Cornelius Gallus, Roman equestrian
, listed by Quintilian
among the greatest authors of elegy:
elegia quoque Graecos provocamus, cuis mihi tersus atque elegans maxime videtur auctor Tibullus. sunt qui Propertium malint. Ovidius utroque lascivior, sicut durior Gallus.
We rival the Greeks in elegy as well, of which the most terse and elegant seems to be the author Tibullus. There are those who prefer Propertius. Ovid is raunchier than either, while Gallus is harsher.
Unfortunately, his poems do not survive intact; to a recent (1977) find at the excavations of Qasr Ibrim, in Egypt, do we owe the few smatterings we have. This is all that is left of poor Gallus:
I.tristia nequitia . . . .a Lycori tua
II. Fata mihi, Caesar, tum erunt mea dulcia, quom tu
maxima Romanae pars eris historiae
postque tuum reditum multorum templa deorum
fix legam spolieis deivitiora tueis
III. . . . . . . . . . .tandem fecerunt carmina Musae
quae possim domina deicere digna mea.
. . . . . . . . . . . atur idem tibi, non ego, Visce
. . . . . . . . . . l . Kato, iudice te vereor
I. ...depressed, Lycoris, by your screwing around.
II. Then, Caesar, will my fortunes be kind to me, when you
become the greatest part of the history of Rome
when I read the news of your return, and how much richer
will the temples be hung with your spoils.
III. Finally the Muses have made songs
Which I can lay down as a worthy mistress.
...same to you, not I, I do not fear, Viscus,
...nor Cato, when you are my critic.
Not exactly a whole bunch for a man said to be the founding father of Roman elegy, eh? Still, Vergil, Tibullus, Propertius, and Ovid all write about him, with nothing but praise.
Gallus became involved with politics after Actium, and was soon, in 28 B.C. given the governorship of the new province of Egypt. Details surrounding his death are unclear. Apparently he lead several succesful military campaigns near the southern border, and was in the midst of creating an armada for the second expedition, when Augustus declared that he had been cast out of his circle of friends. Gallus committed suicide in 27 B.C.
Oh, yeah...also, lower case, gallus, the Latin word for chicken, or cock.