The following glossary includes most proper nouns which appear in the verse text. Accentuation is noted in cases where it is not likely to be obvious. The English pronunciation of Greek and Latin words is largely a matter of convention for which it is difficult to formulate exact rules, but the following guide will cover most cases:
a as in “father”
e as in “they”
i usually as in “in” (Iliad, Illyria) but sometimes as in “I” (Io, Isis)
ae and oe like long “e,” as in “Caesar”
ch like “k”
It should also be noted that Greek and Latin words have no silent letters; thus “Pales” is two syllables, “Iope” is three.
Achae'a A region of Greece; often used poetically to mean Greece.
Achilles The best of the Greek fighters at Troy, noted also for being a swift runner. He died in battle there.
Ac'tium Site of the naval battle of 31 b.c. in which Augustus ended the Roman Civil Wars by decisively defeating Antony and Cleopatra.
Adme'tus Mythical Greek king, loved by Apollo.
Adonis Youth beloved of Venus; he was killed by a boar while hunting on Mt. Idalium in Cyprus.
Ae'acus One of the judges in the underworld.
Aeae'an Magical, since Circe, a famous mythical witch, lived on the island of Aeaea.
Aemi'lius See P.III.3.7-12n.
Aene'as A Trojan prince, son of Venus and a mortal. Aeneas came to Italy after the Trojan war and became the mythical ancestor of the Roman race.
Aescula'pius The god of medicine.
Aetna A volcano in Sicily.
Agamem'non Leader of the Greek forces at Troy. When Troy fell, Agamemnon took the Trojan princess Cassandra, a prophetess and priestess of Apollo, as his war prize.
Alba An old Italian town, considered the forerunner of Rome.
Alcin'ous Mythical king of Phaeacia.
Amphi'on See P.III.2.2-7n.
Amymon'e A daughter of Danaus who was sent to look for water near the Greek city of Argos. She was attacked there by a satyr, but was rescued by Neptune, who then lay with her himself and afterwards made a spring flow forth for her.
Andro'geon Mythical Cretan prince who was restored to life by Aesculapius.
Andro'mache Wife of Hector.
Andro'meda Mythical heroine, daughter of Cepheus. Cepheus’s wife boasted that she was more beautiful than the goddesses of the ocean. In revenge, Neptune sent a sea monster to ravage Cepheus’s kingdom. To appease Neptune’s anger, Andromeda was tied to a rock on the shore as a sacrifice to the monster. She was rescued by the hero Perseus.
Anio A tributary of the Tiber which forms waterfalls at Tibur. Its modern name is Aniene.
Anti'lochus A son of Nestor who died young at Troy.
Anu'bis Egyptian dog-headed god.
Ao'nia See P.III.3.42n.
Ao'nian Of Aonia.
Api'danus A river in Greece.
Apis Egyptian bull god.
Apollo God of poetry and music, portrayed as a beautiful, long-haired youth. See also Admetus, Cassandra.
Appian Way The major road leading south from Rome.
Arcadian Of Arcadia, a remote region of Greece, associated with rusticity and pastoral poetry.
Aretium A town in Italy.
Argus See Io.
Atalan'ta Mythical princess noted for her swift running. A centaur named Hylaeus tried to rape her, but Milanion, a lover whom she had previously rejected, rescued her, being himself wounded by the centaur in the process. Milanion’s heroism won Atalanta’s love.
Atreus Father of Menelaus and Agamemnon.
At'ticus A friend of Ovid.
Aurora Goddess of dawn. See O.I.13.1, 3-4, 35-36, 39 and notes.
A'ventine One of the hills of Rome.
Aver'nus A lake in Italy, believed to be an entrance to the underworld.
Bacchus God of wine and poetry, especially tragic poetry. Usually portrayed as a long-haired youth. (The Greek Dionysus.)
Bactra See P.III.1.16n.
Beller'ophon A mythical hero. His steed was the winged horse Pegasus, whose hoof struck forth the spring Hippocrene.
Bello'na A Roman goddess whose rites included ritual bloodshed and ecstatic prophecy.
Bona Dea The “Good Goddess,” a Roman deity whose rites were restricted to women.
Bor'eas God of the north wind. He carried off the Greek princess Orithyia.
Borysthen'ides A tribe who lived near the Black Sea.
Brise'is A woman who was a war-prize of Achilles. Agamemnon took her for himself, which caused Achilles to withdraw in anger from the war at Troy.
Cadmean Epithet of Thebes, from its legendary King Cadmus.
Caesar When the elegiac poets refer to Caesar, they mean Augustus. See Introduction section II.
Calli'machus See Introduction section III.
Calli'ope A Muse.
Calvus See O.III.9.59-66n.
Cannae Site of Hannibal’s victory over Rome.
Cano'pus A town in Egypt.
Carian A people in Asia Minor who were allies of Troy.
Carpathian Another name for the Aegean sea, after the Greek island Carpathia.
Carthage A city in northern Africa; Rome’s enemy in the Punic Wars.
Cassandra See Agamemnon.
Castal'ian See P.III.3.11n.
Castor A mythical hero.
Caucasian Mountain chain beyond the Black Sea. See Prometheus.
Ce'phalus A mortal youth loved by Aurora.
Cepheus Father of Andromeda.
Cerau'nian A promontory in Greece, dangerous to ships.
Cer'berus A three-headed dog who guarded the gates of the underworld; often portrayed with snakes growing from his body.
Ceres Goddess of grain and the harvest (the Greek Demeter).
Cerin'thus Sulpicia’s beloved.
Chiron A centaur skilled in healing.
Chlide A girlfriend of Ovid.
Chloris See P.IV.7.39n.
Cim'brian A German tribe defeated by Marius.
Circe A mythical witch.
Cithae'ron A mountain near Thebes.
Claudia See P.IV.11.50-54n.
Clytaeme'stra Wife of Agamemnon. While he was at Troy she took a lover, and together they murdered Agamemnon on his return.
Cnos'sian Cretan, from the Cretan city of Cnossos.
Co'an From Cos.
Cos A Greek island celebrated for its fine fabrics. It was also the birthplace of the great Greek poet Philetas.
Col'chian Of Colchis, birthplace of Medea.
Creou'sa Princess for whom Jason left Medea. Medea sent her enchanted gifts which destroyed her.
Cumae'an See T.II.3.47-48n.
Curian See P.III.3.7-12n.
Cyb'ele See T.I.4.67-70n.
Cypas'sis A slave of Corinna.
Cytae'an Of Medea, who was born at Cytae in Colchis; hence, magical.
Cythere'a Venus, after the Greek island of Cythera, which was sacred to her.
Da'naids The daughters of Danaus.
Da'naus Mythical king who ordered his fifty daughters to slay their husbands. They all obeyed except Hypermestre, and were punished in Hades by having to try eternally to fill a leaking vat, or, in other versions, to fill a vat with leaking pitchers.
Dei'phobus A Trojan hero.
Delos Greek island sacred to Apollo.
Delphian Of Delphi, location of Apollo’s famous oracle.
Diana Goddess of virginity and the hunt. She had a temple on Rome’s Aventine hill. (The Greek Artemis.)
Dog See Dog Star.
Dog Star Sirius, associated with summer’s heat by the Romans.
Ely'sian Of Elysium.
Ely'sium The home of the blessed in the afterlife.
Encel'adus A giant who fought against Jupiter.
Endy'mion A beautiful youth, loved by Luna.
Ennius A Roman epic poet, considered the “Father of Latin poetry.”
Epidaur'ian Of Epidaurus. a Greek city associated with the healing god Aesculapius.
Eriphy'le Wife of the mythical hero Amphiaraus. Eriphyle was bribed by a golden necklace to betray Amphiaraus to his death. Their son Alcmaeon later killed her to avenge his father.
Eryx A mountain in Sicily, sacred to Venus.
Es'quiline One of the seven hills of Rome.
Euro'pe A mythical heroine.
Euro'tas A Spartan river.
Eurus The south wind.
Fabius See P.III.3.7-12n.
Galate'a A sea-nymph loved by Polyphemus.
Gallus. See O.III.9.59-62n.
Giants Mythical monsters, offspring of Earth; they warred unsuccessfully on the Olympian gods.
Gorgon A mythical monster.
Haemo'nia Poetic name for Thessaly, the region of Greece which Achilles came from.
Haemo'nian Thessalian, and thus, of Achilles.
Han'nibal Carthaginian general who fought the Romans.
Hector Chief hero of the Trojans.
Helen Mythical Spartan queen whose abduction by the Trojan prince Paris started the Trojan War.
Hel'enus A Trojan hero.
Hel'icon A mountain in Greece, sacred to the Muses.
Hercules Mythical hero who became deified; patron god of Tibur. (The Greek Herakles.)
Homer Greatest Greek epic poet.
Horatian See P.III.3.7-12n.
Hylae'us See Atalanta.
Hypermes'tre See Danaus.
Ida A mountain near Troy.
Idae'an Phrygian, since Mt. Ida was in Phrygia.
Idal'ium See Adonis.
I'lia Mother of Romulus and Remus, Rome’s legendary founders.
Il'iad Homer’s epic on the Trojan war.
Ilithy'ia Goddess of childbirth.
Il'ium Another name for Troy.
Illyr'ia A country under Roman rule; modern Albania.
I'o A woman beloved of Jupiter, who changed her into a cow to hide her from Juno. But Juno found out and set Argus, a many-eyed monster, to guard Io. Io later was identified with Isis.
Iol'cian See P.II.1.54n.
I'ope A mythical heroine.
Isis See Introduction section IV.
Itys See Tereus.
Iulus Son of Aeneas.
Ixi'on Mythical mortal who tried to rape Juno. He was condemned to turn forever on a wheel in Hades.
Jason Husband of Medea. When he left her for another woman, Medea killed her own and Jason’s children in revenge.
Juno Queen of the gods, wife of Jupiter. She had a famous temple at Lanuvium. (The Greek Hera.)
Jupiter King of the gods, associated especially with thunderstorms and the keeping of oaths. (The Greek Zeus.)
La'is Famous Greek courtesan.
La'lage A slave of Cynthia.
Lanu'vium See P.IV.8.3-14n.
Lar Singular of Lares.
Lar'es Roman gods of the household.
Lato'na Mother of Apollo and Diana. (The Greek Leto.)
Latris A slave of Cynthia.
Leda See O.I.10.3n.
Le'pidus See P.IV.11.63n.
Le'the The river of forgetfulness in the underworld.
Libas A girlfriend of Ovid.
Libo'nes The family of Scribonia.
Linos See O.III.9.23-24n.
Luna The moon goddess.
Lycian An epithet of Apollo.
Lydian Of Lydia, a country in Asia Minor.
Lyg'damus A slave of Propertius.
Macha'on Mythical doctor who was with the Greeks at Troy.
Maece'nas Propertius’s patron.
Maenad Female devotee of ecstatic Dionysian religion.
Man'tua Home city of Vergil.
Ma'rathus Tibullus’s fancy-boy.
Mar'cian See P.III.2.11-14n.
Mar'ius A great Roman general.
Mars The god of war. (Greek Ares.)
Mauso'lus See P.III.2.15-17n.
Mede'a Mythical heroine and sorceress.
Memnon See O.I.13.3-4n.
Memphis A city in Egypt.
Menela'us King of Sparta, brother of Agamemnon, and husband of Helen.
Messal'la Tibullus’s patron.
Mila'nion See Atalanta.
Mimner'mus Early Greek elegiac poet; wrote love poetry.
Miner'va Goddess of war, wisdom, and sciences. (The Greek Athena.)
Minos One of the judges in the underworld.
Molos'sian See P.IV.8.23-26n.
Muti'na See P.II.1.27-30n.
Myce'nean From Mycenae, Agamamnon’s city.
Mysian From Mysia, kingdom of Telephus.
Nai'ad Water nymph.
Naso Ovid, whose full name was Publius Ovidius Naso.
Ne'mesis Second mistress of Tibullus.
Neptune God of the sea. (The Greek Poseidon.)
Ner'eid Sea nymph.
Nestor One of the Greeks at Troy, renowned for his longevity. He was also king of Pylos.
Nisus Mythical Greek king. He had a lock of purple hair which, so long as he never cut it, magically protected his city from conquest.
Nomas A slave of Cynthia.
Numan'tine See P.IV.11.29-30 and n.
Oetae'an See P.III.1.32n.
Olym'pus Mountain in Greece, considered the home of the gods. See also Ossa.
Ops See T.I.4.67-70n.
Ori'on Constellation associated by the Romans with rainstorms.
Orithy'ia See Boreas.
Orpheus Mythical musician whose songs charmed wild beasts. He died by violence.
Orphic Of Orpheus, and thus, musical.
Ossa A mountain in Greece. In the war of the Giants against the gods, two of the Giants attempted to scale heaven by piling Ossa and Pelion on top of Olympus.
Pa'les See T.I.1.35-36n.
Pan See P.III.3.27-30n.
Paris See Helen.
Parthe'nie A slave of Cynthia.
Pasi'phae Mythical queen of Crete. She fell in love with a bull and built a wooden model of a heifer, hidden in which she could mate with the beast.
Patro'clus Best friend of Achilles.
Paullus See introductory note to P.IV.11.
Pegasid See P.III.1.19n.
Pegasus See P.III.1.19n and P.III.3.31-32n.
Peleus Husband of Thetis and father of Achilles. See T.I.5.45-46n.
Pe'lion A mountain in Greece. See also Ossa.
Pelops Son of Tantalus. His father cooked him and served his flesh to the gods. After Ceres had eaten part of the shoulder, the gods realized what they were eating and restored Pelops to life, giving him an ivory shoulder to replace the one which was missing.
Peri'thous Best friend of Theseus.
Perse'phone Goddess of the dead.
Pe'tale A slave of Cynthia.
Phaea'cia Homer’s name for the Greek island of Corfu. It was proverbial for wealth and fertility.
Phaedra Wife of Theseus, mythical king of Athens, and stepmother of his son Hippolytus. Phaedra fell in love with Hippolytus and, when he refused her, caused his destruction by accusing him to Theseus of raping her. See P.II.1.51-52n.
Pha'rian Alexandrian. See also Pharos.
Pharos An island near Alexandria in Egypt, site of a famous lighthouse.
Phe'mius A bard in Homer’s Odyssey.
Phile'tas An Alexandrian poet.
Phileti'an Of Philetas.
Philocte'tes Greek hero who fought at Troy. He was kept out of action for a time by an injury.
Phil'lyra Mother of Chiron.
Phlegrae'an Of Phlegra, a place in Greece, site of a battle in the war between the gods and the giants.
Phoenix Mythical Greek who, after being blinded, had his sight restored by Chiron.
Phry'gian Of Phrygia, the area in Asia Minor where Troy was located.
Phthi'an Of Phthia, the area of Greece where Achilles was born.
Phyllis A girlfriend of Propertius.
Pier'ian An epithet of the Muses, variously explained.
Pitho A girlfriend of Ovid.
Pleiades This constellation was associated with rainstorms by the Romans.
Poly'damus A Trojan hero.
Polyphe'mus A Cyclops from Sicily who wooed Galatea with song.
Pompei'an See P.IV.8.75n.
Pon'ticus Epic poet, friend of Propertius.
Pria'pus See introductory note to T.I.4.
Prome'theus Titan who stole fire from heaven and gave it to humanity. As a punishment, Jupiter had him chained to a crag in the Caucasian mountains and set an eagle to eat his liver eternally.
Ptolema'ic See P.II.1.27-30n.
Py'lian Of Pylos; see also Nestor.
Pytho The priestess who gave Apollo’s oracles at Delphi.
Remus With his twin Romulus, the legendary founder of Rome.
Rhesus See O.I.9.23-24n.
Sabine See Tarpeia.
Sacred Way One of the main streets of Rome.
Samian See T.II.3.47-48n.
Saturn A Roman god who ruled the universe in the Golden Age.
Scaman'der See P.III.1.26n.
Sciron See P.III.16.12n.
Scribo'nia Mother of Cornelia.
Scy'thia See P.III.16.13n.
Semi'ramis Legendary Syrian queen.
Ser'vius Father of Sulpicia.
Sile'nus See P.III.3.27-30n.
Si'mois See P.III.1.26n.
Si'syphus Mythical wicked king who was condemned in the afterlife to an eternity of trying to roll a huge stone up a hill, only to have it roll back whenever it reached the top.
Subu'ra See P.IV.7.15-18n.
Sue'vian See P.III.3.45-46n.
Sulmo Ovid’s birthplace.
Sulpi'cia Roman elegiac poet.
Syrtes See P.III 24.16n.
Tae'naran See P. III.2.11-14n.
Tan'talus Mythical king who served his son Pelops to the gods as food. He was punished in the underworld by having to stand forever in a pool of water up to his chin, which drained away whenever he stooped to drink it; and fruits hung on branches just over his head but were blown out of his reach by the wind whenever he tried to eat them. According to other accounts Tantalus’s sin was not killing Pelops but telling the secrets of the gods. Agamemnon was Tantalus’s great-grandson.
Tarpei'a A Roman girl of legendary times. When the Sabines (a neighboring tribe) besieged Rome, Tarpeia agreed to show them how to breach Rome’s defenses in return for “what they wore on their left arms,” meaning their gold bracelets. But after their successful attack, the Sabines instead murdered Tarpeia by crushing her beneath the shields which they wore on their left arms.
Te'ia A girlfriend of Propertius.
Ter'eus Mythical king, husband of Procne; their son was Itys. Tereus raped Procne’s sister Philomel, whereupon Procne murdered Itys in revenge.
Teutons See P.III.3.44n.
Tha'myras Mythical poet who was punished by blindness for boasting that he could win a poetry contest even against the Muses.
Thebes Greek city associated with many myths. (Pronounced as monosyllable.)
Thessal'ian Of Thessaly.
Thes'saly Region in Greece, home of the mythical heroes Achilles and Telephus. Thessaly was often associated with witchcraft.
Thetis Sea-nymph, wife of Peleus and mother of Achilles. See T.I.5.45-46n.
Thra'cian Of Thrace, a mountainous area in Greece, home of Orpheus and Rhesus.
Tibul'lus Roman elegiac poet.
Tibur Resort town near Rome; the modern Tivoli. See P.IV.7.82n and 85-86n.
Tisi'phone An avenging demon in the underworld.
Titans The gods who ruled before Jupiter and the other Olympians.
Titho'nus See O.I.13.1n.
Ti'tius See T.I.4.73-75n.
Ti'tyos Mythical giant who assaulted Latona. He was punished by being stretched out in the underworld, where a vulture continually devoured his entrails.
Tri'via. A goddess associated with magic.
Trojan Of Troy.
Troy A city in Asia Minor. The legendary Greek expedition to Troy was the most famous episode in Greek myth. See also Achilles, Agamemnon, Helen.
Tullus A friend of Propertius.
Tus'cany A region in Italy. See P.II.1.27-30n.
Tyre A city in the eastern Mediterranean, in what is now Lebanon. Tyre was famous for its blue dyes.
Tyr'ian Of Tyre, especially, Tyrian blue dye, and hence, fabric dyed Tyrian blue.
Ty'ro Mythical heroine.
Venus Goddess of love, mother of Love (Cupid). (The Greek Aphrodite.)
Vergil Latin epic poet.
Vero'na Home town of Catullus.
Vesta Goddess of the hearth and one of the chief tutelary deities of Rome. She was served by virgin priestesses who tended her sacred fire, on which the safety of Rome was believed to depend. (The Greek Hestia.)
Xer'xes See P.II.1 22n.