This article offers a new perspective on the poetic concerns of the Eclogues by looking at goats as the programmatic poetic symbol of the collection. It shows how Virgil has adapted a new poetic identity for the goats of his pastoral world from the bucolic landscape of Theocritus’ Idylls by borrowing and transforming the established poetic identity of a different animal, the bee. In particular, it traces the significance and intricacies of etymological play and markers to deepen our understanding of the relationship Virgil creates between his work and that of Theocritus, and shows how this shift in poetic identity from bees to goats establishes a Virgilian conception of Roman pastoral. It gives especial consideration to Idyll 10 as a source text of inspiration for the Eclogues, with an eye to rehabilitating the importance of this poem to Virgil’s bucolic collection.

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