par Dehon, Pierre-Jacques
Référence Classica et Christiana, 19, 1, page (191-225)
Publication Publié, 2024-01-21
Article révisé par les pairs
Résumé : From Accius, Varro or Lucretius onwards, Latin poets have repeatedly alluded to or described the division of the terrestrial and celestial spheres into five climatic zones. The present paper is tracking down and delving into the several passages where this theory was mentioned from the origins of Latin literature until the 5th century A.D. Be they shorter or longer, these excerpts show regular interest and curiosity for a highly scientific topic from authors whose verses are not necessarily dedicated prima facie to science in general or to geography and astronomy in particular. Over time the picture of the zones evolved into a true literary topos whose grounds for attractiveness are also looked into. The Romans' natural appeal for reality and technical matters is one of them, as well as the philosophical, moral or ideological dimensions of the theme. Last but not least, this topos offers a wide range of possibilities to authors willing to engage in an agonistic process, fully compliant with the ancient concept of creative mimesis, in order to display their personality and originality.