesis that the author of the Ciris lived late enough to know and be influenced by Statius and other poets of the later first century A.D.
Now of course any theory that the Ciris knew and used Statius and other Silver poets is rendered highly unlikely if it can be maintained that Suetonius considered it, with the other minora, a genuine Virgilian work. And so we are brought back again to the famous list in the Donatan Life:
deinde Catalepton et Priapea et Epigrammata et Diras, item Cirim et Culicem, cum esset annorum XXVI. cuius materia talis est. pastor fatigatur aestu; cum sub arbore condormisset et serpens ad eum proreperet, e palude culex provolavit atque inter duo tempora aculeum fixit pastori. at ille continuo culicem contrivit et serpentem interemit ac sepulchrum culici statuit et distichon fecit:
1 A preliminary draft of this paper has been read by Professors Brink and Goodyear, Mr. Kenney, and Professor Skutsch, and I here gratefully acknowledge their advice.