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Article

Thomas Kuhn-Treichel

Philo Epicus was a Jewish-Hellenistic poet. He composed a hexametric poem on Jerusalem that featured both descriptions of the city and references to biblical events relating to the patriarchs. It is not clear whether he is to be identified with a Philo mentioned by Josephus (Ap. 1.218, with the attribute “the Elder”), Clement of Alexandria (Str. 1.141.3), and Eusebius of Caesarea (Hist. eccl. 6.13.7); while Nikolaus Walter argued for a distinction between the poet and a homonymous, otherwise unknown historian, some recent scholars seek to justify the identification.1 As to the date of his work, scholars have adduced literary, historical, and archaeological arguments to support various periods between the end of the 3rd and the first half of the 1st centuries bce.2 The only undisputable terminus ante quem for his work is the death of Alexander (11) Polyhistor (not long after 40bce), who quoted the poem in his treatise Περὶ Ἰουδαίων.

Article

Alan H. Griffiths

Theocritus, poet from *Syracuse, early 3rd century bce (working at the *Alexandrian court in the 270s); creator of the bucolic genre, but a writer who drew inspiration from many earlier literary forms, cleverly blending them into a new amalgam which nevertheless displays constant invention and seeks variety rather than homogeneity. Thirty poems and a few fragments, together with twenty-four epigrams, are ascribed to him, several (e.g. 19, 20, 21, 23) clearly spurious and others (e.g. 25, 26) of doubtful authenticity. A scholar called Artemidorus boasts in an epigram transmitted along with the ancient scholia (which are very full and learned) that he has rounded up “the Pastoral Muses” so that “scattered once, all are now a single fold and flock”; his edition no doubt included a good deal of anonymous material in the most distinctive of the various Theocritean styles (rural sketches written in the Doric dialect; see greek language, §4) alongside the master's work, and authorship is sometimes hard to determine.

Article

Simias or Simmias of Rhodes is primarily known as the inventor of pattern poetry (see technopaignia), but he was also a grammarian (see scholarship, ancient, Greek and gloss, glosses, Greek) and author of various poetic genres, including epigram and experimental lyric. He probably belonged to the first generation of Hellenistic poets, alongside Philitas of Cos. His poetry is characterized by learnedness and formal refinement.Nothing is known about Simias’ life (the form with the single m finds support in Rhodian epigraphy), but our scarce sources unanimously connect him with Rhodes, and this is confirmed by the Doric dialect of his poetic fragments, his self-characterization as a Doric poet in his sphragis (Ovum 4) and a likely allusion to the Rhodian cult of Helios in another fragment (fr. 7 Fränkel = Powell, Coll. Alex. p. 111, fr. 4).1 His date in the early Hellenistic period has been deduced from Hephaestion’s observation that Simias’ use of the choriambic hexameter was earlier than Philicus of Corcyra, a poet at the court of Ptolemy II (Heph.

Article

Callimachus was a Greek poet and scholar who flourished in the first half of the 3rd century bce in Alexandria, wrote in the context of its Library and Museum, and had close connections to the Ptolemaic court. Apart from six hymns and around sixty epigrams, Callimachus’s texts, both poetry and prose, have survived only in fragments. Chief among his fragmentary works are the Aetia, Iambi, and Hecale: the many papyrus fragments and quotations from these poems give evidence of their lasting impact and popularity in antiquity. Callimachus’s work is highly allusive, refined, learned, and experimental, but also attuned to its political and cultural context and engaged in a poetological discourse with predecessors and colleagues. In his poetry, Callimachus absorbs much of the earlier Greek literary tradition, and his experiments and innovations, while highly original, also reflect trends suggested by the generations preceding him. He in turn exercised great influence on later Roman and Greek poetry, particularly on the poets of Augustan Rome.

Article

A. Sens

The Batrachomyomachia (BM), the “Battle of Frogs and Mice,” is a mock epic poem of slightly more than 300 dactylic hexameter verses, broadly imitating the language and style of Homer. The poem was widely read as a school text in the Byzantine period. As transmitted in the manuscripts, it contains a number of interpolated verses, and the generally problematic character of the textual tradition complicates the assessment of a number of passages. The work has been variously dated, but it is more likely to be the work of the late Hellenistic period than of the early Classical age, since it contains what appear to be allusions to Moschus’s Europa and Callimachus’s Aetia, and its language shows the influence of Latin. References to the poem in the preface to the Silvae of Statius (1 pr.) and in an epigram of Martial (14.183) provide a terminus ante quem in the last decades of the 1st century ce.

Article

Richard Hunter

Apollonius (1) Rhodius, a major literary figure of 3rd-century bce*Alexandria (1), and poet of the Argonautica, the only extant Greek hexameter *epic written between *Homer and the Roman imperial period.Our main sources are: POxy. 1241, a 2nd-cent. ce list of the librarians of the Royal Library at *Alexandria; two Lives transmitted with the manuscripts of Argonautica which probably contain material deriving from the late 1st century bce; and an entry in the Suda. All four state that Apollonius was from Alexandria itself, though two 2nd-century ce notices point rather to *Naucratis. The most likely explanation for the title “Rhodian” is thus that Apollonius spent a period of his life there, which would accord well with what we know of his works, though it remains possible that he or his family came from *Rhodes. Apollonius served as librarian and royal tutor before .

Article

The influence of Hellenistic Greek poetry on Roman poetry can hardly be overestimated. Latin poetry is from its beginnings based on scholarly appreciation of the literary production of the Greeks, and it was from the perspective of the literary and scholarly activity of the Hellenistic period that the Romans viewed Greek literature as a whole. The fragmentary nature of early Latin poetry means that the first stages of the *reception of Hellenistic poetry at Rome remain obscure. It is possible that *Livius Andronicus employed the work of Hellenistic commentators on Homer in translating the Odyssey and that *Naevius and *Accius knew and imitated the Argonautica of Apollonius. The Annales of *Ennius provides better evidence. When he proclaims his originality, presents himself as dicti studiosus (“a student of language”) proud of his stylistic superiority over his predecessors, and describes his poetic initiation, he has in mind *Callimachus(3)'s Aetia, although the exact nature and extent of his debt remain unclear.

Article

Aratus is said to have studied philosophy in Athens, probably coming into contact with Zeno, founder of the Stoic school; subsequently, in 276 bce, he arrived at the court of Antigonus (2) ‘Gonatas’ of Macedon. Little can be independently proven, since the extant lives probably all derive from a single Hellenistic commentator.1Aratus ranks among the finest Hellenistic poets, beside Callimachus (3) and Apollonius (1) Rhodius. He wrote many other works, most of which are lost.2 His sole surviving poem, the Phaenomena, which comprises more than a thousand lines in epic hexameters, describes the positions and motions of the constellations and teaches the reader how to recognize signs of impending weather on earth. The Phaenomena is written in an idealized version of the Archaic language of Homer and Hesiod, and contains mythological material in the form of aitia for some constellations.3 It falls into two parts, the ‘.