Music, Sexuality and Stagecraft in the Pseudo-Vergilian Copa

TitoloMusic, Sexuality and Stagecraft in the Pseudo-Vergilian Copa
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsMorgan, H
Ancient AuthorsAppendix Vergiliana (PHI 0692)
JournalGreek and Roman Musical Studies

The Pseudo-Vergilian Copa (‘The Female Tavern-Keeper’) opens with the eponymous character dancing ‘drunkenly’ and ‘sexily’ to the rhythms of the castanet. Her performance, which is accompanied by several other musical instruments, sets the scene for a brief, yet richly detailed, vignette describing the attractions of a rustic Roman tavern. This paper examines how the poet uses music to (re)construct the Copa’s sensory world. The dancing tavern-keeper is a complex literary creation, which incorporates influences from both the elegiac and pastoral traditions as well as from contemporary visual culture. Moreover, her characterisation as an erotic, exotic entertainer invites comparisons between the tavern, the dining-room and the theatre as interactive performance spaces. The alluring dancers and musicians who performed in these venues inspired a number of poetic depictions in the early imperial