Fire and human error in Vergil's second Georgic

Christopher Nappa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


At Georgics 2.303-14, a devastating fire rages through an olive grove with tragic consequences. The poet's description of the fire emphasizes that a major aspect of labor, one of the poem's crucial themes, is the accuracy with which his precepts are carried out; the fire makes it clear that human error often lies at the root of human failure. This reading can shed light on current debates surrounding the overall tenor of the poem, which allows for the possibility of both failure and success and, at least here, puts the choice between the two squarely in human hands.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)39-56
Number of pages18
JournalAmerican Journal of Philology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2003


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