, Volume 97, Issue 3, pp 465-480
Date: 18 Oct 2012

“Et Rome Rome a vaincu seulement”: Du Bellay’s Sonnet III of the Antiquitez de Rome

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Joachim du Bellay’s Sonnet III from the Antiquitez de Rome, ‘Nouveau venu, qui cherches Rome en Rome’ and its neo-Latin source, an epigram by Janus Vitalis, have given rise to much diffuse comparative critical attention. The aim of this article is to analyse du Bellay’s sonnet in far greater depth than has heretofore been the case, explaining and evaluating his alterations of his primary source, and detailing the effects of his employment of other sources, namely Lucan’s Pharsalia, Castiglione’s sonnet ‘Superbi colli’, and, in particular, Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Exploration of the nomen theme attaches significance to the ten occurrences of the name of Rome, while the relationship between Time, Fortune, and personal responsibility is considered. Du Bellay’s additions are seen to emphasise the folly of pride and apply to contemporary France the admonitory moral of the vulnerability of a nation divided by civil war. Particular attention is paid to stylistic devices such as epanalepsis and mesozeugma, tripartite constructions, and Du Bellay’s use of the sonnet-form to establish—and occasionally break—patterns and expectations. Tension is observed between grammatical simplicity and patterned rhetoric as the author attempts linguistic portrayal of the paradox of the enduring ruins of Rome.