Foreign Languages & Literatures ETDs

Publication Date



In my thesis, I explore the mythological figure of Cerberus in the Elegies of Tibullus and Propertius. My objective is to bring to light the imaginative and provocative way that both of these poets employ the imagery and history of Cerberus and by so doing to illustrate the way in which both poets present Cerberus as a depiction of the poet lover. My thesis begins with an analysis of the representations of Cerberus, both literary and in pottery, and his mythological history. I follow with a chapter exploring Tibullus use of Cerberus as a stand-in for the elegiac poet-lover as the exclusus amator, with which he is associated through his position outside of the doors of the Underworld. Next, I turn to the poet Propertius and his presentation of Cerberus as a stand-in for the poet-lover by means of marked vocabulary and a limited freedom that aligns the canine with the poet-lover through his ability to speak elegiacally. To conclude, I emphasize how the poets take a traditional mythological figure and employ it in order to create and manipulate an elegiac world and the figure within it.


Tibullus, Propertius, Underworld mythology, Cerberus, poetics, erotic elegy, Roman literature

Document Type




Degree Name

Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies

Level of Degree


Department Name

Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures

First Committee Member (Chair)

Garcia, Lorenzo

Second Committee Member

Umurhan, Osman