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date: 04 February 2023



  • Don P. Fowler
  •  and Peta G. Fowler


Acrostic (Gk. ἀκροστιχίς, ἀκροστίχιον), a word or phrase formed from the initial letters of a number of consecutive lines of verse. Acrostics may occur by chance (Eust. Il. 24. 1; Gell.NA 14. 6. 4; Hilberg, Wien. Stud. (1899) 264–305, (1900) 317–18): whether they are accepted as significant will depend on their consonance with other aspects of the texts in which they occur. There are two broad types: proper names (especially the author's name as a kind of signature or *sphragis) and other words and phrases. Examples of the first type include *Nicander, Ther. 345–53 and Alex. 266–74 (inept or corrupt: cf. Lobel CQ1928, 114), Q. Ennius fecit in a work of *Ennius (Cic. Div. 2. 111: Epicharmus? cf. Diog. Laert. 8. 78), and Italicus…scripsit at the beginning and end of the *Ilias Latina. The second type is rarer: perhaps the most famous example is the Hellenistic watchword λεπτή, ‘fine’, at *Aratus (1)Phaen.


  • Latin Literature

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