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date: 02 February 2023

Colluthus of Lycopolis, locked

fl. c. 490–520 CE

Colluthus of Lycopolis, locked

fl. c. 490–520 CE
  • Laura Miguélez-Cavero

Extract

Colluthus (Κόλλουθος) of Lycopolis (modern Asyut, Egypt) is the author of the Abduction of Helen (Ἁρπαγὴ Ἑλένης), an epyllion of 392 lines narrating the events leading to the beginning of the Trojan War, from the wedding of Thetis and Peleus to the arrival of Paris and Helen at Troy. According to the Suda (K 1951), Colluthus was a contemporary of emperor Anastasius (reigned 491–518) and composed a Calydoniaca in six books (probably on the hunt of the Calydonian boar; perhaps celebrating the love of Meleager and Atalanta), verse encomia, and a Persica (most likely a verse encomium on Anastasius, celebrating the end of the war against the Persians in 505). The Suda does not mention the Abduction of Helen, Colluthus’s only extant work, which has been transmitted in a very poor state.1

The Abduction can be divided into three sections. After the initial invocation to the nymphs of the Troad (ll. 1–16), Eris retaliates for not being invited to the wedding of Peleus and Thetis by throwing a golden apple amongst the banqueters, which leads to the contest of Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite, resolved by Paris in favour of the latter (ll. 17–191). Paris then voyages to Sparta and encounters Helen (ll. 192–325). Finally, a desolated Hermione tries to make sense of her mother’s absence (ll. 326–392).

Subjects

  • Greek Literature
  • Late Antiquity

Updated in this version

Text expanded to include discussion of the Abduction of Helen and analysis of Colluthus's literary influences. Bibliography updated to reflect current research.

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