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Article

Alan Douglas Edward Cameron and Christopher Pelling

Posidippus (2) of Pella, accurately described as ἐπιγραμματοποιός (composer of epigrams) in a proxeny inscription (see proxenos) from *Thermum dated to 264/3 bce (IG 92. 1. 17. 24). His surviving poems date from 284 to c.250. Twenty or so mainly erotic and sympotic *epigrams are transmitted in manuscript sources (‘the old Posidippus’); these are now supplemented by another 112 epigrams, mainly ecphrastic and dedicatory (see ekphrasis; dedications), preserved on a 3rd-cent. bce papyrus roll in Milan. These are divided into broad categories (e.g. on gemstones, on victors in chariot races, on shipwrecks, and on cures for diseases): it is uncertain, and much discussed, whether the organization of the book is his own work or owed to an editor. He was evidently much influenced by *Callimachus (3) and *Asclepiades (2), though said to have been one of Callimachus' literary enemies (1 p.3 Pfeiffer).

Article

Posidonius (Ποσειδώνιος) (1) of Olbiopolis, sophist and historian, author of works on the Dniester region, *Attica and *Libya, has been identified, though this is very uncertain, with the Posidonius (FGrH 169) who, according to *Plutarch (Aem. 19), was contemporary with *Perseus (2) of Macedon (179–168 bce) and described his reign, including the battle of *Pydna.

Article

Potamon (1) of *Mytilene (c. 75 bce–15 ce), orator and rhetorician, undertook embassies on behalf of his city to *Caesar at Rome (47, 45) and *Augustus (26). He wrote encomia of *Brutus and Caesar, a history of *Alexander (3) the Great and On the Perfect Orator.

Article

Richard Seaford

Pratinas of Phlius, according to the Suda, competed with *Aeschylus and *Choerilus (1) in the 70th *Olympiad (i. e. 499–496 bce), was the first to write satyr-plays, and exhibited fifty plays of which thirty-two were satyric. His son Aristias won second prize with a production of his father's plays in 467 bce. The main surviving fragment (Ath. 14. 617b) attacks the tendency of the pipe to dominate the song. Probably it is from a satyr-play, and parodies the dithyrambic style (see dithyramb). But it is also possible that it is in fact an Attic dithyramb by another, otherwise unknown Pratinas of the late 5th cent. bce.

Article

C. Carey

Praxilla, lyric poet (fl. 451 bce, according to *Eusebius), native of *Sicyon, composer of *hymns (747), *dithyrambs (748), and drinking-songs or *scolia (749), possibly wedding-songs (754). Her mythic narratives contained distinctive innovations (751–3). A line in her hymn to *Adonis was proverbial for its silliness (Zenob.

Article

priamel  

Simon Hornblower and Robert Parker

Literary term for a kind of paratactic comparison (i.e. comparison by listing or enumeration). Examples are *Sappho fr. 16, ‘some people like x, others y, but I say the best thing is to get your heart's desire’, cf. *Pindar, Ol. 1, first lines, or *Homer, Il. 13. 636 ff. with Janko's n. (see also Thuc. 1. 86. 3 with Schmid 62). It is a focusing device: to understand D you need to compare it with A, B, and C. It is nothing to do with Greek melos, a song. The derivation is supposed to be from Latin praeambulum, ‘a preamble’.

Article

Peter Wilson

The proagōn at Classical Athens was an official theatrical presentation which took place a few days before the Great *Dionysia began. It was held in the *Odeum, a building east of the theatre reconstructed by *Pericles (1)c.445 bce, where the poets appeared before the public with their choruses, actors, and presumably chorēgoi (see chorēgia), to give an exposition of some kind of the dramas with which they were to compete, perhaps little more than an indication of their general plot or subject-matter. Those involved in the forthcoming competitions were thereby identified before their civic peers: for, though garlanded, actors and choruses appeared without costumes or masks. We hear only of tragedy being presented in this way, but the procedure may have included comedy.The evidence for the proagon is meagre, its interpretation controversial. One source implies that it involved a competition (agon); perhaps, it has been suggested, to determine the order of performance.

Article

Marion Kruse

Procopius was a Greek historian, born in Caesarea (2) in Palestine c.500ce. He joined the staff of Belisarius, the leading general of the reign of Justinian, by 527, and served as his legal secretary (assessor/πάρεδρος). Both this post and his corpus indicate that he received a standard education in rhetoric and law, and he claimed to be familiar with matters of Christian theology, though he declined to discuss them. Procopius served under Belisarius throughout the general’s early campaigns against Sassanian Persia (527–531), Vandal North Africa (533–536), and Ostrogothic Italy (535–540). Procopius and Belisarius parted ways at some point between 540 and 542, at which point Procopius took up residence in Constantinople and turned to his literary projects. There is no indication that he remained connected to Belisarius’s circle or dependent upon his patronage after this point. He can, however, be compellingly linked to an active literary circle composed of mid-level officials operating in Constantinople in the mid-6th century, such as John Lydus, who appears to have been familiar with the Secret History.

Article

Donald Russell

Progymnasmata (Lat. prae-exercitamina) were the ‘preliminary exercises’ which made up the elementary stage of instruction in schools of rhetoric. It is not clear that there was a recognized ‘cycle’ of such exercises before Roman times, but a number of extant collections from the time of the empire survive. The treatise by Aelius *Theon (3) (1st cent. ce) is the earliest; that of Aphthonius (c.ce 400) the most influential. A set of exercises attributed to *Hermogenes was translated into Latin by *Priscian. *Libanius and Nicolaus of Myra are also important, and the genre continued to be developed in Byzantine times. The principal exercises were μῦθος (*fable), διήγημα (*narratio), χρεία (anecdotal apophthegm), γνώμη (maxim, see gnōmē), ἀνασκευή and κατασκευή (refutation and confirmation), κοινὸς τόπος (commonplace, see communes loci), ἠθοποιΐα (speech written in character), ἔκφρασις (description, see ekphrasis), θέσις (general question), νόμου εἰσφορά (introduction of a law).

Article

Born in *Cappadocia, he studied in *Antioch (1) and Athens, where he succeeded his teacher Julianus as professor of rhetoric. He gained an immense reputation through his ability to improvise and his phenomenal memory. Invited by the emperor *Constans to his court in Gaul, he had honours showered upon him both there and in Rome; the senate set up a statue of him, and offered him a chair of rhetoric in the city, which he declined. Among his students in Athens were *Basil and *Gregory (2) and the future emperor *Julian. When Julian in 362 issued his edict forbidding Christians to teach, special exception was made for Proaeresius, who was a Christian; he preferred, however, to resign his chair, but took it up again after Julian's death. None of his speeches survives.

Article

C. Carey

See hymns (greek); lyric poetry, greek.Applied originally to poetry (Pind.Pyth. 1. 4, Nem. 2. 3), the term προοίμιον was taken over by rhetorical theory to designate the first of the four (sometimes more) sections into which classical rhetoricians divided the prose speech. It is, with the peroration (ἐπίλογος), the part of the speech which contains the greatest accumulation of recognizable commonplaces, and the typical themes are already discernible in the 5th cent. Toward the end of the 5th cent. the custom arose of compiling collections of stock openings (and also perorations) to forensic and political speeches. Such collections are attested for *Antiphon (1), *Critias, *Thrasymachus, and perhaps Cephalus (see Suda, under Κέφαλος; for deployment of stock prooemia cf. Lys. 19. 2–5, 11 with Andoc. 1. 1, 6–7, 9, Isae. 8. 5 with Dem. 27. 2–3). The extant set attributed to .

Article

Simon Hornblower

Propaganda is not easy to define. It means active manipulation of opinion and some distortion of the truth; it also perhaps aims at exclusive indoctrination of one set of opinions, contrast ideology (a value-system which may admit the possibility of other value-systems) or mentality (values unconsciously subscribed to rather than actively promoted). Propaganda has been divided (Ellul) into agitation propaganda and integration propaganda; the first seeks to change attitudes, the second to reinforce them. This division is helpful (see below) for the understanding of the ancient world.Lacking modern techniques for the dissemination of information, the ancient world was spared some modern manifestations of propaganda; nor were conditions suitable for the emergence of professional governmental ‘propaganda machines’ of a modern sort (*decision-making was amateur and theoretically in the hands of the citizens). There were however ways of making general proclamations. Thus Rome exploited *Delphi to make pronouncements adverse to *Perseus (2) of Macedon, see Syll.

Article

Donald Russell

Propemptikon (προπεμπτικόν), a composition expressing wishes for a prosperous journey to a departing friend. This was a common poetical theme, attempted also in prose in late antiquity (*Menander (4) Rhetor395–9 Spengel; *Himerius, Oration 10. 1 Colonna). Poetical examples are found in Greek lyric (e.g. Sappho fr. 5 L–P), in Hellenistic poetry (*Callimachus (3) fr. 400 Pfeiffer, *Theocritus 7. 52–89) and in the Roman poets (*Helvius Cinna's Propemptikon to Pollio (56 bce) was famous but is lost; extant examples include *Horace, Odes 1. 3, 3. 27; *Propertius 1. 8; Statius, Silvae 3. 2). These poems were often very learned and allusive, as is natural for the occasional poetry of literary cliques, but there was a fairly standard set of expected topics: complaints of ‘desertion’ by the departing friend, encomium of the place he is going to, dangers of the voyage, prayer for safe return. The late rhetoricians (see Menander above) codified and enumerated these topics, and their prescriptions parallel and illuminate the practice of the poets.

Article

Kenneth Dover

The earliest surviving discussion of prose-rhythm is to be found in *AristotleRhet. 1408b21–9a21, where he distinguishes between ‘rhythm’ (ῥυθμός) and ‘metre’ (μέτρον) and emphasizes that if prose makes too much use of μέτρα, i.e. the patterns of long and short syllables whose regular repetition is familiar in poetry, ‘it will be a poem’. In his view, dactylic rhythm (– ∪∪ – ∪∪ etc. ), characteristic of epic, is too solemn, too remote from normal communication; iambic rhythm (× – ∪ – × – ∪ – etc. ) has the opposite fault, because it is the ‘natural’ rhythm of conversation and therefore fails to strike (ἐκστῆσαι) the hearer, while trochaic rhythm (– ∪ – × – ∪ – × etc. ) is undignified to the point of vulgarity. He therefore recommends paeonic rhythm (– ∪ ∪ ∪ and ∪ ∪ ∪ –), which, except for a few passages of Old Comedy (see comedy (greek), old), was not used for continuous passages of poetry and thus had no strong poetic associations.

Article

Herbert Jennings Rose and P. J. Parsons

Antiquity has left us a number of writings which evidence, internal or external, proves not to be the work of the authors whose names are traditionally attached to them. The causes of this seems to be chiefly:(a) a tendency to ascribe anonymous pieces to a well-known author of like genre. Thus, the whole *Epic Cycle and other hexameter poems were at one time or another ascribed to *Homer; in Latin several compositions more or less epic in style, as the Culex and Ciris, have become attached to the name of Virgil (see appendix vergiliana), others, in elegiacs, to those of Tibullus and Ovid.(b) Works by the followers of a philosopher tended to be credited to their master; for instance, several short dialogues by members of the *Academy bear the name of *Plato (1), and, e.g., the Problēmata, which are Peripatetic, are preserved as by *Aristotle.

Article

Albert Brian Bosworth

Pseudo-Callisthenes, the so-called Alexander-Romance, falsely ascribed to *Callisthenes, survives in several versions, beginning in the 3rd cent. ce. It is popular fiction, a pseudo-historical narrative interspersed with an ‘epistolary novel’, bogus correspondence between *Alexander (3) ‘the Great’ and *Darius III. Some of the material is comparatively early; the account of Alexander's death may echo propaganda of the early Successors and the will contains a Rhodian interpolation of Hellenistic origin. There is also an Egyptian strand which introduces the last Pharaoh, Nectanebos II, as a significant actor (seducer of *Olympias) and adds curious detail about *Alexandria (1), including its foundation date. But the historical nucleus is small and unusable. What matters is the fiction which had an enormous international vogue, translated into most major languages in medieval times and transmuted into innumerable variations in Greek, Syriac, and Arabic tradition.

Article

Emily Kneebone

A poet from Apamea in Syria (see Cyn. 2.127), author of the Cynegetica, a Greek didactic poem on hunting in four books (2,144 hexameter verses). The author’s name is lost, and nothing is known of him beyond the information provided in the poem, which was frequently transmitted in manuscripts together with Oppian’s Halieutica and was attributed to the same poet until the 18th century, along with a now-lost Ixeutica (a poem on bird-catching, possibly in two books). The Suda and the Byzantine Vitae attached to the manuscripts conflate the poets. The Cynegetica models itself on the Halieutica in many respects, but was clearly composed by a different author: the two poems refer to different homelands (the author of the Halieutica is from Cilicia), were written at different times (the Halieutica between 177 and 180 ce), and are stylistically distinct. The Cynegetica is addressed to the Roman emperor Caracalla, and is likely to have been composed between 212 and 217 ce, after the deaths of Septimius Severus and Geta in 211.

Article

Peter Barr Reid Forbes, Nigel Wilson, and Simon Hornblower

Ptolemaeus of Ascalon, of uncertain date, is said by Steph. Byz. to have been a pupil of *Aristarchus (2), and in the Suda to have been father (or teacher) of Archibius (a grammarian at Rome under Trajan). Ptolemaeus joined the Pergamenes (see crates(3)) and disputed the Aristarchan texts of Homer. He also wrote Περὶ διαφορᾶς λέξεων, Περὶ ὀρθογραφίας, and Περὶ μέτρων (‘on distinctions between words’; ‘on orthography’; ‘on metre’).

Article

Ptolemaeus of Naucratis (2nd cent. ce), a sophist (see second sophistic) taught by Herodes Atticus (see claudius atticus herodes(2), ti.), but more influenced by the style of *Polemon (4).

Article

Ptolemaeus of Ascalon (early 1st cent. ce), grammarian and author of a work on *Herod (1), in which he referred to the king's Idumaean origins.