There have been many discussions on the extension of Propertius’ second book of Elegies. To that effect, philological, of textual criticism and literary arguments are brought up. Up to a certain point, Lyne (1998) achieved a good solution for his division of this book based on his careful reading of the 2.10 and 2.11 elegies. Our task now is to corroborate Lyne’s thesis, presenting new arguments.
Understanding the two first books of Propertius’ as a narratio a persona – I consider that the persona Cynthia is constructed by the poet in these books – I propose the initial elegy of supposed book 2B (Lyne), this is, the 2.12 elegy as a digression, which as it presents the central motive of the first two books also presents itself as a larger poetic program than that which is produced in the previous elegies. This digression, besides its use out of oratorical or narrative realm, has a strong ekphrastical colouring.
This feature, that is, the 2.12 elegy as a digression/ekphrasis impresses on it a strong argumentative weight for the prevalent theme of Roman Augustan elegy: erotics. Thus, 2.12, besides being a poetic programme, 2.12 is also an innovative piece, from the point of view of argumentation, since it exhibits two rhetorical mechanisms: one associated to dispositio (digressio), and another associated to elocution (ekphrasis).