Foreign Languages & Literatures ETDs

Publication Date

Spring 4-11-2023


This project identifies a system of plant-based identity politics in Theocritus’ Idylls. In Chapter One, I trace a paradigm of unequal reciprocal interactions, “plant-hubris,” throughout the erotic relationships of the Idylls as one partner acts violently against another who “overwaters” them with affection. I argue that characters in the Idylls use plants to explain their own relationship dynamics. In the second chapter I examine Idyll 1 and identify social commentary on culturally specific poetic competition that relies on vegetal imagery. The competition between the goatherd and Thyrsis in Idyll 1 is informed by both the immediate vegetal environment as well as by the contents of both performances, each of which use the relationships between plants and humans to root the poetry in a specific cultural tradition. Theocritus, I argue, uses the relationships between humans and their natural environment to explain the position of Sicilian poetics in Alexandrian literature.


Theocritus, Idylls, Ecocriticism, Greek Literature, Hellenistic Poetry

Document Type




Degree Name

Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies

Level of Degree


Department Name

Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures

First Committee Member (Chair)

Lorenzo F. Garcia Jr.

Second Committee Member

Monica Cyrino

Third Committee Member

Osman Umurhan

Fourth Committee Member

Luke Gorton